Ubuntu Shifting The Overton Window
We’ve talked for years about the killer app that will take the Linux desktop to the mainstream. For some the killer app is a particular game. To illustrate, I’m still playing Civilization IV. I’ve spent about thirty minutes trying to get it working under Wine to no avail. I’m sure I just haven’t found the right tutorial yet. Until that happens, I can’t fully commit.
The next category of killer app usually comes from the productivity side of things. For some, it’s a video editor with the capacity and polish of Final Cut Pro X. For others, it’s a Microsoft product such as Visio or Project. For many, it’s Adobe’s Photoshop or, more accurately, their Creative Cloud suite of applications.
Adobe isn’t a company so large they don’t have any feedback mechanisms. In 2012 their feedback website became inundated with requests for support for Linux. 16,000+ votes later the feedback has become one of the most popular requests on their website with official comment from the company acknowledging the popularity of the request.
In 2012, overcoming the engineering challenges of moving Creative Cloud to Linux were impractical, but times, they are a changin’ and I believe that within three years Adobe will release all or part of its Creative Cloud applications for Linux. Why? Because we’re seeing a shift in the Overton Window.
Ubuntu’s recent Snappy Sprint concluded with a wide variety of projects moving forward with their goals. Nearly all of those projects took to social media to say something positive about the experience. The Elementary Project’s post attempts to be positive while also trying to be non-committal. They talk about the experience being extremely productive and then acknowledge that they’re not making any formal decisions *yet.*
This is how the Overton Window moves. When projects and pundits talk about the future with a level of inevitability it contributes towards their audience’s future acceptance of their road map. It’s a way of moving the expectations and therefore contributing to future acceptance of the audience. As Snaps continue to gain technical momentum and positive press, it will become more and more likely that they will emerge as the dominant installation system going forward. Once that happens, a large company like Adobe can do its cost-benefit analysis and cater to the growing number of individuals who are choosing Linux on the desktop.
Ubuntu may have a great project on its hands from a technical level, but if it fails to continue the momentum of positive press, it’ll fail to get the widespread adoption it needs to make it successful. I’d expect for the next Snappy Sprint for Ubuntu to not only invite a wide spectrum of Open Source enthusiasts, but also the Linux press. Which outlets should be invited, should absolutely be a high priority topic for those planning the next event. Assuming the next sprint is already being planned, who would you like to see cover the event?