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Adobe's Strange Software Giveaway: Goof, Or Clever Marketing?

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the all-leaks-look-like-plants dept.

Software 385

dryriver writes "Yesterday, Adobe put up a mysterious webpage from which its now seven-year-old CS2 line of products (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Premiere and others) could be freely downloaded by anyone. The page even included valid serial numbers that will unlock the CS2 apps for anyone who wants to. This strange 'giveaways' page at Adobe.com quickly went viral on the internet after a few tech bloggers reported on it. An Adobe spokesman said initially that the CS2 downloads are for existing owners of Adobe CS2 software only, who may not be able to activate their software anymore, due to the CS2 activation servers having been shut down by Adobe. But the internet at large took this webpage as meaning 'Free Adobe CS2 Software for Everyone,' which was probably not what Adobe had in mind. It seems that at this point, hundreds of thousands of people have downloaded their 'free' CS2 products and installed them, and started using them. So Adobe is in a bit of a PR pinch now because of this — Do you tell all the thousands of people who have downloaded CS2 products in the last 48 hours that 'you cannot use these products without paying us'? Or do you accept that hundreds of thousands of people now have free access to seven year old Adobe CS2 products, and try to encourage some of them to 'upgrade to the new CS6 products'?"

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If they are smart... (5, Interesting)

DaemonDan (2773445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520393)

They'll try to turn it into a marketing strategy, with constant reminders to update to a newer version every time you open your "free" version.

Re:If they are smart... (5, Insightful)

pbhj (607776) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520433)

I don't actually find a problem with that; if someone gives me a piece of free-gratis software and it has a simply click-through nag screen then that seems reasonable to me.

Surely that would be the only point to such a promotion for a corporation, give people chance to become accustomed to Adobe products and encourage them to upgrade to a paid install.

Re:If they are smart... (1)

DaemonDan (2773445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521129)

Me neither. It's annoying, sure, but I think it's a great deal. That's why Amazon can sell Kindle's with ads and free app developers can stay in business. It works great.

Re: If they are smart... (1)

oisteink (234061) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520763)

their key servers are down.. do you think they even have stable code for that one?

Re: If they are smart... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520953)

their key servers are down.. do you think they even have stable code for that one?

Did you suspect that Adobe had stable code for one of their products even when they released it?

Re:If they are smart... (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520985)

The binaries are already out there. I've already downloaded mine. It doesn't contact an activation server. How would it prompt me?

Re:If they are smart... (4, Informative)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521517)

Activation servers only come into play with CS4 and above.

Re:If they are smart... (1)

robmv (855035) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521649)

A free "security update" could add it later

Re:If they are smart... (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520999)

They'll try to turn it into a marketing strategy, with constant reminders to update to a newer version every time you open your "free" version.

I suspect that their problem is that CS2 is more than adequate for most people who haven't already upgraded to CS5 or 6(in particular, it should curb-stomp any version of "Photoshop Elements" which Adobe doesn't exactly give away...

Adobe does add some interesting features with each new revision(their software engineering people are exactly as good as you'd expect, given the sordid histories of things like Flash and Acrobat Reader; but they have some genuinely interesting machine vision/image processing people); but a lot of the core tools don't change too much, both because there isn't too much to change and because the Pro users get touchy.

It probably won't hit existing CS5/6 customers hard; but allowing free CS2 into the wild will murder 'Elements' and make upselling harder.

Re:If they are smart... (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521335)

if we're smart, we download and save them, before they disapear.

Adobe Audition is what Cool Edit became.

Cool Edit 2.0 is still very usable software 12 years later, and so is the classic cool edit 96

The latter. (5, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520439)

Adobe's creative suite has always had high piracy rates due to their high prices. Like Office, poor version compatibility and deliberately breaking file formats is standard operating procedure; otherwise no one would ever upgrade Illustrator or Photoshop, and the company would be out of business already.

Re:The latter. (2)

buxomspacefish (2811071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520611)

Poor version compatibility? Sure, like many, many other software titles (not just Office), but Photoshop's default when saving is to maximize compatibility. I bought the Production Premium Suite when it first came out (and have used Photoshop since version 3 back in the 90s) and have continued to update as they added features that would enhance my workflow.

Re:The latter. (4, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521313)

This is more of a problem with Illustrator than Photoshop, admittedly. There were at least two versions in a row (CS3 and CS4) that would smash object groups into clipping areas simply because the document's version number was newer. Although I've also seen Photoshop do some weedy things with text layers.

Re:The latter. (5, Interesting)

kimgkimg (957949) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520647)

It's like what Bill Gates said:

"And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

Seemed like a good move considering they're having to deal with market erosion from things like Paint.NET and GIMP.

Re:The latter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520843)

It's like what Bill Gates said:

"And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

Seemed like a good move considering they're having to deal with market erosion from things like Paint.NET and GIMP.

For casual stuff, sure. For professional artists, GIMP is a joke.

Re:The latter. (2, Interesting)

cathector (972646) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521079)

indeed.

even for semi-serious non-professional uses i find GIMP to have a horrible UI. it's sort of like Blender.
honestly i'd rather work out an ImageMagick script to do what i want than do it in gimp. at least then it's reusable and command-line.

i do prop PaintShop Pro and Pixelmator for being solid products an order of magnitude or so cheaper than Photoshop.
altho pixelmator has swallowed a bit too much of the Apple cool-aid around stamping out "Save As", imo.

Re:The latter. (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521215)

Exactly. The casual market has been taken away from Adobe with free alternatives. I don't need Photoshop to crop and rotate a picture and add some auto gamma correction to it. I use PhotoFiltre for that, it has a much quicker workflow than Photoshop anyway.

Re:The latter. (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521311)

Paint.net, sure, but GIMP, really?

Re:The latter. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521507)

Yes. GIMP is a joke. CMYK aside, horrible brain-dead UI aside, GIMP just doesn't work as well for most of the people I hang with who call themselves artists. Maybe it's fine for fixing Aunt Jeanie's bad makeupjob, but it sucks shit trying to use with a Wacom to actually paint something. The "paths" are certainly more annoying in GIMP than photoshop. I've found PS to be _more_ stable than GIMP, but I run both on OSX, so it's probably due to shitty X.

Re:The latter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520943)

Seemed like a good move considering they're having to deal with market erosion from things like Paint.NET and GIMP.

Are you serious?

Re:The latter. (1, Informative)

jest3r (458429) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520791)

I'd say they have high piracy because after you purchase your first upgrade you realize Adobe's ripping you off ... and you don't want to keep giving them money for new version which basically amount to bug fixes.

- I remember Photoshop CS ... mostly how buggy it was ...
- Then getting excited about upgrading to CS2 ...
- After upgrading to CS2 realizing it did not offer anything new really ... smart objects but not much else compared to CS ...
- Mucho money spent over multiple version with only minor incremental upgrades and mostly bug fixes each time.

Photoshop CS3 was a worthy upgrade but only for speed and stability (again not many new features). So even with CS3 you were basically paying for bug fixes.
Anyhow CS3 was the last good version of Photoshop as far as I am concerned. Everything since then has been MEH.

Re:The latter. (2, Insightful)

Admiral Llama (2826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520923)

Says you. Adobe Lightroom is easily worth every penny.

upgrading a mature product (1, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521043)

Adobe has run out of compelling new features to add their main line of products. Sure, there are new bells and whistles in every new release of Photoshop and Illustrator, but the CS2 versions (and even a couple versions back from that) will let you achieve the same results as the CS6 results, just maybe with a little more work. It's not their fault, really; it's the quandary of having a mature set of products. So pretty the main reason anyone upgrades these apps anymore is because they no longer work (or work quite right) on the latest operating systems from Apple and Microsoft (e.g. CS2 for OS X is PPC-only and requires Rosetta, which has been discontinued). That's part of why Adobe (like Microsoft, which is in the same boat with Office) is pushing for a subscription model for their software (rent it by the month) rather than the traditional buy-it-once approach.

Re:The latter. (3, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521393)

I think it was CS4 (or maybe CS5?) when Adobe added progress bars for every possible operation. That was pretty welcome from my perspective when it comes to working with really large or complex documents, although CS4 also stamped out any semblance of a standard UI and replaced everything with its weird hybrid iTunes-menu-titlebar/Vista nonsense. CS6 has finally made this new UI at least usable (you can adjust its brightness), although bizarrely Illustrator CS5 supported that, too, revealing how fractured the Adobe development teams really are when you get under the hood.

Re:The latter. (1)

Viceice (462967) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521697)

For photoshop i guess. But CS4 was when it really got good for working stiffs. Multiple artboards in Illustrator and InDesign gets dragged kicking and screaming into the digital distribution age. I never looked back.

Re:The latter. (3, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520839)

I'd say the target for Adobe isn't the regular user, and never was. The target is comprised of companies which are involved in graphical design, artists and the like. It's pretty easy to cross-check an artist's name (publicly displayed) with whether they have bought an Adobe license and then engage them to see how can they go legal in case they are using Adobe products.
My gut feeling is that Adobe messed up. It wasn't intentional.

Re:The latter. (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521429)

That's a pretty solid point too, and one I considered making. Adobe views the typical small-time private user as (more or less) a loss; that's why they have Photoshop Elements as a whole separate product. Corporate-scale piracy has never been a very good idea.

Re:The latter. (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521615)

"It's pretty easy to cross-check an artist's name (publicly displayed) with whether they have bought an Adobe license and then engage them to see how can they go legal in case they are using Adobe products."

You're assuming that licenses are registered using the same name the artist uses professionally. A freelancer might use the name of the LLC that they formed for tax/liability purposes. The non-creative tech guy for a large firm might put his own name in. For that matter, you're assuming that artists consistently have their name legibly attached to all of their published work; if it's freelance work-for-hire (a huge portion of Adobe's user base), that's actually pretty unlikely.

Re:The latter. (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521057)

Even if I had the money to burn I wouldn't install it because of the terrible system-invading DRM. Another case of the Pirate Bay version being better quality than the official release.

Re:The latter. (3, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521457)

Valid point. I've seen evidence that some new versions of SecuROM in EA games will actually block access to the Pirate Bay when installed. That kind of reasoning makes it incredibly difficult to trust and support game makers who accept such malicious publishers.

Re:The latter. (1)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521345)

When it comes to the Creative Suite (especially Photoshop and Illustrator), Adobe has been really good about actually giving you value for your money. Sure they break compatibility, but that's because they give you new features that you actually use all the time. The bad thing about these features is that techniques that retouchers used to charge $100/hour for and work on a photo for 14 hours now takes someone who has zero experience 20 minutes to accomplish, so it's ruining the industry... but at the same time, the quality of work and amount of work you can accomplish in a given amount of time has increased dramatically.

Some examples of valid compatibility-breaking features:

  * gradient mesh (illustrator)
  * transparency (illustrator)
  * support for more than 99 layers (photoshop)
  * layer groups/ folders (photoshop)
  * embedding fonts (photoshop/illustrator)
  * effects (photoshop/illustrator)
  * artboard size (illustrator)

Many of these features are older. I haven't used the suite extensively since CS3 when I was a certified expert in photoshop and illustrator. I'd been using photoshop since version 2.5 and illustrator since version 7, so I've seen the evolution of the products and they are incredibly impressive. I'm constantly amazed at what they've been able to do with these programs.

Things like Office are a different story. I'm not aware of any specific features that they've added in any recent versions. MS changes their file formats with every new version of their package and doesn't seem to be adding any additional features beyond user interface (which is no excuse for breaking compatibility).

Re:The latter. (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521553)

Actually, the Office formats have been changing in ways not entirely different from the Adobe formats. 2007 introduced a lot of style features for objects like transparency, shadows, and blurring, which are rendered on the fly like Photoshop layer effects, and those have undergone enhancements in 2010 and 2013. There's very little appreciation for how powerful Office is as a composition engine. (And despite how awful OOXML is as a format, at least it's in XML and not a cruddy binary any more, so as a matter of software engineering, that was a piece of technical debt work that very much needed to happen.)

Re:The latter. (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521673)

Adobe's creative suite has always had high piracy rates due to their high prices.

Which is irrelevant from a legal perspective. If you don't protect your copyright (intellectual property), then you lose it. It can legally become public domain then -- not that such a thing has ever happened in our twisted and convoluted legal system, but in principle it could. That said, they could give it away, or change the licensing terms, etc., but it seems highly unlikely for the reason you indicated: They know their prices are exorbinantly high. They also know that businesses who have to use those products will pay it. Those are the real customers, not you.

Goof. (5, Informative)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520443)

http://forums.adobe.com/message/4974662#4974662 [adobe.com]

It's 'free' for people with currently active subscriptions to the product, not every Tom, Dale, and Hates the Gimp, alas.

Re:Goof. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520827)

http://forums.adobe.com/message/4974662#4974662 [adobe.com]

It's 'free' for people with currently active subscriptions to the product, not every Tom, Dale, and Hates the Gimp, alas.

If I ever decide to pursue a career in Gimpdom, I'll name myself Hates (or just Hate)

Re:Goof. (5, Informative)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521023)

From the EULA:
"2. Software License. If you obtained the Software from Adobe or one of its authorized licensees and as long as you comply with the terms of this agreement, Adobe grants you a non-exclusive license to use the Software in the manner and for the purposes described in the Documentation, as further set forth below."

There was an official Adobe download page that also lists all the serial numbers, and makes no mention of any other terms on that page. I'd say that satisfies the above term.

And now, you don't even need an Adobe ID to download - they've since removed even that restriction.

Re:Goof. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521385)

Their online discussion now says:
"36. Community Admin,
Jan 7, 2013 5:52 PM
Effective December 13, Adobe disabled the activation server for CS2 products and Acrobat 7 because of a technical glitch. These products were released over 7 years ago and do not run on many modern operating systems. But to ensure that any customers activating those old versions can continue to use their software, we issued a serial number directly to those customers. While this might be interpreted as Adobe giving away software for free, we did it to help our customers."

I say they did it to bump up the price of second-hand PowerPC hardware,
thank them for the suggested interpretation,
and let's party like it's 1999

Re:Goof. (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521541)

Except that they have official statements on the forum stating that you are NOT legally entitled to use the software unless you had previously purchased it from them.

"found a download on their site" isnt "obtained a license".

Re:Goof. (5, Insightful)

TheTerseOne (2447418) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521691)

"found a download on their site" isnt "obtained a license".

But "Found a download on their site with a valid license displayed right next to it" is.

Re:Goof. (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521349)

It's 'free' for people with currently active subscriptions to the product, not every Tom, Dale, and Hates the Gimp, alas.

From further down on that same message board, from the "Community Admin" staff account:

Effective December 13, Adobe disabled the activation server for CS2 products and Acrobat 7 because of a technical glitch. These products were released over 7 years ago and do not run on many modern operating systems. But to ensure that any customers activating those old versions can continue to use their software, we issued a serial number directly to those customers. While this might be interpreted as Adobe giving away software for free, we did it to help our customers.

That's not exactly a denial. It's certainly more ambiguous than what previous employees in the same thread were saying.

Re:Goof. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521681)

So... this is probably stupid, but I tried downloading acrobat pro out of curiosity. It asked for the CD after installing. I force closed the program and it works fine. Is it possible they made it that simple?

Uhhhh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520447)

Sounds like a bunch of bull. Most of the CS2 line requires Power PC systems for Mac or windows XP for PC. Yea... I'm sure many people still use these OSes that didn't already have the software.

Re:Uhhhh.... (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520523)

The hardware to run XP would cost FAR less then the CS2 software itself. Also, virtual machines.

Re:Uhhhh.... (5, Informative)

thirdender (1412803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520615)

+1 VMs. Also, Wine has pretty decent support for Photoshop CS2 [winehq.org] .

Re:Uhhhh.... (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521125)

Mod up. Photoshop CS2 is acceptable on Wine the last time I checked (kind of wonky but still usable). However, other CS2 apps like Indesign and Illustrator were unusable for me, maybe other people have had better luck.

Re:Uhhhh.... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520775)

Yep win 7 has xp mode you can do this in.

Re:Uhhhh.... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520627)

Most people are saying it runs fine on Windows 7 x64. Windows 8 has been used with varying success using compatibility mode.

Re:Uhhhh.... (1)

John Napkintosh (140126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520911)

I have CS2 running on W7 x64. I remember I had a heck of a time installing it because it wanted to install by default into the Program files (x86) folder, and no amount of reselecting the folder would avert that, but I did somehow manage to get it to install (and run) perfectly fine. It's been a while so I can't remember exactly how I did it, but it came up in google searches. I seem to recall it was pretty trivial stuff.

Re:Uhhhh.... (1)

Bake (2609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521099)

Uh, the whole point of the Program Files (x86) folder is precisely for 32bit software. So, why were you trying to coax it into installing outside of that?

Re:Uhhhh.... (2)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521353)

Because their installer is buggy and wont accept brackets, you need to use 'C:/Program~2/Adobe' so that it can install, and still ends up in 'Program Files (x86)'.

Re:Uhhhh.... (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521655)

I just installed acrobat pro from that site on windows 7. It asks you where adobePDF.dll is on the Vista CD....but a quick google search found the solution to that. (Browse, up a level, go into the AMD64 folder, there it is.). Seems to be working fine.

To kick GIMP in the nads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520479)

I grew up with CS2, and moving out of Uni and in to jobs that lacked Photoshop meant that I ended up using Portableapps versions of the GIMP. It just wasn't the same, and I was never as good on it. Perhaps this is one way of getting people in to the Adobe way of things?

Although I note my Mountain Lion Mac Mini ain't gonna run CS2, as it doesn't have Rosetta installed. I'm not dusting off my old G4 one just to install it!

Odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520489)

This would be a rather odd decision for Adobe considering that providing former products with similar functionality actively cannibalizes the for-profit market for the vendor. It would definitely impact the ammount of sales for the newer versions of the same products.

Re:Odd (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521113)

Only if this software were in the "git er done" market, which it most certainly is not. In the trendy "how you do it is all that matters" "theres no other way to measure professionalism than tool one ups man ship" "I am cool solely because I use something cool" this is useless for all but amateurs or maybe beginning students, who they never made any money off anyway.

Aside from freshness issues, giving away last years design wedding cake to the company cafeteria does kinda cannibalize cake sales for the day as you claim, but giving away the same visually obviously slightly out of date wedding cake to a fashion cover photographer at modern bride magazine is likely to result in WTF am I supposed to do with old junk, compost it? its not like I could use it "professionally".

Reality check (3, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520495)

Millions of people are already illegally using more recent versions of the CS suite.

Re:Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520679)

In a closed editing environment the latest software is never good news. I'm one of many 'pirate it first then spend small fortunes going legit' type people now running a company reliant on their products so having access to these older versions is an absolute godsend for keeping aging but perfectly good kit alive. I should be legally entitled to these but I will be disappointed if they don't just overlook people grabbing them to play with. Doesn't fully make up for having to upgrade hardware to do the same tasks over and over but it's a start.

Adobe knows damn well what it's doing. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520499)

Adobe has been used practically as a case study of the side-effects of piracy to ensure their lock-in. Students pirate Photoshop/CS because they can't afford it, and when they get into the workforce employers suddenly have legions of employees who know how to use Photoshop/CS, making it an attractive choice for licensing because nobody has to be trained. Thus Photoshop/CS continues its reign as the de facto standard, and Adobe gets to set their rates to target the businesses with money without having to worry about the hobbyist market (which is notoriously fickle on legal purchasing of software anyway).

The higher-ups (or the middle-ups) probably saw that the time was right to spike that userbase a bit, that's all.

Re:Adobe knows damn well what it's doing. (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520913)

That is how all big ticket item software should be. It is not a lost sale when a 99% of the people can't afford it.

Re:Adobe knows damn well what it's doing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520931)

The higher-ups (or the middle-ups) probably saw that the time was right to spike that userbase a bit, that's all.

Yea, lets release an obsolete version that nobody can run (without VMs/Wine/etc). Anyone who is going to VM this shit just to use it, already pirated a newer ver.

Seeing conspiracies in everything isn't healthy.

Re:Adobe knows damn well what it's doing. (5, Insightful)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521269)

Adobe has been used practically as a case study of the side-effects of piracy to ensure their lock-in. Students pirate Photoshop/CS because they can't afford it, and when they get into the workforce employers suddenly have legions of employees who know how to use Photoshop/CS, making it an attractive choice for licensing because nobody has to be trained. Thus Photoshop/CS continues its reign as the de facto standard, and Adobe gets to set their rates to target the businesses with money without having to worry about the hobbyist market (which is notoriously fickle on legal purchasing of software anyway).

The higher-ups (or the middle-ups) probably saw that the time was right to spike that userbase a bit, that's all.

The fact that adobe's products are usually superior to their competition (such as GIMP or paint.net vs photoshop) has nothing to do with it, right?

If your theory were correct, then Pro Tools would not rule the audio world - Adobe Audition or some other free or less expensive software would. Pro Tools has much greater copy protection mechanisms and is not frequently pirated while (as you have pointed out) CS is. Yet somehow Pro Tools is still the de facto standard. If you search for comparisons of the two you will find many comments from professionals even indicating that protools is inferior yet is the one to use. Just as photoshop is a de facto standard for image editing despite high prices, so is Pro Tools for audio. In both cases I would submit that it is because each was vastly superior to their competition for a very long time. In both cases, as time has gone on the competing software has come close to matching the capabilities of the leader.

My point is that your assertion that Adobe leads image editing due to high rates of piracy is not accurate. There are other far more obvious reasons for things to be the way they are.

Cheers to adobe for supporting customers who previously paid for a product and still want to use it rather than forcing those customers to upgrade. Other software firms could take a lesson in this regard.

Yeah, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520535)

An Adobe spokesman said initially that the CS2 downloads are for existing owners of Adobe CS2 software only, who may not be able to activate their software anymore, due to the CS2 activation servers having been shut down by Adobe.

Considering how hard they make it even for legitimate purchasers of the latest versions to activate their legitimate copies, I find it hard to believe that they'd bend over backwards to enable activation of seven-year-old versions.

Re:Yeah, right (2)

pwizard2 (920421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521221)

When were these servers shut down? I was still able to activate my CS2 last year. I've been using CS2 all these years and never bothered to upgrade.... CS2 has always done what I needed so why pay more for a new version?

Re:Yeah, right (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521289)

End of December 2012, I believe. The download page has been up since then, too. It only went viral a day or two ago.

Re:Yeah, right (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521595)

December 13.

I just had Acrobat 8 pro start complaining about activation in the last few weeks; thats why theyre providing the dls and serials.

I want to buy old versions, Adobe doesn't sell 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520565)

The only other options are to buy second hand, but in most of the cases I've run into the product in question does not seem legit.

Not on modern Macs (5, Insightful)

jtseng (4054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520575)

It's made for PowerPC Macs, so the rest of us using Intel Macs are out of luck. :(

Re:Not on modern Macs (1)

dfn5 (524972) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520725)

It's made for PowerPC Macs, so the rest of us using Intel Macs are out of luck. :(

You're only out of luck if you want to pirate it natively on your Mac as a Mac App. One still has the option of running it on a pirated Windows XP under a pirated VMWare Fusion.

Re:Not on modern Macs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521093)

It's made for PowerPC Macs, so the rest of us using Intel Macs are out of luck. :(

You're only out of luck if you want to pirate it natively on your Mac as a Mac App. One still has the option of running it on a pirated Windows XP under a pirated VMWare Fusion.

Or completely free VMWare player....

Re:Not on modern Macs (2)

Kenja (541830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520993)

Well... you CAN run these on a modern mac so long as you use an older version of OSX that still has the PPC emulation layer in it.

Re:Not on modern Macs (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521395)

A Mac can not run a version of the OS older than the latest and greatest version which was available when the Mac was announced. If it came with 10.7 then most likely 10.6 will not run on it.

Re:Not on modern Macs (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521061)

Unless you use a version of OS X with Rosetta installed. CS2 worked fairly OK, albeit a bit slow in that setup.

Re:Not on modern Macs (1)

gravis777 (123605) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521535)

Simply download the PC version and run it in Parallels.

great for Windows users, less useful for Mac users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520595)

Quite a cool marketing idea, but interest for Mac isn't that high: these old binaries are for PowerPC, and run slooowly in emulation on intel macs. I am not even sure if the latest version of OSX can still run the emulation.
For Windows users it is however great. Even for advanced photography amateurs, PS CS2 offers already plenty of power and great results.

Do you... (1)

GrahamJ (241784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520633)

So Adobe is in a bit of a PR pinch now because of this — Do you tell all the thousands of people who have downloaded CS2 products in the last 48 hours that 'you cannot use these products without paying us'?

What you do is wait for Apple to cave because the web is simply unusable without your product and no one will go without it.

Oh, sorry, wrong Adobe product.

So do they work or not? (1)

bazorg (911295) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520715)

I don't get it. If the serial numbers unlock the applications what is the relevance of the activation servers being off? When someone downloads this stuff and uses those SN do they get a fully working copy of an obsolete version of Adobe software or not?

Re:So do they work or not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520835)

I'm not a 100% sure, but if the software cannot reach the activation servers, it skips the activation and continue to install and work as if it had successfully activated.

Re:So do they work or not? (2)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521299)

Just like the pirate versions have done for the past 10 years ;)

Re:So do they work or not? (2)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521639)

That can't be right -- They're turning off the activation servers so CS2 user's can't reinstall with their existing keys. Either the new binaries don't do the activation check (in which case, why did they provide new keys?) or the new keys are magic and don't require an activation check (in which case, why did they provide new binaries?) or a combination of both.

Re:So do they work or not? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521017)

They released Volume License versions online (with corresponding serials)
The Commerical version won't run until it has been activated.

So short answer, yes, with their downloads, you get a fully functional version of a 7 year CS app

Re:So do they work or not? (3, Informative)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521077)

They turned off the activation servers, and had to release an activation-free copy of the software to continue supporting original purchasers of CS2. The proper thing to do. It's just that they accidentally made the download links available to everyone.

bring back CoolEdit instead please (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520729)

Remember CoolEdit 2000 and CoolEdit Pro? Those were way better. Re-release those along with all the plugins and extras and then I'll be happy.

Missing! (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520735)

Damn, Framemaker isn't there :(

Re:Missing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521065)

Damn, Framemaker isn't there :(

This. Frame 7 was the last good FrameMaker. If only they hadn't nuked their Linux release at the Frame 5.5.6 level. The fmbatch that came with the UNIX versions of FrameMaker + FrameMaker itself = turnkey automated publishing solution.

As a comedienne once said (paraphrasing) (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520799)

What is this Adobe thing on my computer? I see updates for it more than I use it!

Fallout (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520837)

It'll be interesting to see if they've introduced enough new features since cs2 to make people want to upgrade and what those costs will be, an upgrade is A LOT cheaper than a full version, but... they'd be losing money upgrading from free cs2 to upgrade version of cs5.

I'm thinking only advanced users can really benefit from the upgrade as I remember cs2 and it had most of the basic features found in today's cs5.

Re:Fallout (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521213)

You wouldn't qualify for an upgrade from CS2. With the activation servers off, they can't even validate your license to CS2, and you don't have a valid activate-able product key anyway. There's no such thing as an upgrade install that doesn't verify your eligibility (unlike Windows).

Re:Fallout (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521333)

In fact, I'm not even sure if I can use my CS3 upgrade media anymore, since there's no way to validate it as an upgrade. Probably have to do a phone activation - if they can even manually override it. They need the activation servers to verify the CS2 key over the phone, too.

What should they do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520903)

Claim billions in losses and sue the shit out of some random 14-year-old. At least that's what I'd do.

-- Dodd

Yes and ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520933)

...you accept that hundreds of thousands of people now have free access to seven year old Adobe CS2 products, and try to encourage some of them to 'upgrade to the new CS6 products'.

Yes. And fire the guy/firm who made the website publically visible.

Sorry Adobe, one of your guys or contractors fucked up and now you gotta eat it. But if the above posts are true about it being just for old Macs (pre-Intel), then there isn't much lost, is there?

OTOH, whoever is at fault for this has got to go. And if it was some web firm doing for you, then they have to go because obviously they can't control the project or their people.

It's still adobe. So. There's that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520951)

It's like a free pile of shit. Sure it's free. But yeah. Still shit.

I could go pirate any adobe product they have ever made. But i don't.

Windows 7 64bit (3, Informative)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520957)

Re:Windows 7 64bit (3, Insightful)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521117)

Ignore that - it only takes a little effort to get it working.

Re:Windows 7 64bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521223)

Thats what VMs are for.

I'll pass (1)

Frontier Owner (2616587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521041)

between having Acrobat Standard and Gimp, I really dont have any use for the software. It would be nice if more companies opened up their legacy software to be free after so many years. People in industry are gonna use the latest anyway due to service contracts.

Just like the drug dealers.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521231)

Give the first one free and then you wind up coming back for more - and they make money ~^

It's a very clever path Adobe's chosen - they clean out the attic (get rid of old activation servers, etc, etc), they give people who don't have their software already no excuse to not have it. One big misconception people have is what the target market of Adobe (or any other software maker) is - it's businesses who use their software and who actually shell out for it.

You need to overcome two things though first: make the software the de facto industry standard and then, get people trained up on it. Adobe already has the first one down pat pretty much.

Students rarely shell out for software (for multiple reasons, most prevalent is the lack of disposable income), which is why they usually pirate it. But students eventually become industry professionals and use these tools in a professional environment (according to the master plan, anyway). By getting students trained up on the software produced by the company, the company basically promotes its survival into the near future.

Autodesk (a major computer graphics/visualisation tool maker) is the company that has done this in the best way imho. Tertiary students have free access to pretty much all the software in the Autodesk arsenal. Which also happens to be software that is used widely by industry. Industry pay the money for the licenses (it IS extremely useful software in the professionals' hands). Students get the software legitimately, use it, learn it, enter industry and then use it as professionals on paid licenses. Autodesk make a pretty penny and live on to fight another day and then some.

It would be useful (from the POV of a student myself) if Adobe adopted this stance. Just saying (and hoping, y'know).

This is from a company that can't handle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521259)

This is from a company that can't handle case sensitive filesystems. I tried installing Adobe PS and Premiere Elements on a case sensitive Mac and it wouldn't work - installed but never ran. Ended up installing it on a separate filesystem. I later ended up getting a newer version, they had "Fixed" it, the installer would pop up a window refusing to install the software on case sensitive filesystems. How hard would it be to clean up the code? A few lookup tables somewhere with file names? A few hours work? I have no respect for Adobe.

Re:This is from a company that can't handle... (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521427)

Apple has tried to switch to case-sensitive by default for years, and actively called out Adobe on their developer conference as the big blocker.

Free versions of older products is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521371)

As much as people lambast MS, Adobe for "costly" software, they did not pursue end users for piracy, which is a good thing for the companies as it helped develop a userbase.

But some users have a moral issue when using pirated software. Many of them move on to use FOSS products. FOSS software is great, but development on many is slow due to monetary issues. For-profit companies giving away older versions of their software for free will help cover this base of users who will not pirate and cannot pay for the latest software.

(This might have been a PR exercise or an accident and the products might not be meant for use by everyone thus negating my premise but the point still holds)

Simple Marketing gimmick (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521381)

If it was a real problem, they would have at least pulled the download links. However, a day later, you can still download everything. Obviously, not a mistake.

Downloaded but refused to install (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521487)

I downloaded it, but will not be installing it. Why? I have a legal version of CS3/CS4 and obviously I don't need CS2.

But I downloaded just-in-case Adobe goes "whoops sorry folks this isn't free" and removes the page. I'm more interested in having software that can be installed into a VM without having to do the activate-deactivate hassle for doing video tutorials.

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