Adobe | December 5, 2006

Back in the good old days, when you paid money for a product or service, the people you bought said product of service from treated you with a certain amount of respect. After all, you were their customers and the people keeping them in business. These days, rather then being treated like valuable clients, customers are treated like thieves and pirates.

A classic case in point is when you go to a movie theatre these days and the finger of suspicion is immediately pointed towards you for being a pirate. You’re not allowed to take pictures of the screen, you are told, and if you do the police will be called and you’ll be ejected from the cinema. I remember the days when people were thought to be innocent until proven guilty, but sadly that right no longer exists.

I recently bought a copy of Photoshop for the office, but when I tried to install it on my laptop as well as my desktop (as sanctioned by the licence) it all went wrong. I was presented with an error screen saying that my copy of photoshop needed to be verified online. I followed the instructions and was told that there was an error and it needed to be verified by phone. Again I followed the instructions, but there was an error and I was told that I needed to speak to an operator.

The verification process was intended to prevent people from pirating Photoshop, but all it was doing was preventing as legitimate user from running the program. It basically locked you out of the software, pointed the finger of blame and forced you to prove that you had the right to run the product.

After filling the serial number and activation code online and on an automated phone service, I was forced to read it out to an operator. You would have hoped that this information would already have been passed to the operator but no such luck. The operator I spoke to tried to fix the problem, but had no luck. In the end he had the nerve to tell me that the problem was with my new MacBook and not the software. Now I’m sorry, but if your anti piracy software is preventing me running Photoshop on my laptop, them the problem is squarely on your shoulders.

Eventually I managed to get the software working, but it cost me a good 2 hours of my time and numerous angry phone calls.

This morning, when I tried to open up Photoshop on my desktop, exactly the same thing happened. I was essentially being told that I was a pirate and that I had to phone Adobe to prove that I wasn’t. Again I rang up, and this time complained about the shoddy customer service Adobe and Photoshop were providing. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of an apology, but I wasn’t expecting to be hung up on, which is exactly what happened. The bastards!

So I’d just like to take the opportunity to tell Adobe and other software vendors that if you start accusing your paying customers of being liars and thieves, you’ve already lost the battle and you don’t deserve our sympathy and support. Because frankly, if you treat your clients like thieves, where is the motivation not to act like one?

Posted at December 5, 2006 9:43 AM

Comments

Phil Sherry said on December 5, 2006 10:21 AM

They hung up on you!? How very rude and seriously unprofessional!

Ben Poole said on December 5, 2006 10:41 AM

For any company that is outrageous. For someone like Adobe, that goes beyond the pale. I hope you get to escalate this, and look forward to an update!

Dave Child said on December 5, 2006 10:51 AM

I’ve had the exact same thing with Microsoft. Which is one of the reasons I won’t be “upgrading” to Vista.

I would guess that, given your popularity, Adobe will be in touch shortly issuing a grovelling apology and praying this post turns into a glowing pro-adobe piece. Of course, that does nothing to help placate the hundreds of people who’ve likely been through the same thing but that don’t have a platform from which to make a noise about it.

Rob McMichael said on December 5, 2006 11:03 AM

Good for you in publicising the fact Adobe had bad customer service!

Sadly it will take their sales team to read this before anything will happen, at which point rather than them do something meaningful about it (and sort our customer support), they will probably just offer you a free version of Flash or something… Sigh

Oh well at least you could use Macromedia products instead….. no wait….. Do’h

Rami Kayyali said on December 5, 2006 11:03 AM

What I can’t understand is how these companies overlook one simple fact: whatever humans build, humans can crack.

There is absolutely no way Adobe and others can protect themselves from piracy, especially not with stupid verification tools.

They should have had the decency to at least apologize for the inconvenience they cause to you, Andy.

But you’ve got to admit, Photoshop is one heck of a package, isn’t it?

Jonathan Baldwin said on December 5, 2006 11:16 AM

Working out the time lost to you, how much did Adobe cost you on top of the price of the software? Send the buggers an invoice! Seriously. See what happens.

Just as airport security is a theatre designed to suggest to you that something is being done to keep you safe when, really, a committed terrorist will work out ways to subvert the system, so anti-piracy systems seem designed to give the impression that you are running something that belongs to someone else (as indeed you are!)

The problem becomes one of trust. Stories like yours, and my own experience, make me less likely to upgrade to CS3 when it eventually arrives, mainly because I could do without the hassle of proving I’m legit. I’m more likely to wait for a cracked version not because I’m a pirate or lawbreaker but because I am fed up with being treated like one.
Making people jump through hoops only increases the likelihood of a crack being developed and used.

Kai Krauss (sp?) had it right when he practically told people to pirate his software, try it out and, if they liked it, buy it.
I did exactly that with Bryce - I tried it, made some money from it, paid up and continued to pay up for updates until the program became a commodity to be traded by different companies.

Here’s a thought - maybe software should be sold cheap, like records, but those who make money from it should pay royalties, like broadcasters??

Oh wait, that’s a crap idea. But it’s still better than what happens now.

Ross said on December 5, 2006 12:06 PM

If a person was to buy a product and then use the ‘crack’ for activation is that ok? Because it seems like the much easier option to get your program working quickly.

Kris said on December 5, 2006 12:26 PM

.. or like when you download music with DRM - as a paying customer you are prevented from burning to disc or even transferring to a removable device - which is the whole point of downloading it in the first place for most people!

Seems that the whole world wants to point a finger and it’s easier to point at the honest people, since only honest people can be made to feel guilty. Bad people don’t feel guilty, they’e too busy being bad, after all..

Andy W said on December 5, 2006 1:22 PM

Annoying as it must have been, you got off pretty lightly compared to John C. Welch…

For an account of his trial by serial number with Acrobat, have a look here:

http://www.bynkii.com/archives/2006/11/it_keeps_getting_better.html

And go back a few posts to get get the complete story from day one.

Seems not only does the function not work, but they can’t even triage it when it blows up.

Loughlin McSweeney said on December 5, 2006 2:23 PM

I ordered a copy of Photoshop last year by mail. It took 2 months to arrive and when it did the CD didn’t work. Great program. Shower of shites.

Ryan said on December 5, 2006 2:38 PM

That’s ridiculous. It’s not as if Photoshop is a cheap piece of software at that. You would think with the quality of the software, the company who made it would have a quality support process. Sorry to hear about your bad experience. You make a good point about the importance of company support, though.

Burt said on December 5, 2006 2:50 PM

Adobe has been the Microsoft of the Mac world for years now. I say they if they want to get down and dirty with paying customers, than stick it to them and don’t pay. I believe in paying a fair price for a fair service, but when companies start trying to bend the rules in their favour, then you have the right to protect yoursellf.

You bought a legitimate copy of photoshop, so instead of using their lousy authentication method, consider visiting http://www.serialz.to and downloading a copy of Serial Box. Once you use a volume license, authentication is no longer required. Call me a pirate if you will, but this sea dog don’t take $#%@ from big business. Arrrr!

Jeff Bridgforth said on December 5, 2006 3:24 PM

Thanks for sharing your story. I was very disappointed when Macromedia was bought up by Adobe. I like Adobe’s products but don’t appreciate how expensive they are or their attitude toward legitimate users as you have highlighted in your story.

I hope that by highlighting this, it might cause some software companies to rethink how they treat their legitimate customers.

Scott Fegette said on December 5, 2006 3:57 PM

Ouch- I’m really sorry to hear this happened, Andy. Please don’t hesitate to give me a ping offline if you EVER run into such experiences in the future - I’d be happy to help out wherever I can on this end. Look forward to crossing paths at future conferences again soon.

@Jonathan - also being a former MetaCreations staffer, I can say I also liked how Kai (and the rest of us there) handled piracy with Bryce/KPT/etc, though that path had it’s critics as well. ;-)

J.J.SOLARI said on December 5, 2006 4:01 PM

Myself user of Photoshop, from version 4 to version 8, I have just switched to Open Source with Gimp for this matter.

Main reason is that bugs in expensive paid software, such as Photoshop, are just no more acceptable when there is a free (even with bugs) software that can do the job.

Arrogant behaviour and nightmarish upgrading process can be reasons as well.

Though Gimp operation might give the impression of an unfinished UI, this impression comes only from Gimp’s UI being slightly different from Photoshop’s, and this feeling will vanish as soon as you’ll realize that no features are missing and the job is done.

Happily switched,

JJS

Diane said on December 5, 2006 5:22 PM

I had a very similar poor experience with Adobe - I bought the CS2 upgrade download - and after a huge download, unzip, etc. it literally would not install.

The best part - when I called Adobe about something I had JUST PAID THEM MONEY FOR - I was told I couldn’t speak to anyone without buying support.

I argue furiously for most of the day that it was an installation problem, and surely that should be covered without paid support.

After hours of wrangling, I caved and handed over a CC number, spoke to someone, and found out the way the files were built made them extract into the wrong folder structure. By physically changing the directory structure, which took 5 seconds, it installed like a dream.

It was a KNOWN issue, as they sent me a typed set of instruction from a technical briefing.

This is why I was so sad when they bought Macromedia - great software, but what POOR service.

Richard said on December 5, 2006 5:33 PM

Being hung up on really is the lowest level of customer service training.

Shame on you Adobe, and any of your employees who have ever just ‘hung up’. It doesn’t solve anything, especially because a good 70% of the people who are angry have a good reason to be.

And blame it on the MacBook?!

Paul R. Redmond said on December 5, 2006 5:40 PM

Shame on Adobe.

When you retaliate or complain, write a printed letter (with letterhead).

Did you have the name of the person that helped you?

This scares me, as I will be jumping ship to MAC when the next Adobe version is out with Universal Binary…maybe I’ll wait until I find out how buggy and difficult it is or isn’t.

Good luck though.

Richard Stephenson said on December 5, 2006 5:44 PM

Now I’m not that good at maths but I can’t quite understand why software is so expensive in this country compared to the US. For example, Adobe Creative Suite 2.3 Premium costs $1,199 to download from the Adobe’s US store and £1,082.95 to download from the UK store.

A quick currency conversion suggests that the UK version should cost around £607.597. I guess the extra £475 is going on call centre staff salaries.

Gordon Mackay said on December 5, 2006 6:29 PM

Grrr, product activation is one of my pet peeves. It seems that it ONLY affects legitimate users, because those damn pirates simply cut all that ballocks out of the installation process.

Jemaleddin said on December 5, 2006 6:40 PM

Sadly, the pirates will generally have an easier time installing the software than you will - meaning a better experience with the product overall. With that being the case, what’s the motivation to pay for the software? At what point does pride in your own ethical behavior get pushed aside in favor just wanting to get the job done?

And let’s not even start on upgrade experiences: hours of hell trying to find/authorize your original codes for 3 features and a 20% speed decrease? Blech.

(And no, I don’t pirate software, I just resent the fact that I suffer because of it.)

tre said on December 5, 2006 6:53 PM

I haven’t had the best experience with Adobe either. For a software company that sells relatively expensive applications, you would think they would make it easy to purchase their software.

I’m in Canada, trying to buy the Adobe Web Bundle. First, I called their tool free number, about 15 minutes before closing. I was directed through an automated voice system (shouldn’t I be directed to a live person immediately if I’m ready to give you my money?). I waited for 15 minutes on hold, no answer. I couldn’t wait any longer, I had some deadlines to catch up on, so I hung up.

I then proceeded to the online Adobe Store and put in my order. I was apprehensive of the “tax” they randomly added to the software (it didn’t explain what tax, or at what percentange). But i figured I could sort that out later.

The next day I received an e-mail to say they couldn’t process my order and for me to call their toll free number.

I was a little frustrated, I decided to call the local computer shops to see if I could purchase it locally. After calling a few shops, none of them had it in stock and they all had to check with their suppliers to see if it could be ordered in.

Four days have passed, since I had my money out to purchase a software package. And yet, I’ve come up empty handed each time.

Finally, I called the toll free number again, and this time was only on hold for 3 minutes before getting a sales rep. To be fair, the sales rep was friendly and ran through the sale process quickly. I did end up receiving the package in 4 business days, so I was pleased by the delivery.

But then I ended up spending about 4 hours installing the entire package with numerous warnings and reminders that it is illegal to copy this software, etc. etc.

Face it software makers — people are always going to pirate your software (that doesn’t make it right — but, it won’t change either). Why don’t you just make it easier and more pleasant for the people who are actually paying for your software?

All in all — I was left wondering why when I was ready to spend money, it took more than 5 days to actually plunk it down — especially for a software company that’s purportedly trying to combat software piracy. This — certainly isn’t encouraging people to loosen their purse strings.

Jenny said on December 5, 2006 6:56 PM

I had a similar experience with Adobe Digital Rights Management (DRM). My school uses e-books for viewing and you have to verify on your computer that you are who you are. I had reinstalled Windows a few times so I had to verify the Acrobat DRM more than once. When I went to verify it one more time, it said I had reached my limit.

So I called my school’s tech support. They directed me to call Adobe, which I did. The rep told me there was no way I would have ever needed to reinstall Windows 3 times in 1 year and that I “must” be using an illegal copy of the software. I told her it was a legal copy but she flat out told me I was a liar. She informed me that she would not be adding any activations to my account and I would be blocked for attempting any more.

Silly Adobe… I just used another e-mail address.

***Sorry to hear about your difficulties, Andy. Similar to your experience, I cannot believe that Adobe would have such horrible customer support. To straight-up call a customer a liar is rude and unethical.****

tre said on December 5, 2006 6:58 PM

I agree with Gorden. It’s ironic that software activation only affects legitmate users. Adobe take note — people using illegitimate software don’t even see your “product activation” — how do you think that makes your legitimate customers feel?

Skip Chris said on December 5, 2006 7:22 PM

It’s not productive just joining in the Adobe-bashing… but it’s fun to vent some vitriol.

We’ve got a fully legit, couple of years old Mac version of CS. We’ve recently recruited a new designer to replace an old. The new designer likes PC, the old prefers OS X. We just need a CS1 Windows install disk to use this totally valid-and-legal CS1 licence key, but it’s “Not Policy” to supply the media. Because if it “Was Policy”, then they believe they’d lose out on CS2 sales.

The customer abuse is counterproductive, though. The designer in question has been persuaded to work on a Mac, and a shiny new Mac Pro is winging its way to our offices, and CS2 is NOT being purchased.

And don’t get me started on their limited number of licence transfers for Studio MX. We’ve bought the software. Our hardware line-up has changed over the past few years. We’ve uninstalled and reinstalled countless times, each time jumping through the requisite online-registration hoops. And now, we’re high and dry.

Well worth the £500.

Dave said on December 5, 2006 8:50 PM

This happened to me too. I bought 7k worth of adobe kit for my company and none of it works on a second machine. Adobe say they have no record of our purchase, even though I bought the software from their own website and have emailed the reciept to them. Their customer service is rubbish. I’ve been trying for three months to resolve the issue and got nowhere.

Ben said on December 5, 2006 9:43 PM

After reading this article, I officially have no misgivings about my method for dealing with this problem.

While I am a legal CS2 owner, I use a Volume license serial number from serial box. Apparently using this type of number disables the activation. ITS THE SAME INSTALL CD, ADOBE DOES NOTHING TO PREVENT PIRATES!

So, forget about respecting Adobe, just use a pirate number. And If they try to sue you just hang up on them.

Grant Palin said on December 6, 2006 2:46 AM

I’ve contemplated getting the Photoshop CS2 upgrade (I have v6) for some time, but have been apprehensive of the activation issue. Having read on the subject, Adobe’s activation manager seems a bit sensitive to simple changes, and shuts down the applications. No grace period like you get with Windows XP.

I don’t like activation in general - it’s bad enough it’s required for XP - but I’m reluctant to take my chances with other applications involving activation. I might wait and see how CS3 does once it’s out. I’m in no rush to upgrade.

dave said on December 6, 2006 1:37 PM

Non-free software, like that from Adobe, is unethical and unsustainable – and you just hit upon the unsustainability problem.

This is a bold assertion, and I’ll explain.

When you get a copy of non-free software, you enter an agreement not to share it with friends who ask you for a copy.

Now, its true that its wrong to break the terms of an agreement. But it is also wrong to refuse to share with your friends.

What can you do? You can not share with your friends, but you’ll probably find that you won’t have many friends if you do that. Not sharing is fine when you can’t afford it. For example, if you ask to borrow some milk, and I just have enough for my breakfast tomorrow, I’ll refuse to share with you, because we can’t both consume the milk.

But if I had 2 pints of milk, I’d gladly share it with you. This is the ‘golden rule’ of ‘treat others as you like to be treated,’ common to every world philosophy.

If you have to chose between two wrongs, you should chose the ‘lesser of two evils’ - you should break the agreement, not the friendship.

If you have any unauthorised copies of proprietary software, you understand how this works.

For artistic works like paintings, the physicality of the painting is whats important – a poster of the Mona Lisa on your wall (or computer desktop wallpaper) is quite different to the Mona Lisa in the Louvre.

Throughout the 20th Century, recordings of music were also tightly bound to the physicality of the distribution medium. Each new technology that emerged, disentangled this relation a little bit more.

Each time, existing businesses were told to deal with it, and find new business models. They never failed.

Enter computers, computer networks, and digital music formats. Musical recordings transformed into a purely digital form, just like software programs are a purely digital form. Just like software, the ‘golden rule’ applies to sharing music.

If you have any unauthorised copies of proprietary software, music, films, or books, you understand how this works.

But its still not a good thing to do the lesser of two evils, if you can avoid getting into the dilemma in the first place.

For software, you can, by not using proprietary software and using Free Software instead.

If Free Software doesn’t exist for what you want to do, you can write your own if you know how, or pay someone to write some for you. If proprietary software is made available to the public, reverse engineering it to write Free Software replacements is inevitable. Its always possible to do this, it might take a while.

So that’s the ethical dimension of Free Software.

What about unsustainable?

If you’ve used proprietary software for a number of years, perhaps you’ll have noticed that software is always like 85% done… There’s always the next great version just around the corner: more things that it can do, better ways it can work, ways it could crash less, ways it could be easier to use, so on.

What happens when the proprietary developer one-man-band says they are not going to continue improving it any more because they got a salaried job and won’t spent any more time on it? Or the massive proprietary corporate developer says they are not going to continue development because its just not profitable for them any more?

But you really rely on it, it just about meets your needs, just there’s a few things that need fixing like it crashes when you do x then y then z? Or it doesn’t provide some feature it could easily do, say like an easy way to email the results?

If it was Free Software, you could do something.

Free Software is all about regular users, like me – I’m an interaction designer, not a programmer – but many people think, to do something like that, you yourself must be a programmer.

You don’t need to be a programmer to get all the benefits of being able to fix things yourself though. I have a friend who is a real ‘people person,’ and avoids computers at all costs. He’s very good at getting people to owe him favours, especially computer people. A company can pay an independent company to fix things for them at a larger scale too, of course.

But, say this program is being actively developed by the developer.
That may not help. Some developers, especially small ones, are like benevolent dictators and respond to bug reports and feature requests.

But Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and other developers are so large they can’t help being tyrannical dictators – they often say to petitions of 1,000 small companies for some feature or fix, “Sorry, not this year, we’re busy working on something else. Maybe next year, or the year after that…? - if they respond at all.

But say today the non-free program meets your needs perfectly, you can live with the unfixed problems and that they’ll never get fixed. Then your hard disk dies (they die after 5 years, not many people know that…) So you buy a new computer.

You have no license for the software to run on that new computer, so you can no longer use it legally. If the company had some ‘activation’ system, where you have to contact them for a password to install the software at all – very common today – it would be impossible to use it illegally, too.

So that’s how Free Software is sustainable, and non-free software like this is not.

The business model of Free Software is like the business model of lawyers. The law is free-as-in-freedom, but we don’t ask how lawyers get paid.

Any kind of “expert services? make a lot of money because experts are scarce and can command high fees for their time. In a free market, society makes more money all round.

But generally, service-based businesses don’t make as much money as product-based businesses. You can’t be lazy, supplying an expert service, because your competitors are all learning and moving forward and its easier for customers to switch.

Proprietary software pretends that software is a product, but its not.
First, a physical product can’t be shared, but software obviously can be – computers copy information, that is the essence of what they do.
Second, all it takes to write software is hardware and people’s time – a service.

Once its written, each copy costs nothing to make and distribute. This is different to the design and manufacturing of physical things. The design and engineering of physical products costs a lot more than the design and engineering of software, because it involves a lot more hardware than commodity computers. This is added to manufacturing and shipping costs per unit, with savings for mass production, and a profit margins added, arriving at the price on the shelf of the shop you pick it up from.

Given an Internet connection, software doesn’t work like that, at all.
But proprietary software developers pretend that its like a physical thing, and ask people to pay for each copy.

Pop down to PC World, and each shrink-wrapped box containing a CD looks like a physical product at first glance. It has a £150 shelf price. But the cost of making the CD, paper box and sticking it on a shelf is like, £5? £1?

Of course, there’s still the cost of writing the software. But if person who needs the software the first time can pay for it, it will get written.

The fact that the GNU+Linux operating system exists proves that this works, and back in the 60s and 70s, all software was free-as-in-freedom. This is a reformation, not a revolution.

Free software is honest about how the process of creating software works.

If any of this is unclear, I hope you can take the time to read the essay “Why Software Should Be Free?, written in 1992, at
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/shouldbefree.html

Practicallly, I hope you’ll take the time to look into Free Software for graphic design, like the GIMP – and GIMPshop :-) - Inkscape, XaraLX, and Scribus.
Cheers,
Dave

Kris said on December 6, 2006 1:51 PM

Dave - your arguments fail early on due to the comparison between sharing software and sharing milk.

If you run out of milk, you have to buy more, so the milk producers still get compensated for the extra milk your friend consumed.

If you give someone a free copy of a software programme, you don’t give up your copy to do so. So there are now two copies of the software i nthe equation, but the software producers have only recieved payment for one.

The crux of the matter is that physical products only have limited quantities, and when that quantity runs out, you need to purchase more. With software, however, you can distribute as many copies as you like without needing to buy more.

Seems to me that you haven’t really thought through your reasoning very well at all.

Matt Heerema said on December 6, 2006 3:53 PM

I had exactly the same experience with Quicken, except they had the nerve to TELL me that I was actually using a stolen version! Yup… that’s right… Quicken that came pre-packaged with my new Mac has a stolen serial. Apparently Apple is selling stolen serials.

Dave Crossland said on December 7, 2006 6:10 PM

Kris,

“Compensation” implies repaying some kind of damages. I don’t understand what the damages are - perhaps you can explain? :-) I’m also not sure why the number of people using a program is
relevant.

The real issue is how can programmers gain an income from their work.

The overwhelming majority of software written is not available to the public - but used privately. Most programmers earn plenty of income this way, independently on a freelance basis or on a salary from a large corporation. Either way, there’s a free market in programming.

Free Software helps that free market, and so is more pro-business than proprietary software is.

I’ll explain by analogy.

If you buy a car, you don’t expect that the bonnet is padlocked shut, so you can’t do basic small things yourself like changing the oil, and that you can’t take it to any independent mechanic.

Instead, you have freedom to fix what you can yourself, and freedom to take your car to one of thousands more mechanics who make millions more dollars.

If some car manufacturer decided that only they would be able to ‘pop the bonnet’ on your car, they would have have a monopoly on the services and upgrades. We might not mind for a while, until they started using their position to start price gorging.

Then we’d feel indignation at the loss of previously enjoyed freedom, and we’d want our free market back, and stop buying from that manufacturer.

In this way, a free market means monopolists do not make as much money as one where they total power in the market.

But that’s a good thing; without monopolists, everyone else makes more money, overall. That’s why capitalism can be awesome. The problem is that capitalist systems can tend towards monopolisation and consolidation of power, and non-free markets are a road to tyranny.

Analogy over - back to software.

All proprietary software developers are monopolists. Only they are be able to ‘pop the bonnet’ on your software, as it were. They have have a monopoly on the services and upgrades for that software. We might not mind for a while, until they start using their position to start price gorging, or not doing the updates that prevent us from getting on with our lives.

Free Software means individual software developers do not make as much money as one where they have total power over users.

But that’s a good thing; with Free Software, everyone else makes more money, overall. That’s capitalism!

Some software developers like to think that “I make the software, therefore I make the rules.”

But consider the phrase “I make the car, therefore I make the rules about how fast I drive it.” or even “I make the crack, therefore I make the rules.”

since we want to live in a good society, we find behaviors of individuals that are harmful to everyone else, and make them not-cool, or even illegal.

When software is available to the public, the public’s essential rights trump the whims of developers.

And my faith in business models that sue their customers is non-existent. The proprietary software industry has been suing its customers for years - business customers who could afford to settle out of court for a lot of money that made it worth the effort - and rarely sues home users. The music industry regularly sues granmas and children.

I don’t want to live in a society where granmas and children are sued for sharing with friends. Sharing is the basis of society, and programmers can still get paid when sharing is allowed.

Another in-depth and perhaps more rigorous explanation of this is at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/shouldbefree.html which I highly recommend you read :-)

David Airey said on December 7, 2006 6:20 PM

I can empathise with the statement about sitting in the cinema, having the finger pointed.

Nice point.

Brady J. Frey said on December 8, 2006 12:52 AM

I had the exact same issues with the CS suite, and had to be walked through (after 3 calls to find a knowledgable rep) on how to install those little pirate files to make it legit.

They’re beginning to look a lot more like Quark everyday, they need to be challenged. It’s the very reason why we’ve been slow on upgrading everyone… aside from the fact that releasing a brand new 2.3 suite for purchase is a kick in the nuts.

David H said on December 8, 2006 9:11 AM

I can’t believe they hung up on you… did you get on to a ‘senior’ member of staff to complain???

Fuzzy Orange said on December 8, 2006 10:44 AM

The irony of course of all of this is that its actually EASIER to install a cracked pirated version of the sofware than it is to install a genuine licensed version.

If this is meant to be preventing theft and piracy or promoting it??

Kris said on December 8, 2006 11:23 AM

Dave - by compensation, I was talking of payment for time, resources etc, not compenation in the legal sense.

While I agree on the benefits of open source software etc, that is not the same thing as illegally distributing someone else’s work.

For example, I work for a digital download company and we are seeing many people lose jobs (labels/distributors going bust, producers not able to afford rent, and so on), largely due to file sharing - they don’t get paid as much for their music because fewer people actually purchase it.

How is that beneficial to everybody in the music business? In fact it is detrimental because these people have lost their jobs, and the legitimate consumers lose out because there is less choice.

Legitimately using “for-free” software, and illegitimately using “paid for” software are not the same thing.

Andy Budd said on December 8, 2006 12:30 PM

Being hung up on was annoying and unprofessional, but my real issue was the poor user experience and the fact that they assume you’re doing something wrong until you prove otherwise. As Fuzzy Orange says, their anti piracy measures actually make it easier to be a pirate than a paying customer which is just stupid.

Scott G said on December 8, 2006 12:48 PM

exactly the reason I see a ‘copyright protected’ logo on a cd, and just walk away and burn it from a friend or download it. (this may only be done in Australia and North America)

This is a new layer of security to a CD where you need to download an .exe file to play the actual cd on your pc, you cannot play on Itunes or half of the existing PC’s on the market. But good ol’ macs will rip them just fine.

Point is… why do I have to fight to own something once I have paid for it? I don’t, I take it back and don’t buy from them anymore. Burning bridges should not be part of your marketing campaign, users are not stupid.

Dave Crossland said on December 11, 2006 12:07 PM

Kris, File sharing is not beneficial to everyone in the music business, because the music business is mostly ‘middle men’ - anyone who is not an artist, or a fan.

The internet is beneficial to artists, because it allows them direct access to fans, and do not have to get involved in exploitative relationships with record labels (while some artists make a lot of money, most artists’ contracts are not that favourable).

The minority of superstars apart, most artists in the 20th century made the majority of their income from live performances, because their margins were much higher than on recorded music for which they saw hardly any profit.

Marillon is a famous example of a band who directly connected with their artists and left the old middle-men industry behind to find much greater success.

I also recommend reading ‘The future of music - hype free?’ at http://www.opendemocracy.net/media-copyrightlaw/article_31.jsp#8 :-)

Also, I feel you are confusing “Free Software” with “No Cost Software.” It is possible to get authorised copies of Adobe software for no money down, especially if you are a school or charity.

But the support and training costs are always there and often forgotten. With Free Software, those costs are more obvious - and can even be higher - but the point is ‘free as in freedom’ - think of free speech or free elections - and not ‘free as in no money.’

“Open Source” only focuses on practical benefits of freedom - if you permit everyone to improve your software, it will probably get improved more and faster than if only the original developers are improving it.

While this may be true, it is a symptom, not a cause, of free software.

By only focusing on practical benefits, non-free developers can try to compete on practical terms. But if we decide that users freedom is important - freedom to share, freedom to help themselves with small changes and freedom to hire a programmer they know or have done business with before and can trust to help them for more complex work - if we decide that this is so important it is essential, then non-free developers are simply out of the running. That is the difference between “open source” and “free software”.

It is acutally kind of dishonest to talk about a sympton and not the cause of a thing, I think. Like if my doctor did that, I wouldn’t think he was a good doctor. Similar, an “open source” perspective can make Free Software quite confusing, because it is not upfront about trying to not use any non-free software, because having software freedom is essential. For example: http://www.smcc.demon.nl/webcam/

Andy Budd, its a shame you see unauthorised sharing as ‘piracy’ - sharig with friends is not the moral equivalent of attacking ships and murdering people :-) It is wrong to break an agreement, but it is also wrong not to share because its important to ‘treat others as we like to be treated.’ So the idea of ‘lesser of two evils’ means that, in this dilemma, the lesser of the two evils is to share. But its still not a good thing to do - the good thing is to not use software that asks you not to share: Free Software, like say http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIMPshop :-)

DoctorEvil said on December 12, 2006 11:55 PM

I’m switching from windows to apple and contact Adobe for a cross platform upgrade.

Long story short - Ordered on 11/17 and today it’s 12/12 they finally figured out they forgot to enter the order into their system. This is only after I call them to find out why they haven’t shipped.

Is it me or does Adobe only have two or three people answering phones at one time?

I think I have a total of 10 hours waiting on hold for this to be resolved. Not a big fan of adobe right now.