Ubuntu for Flash Developers

Posted by Thanh Tran on March 7, 2010. 3 min read.

I love Linux and free (but cool) softwares. But running Linux as a pure environment for Flash development seem to be a mission impossible (at least to the time of this post). Although I have discovered many good alternative programs, the most needed Flash authoring tool – Flash CS4 is not available in Linux. And that prevents me from moving 100% from Windows to Ubuntu.

Here are the list of application choices in Ubuntu which comes from my own experiences that I think necessary for any Flash developers to work comfortably in Linux world:



Windows application

Linux alternative

Note on Linux alternatives

01 Flash IDE or Fla authoring tool Adobe Flash CS4 N/A make do with Virtual Box + WinXP + Flash CS4 (cost a lot of RAM)
02 ActionScript editor FlashDevelop (free and cool)

Eclipse + FDT plugin or Flex Builder 3 alpha

FDT Basic is free but lacks refactoring and debug tool (however it is comparable with current FD version)
03 Flex & MXML tool Flex/Flash Builder Eclipse + FDT plugin or Flex Builder 3 alpha Currently, there is no tool comparable with Flash Builder in MXML design.
Flex Builder in Linux doesn’t have MXML design either.
04 Flash trace & debugging Debugger in Flex Builder and Flash tracer in Firefox. Flash tracer in FF and MAYBE debugger of FDT I haven’t tried debugging with FDT.
05 Browsers and web debugging tools Firefox + Firebug
OR IE + Fiddler
Firefox + Firebug It is as ‘comfy’ and easy as in Wins
07 Personal web host for testing IIS or Apache Apache  
  Other professional tools  
08 VPN Client Cisco  Systems VPN Client Built-in Network Manager + VPNC package Very convenient VPN solution
09 Chat / IM Yahoo, MSN Pidgin

Pidgin manages both of my Yahoo & MSN accounts.
There are, in fact, some limitations compared with the original applications.

10 Voice conference Skype Skype for Linux Not fully functional like Windows’ counterpart but it’s still the best voice chat application
11 FTP client Filezilla FileZilla  
12 SVN client TortoiseSVN RabbitVCS + RapidSVN Inspired by TortoiseSVN, RabbitVCS is an integrated client working as shell commands in Ubuntu’s default file manger – Nautilus. By the time of this post, there’s still an issue with authentication so I need rapidSVN for first checkout.
13 Screen capture Fastone Capture (free version) Shutter Shutter comes with a handy drawing tool for taking notes and marking. BTW, the Ubuntu default tool “Take Screenshot” really sucks.
14 Remote desktop viewer Remote Desktop Connection OR VNC viewer Terminal Server Client OR Remote Desktop Viewer Terminal Server Client is totally comparable with Windows’ RDC
15 Office suite Open Office or MS Office Open Office  
16 Image editing tool Photoshop GIMP Honestly, there is no tool comparable with Photoshop. I can make do with GIMP in some simple tasks but for serious “business” (like my wedding photos :D) I’ll need Photoshop anyway.

When I first moved to Ubuntu, I though I couldn’t do anything with it. But now I feel quite comfortable and “workable”. Though it still lacks some tools (like Live Writer which I’m using to post this blog) but thanks to its open environment, sooner or later, there’ll be good (and free) alternatives. (As I’m expecting ScribeFire to be sophisticated enough to replace Live Writer).

It’s high time we moved to Linux not only for the sake of free softwares but also because it has become mature enough.

Update: I have added some links to the softwares’ home page for easy reference. However, most of the Linux alternatives can be found in Ubuntu software center