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when Adobe refers to "desktop" is it as opposed to laptop or including laptop?
It includes laptop as well, all depends upon the system configuration and the OS mainly. So look at the system requirements of the app that you are interested in, it details everything
Generally "desktop" means a computer running Mac or Windows system. But do check the requirements carefully, to avoid expensive mistakes.
And to confuse matters even more-
Lightroom v3.3 (the Cloud version) when installed and working in Windows-OS or Mac-OS, BOTH desktop machines and laptops- It is referred to as "Lightroom-Desktop"
(See the lower-right 'arrow' in this screen-clip!!)
Thank you @WobertC for your easy-to-understand answer display