Linked by Eugenia Loli on Thu 26th Apr 2007 01:19 UTC, submitted by muszek
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Ubuntu Open Week is a series of IRC meetings of people behind the distribution and the community. Mark Shuttleworth answered various questions on Tuesday and Wednesday. The interview covers many issues, including: GPL v3, proprietary software, Microsoft's $3 project, Launchpad, non-free stuff in Ubuntu, April 19th siege of ubuntu.com, Canonical vs. Ubuntu Foundation, becoming F/OSS contributor. Full logs are available on Ubuntu wiki. Ubuntu News has a digest with the most interesting pieces. Also, another interview with Mark is here and four interesting Ubuntu articles are here, here, here and here.
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ISVs on Linux (like Photoshop)
by Touvan on Thu 26th Apr 2007 16:20 UTC
Touvan
Member since:
2006-09-01

It was great that Mark spoke so honestly about the market prospects for commercial software (that free software users really will not pay for software). However, I think he missed two important markets where I think people will be willing to pay.

The first market is companies - including small companies - that are willing to purchase OEM equipment with Linux preinstalled. These companies would have no reason to avoid purchasing something like Photoshop, Flex, etc. proprietary software that isn't targeted at home users anyway. In fact, most of Adobe's stuff in particular has always been targeted at a professional market, and they will still be willing to pay for software, even if they don't want to pay for Windows (for whatever reason). In Adobe's case, this may apply more directly to developers, since their developer market has really diverged (or is in the process of doing so) from Microsoft's developer market. Adobe's designer market is probably mostly on Macs anyway.

The other market is gamers. Gamers often prefer free (as in beer) software (you know what I mean), but when it comes to their games are often willing to shell out the cash for access to online communities (like Counter Strike, and World of Warcraft).

What's more, these two markets tend to be mavens (or sneezers as I've heard them referred to recently), meaning that they are the ones who set trends, and are likely to make it feasible for Linux to spread onto more casual desktops.

Admittedly, both of these markets are missing step one - no OEMs offering Desktop linux, and games are just not ready on Linux yet. I do believe these are the best two markets to move into for Desktop Linux vendors and ISVs (Adobe specifically - and game makers) who wish to sell proprietary software to Linux users.

Finally, most users who get an OS get it when they buy their computers. So while Mark's evaluation of the current market (self installers, trying to save a buck) might be somewhat accurate, once the OEM hurdle has been cleared, users who were willing to spend money on a computer, will likely be willing to spend money on software to run on those computers, regardless of which OS it runs.


Note: I think ISV has kind of become code for "Adobe" in an odd way, since most people are really saying they want Photoshop to run on Linux (or other Adobe software). It's interesting to note that some other ISVs like many of the 3d vendors, have had Unix versions of their software for years. So in that way, some ISV software is already covered.

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