Paid Software and Linux

This week, the Affinity line (Designer and Photo) announced they’re releasing their award-winning Mac software on Windows later this year. It’s wonderful to see new tools getting into the hands of more people and bridging platforms. There has been impressive growth in the numbers of new apps over the past two years.

Software that doesn’t do everything

Software is becoming more specialized and task driven rather than a universal solution to all needs. Earlier this week I went to a Sketch bootcamp at General Assembly. Primarily a vector tool, Sketch is not trying to be an Adobe Illustrator replacement, it’s software that optimizes the process for creating web design layouts. Sketch is light weight and all the tools needed are at surface level so there’s no digging in menus and convoluted processes. It was impressive to see the software in action and understand how beneficial it would be for my team at work to include it in our toolkit. Sketch is only offered on the Mac OS which works because my entire team, including developers, use Apple. The problem for me is when I want to use the software when I’m home.

Sketch is a light-weight and time-saving web layout app only available on Mac. Small but powerful tools like Sketch are something that are missing from Linux. When I’m looking to increase productivity and results, tools like Sketch seem to be out of grasp since I’m in a Linux environment.

Free space

Over the years I’ve transitioned to exclusively using Linux as my primary OS. I still have a few Apple computers, but I no longer use them on a regular basis. I like being free from a locked-down OS that makes decisions for me. The only thing that I miss is access to software options. Making a statement like that makes Linux users usually start kicking up dust.

I agree, Linux has a lot of great software available, like Blender and Krita. And I understand that some Linux users want to be purists and only use free and open source software (FOSS). I prefer FOSS over paid software whenever possible. Programs like Krita, Gimp, and Inkscape can do a lot of wonderful feats and at times can exceed paid software like Adobe. Wanting paid software is no slight on how I feel about the FOSS software I use. I’ve always been a big proponent of selecting the software that best fits the need. Using different software solutions is what introduced me to FOSS and all the helpful software developers in the FOSS community.

If Linux is about having freedom, I would love the freedom to have both paid and free software on my system. Many people will suggest using Wine, a Windows emulator, for using software on my Linux machine. Is it wrong to want the software to run natively in Linux and not be dependent on Windows in any way?

Seeing Affinity embrace Linux would be great! I would definitely support them along with their FOSS counterparts. I’m a big believer in paying for development, whether it’s proprietary or FOSS software. No app is truly free. Developers need to eat!

Collective voice

The hurdle for Linux users is being a collective and strong voice when asking software companies to consider our community. I’m not sure if I’m alone in wanting more paid options than just Autodesk’s Maya. I only have a few friends who use Linux as their primary OS. I would love to know if there are other users who dream of using products like Affinity Designer on their machine. When I spoke with one of Affinity’s development leads earlier this week, I had to ask them if they’d ever consider making their software available on Linux. They said that there have been some requests, but they haven’t seen a huge push from the Linux community. Anime Studio used to offer a Linux version of their software back when they were called Moho. I would love to see apps like Anime Studio return to a penguin-friendly platform or new products like Affinity start a relationship with Linux.

I have no idea if these thoughts are total blasphemy or if other people feel the same way. If there are more people out there that would like paid options, we could try to become a collective voice to encourage software companies to treat us as an untapped market and resource.

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