Adobe readies version 7 of Acrobat Reader for Linux/UNIX. finally, an update after languishing 2 versions behind! replacing software that looks and works like its years out of date!
Nero releases a Linux version of their oh-so-popular software for Linux.
the ISV's are coming! the ISV's are coming! hooray!
so i download these bits of software, hoping for the best. after playing with them i feel let down. why?
KPDF looks better than AcroRead7 and even competes for rendering speed on most of my PDFs. AcroRead7 has more rendering features (e.g. forms) and better rendering performance, but otherwise it's a shameful piece of software. if you ever want to see what not to do in a GUI, download AcroRead7 for Linux and explore it's "interface". glaring, horrific mistakes are to be found everywhere.
then there's NeroLinux, which K3B utterly takes to school. K3B is generally faster, has more features and looks better. bah.
now we have a really odd situation here. the ISVs are starting to lumber into Linux Land with their closed source software, something we've been hoping would start happening for a few years now. but their offerings are currently subpar, and i doubt they'll see huge adoption rates because of this. especially as the Free Software alternatives keep getting better and better. they are entering a market as second-movers (or worse) and seem to be doing so somewhat blindly.
this presents us (the Open Source desktop community) with a conundrum. if the ISVs don't see an ROI in the form of user base adoption, why should they bother? if all they get is negative press, why not slink back to WinLand and their MacDaddy where the glossy fan-mags will be happy to give them 4 and 5 star reviews?
obviously, these new comers aren't familiar with how to develop for our platform. and they are making some really questionable choices right out of the gate. this is probably not because their developers suck, but because they don't have the experience necessary to do the work well.
somehow a bridge needs to built between the ISVs who are arriving at our tables and the community of developers who actually know how to do this stuff properly. we need to have wage-slave appropriate documentation (which is radically different than enthusiast-appropriate documentation) and better support for ISVs who need to work in semi-secrecy prior to product launch. we don't have either of these things. for shame!
in a perfect world, the ISVs would pitch us some manpower (or funds to finance the manpower) to create these things. in a perfect world, we'd round up as many of these people as possible into a single room and create an "ISV's club" where they can harness the accrued knowledge and expertise of those in the community right now to get these bridges built.
and why should they care to do this? because if they don't, their software is going to keep arriving DOA on Linux. no matter how big the Linux desktop market grows they'll never be able to tap into it to its full potential unless the software quality improves. the ISVs who will make their mark in the maturing Open Source desktop market will be those who make the necessary investments. it won't take much, but without it they won't get much either.
we have a vested interested in this as well, because their software (if done well) will make our platforms much more interesting (and in some cases, possible to use at all) for the larger, global desktop market. it's also a potential well of new development talent and a lot of useful feedback.
we have two groups who have mutually beneficial motivations here. now the question is: can we make it work culturally?