Ubuntu for Flash Developers

— 3 minute 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

01Flash IDE or Fla authoring toolAdobe Flash CS4N/Amake do with Virtual Box + WinXP + Flash CS4 (cost a lot of RAM)
02ActionScript editorFlashDevelop (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)
03Flex & MXML toolFlex/Flash BuilderEclipse + FDT plugin or Flex Builder 3 alphaCurrently, there is no tool comparable with Flash Builder in MXML design.
Flex Builder in Linux doesn’t have MXML design either.
04Flash trace & debuggingDebugger in Flex Builder and Flash tracer in Firefox.Flash tracer in FF and MAYBE debugger of FDTI haven’t tried debugging with FDT.
05Browsers and web debugging toolsFirefox + Firebug
OR IE + Fiddler
Firefox + FirebugIt is as ‘comfy’ and easy as in Wins
07Personal web host for testingIIS or ApacheApache 
08VPN ClientCisco  Systems VPN ClientBuilt-in Network Manager + VPNC packageVery convenient VPN solution
09Chat / IMYahoo, MSNPidgin

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

10Voice conferenceSkypeSkype for LinuxNot fully functional like Windows’ counterpart but it’s still the best voice chat application
11FTP clientFilezillaFileZilla 
12SVN clientTortoiseSVNRabbitVCS + RapidSVNInspired 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.
13Screen captureFastone Capture (free version)ShutterShutter comes with a handy drawing tool for taking notes and marking. BTW, the Ubuntu default tool “Take Screenshot” really sucks.
14Remote desktop viewerRemote Desktop Connection OR VNC viewerTerminal Server Client OR Remote Desktop ViewerTerminal Server Client is totally comparable with Windows’ RDC
15Office suiteOpen Office or MS OfficeOpen Office 
16Image editing toolPhotoshopGIMPHonestly, 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