A post on the virtues (and meaningfulness) of cross platform is coming, but after seeing this on Digg today, I had to say something, because it really proves what I"ve been alluding to all this time – cross platform matters. I"ll go more into detail on this later this week, but economically, it may not make sense. However if you do cross platform well, you win. Pass go, collect $200, you"re going to Disneyland, put on the green jacket; you win. Why? Because the people that use Linux are absolutely crazy – in a good way.
Adobe/Macromedia is one of the few companies that has tried to support Linux. This hasn"t been without road bumps. Because of the open source nature of Linux, there is a lot of bad blood that Adobe hasn"t open sourced the Flash Player. Combine that with the fact that Macromedia just skipped releasing a version 8 player, and you have one very unhappy Linux crowd.
But here"s the catch – these people are insanely motivated. They are rabid over their operating system, and they unleash a (mostly) intelligent barrage at anyone who stands in their way. They know Linux inside and out, and they would love nothing more than to be able to easily expand the Linux offerings. In many ways, they could become the ultimate RIA evangelists.
Adobe has done a good job of engaging them, they have a blog set up that talks about progress on the Linux player, and it gets a ton of comments. But they need to go much farther. Flex Builder, which is built on Eclipse, should be ported to Linux. Give the Linux community a stake in Flex 2. I know the SDK is free, and for many Linuxers, that will be fine, but a working copy of Flex Builder on Linux would be a huge development driver. They also need to work with some of the big members of the Linux community on building applications that will resonate with Linux users. I have no idea what this is, but there have to be some, and Adobe can find out what they are.
The Linux community has so much potential, and by giving them Flash, you give them a development platform they can use, then they"ll be very loyal, and very productive. Think about OpenOffice done in Flex 2 or a Flex 2 version of Kmail. The sky is the limit here, and if Linux developers know they can write applications and they"ll be accessible to anyone – they"re going to be adopting the Flash platform in droves. Flash has a great open source community now, and the infusion of Linux talent would make for some great applications. Adobe just needs to step up to the plate.