Designers are independent. In work, mindset and lifestyle. Yet in this Web age aren’t we losing independence? For most designers the first tool to start designing from is the Adobe suite, a quite impressive set of tools that help us to make our work easier. But don’t we rely too much on Adobe? For years people have been watching how Microsoft dominated the market. We lament that its applications are bloated and criticize its efforts to wipe away competitors. But instead of taking a stand, we continue to buy its products and we continue to moan.
We always have options. And in the design process we have them too. At the moment we don’t really know to what level open source applications can compete with Adobe. But with support, with independent minds and strong community involvement, the open source movement can grow. Competition is a part of the progress and so is the choice. We need to maintain a competitive arena in design. And we need good open source alternatives for the tools we use. Independent start-ups are the lifeblood of the industry and the breath of fresh air we all need.
But apart from Microsoft, Adobe and the latest computer system to run these applications, you may have problems setting up a professional open source environment which would perfectly meet your needs. We need better open source applications for designers. And we need to work together to produce them and then use them. Just think for a second: how many young designers can afford Adobe anyway? Do we not need a platform that supports us while we support it? Doesn’t open source represent the true spirit of design?