I have stated here that availability of two programs on Linux would have me convert from Windows desktop to Linux 100% of the time in very short order. Well for one of those programs, Photoshop, I dont have to wait for Adobe. Xara has a very fast and amazingly easy to use program, Xara Xtreme which they are porting to Linux. This is a very hot program.
The screenshot above is the Linux version of XaraXtreme showing off its vector illustration capabilitiues. But the real advantage of Xara Xtreme is that it also does simple bitmap editing and integrates bitmap with vectors in novel and very useful ways. Also it has the ability to read and write Photoshop and PDF files (on the Windows side currently). But most important of all it provides a very fast graphics program to go along with all those Linux based 3D rendering engines and utilities which need a compliment to the bitmap primarily capabilities of GIMP.
But the broader implication is this – in the world of graphics on Windows, there is a showdown brewing between Adobe and Microsoft as Redmond lines up not just its Expression Suite but also its WMA, WMP, WMV, WPF Framework and other graphic extensions in Visual Studio (see what Orcas-Killer Whale, is brewing) as well as Visio and other graphics apps to take on Adobe. This is going to be a nasty, “we want the bulk your $3B graphics and PDF business” fight between the two vendors. Of course, Microsoft has already done proprietary things like WPF(no easy Mac port for Adobe), WMP(no JPEG2000 or SVG which Adobe supports), and the usual suspects of embrace-and-extend-in-the-name-of-innovation and not-portable-to-Mac orientation. “Hey, software is a business not simply fun and games” – Microsoft product manager. Redmond has seen enough of those Mac vs PC commercials in which the PC is depicted as soft if not incompetent on graphics software. So take out the number one company, Adobe, that offers graphics software that bridges from PCs to Mac. Oh … and take out those bridges too.
Now you can imagine what is going to happen to the rest of the PC graphics vendors like AutoDesk, Corel, ToonBoom, Xara and the like. Victims of Collateral Damage or “Friendly Fire”. So what Xara is doing makes imminent sense – establish an OpenSource beach head and then expand with dual license capabilities like Actuate, MySQL, and Trolltech have done in the Linux market. In the meantime, XaraXtreme Windows version is well worth the look see – or participate in the Linux development.
Meanwhile, if anybody has a Linux-based Dreamweaver replacement (no, Eclipse and NetBeans are getting closer, but no cigar) let me know!