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Metsys

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  1. Oops. I mean to say that the risk of not having internet connectivity does not affect my day-to-day activities. Our uptime is solid and I have not had instances where I was not able to use online software for work.
  2. I totally agree. I prefer to have a local version of the software running, but if I have to choose between online-only software and being locked into just a couple operating systems, I'm going to choose the online-only option. Not having internet connectivity does not affect my day-to-day activities, but not having it run on Linux does. Of course for others it's a different story, where they are not working with Linux or good/cheap internet is not available. But for us, Linux support is more important. Again, I don't like that mentality either of browsers-based software being the solution to our problems, but let me repeat this: Linux support is far more important to us. If there's no other option, we have to chose a solution that actually exists. It is important to accept the reality that browser-based software is a viable alternative, even if there is a better way. I don't think operating systems will go subscription. It's against Apple's hardware business, and they already have perpetual income through the App Store. Microsoft has a greater focus on their cloud computing business than Windows (if their most recent update fiascos are any indication). In the apocalyptic scenario that any of these companies decide to make their OS subscription based, it's all the more reason why it is more important for software companies to t support Linux.
  3. I think browser-based applications are totally valid. How many of us have replaced Microsoft Word with Google Docs? How many of us use our browser for email clients like Mailspring or Gmail instead of Outlook? Instead of Microsoft Project, we now use JIRA and Trello—all applications that run in a browser. Slack and Discord are browser applications; the desktop versions are just Electron apps. At the last agency I worked at, we used browser-based video software to create video for social media. Adobe is creating products like Spark, Lightroom CC, and Mikamo (3D rigging and animation) as browser applications. For us, Figma is a valid replacement for two desktop applications that do the similar jobs (Sketch and Adobe XD). In other words, there's plenty of desktop applications that we do not buy because a browser-based equivalent was better. If that doesn't prove validity of a browser application, I don't know what does. Like it or not, the browser has become the newest operating system. They might not be as performant as desktop applications, but more often than not it does the job just fine, and have completely replaced desktop applications. WebAssembly (compiled code as opposed to JavaScript) allows CPU-intensive tasks run client-side in the browser, further opening up the possibility of more browser-based design applications. PWAs allow websites to be installed as apps on desktop and mobile devices. In the future, there shouldn't be a need to install the mobile app version of Trello, Notion, JIRA, Reddit, and so on. Just because a piece of software is written in JavaScript, Wasm, and uses HTML/CSS for the UI, doesn't disqualify it from being a replacement for something written in C# or Swift. Do I want every piece of software I used to be browser-based? No. I typically install the Electron/desktop version of most of the online software I use daily. I would rather use software that doesn't have the overhead of an Electron app. But these companies are using a tech stack that lets them write the software once and have it work everywhere. If Figma can do it for UI design, I don't think it'll be long until someone else does it for digital illustration, vector art, desktop publishing, and so on. I would much rather have native apps, but if a browser-based app comes along and does the job for everyone on our team that uses Linux? We'll take it.
  4. Okay. They are not Linux-exclusive designers; as you say, VMs running Windows. All our UI design work is done in Figma because it is a cross platform tool. There are design roles that can be done 100% in Linux without compromise. I count product designers and illustrators as "designers" too. Their tools also work 100% in Linux without compromise.
  5. Researchers and strategists do. Qualitative (as opposed to quantitative) data may be harder to quantify by its very nature, but that doesn't make qualitative data less important than quantitative data. Quantitative data is easier to measure. It takes less time than processing narratives by humans, and turning qualitative information into quantitative data to be presented to stakeholders. You have to listen to what people are saying. I think it's the root cause of a lot of the problems we are seeing with tech companies that have—quite frankly—ruined lives because they chose to be data-driven instead of data-informed. If you don't count anecdotes and user stories as part of your decision making it means you are not counting what users are actually saying. People's voices, stories, and personal experiences should not be flat-out ignored. It makes you blind to the bigger picture. Innovators will always be doing things where there are no numbers to back it up, because innovators do things no one has done before. In my little corner of the print/graphic/web/software design industry, most of the people I work with on a professional level very much want a Linux version, including the company I work for. I was able to convince us to become a Affinity shop, but it is a drag for our Linux-using designers and developers to use a VM to run the software. But don't let that be the reason why you won't support Linux. There's plenty of people who don't have the RAM to dedicate to a VM that you'll be missing out on. I understand that the want or (in some cases) need for a Linux version among the design community may not sway Serif much in the short term, especially now that ARM is something macOS devs will have to deal with soon, but at the very least I hope that future companies will make the decision in the beginning to use a tech stack that will allow them to write cross-platform products easily.
  6. I also agree that Microsoft will not have a subscription-based operating system. That is not the reason why they made WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux). Microsoft makes a TON of money the same way Amazon does: cloud computing. WSL exists to support software developers who work in Windows. Why? Because Linux dominates software development, and Microsoft understands that. Making a web app? Linux. Have a desktop or mobile app that connects to a server? Linux. The domination of Linux in software development is the other reason why I think Affinity should consider a Linux version (aside from giving creatives in marginalized groups an opportunity). Software development requires multi-disciplinary teams. Software developers work with visual designers. And the lines between all of these roles are starting to blur. That is the reason why we are using Figma to do UI design work instead of Affinity Designer. I used Adobe Illustrator for that type of work in the past (this was before Affinity Designer came into my life), but Figma is something that developers can actually use. So we use Figma because it runs in all operating systems. But to be clear, just because Figma has "multiplayer technology", doesn't mean that Figma is not rubbish at a lot of stuff. Figma is the wrong tool for a lot of things I use it for. But I use it for those things because, again...it works in Linux, and I need to work in a team. Affinity Designer would be much better to use in those cases, but it's limited because of the OSes it can not run on. The point I'd like to make is that—at this price point—software developers getting Affinity products is an impulse buy. It will allow people to buy it that wouldn't have purchased it otherwise. Allowing disadvantaged groups of people to be able to purchase the required equipment and software at a lower price point is another group of people who would not have purchased Affinity products otherwise. It's about getting new customers that Adobe doesn't reach. I do understand the complexities of creating software for multiple operating systems. I also understand that the codebase was probably not built for cross-platform development (hopefully that's a version 2 consideration). I'm sure there's a business strategy of making sure that Affinity products are matching people's needs first so that Affinity actually is an alternative to Adobe. And honestly, I can see why companies would not be interested in creating solutions for developers and minorities. But trust me, they have a loud voice. Once software business start caring about them, they'll get the word out. Don't think that developers and minorities will be a big enough customer base to cover the cost of development? Consider that people do check to see what operating system software can run on before they buy it. Software that runs on all three operating systems communicates a mature well-written codebase. It lets me know that I'm not locked in, that I can switch operating systems in the future and still be able to edit my files. And it assures me that making this switch will have longevity, and that it's one less thing to worry about.
  7. That's basically the sentiment: it's a chicken and egg problem. Few graphic designers use Linux because there's no good design tools in Linux. Companies won't develop design tools for Linux because graphic designers don't use Linux. This is all in spite of the fact that many other creative disciplines and studios that heavily integrate with graphic designers already use Linux: 2D animation, 3D animation, software development, video editing, and so on. Given current events, I think it's also important to think about how to improve the lives of people in disadvantaged and underprivileged communities. This is a problem I've been trying to work out for a while, and it is why I'm teaching Affinity products over Adobe products for my design courses. How do you get those communities the tools they need to have better opportunities? By making them them more accessible. A highly-capable computer for creative work could cost 20% more if you buy Windows 10 Home (and I don't recommend getting the cheaper Home edition). Linux also performs better on older hardware, which is why—as a graphic designer and illustrator—I run Linux on my older machines instead of Windows for creative work. Subscription-based software is death for underprivileged creatives. Increasing the cost of entry through a $140-200 operating system only makes it more difficult for them to get started. Affinity software is certainly making it easier for disadvantaged artists by not requiring them to pay monthly, but it is still requiring them to pay another software company just for the privilege of being able to use a computer. There's no denying that there's one operating system that is better for marginalized people. I'm hoping that as the world becomes more aware of the problems that minorities still face today, and that software companies will start to do the same.
  8. As far it being "small dollars", the subscription model is usually the difference between all of the employees being able to use the same tools versus just a few. A thousand dollars per license annually is a lot for a team member who barely uses the software and only needs it from time to time to collaborate on a design project. If you are a large company then you can waste that kind of money. But even a large company will only spend money when it makes sense. Meaning only the graphic designers on the team will get access to the same software: the product lead won't, the managers won't, the programmers won't, the UX consultant won't, the copywriters won't, and so on down the line. If you are a freelance graphic designer working alone, then paying the Adobe tax is justifiable. Although I've found that for the freelancers who I have recommended use the Affinity suite for their freelance work have really enjoyed the ability for their clients to have access to all the same software that they are using. Clients love Affinity. I really want to drive the point home that the way so much of the world is moving now is towards multi-disciplinary teams. This whole idea of designers being isolated away from the rest of the team, sitting at their iMacs using software that no one else can access to is becoming a very antiquated idea. People need to be able to work together seamlessly. Being able to use the same software is a huge part of that. We recently purchased GitKraken for our designers and artists. Yes, it's an annual subscription. We had the opportunity to get a cheaper non-subscription alternative called Fork to do the same thing, but we decided not to because Fork is Windows and Mac only. We didn't want the developers using different software from the designers and artists. So let that sink in. We passed on cheaper non-subscription software for our designers because it didn't work on Linux, and we are paying a subscription fee for the privilege. Linux support > no subscription. Don't get the wrong idea. It's very valuable for a lot of people that this software remains non-subscription, but please don't underestimate the importance of Linux support in a company's purchasing decision.
  9. We are professionals. We use many OSes: the right one for the job. Linux just happens to be the best choice for certain types of development, certain hardware configurations, and certain design tasks that require as much performance as possible. The problem with Affinity products is that aside from no subscription model, it doesn't have much else going for it. And with the way the industry is heading, where the separation between developer and designers is starting to blur, it's becoming more important to have cross platform apps. I don't want the developers having to load up a VM just to collaborate on a design. It's why I'm using Figma more and more for things I have traditionally used Illustrator or Designer for. It's because it works in Linux, not because it's a better app for the job. (I work in Windows, but most of the team is in Linux.)
  10. Making something cross-platform is a decision that should be made very early in the course of developing a product. The way the Affinity suite renders graphics to the screen is very performant. The code that does that has to be pretty low-level, probably lower than a library like QT or GTK can give you. Performant cross-platform 3D apps are a lot easier because of OpenGL, which is why Blender works so well in all operating systems. Instead of targeting specific window managers, it's just targeting an OpenGL window. But for 2D design software, the path isn't as obvious. Which is why in the case of the Affinity suite it's a lot harder, especially at this point. However, it's totally doable to make performant cross-platform 2D graphics apps if you plan for it early.
  11. My relationship with Linux is a more pragmatic one. I actually recommend people get a Windows PC over a Mac, mainly due to overall cost, performance, maintainability, upgradeability, and just having more software options in general. It sucks that you don't have the overlap of a Unix-based system and the ability to run the Adobe suite, like you do on the Mac, but there's ways around that (VMs, Windows Subsystem for Linux, etc.). Some of the more annoying Windows "features" can be disabled. When I used the term "creative" it's more a general term that does not just include paid professionals. The education work I'm doing focuses on the whole gamut of creatives: a lot of pre- and post-college creatives who are self-taught, not in college or are already past that. So when looking at "creatives" with a wider lens, this includes all visual artist, including hobbyist and people trying to change into a more design-oriented career. That is why non-Adobe products are appealing to the educational work I'm doing. It includes people who have not made it into college yet (an ideal place to learn the Adobe suite), or are focusing on building something new on their own outside of a studio. If they took out a loan to get their education, then absolutely, I'll only teach them the Adobe software. Regarding the small number of developers working on open-source projects. I recall a big funding push for Krita while it was still a young piece of software. They had a Kickstarter campaign, and a lot of marketing. They also have a website that makes the donation path very clear. Compared to Inkscape and GIMP? Not so much. Inkscape's donation page says they use it to help developers attend conferences. GIMP's donate page says "we don’t raise funds to sponsor development of GIMP as an organization at this time." Blender has had an online store for a very long time, paid training materials, and a membership program, so no wonder they were so successful at getting funding (before Epic gave them over a million dollars). It also doesn't hurt that their software was already fairly capable when it first became open source. I think the big takeaway there is that most open-source development projects are not great at marketing and asking for money.
  12. It really depends on the business strategy. By no means do I think that choosing not to have a fully cross-platform product is done in spite, as some users want to portray. (Seriously guys, that strategy doesn't work. Cut it out.) There's some value in targeting someone else's customers. It's seen as a strategy with less risk. However, I hope that the value proposition for Affinity doesn't continue to be "it's like Adobe but cheaper." There's definitely some features that Affinity products have that Adobe does not, but it doesn't take long for a competitor to add similar features. I think the best thing that Affinity Designer had going for it was a fresh start: a more modern architecture, a fresh UI, less legacy code. A fresh start is also the time when you want to think about cross platform support. One thing I wanted to reiterate, is that the people who are off Adobe's radar are MOST of the creatives out there. I'm not just talking about professional graphic designers, I'm talking about photographers, illustrators, software developers, clients, students (pre- and post-college), and creatives outside of the US or Europe. Just because they can't afford an Adobe subscription, an OS that runs it, or simply choose not to, doesn't mean they are not able to pay $50 once for design software that they can use forever. Programmers are very skeptical of subscription software, but are prone to impulse buys. It's also worth pointing out that people who don't have access to the software needed to create graphic designs, are more likely to give up early and never show up in any surveys. As software becomes accessible, interest in that field grows instead of dying before it even begins. I've talked to developers that had interested in design, but when they found out that the existing Linux-compatible tools are, well...crap, they gave up. Sure, that helps me as a freelancer, but I think what Serif wants are more customers, especially budding creatives that want an accessible tool that they can financially justify. In my corner of the USA, graphic design jobs are paying less and less. The supply and demand is not in our favor right now, which is why I'm pivoting to front-end development. Other designers are making the same move. That's another reason why Linux is becoming so much more desirable among graphic designers: software development is becoming a more valuable skill. But at the same time the value of design is understood, so visual design is becoming something that more of the design team is touching and interacting with. That includes the developers running Linux. Are programmers the only potential customers that could be gained from a Linux version? No. Front-end developers/designers who want to switch off of MacOS but can't. People who want to donate a computer and load it with software the recipient will actually use. (Seriously, donating a Windows computer can be a huge pain because of the cost of a Windows license.) Educators like myself that want to teach design software that won't burden the students or the school (Adobe's educational pricing is a bit of a joke, and scrappy educational schools like ours don't qualify). And of course, the people who want to move off of Windows but are waiting for the right collection of software that will let them transition. I predict that once a Linux version is available, more people will buy the Windows and Mac versions because they'll want to get comfortable with the new software before they are ready to transition away from Windows/MacOS, and finally cancel their Adobe subscription. Graphic designers, developers, and educators like myself don't want Serif to create a Linux version to help pump up support for Linux. It's not about that. There's already mass support for Linux, including from those who don't actually run Linux. It's just that most of us can't migrate to Linux because of Adobe! So when we have both Adobe and Affinity software, and neither work on the OS that so many of us want to use daily, there's not much point in migrating away from what we are already familiar with. So we stick with Adobe products. * * * * * Serif, I have a suggestion. Run an exit intent pop up asking people why they decided to not purchase Affinity products. I would also recommend a checkout survey asking why they almost decided not to purchase your product. I've found that a lot of companies put their heads too far into the numbers as opposed to talking to people that bounced and decided they were not interested in their product. Take a more human-centered approach to find out what is really going on. Find the creatives that suffer the most. Talk to scrappy educators, makers, and aspiring creatives. Go to meet up groups. Figure out what they struggle with. Every time those companies have been surprised by the findings. I think you'll find more success in filling gaps that others have not filled.
  13. Recently I was responsible for getting a company to switch over to the Affinity products. (Serif, you're welcome. ) I wanted to share some insights behind one company's process of deciding what design software to purchase, my own experience as a teacher of art and design, and why Affinity should start thinking about developing Linux versions of their design software. This isn't intended to influence short-term plans, just long term ones and the way the market is shifting with regards to software ownership and operating systems. * * * * * The company I convinced to adopt the Affinity software is a web software company that also creates print/video games. We primarily run Linux. I'm a new hire in the design and art team, so I was able to bring up the existence of the Affinity products when the discussion of design software came up. We have huge issues with Adobe with regards to ownership, and other issues I won't get into here. The short version is that we had philosophical issues with Creative Cloud and Adobe as a company. The problem is that our choice to go with Affinity products is that it was a compromise. There wasn't any other reason for us to use Affinity products besides we didn't like Adobe, and the minor issue of cost. It doesn't run on our preferred development environment, meaning that seemingly arbitrary separation between developers and designers and the software that they run will still exist in our process. It's almost 2020; it shouldn't be that way. Developers are designers too. That is why we use software like Figma. It works on all operating systems because it's a vector and UI design tool that works in the browser. We are not really a fan of the subscription model or how our data is basically held hostage, but it's more practical to pay extra to have a unifying tool among all team member's operating systems. That is why we use Figma. With WebAssembly, we'll start seeing more browser-based design applications. I strongly suspect that this is the direction Adobe will go to address the cross platform issue, but it doesn't address people's pain with "subscription fatigue," the questions of ownership, or having performant design applications. (If you haven't used Figma, it's performance is acceptable but not great.) I don't see WebAssembly browser apps having as good a user experience as native design apps in the near future. So there's still a need for native design apps, including native Linux apps. For us, Affinity was a compromise purchase, and we bought the minimum number of copies we needed for each team member's role, instead of making sure everyone was on the same page which is what would have been ideal for us, but alas, "not available on Linux." What happened to the rest of the software budget that didn't go to getting copies for the entire staff, including the development team? That budget is going to the development funds of other design tools that do work in Linux, but just need more work to make them viable. * * * * * Okay, so that's just one company. It's just a web development company, not a design agency. Web development companies may not be Serif's intended customer. I get that might be the possibility. But here's something else to consider. I'm also a teacher of art and design. I took a human-centered design approach to art education, and did a lot of research on the people who want to learn design. That process led me to focusing my efforts on teaching underprivileged and disadvantaged creatives, because I found that group encompasses most of the creatives out there. Since starting that journey I've developed some personal beefs with Adobe. I've witnessed creatives who couldn't afford their Adobe subscription, which meant they had to stop working as a freelancer if I hadn't stepped in. That's the type of stuff I deal with. Again, this group is huge: people in college, just out of college, or trying to ditch their horrible day jobs and pursue a more creative career. When it comes to this group of people, every dollar counts. You may not think the cost of Windows ($140-$200 per computer) is that big of a deal, but it matters when you have to scrimp and save for every dollar, or when your local currency doesn't go as far is does in other countries. If that freelancer had the choice to use Linux as a designer, they would have been able to afford a few more months of the Creative Cloud subscription and continue working that month. Linux is the difference between someone having to save $460 for a computer instead of $600 to get started (that's 24% less, just from the cost of Windows). It's the difference between being able to work as a multi-disciplinary web developer and be able to design for and code in the operating system that powers the web. (Just us a VM for your dev server you say? VMs require a good chunk of dedicated RAM and a little bit more overhead, and a budget computer may not be able to handle that, especially if you have Windows as your host OS, making it far more memory efficient to run your entire server environment locally.) Quite frankly, for creatives Linux is about providing more opportunities to people that would otherwise not have it. I'm hoping that more software companies adopt that mission too. But until that happens, as a teacher I have to provide equal software coverage for both the Adobe products and the Affinity products in the curriculum, because I can't with full confidence entirely recommend one over the other. But for audio and video editing? DaVinci Resolve. Full stop. I won't teach Premier. Not everyone can install Premier, but everyone can install Resolve. For 3D modeling? Blender. Period. It works for everyone. No need to teach anything else. I would love love LOVE to only teach Affinity products, but currently I can only recommend it. Granted, it's a strong recommendation, but my curriculum can't be as dedicated to one piece of graphic design software like I can with DaVinci Resolve, Blender, Krita, Godot, and Visual Studio Code, which are all programs I didn't have to compromise on. I'm pleased with what Serif is doing. I got one company to adopting it, and a handful of other freelancers to start using it. I'm slowly moving over to Affinity for my freelance. Having software that competes with InDesign was a lot more urgent than Linux support, so I've been happy with the prioritization. (Although I think all software companies should consider targeting all three platforms at the beginning of a project. The libraries to do so have existed for years. But that's a business decision that is in the past.) The freelancer who couldn't pay for his Adobe subscription that month is now using Affinity products as per my recommendation. So Serif is doing a lot of good. I just hope that people who create design software don't forget about the creatives that are off of Adobe's radar.
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