A bit of an opinion piece today. Lots of Windows-based photographers are complaining that the Lightroom beta is still Mac-only. I've read some describe it as an insult, others claim they urgently need it for cataloguing (trust your DAM to a beta?) and they seem unable to understand the commercial reasons behind it.

It's not as if Adobe plan to ignore Windows. Over at the Adobe Labs forums I read Jeff Schewe (scroll down to his post 06/16/2006 01:31) confirm that the professional photography market is roughly 60:40 PC:Mac which corresponds to my own rough estimates based on postings to Adobe's Mac and PC forums for Photoshop and also from pros I know. After 15 years of Photoshop supremacy, the photo editing world is changing and that 40% is big enough to want to defend, contains many opinion formers, and is under threat from the Mac-only Aperture. What's more, Mac users both praise and scream more easily than PC users, so it makes even more sense to do trials on them. Sure they'll often say it's their Mac-brand computer that makes them more creative (more than the rest of us?), but they're still just photographers. If this minority segment is happy, we'll probably be so too.

Don't forget other instruction set based processors like the forthcoming Nikon Capture NX and LightZone (imagine if someone put real money into it), and more traditional processors like CaptureOne and Bibble. All these are cross platform and are potentially threatening enough for Adobe to push on with the Windows version of Lightroom. Use the time to try them, and programs like iView and Portfolio for your cataloguing needs. At the least you'll gain extra insights for when you finally try Lightroom, or you may like them so much you may just decide to skip Lightroom version 1 altogether. It'll be Adobe's loss.

Rather than criticizing Adobe for not yet bringing out a Windows beta, take every opportunity to ask Apple when Aperture will be available on Windows. I got a great look from one representative at a show, especially after pointing out you can run now Windows on a Mac…. Maybe Adobe should be given proper credit for their commitment to being cross platform?