Ted Leung is an open source developer (he works on Mitch Kapor’s Chandler project) and he warns that Adobe wants to be the Microsoft of the Web with its Apollo and Flex platforms. He doesn’t want to give control of his work to yet another single vendor.
The problem is he admits he doesn’t see much alternative other than hoping that Adobe opens up its platforms. I actually think that would be very smart of Adobe to do. The revenue for Adobe is in the toolset anyway. Do most people use a free Photoshop competitor like GIMP? No, most of us shell out hundreds of bucks for every version of Photoshop. So, the value here isn’t in the platform (other than the ego and brand building value of owning it) but rather the value is in the toolset that you can build on top of it.
This is actually one thing that developers tell me they like about Sun Microsystems’ direction with Java. By opening that up developers feel better about it as a platform (and can help fix things and improve it).
One thing I thought was missing from the Adobe Engage event earlier this week was an understanding of just how powerful community involvement in a platform could be. None of the apps demonstrated any open source thinking on behalf of the Adobe teams. It sure would be nice for Adobe to think about that. Thanks Ted for bringing that up!