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Nilesh D Kapadia


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The future of Flex Builder for Linux in question

There have been reports that Ben Forta of Adobe has indicated that Flex Builder for Linux is "on hold."

There was a feature request created on Adobe's issue tracker to collect votes to show how many people want Flex Builder for Linux:

http://bugs.adobe.com/jira/browse/FB-19053

Vote on this issue if you want to see Flex Builder for Linux.

This is unfortunate as I think there are a lot of developers who either using Linux or want to use Linux. The lack of final release and official support for the Linux version was one of the influencing factors that made me choose Mac OS X instead of Linux for my new development platform at work. And though I'm mostly using OS X on the desktop these days, I may go back to Linux in the future, especially if I am forced into it in the case that Apple lags on the future Java versions again like they did with Java 5.

Joe Rinehart's reaction is "Who cares?" and references a Wikipedia page that states that Linux only has 1.05% of the desktop "usage share" and that he has never run into someone using Linux as their primary OS in a Flex shop. I think the 1.05% statistic is less relevant because software developers skew quite differently, and there will be a larger share of Linux users among developers than probably any other group (maybe not sysadmins). As for no one using Linux for Flex development, well if Adobe actually had an officially supported final release of Flex Builder for Linux things might be different. One of my co-workers is actually successfully using the Flex Builder for Linux alpha. We don't use the visual designer, so the lack of it is not a problem.

Considering that Eclipse is Java and that a plugin written in pure Java should be trivial to maintain for Linux, I wonder why it is even an issue. Maybe they use native code in the visual designer or other parts? Is the Linux version of SWT deficient or have bugs that are difficult to work around? (that's been an issue for other plugin makers) Is it just a matter of not wanting to devote the QA resources?

If Adobe doesn't respond, they have some competition which Flex developers on Linux may migrate to:

© 2013 Nilesh D Kapadia