Thursday, February 02, 2006

What applications do you want?

Novell, maker of the SUSE Linux distribution, has been polling users asking what Windows- or MacOS-only applications they want ported to Linux. The idea behind it is to find out what application availabilty is preventing users from switching to the operating system. The poll will likely run for a year, and results are reported monthly.

This poll is particularly important, because Novell spokespeople have made statements like this:

The end result is that we will be contacting the vendors of these applications, asking them to partner with Novell to port their software to Linux.


This poll does not just represent a list of unattainable wishes.

The results have already shown some interesting trends. The current top requested applications are Photoshop and AutoCAD. There is currently an incomplete, free replacement for Photoshop (the GIMP), but, it is not yet filling the proprietary application's role for many users. There is not yet any free replacement for 3D computer-aided design software. Mutimedia development applications and financial applications are also at the top of the list. It is not surprising that applications for basic computer and Internet use (eg, e-mail and web browsing) aren't there. There are already a number of free software applications that run on GNU/Linux [and Windows!] to fill those niches. Also not present in the ten 10 requests are any of the Microsoft Office products, possibly indicating that the free office suites, such as OpenOffice.org, are capable of replacing it.

To participate in the survey, simply fill out the form here

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