Adobe, known best for their Photoshop and Flash products (both of which are proprietary), have taken charge in response to HTML5 which poses a threat to the dominance of Flash. They have allowed and encouraged some developers to create free/open source software that makes use of HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. They recently released a new version of collie. Collie is a high performance JavaScript animation library and it runs smoothly on the desktop and on mobile (iPhone, Android). Check out the demos, they’re amazing.

Collie is licensed using the Lesser GNU Public License (LGPL). There are a lot of projects that favour the MIT License or the Modified BSD License but they forget that the LGPL is also an option when creating software and releasing it as free/open source software (in the future I’ll cover some of the different licenses that can be used for code in your organization when you release it as free/open source).

Surprisingly, Adobe is doing a lot of things with free/open source software. You can see some of their efforts here. They have a blog detailing their work with free/open source and a github repository for their code. Multi-billion dollar companies like Adobe are investing free/open source software because they know that this builds up their reputation, especially the Collie code which is superior to other JavaScript animation libraries. This quality translates into a great reputation and that reputation translates into adoption of their software, increasing the appeal of the Adobe brand. They can then leverage this to attract more developers and designers to their other products. Adobe is banking on the fact that their reputation will lead you to think, “We should buy the latest version of Photoshop (or some other Adobe software) since the developers and designers are praising Adobe’s code!”

This reputation for building high quality components and releasing those components to the world as free/open source lets others look at that work. It leads software engineers to put more trust in their products because the quality is high, and it encourages decision makers to put trust in that brand.

Red Hat has a nice article on about the importance of reputation in the free/open source world:

You don’t have to be as big as Red Hat or Canonical in order to develop a reputation

…the more open you are about your business with the public, the easier it is to build a reputation that will win you customers [and clients].

Building a reputation with high quality code is just one way your organization can leverage free/open source software.


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