"Dear Adobe…"

Dear Adobe is a site devoted to rants & raves (but mostly rants) directed at the Big Red A.  You can "Submit Your Gripe" and vote others’ contributions up or down.  Although much of this stuff is hard to hear (in part because some of it echoes what’s said privately at Adobe), the site is a valuable exercise.  It has driven lots of conversation here: I count 30+ emails from yesterday alone, and that was just among Photoshop team members.  We’re listening, and in response to a request from Adobe VP Dave Story, site creator Erik Frick quickly created a Top 25 list (thanks, Erik).


Some thoughts, in no meaningful order:


  • About the CS3 installers and updater: We know. Painfully. We could blame it on trying to mash together Macromedia & Adobe in one rev while moving to Mac Intel and Vista simultaneously, but at the end of the day things never should have happened as they did.  That’s as much as I personally can say about it.


  • Just because it would be unprofessional of me or others to rant about this or that aspect of the company in public, don’t for a second think it’s not happening behind closed doors.  As I remind my teammates, "I swear because I care"–and I care a lot, at high volume.  It is, to borrow a phrase, "an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about."


  • Similarly, it may look like all we do it ladle on more features (more coats of paint on a creaking house).  What’s not apparent is that we–Photoshop at least–are devoting a large chunk of our resources to architectural work that will yield greater speed, stability, and extensibility.  I’ll share some more specifics on that soon.


  • Russell Williams wrote, "Of course the top engineering item, ‘Stop creating new features and make
    your software fast, stable and straightforward,’ really means ‘stop creating
    new features except for the ones that really help me.’" Everyone likes to complain about "bloat" while asking for just one or two "wafer-thin" features.  Apps will inexorably grow more powerful, and it’s extraordinarily difficult to remove features, but we are taking real steps to make things better.


  • Re: "Consistent interfaces. Sweat the details. Designers notice how much you fake this crap."  That’s nice.  Have you noticed how much more aligned things became in CS3, and how much further that’s been taken in the CS4 betas now revealed?  We’re actively making things more consistent, and that will necessarily entail change, pain, and thus bitching.  So it goes.


  • Re: "Please allow cross-platform upgrades! Thanks to you, I can’t switch from PC to Mac :-("  Sure you can.  (How is word not getting out about this?)


  • I’m told that the requirement to close your browser during CS3 installation is related to a desire not to overwrite a color settings file that could be in use by Firefox.  I agree that it sucks, but at least you know the rationale.


  • In response to "You f___ing f___ers should be in jail just for calling that software," Caleb Belohlavek wrote, "Anyone who uses the f-bomb as an adjective and an noun together is tops in my book."  He also celebrated, "God help me, your the MILF of the software world. And I love you for it."  (I would have thought that some of our apps are GGILFs by now…)

[Via Joe Lencioni & others]

0 thoughts on “"Dear Adobe…"

  1. I love that site. Needs more sorting/search options, but it looks like they’re still working on it.
    Regarding bloat–the fact is the sort sighted bean counters would never in a million years accept a new rev of the product that simply improved performance.
    [Why do you think that is? Will customers actually pay for just polish & bug-fixing? It will be very interesting to see what price Apple asks for Snow Leopard. My suspicion is that to command revenue, you need to deliver both sizzle and steak, changes both big and small. –J.]
    Bloat or perish. Seriously, it’s not anyone’s fault–but the nature of a public company I fear.
    Regardless of how much you all are putting into improving this (and I’m sure you are) I do think that’s the most common complaint on that site so it matters.
    Regarding cross platform–the one comment I saw complained about the fact you can install on two machines (say, laptop and work) but they have to be the same platform. Maybe there’s a reason for this but I’ve heard lots of people complain.
    Finally, I’d never think that all you inside are clueless of these matters… or that you’re not passionate.

  2. Here’s another thought: How about fixing the outline stroke command in Illustrator CS3? It used to work great in previous versions and in CS3 it sucks. You guys broke it and didn’t fix it. Shame on you!

  3. Helpful comments, John. Thanks. I am reminded of a line from a TV-Show: “if they are shooting at you, you must be doing something right.” I think Adobe does a lot of things right – it’s why we use (and love) your software.
    [Thanks, Rogier. I remember the line about the Mac being the first computer good enough to criticize and figure that we’d be a lot more worried if people didn’t care. –J.]

  4. That’s an interesting listing…some of the comments are somewhat funny, others are quite harsh.
    I’ve read some horror stories about installing and using CS3, but I’ve honestly not had any issues to this point, on WinXP MCE.
    I would like to see the UI standardized across the suite – Fireworks and Dreamweaver still have the Studio 8 interface, while Flash got the CS3 UI. Admittedly it might not have been possible to do all of them for CS3, but it would be great for that unification to become complete.
    [FW & DW are picking up the new UI in their upcoming releases. It remains a long, ongoing process to rationalize/unify UI without breaking lots of longstanding conventions. (People tend to think, consciously or otherwise, of consistency in terms of “Make everyone else’s stuff change to conform to what I like” and get mad when the shoe’s put on the other foot. –J.]
    I would also hope for some sort of ability to install natively on Linux, without needing to use WINE or VMware. CS3 is one of the few things keeping me on Windows, while I would like to switch to Linux for everyday needs.
    In any case, I have tried the CS4 betas for FW and DW, am interested to see how it all winds up!

  5. I’m naive enough to think people will pay for simplicity and quality. In fact that’s what I’d term “sizzle”. Buying is more emotional than rational which is why this sort of universally felt undercurrent is a real cause for concern. People who are upset about bloat, performance and complexity aren’t easily assuaged by bling. However, I’m singing to the choir–thanks for being so open and honest.
    It seems like Adobe is really committed to bringing consumer oriented RIA versions of the suite to market and these are in a sense an opportunity to revisit workflows and features. That’s great and I’m all for it, but the Dear Adobe campaign makes it clear the desktop apps need more of the same. Personally, I love how Lightroom turned out and I’d like to see you guys do more of that (workflows and features scoped to a very specific professional audience.
    It would also be great if you could address “cost” which seems to be a major thrust of the campaign that’s being summarily ignored. Sure, lots of people buying on the company dime don’t really care what Adobe charges, but many individuals do. $4K for the Master collection is ridiculous
    [FWIW, it’s $2,499. –J.]
    –especially considering how much (how little) a lot of the apps get used. The bundles are rather arbitrary and just including undesired software is an exposure benefit) I’d love to see Adobe and the software industry in general experiment a bit more with price and not just “how much more can we squeeze out of ’em.”
    Plus one on the swearing. Software is an art with all the blood, sweat and tears that entails.
    [Cf. George Patton on eloquence. –J.]
    I’m just grateful to have so many folks as passionate and open as you are inside of Adobe. Keep up the good work. 🙂
    [Thanks. –J.]

  6. Embedding a full copy of Opera in CS3 apps just to display an Omniture spyware-enabled splash screen is bloat (not sure if that’s the case with PS, but it certainly is with ID and AI). This is not a matter of opinion.
    [Nor is it a matter of fact: None of those apps, to the best of my knowledge (and I just checked), embed Opera (rather, they embed the Flash Player and use that for their welcome screens), nor is the Omniture link something that meets any reasonable definition of “spyware.” Having said all that, yes, there’s a lot of bloat, and it’s hard to fight. –J.]
    Also, the fact Lightroom is 64-bit on OS X/Intel, and not Photoshop, is a disgrace.
    [Adobe being the first vendor to ship a mainstream 64-bit app on OS X –> “disgraceful.” Way to look on the bright side, chief. As for Photoshop 64, I suppose we’re to blame for Apple building, then canceling, Carbon 64 support. –J.]
    The feeble excuses of the “you really don’t need 64 bit” ilk are just as worthy of derision as “640K is more than you’ll ever need” of the DOS era.
    [Where are you hearing such “excuses” made? By the company that’s actually shipping 64-bit apps? –J.]

  7. I’ve read quite a few of these rants and I do have to say I agree with a lot of them. Especially the pricing ones ($5000 for master collection is insane!).
    [Two comments ago it was claimed to be $4k, and here’s it’s already $5k. Inflation really *is* crazy these days! 😉 (The package actually sells for $2,499.)
    As for whether the prices are justified, I guess that depends on the value you wring out of the software. What does a typical graphic designer or photographer charge per hour? I know what I charged 10 years ago, and even as a pretty entry-level guy it would let me pay for a full new copy of Photoshop in less than a day. Given that I used the tool day in and day out to pay the bills, is that an outrageous price? –J.]
    Anyways – what I wanted to discuss is the “Consistent interfaces” part, which you also mentioned. I do see that Photoshop, Illustrator and a few other apps do look the same, but the problem is that it ends on the “looks the same” part.
    You see – the issue is that Photoshop looks great and the more you know it, the more it delivers as it is ubelievably refined. It has a lot of small usablity features, starting from being able to quickly duplicating layers (either by pressing ctrl+j or dragging the layer to the new layer icon) or by being able to change blending modes and fonts by clicking the dropdowns and using up/down arrows. Simple and obvious, isn’t it?
    [Thanks for the props. The reality is that these things are neither simple nor obvious.
    Earlier this week I looked at a wiki page where one of the UI folks built out a spreadsheet enumerating all the custom behaviors built into seemingly standard controls like text fields in Adobe apps (e.g. being able to increment values via arrow/shift-arrow combos; using scrubby sliders on them in PS; being able to do math in them in InDesign; etc.) The subtle richness programmed in there was insane!
    This explains why we don’t “just use the OS controls”–something that Mac users love to bring up. In many cases the standard controls just don’t offer the richness our users demand. In fact, one capability you cite–being able to put focus on a popup menu, then cycling through the content using arrow keys–hasn’t traditionally been available in the Mac version of that control. It’s now present in Safari, but I don’t know how widely it can be used. In any case, even when we work to improve upon what the OS offers, I find myself having to defend the improvements (e.g. drag-resizing from any window edge) to Mac partisans.
    Long, rambling story short: there’s a ton of subtlety built into even the most basic-looking controls, grown up organically in a lot of different codebases (to solve different problems). Making progress here–to say nothing of moving the whole codebase from Carbon to Cocoa–takes a lot of careful work. –J.]
    But when you switch to different apps the following (and lots, lots more) do not or hardly work. Starting with Illustrator – dragging layers/objects to the icon works (I can understand lack of ctrl+j), but implementation of combo box browsing is really weird, since you can browse fonts, but not transparency modes.
    [I completely agree that it’s frustrating as hell when things don’t work the same way, for no discernible good reason. We are working very hard to get everyone using the same controls and conventions. I mentioned all the stuff above just to illustrate why it’s a very time-consuming process that requires a ton of care. (Standardizing often means picking one behavior over another, in which case you’ll inevitably catch hell from the people who liked the old behavior.) –J.]
    What’s even worse it’s the implementation of small features in Flash – it not only behaves completely different, but even lacks layer duplication!
    [You’ll get no argument from me about opportunities to improve the Flash UI: I came to Adobe to build what I hoped would be a dramatically better Flash authoring environment. We succeeded in some ways (that you’ll see reincarnated 8 years later) and failed in others. –J.]
    Here’s a few tips:
    – PLEASE make sure that basic UI controlls do work the same across all the apps (browse combo boxes with arrows, be able to increase/decrease numerical values in number boxes with arrows, etc).
    – Make all of the basic task shortcuts similiar, especially that you can customize keys in pretty much any app, so you can deliver “legacy templates” for those who like the old ones.
    – Enable basic workflow features in all the apps (duplicate layer in flash)
    That’s it. Thanks for reading 😉

  8. Hi John,
    You might want to take some tips from the website http://direct2dell.com. It’s easier to navigate and give feedback. Most importantly you can add comments as well as your vote to explain WHY a certain item is good or bad.
    [Thanks, James; will check it out. I’ve been wanting to write for a long time about various sites/efforts of this sort & hope to do so soon. –J.]

  9. You should be careful with the “Consistent interfaces” gripe. That doesn’t necessarily mean consistency between Adobe apps. More importantly I think its [also] about being consistent with all other applications, i.e. following the standards set forth by the OS.
    [I’m a huge advocate of OS consistency where it makes sense & doesn’t cripple the user experience. As I’ve mentioned recently, we’re taking steps to be more consistent in CS4, even at the cost of causing disruption to long-standing conventions.
    I’ve also written about the challenges, nuances, and pros/cons of OS consistency, and earlier on this page I noted some reasons that OS controls alone aren’t good enough. It’s tough that reality flies in the face of the idea that *all* UI goodness comes from Apple and only Apple; that Adobe’s job is simply to wait with shrieking upturned rictus for manna to drop; and to scramble when it appears out of the blue (with us being tagged as indolent morons during any period in which said manna is not eaten). Sorry to burst that glossy bubble. –J.]
    Adobe has been slowly moving away from those standards with CS4 being a huge derivation from them. In fact, other gripes calls out to it directly: “Please kill the CS4 interface now before it’s too late” and “Stop making custom UI controls. Even if you were better at it than Apple — which you are not — consistency is key.” CS4 is not the solution; it’s the problem.
    [Have you used CS4? Didn’t think so. By all means prejudge & deride, though. (By the way, nothing is being shoved down anyone’s throat.) –J.]

  10. Hello Jack,
    I am to much of a “tech dummy” to comment, but cherish the honesty and candor you guys lay out. Thanks
    I have been around large corporations a long time. My perception are: most (corporations) want everyone to believe there PR Firms 150 %.
    Though I don’t use 50% of the power of adobe apps (I just don’t know) What I do use is amazing who lives in a state that just inside plumbing 5 years ago.(lol)
    I use kelby and those guys to teach me the nuts and bolts
    Ken from KY

  11. Nor is it a matter of fact: None of those apps, to the best of my knowledge (and I just checked), embed Opera
    Actually, Bridge embeds a full copy of Opera. Completely. On the Mac version, look inside the bridge package.
    [The commenter wasn’t talking about Bridge; he was specifically talking about Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, asserting that they embed a copy of Opera just for the purpose of spying on customers. They do not. –J.]
    Of course, it’s an old version, missing several security updates. Every time I ask “who takes responsibility for updating Opera, and why hasn’t Adobe updated it at all, not even for security updates”, I get the sound of silence. Which wasn’t even that great of a song.
    That’s almost unacceptable, because it amounts to sneaking in another application that is completely usable as a standalone application, without telling anyone about it, without taking the responsibility to update it, nothing.
    Note, this is not just an HTTP rendering engine, it’s *the entire application*. If Adobe could at least keep the silly thing patched, security-wise, that would be *something*.
    But it’s not. So who manages OperaCS3?
    [The Bridge team. I don’t know the status of security updates, but I can check. The code is not embedded to enable general-purpose Web browsing. Rather, it is (or, mainly, was) used for highly controlled experiences like access to Adobe Stock Photos. In those cases security updates are less critical than when you’re browsing to unknown, potentially malicious sites. That’s not to say that updates shouldn’t be made, just to explain why making them has probably been less of a priority.
    As it happens, Opera was embedded ~5 years ago, when leveraging the OS HTML renderers was less of a viable option. It’s a decision I’ve been asking that we reevaluate. –J.]

  12. First off, thanks for listening to those gripes, it is appreciated, and like you said – harsh words are spoken merely because we users care, a lot.
    Secondly, a few of those gripes seem to be getting mis-interpreted or just passed over. Specifically:
    The pricing. We do not all live in the US, and while the US$ charge may be 2k, when that gets converted to someone in the UK buying your products, WHAT WE ACTUALLY PAY is roughly DOUBLE that in value. £ != $ and yet that’s basically all that happens when you buy UK, Adobe swaps a symbol and wahey they get an additional 70% of revenue just like that. That is wrong, and we all know it. Bullshit ‘admin expense in overseas operations’ exuses don’t cut it either, and we all know it.
    Linux – there are a lot of people there wanting Linux versions of your leading apps. And yet that’s been glossed over time and again. And while it wasn’t me that added that particular gripe, Photoshop and Lightroom really ARE the one and only reasons why I can’t ditch this POS Windows operating system for Ubuntu.
    [I can’t speak for other products, nor do I want to give you false hope. Having said that, the architectural investments we’re making will make the Photoshop codebase more flexible and portable over time. The fundamental problems with moving to Linux are A) sales to Linux users don’t represent growth, they represent replacements of Windows units, and B) Linux use is heavily based in antipathy towards non-open-source commercial software. –J.]
    The UI issue – I have used the Fireworks beta, so yes I am actually in a place to judge on that, and the judgement is PLEASE do not use anything other than the OS window chrome and menu facilities! We really do want it to behave as an application that belongs to our OS. Do what you like with your pallets and toolbars, but LEAVE THE CHROME ALONE.
    [You’ll be happy to know that’s been changed. (You might want to give the same feedback to Apple for their pro apps, however, which are all about custom, non-OS-standard chrome.) –J.]
    Once again, gripes are not meant to be personal, and we all know that the Adobe team care a lot. But gripes are gripes and they exist for very good reasons, regardless of the efforts put in by your team (which we appreciate a lot).

  13. Addendum:
    Adobe pricing for the UK is better than it once was. CS3.3 is $1,800 right now, and sells for £1,467
    However, at today’s exchange rate we should be paying £973
    Meaning you charge an additional £494 over the exchange rate. An additional $914. An additional 50.77%.
    Because I’m in the UK.
    That is infuriating, for an awful lot of people.

  14. Thanks for that feedback John, it’s much appreciated.
    I’m glad to hear that there’s work being done on the Linux front, though I am not surprised by the market forces that make such work a non-priority. For my part, I’d happily buy Adobe apps for Linux. What I like about linux does not mean suddenly becoming religiously against for-profit software. Oddly enough it’s a circular argument. Linux is all about free software because at the moment that’s all that gets written for it. Which ensures that it stays small in the public sector and no-one writes commercial apps for it. It’ll take someone making a Linux Photoshop, or Office to break the cycle.
    I’m very glad indeed that the window chrome got a re-think. And if I used any Apple Pro software you can be sure I’d be giving the same feedback 😉 (You don’t want to hear my rants about iTunes on Windows, Apple are in no way infallible)

  15. I’ll second the wish for all Adobe apps running well on Linux, at least one distro, maybe a custom distro. I’d go for that. Photoshop + WINE is nice even if possibly breaking license agreements, but flash/ video editing is really what Linux is lacking. If inclined, one can do a lot with Gimp on Linux, but animation just isn’t there in a mainstream sense. Having a superpower design workstation optimized for Adobe. That would be sought after I think. There are a lot of OS agnostic content developers out there.
    Linux + Adobe CS4 would be a really strong Linux. I wish I knew the direct route to that. If I did, I’d pass it to them or work on the Initiative myself.
    My thinking is, Adobe might be able to justify that it’s not worth it based on small numbers of users. On the other hand, the longer anyone waits to create it, the more other softwares are developed to make Adobe apps less relevant or necessary. Tough choice.
    Adobe + Mark Shuttleworth could be a great team.
    I’ll end with, a big thanks to all the Linux work they’ve done up to this point. Heck just having Youtube and Vimeo and other flash video working on Linux is very important for average users.

  16. I agree strongly with Benjamin about cross-platform licensing. I recently migrated CS3 from Windows to Mac, and it took several weeks and a half dozen phone calls. Admittedly I sent them the wrong serial number, so part of that was my fault. After sorting out the serial number issue, though, it still took nearly a month to get everything resolved–I kept having to call them up to see what the problem was.
    [What a drag. I hate hearing that seemingly simple things manage to turn into frustrating wastes of customers’ time. I’ll pass along your feedback.
    The good news is that customer service has recently (this summer) implemented some changes & has seen a double-digit improvement in how customers rate their experiences. Clearly there’s further room to improve, however. –J.]
    So as you can see I’m not terribly impressed with the process. What’s particularly frustrating is that the registration is done over the Internet, and you’re already allowed to put the software on two machines. There shouldn’t be any platform specific code (barring some weird legacy code) preventing you from doing it on two platforms. I’ve given some serious thought to giving up on Adobe.

  17. Hi John,
    Huge thank you for listening to this rant 😉 I really appreciate your response to my comments.
    Regarding prices – as someone above already mentioned – we do not live in the States and traditionally we suffer Adobe’s “European Pricing Policy”, which can be really painfull in some countries. My $5000 price was a quick conversion SRP of a 12000 PLN in Poland, where the average salary is a bit above $1000… it hurts, but gives me a motivation to visit friends in the US and do some shopping 😉

  18. I stand corrected on the master collection price. I was going from memory on it being somewhere around 3K and rounding up. The point is that $2500 is still a rather outlandish amount which may be fine for the corporate plastic of some, but doesn’t sit all that well with most users I’ve talked to.
    [Out of curiosity, and leaving the international pricing disparities aside for a minute, what price(s) would you consider fair? I’m willing to bet that just about any price would be derided as outlandish and unfair.
    It may also be worth noting that after 18 years in the market, Photoshop’s price is within $50 of where it started in 1990. If it had simply kept pace with inflation, it would now be over $1,000. Despite offering orders of magnitude more power, the software costs just over half of what it did in real-world terms at its inception. (I don’t have a history of its price internationally, so I can’t factor that in.) –J.]
    Many feel like they’re paying a huge premium for 1 or 2 apps they avidly use. Single product prices are designed to drive you to the bundle so à la carte isn’t a real answer. Yep, no one is holding a gun to our heads, but it sure feels like you’re leaving a lot of good will on the street.
    I’d love to see actual use data on the suite to see how many minutes are spread across the various apps. If the data backs up broad (number of apps) and heavy (number of uses) cross suite usage then you’re providing real value, but if it doesn’t it looks more like exploitation and no one with a real brand following can afford to have users feeling like they’re being exploited.
    It’s definitely going to be interesting to watch how this plays out especially as Adobe rolls out different business models (web services / web applications / ad sharing). Will loyal users feel like the sharks are circling? How do people feel about paying huge premiums for content creation tools to a company that is increasingly competing in the same space?
    [The whole “Adobe develops the Flash Platform, but Adobe shouldn’t also use that platform lest it compete with customers” thing bugs me. The amount of intellectual property that Adobe is pouring into the platform and essentially giving away for the price of the Flash/Flex authoring tools (well sub-$1000) is amazing. In FP10 the company has distilled InDesign’s badass type layout technology, built a cross-platform GPU/CPU-savvy imaging engine, and much more.
    All these advances help developers create rich authoring tools far more easily than Adobe itself could. In other words, Adobe is spending millions of dollars to help customers compete with Adobe. –J.]
    Will the cost of the content creation tools decline and eventually reach zero while revenue is being replaced and extended via the new models, or will the content tools still sting the pocket book while outside revenues increase?
    Personally, I’ve got a lot invested in Adobe products and I still feel like there’s some of that visionary Macromedia reshaping the web juju in the company (we all love an underdog with cojones). I’m hoping against hope that were not going to witness the slow drift to “enterprise” death that IBM took and MS seems well on its way towards.

  19. What’s the story with this “leave my UI chrome bitches”?
    Maybe as a Windows user I am just used to all of my UIs looking ugly, but I guess I take a more practical approach.
    [A certain class of Mac users has a quasi-religious devotion to the idea that Apple & only Apple is allowed to design UI controls. Despite the whole “Think Different” thing, I find Windows users more open-minded (or maybe just blasé). –J.]
    Here’s my minor request: Can we have brushes without anti-aliasing? 100% hardness still adds feathering. May seem inconsequential but there are times when I am using the Clone Stamp that I don’t want all of those blurry extra pixels. I believe Fireworks does this…
    [I haven’t heard this one before, but I’ll pass along the suggestion. –J.]
    Thanks for listening.

  20. “Please allow cross-platform upgrades! Thanks to you, I can’t switch from PC to Mac :-(” Sure you can. (How is word not getting out about this?)

    Have you tried this process for real? It took nearly two weeks of contact with customer service to make this happen for us, sending back and forth the serial number of just about every previous Adobe/Macromedia version we’ve ever owned, scanning original media, and waiting for a new box to be delivered in the mail. It should be a simple process — log into Adobe account, request “switch platform” and automatically issue a new serial.

  21. @Adam
    The window chrome thing is about consistency. I don’t mind the application pallets etc having custom rendering, that’s fine – but never mess with the Window Chrome. I’ll give two example of where companies have done that, and why their applications piss me off because of it:
    iTunes and Safari on Windows (I’m lumping this as one example). Both have the mac OS chrome for their windows, and it doesn’t belong there. The appearance is out of sync with the rest of my computer. Apple themselves complained about MS porting Windows window chrome to Mac, and yet they do the same thing visa-versa. My second example is worse because it’s not just aesthetic:
    Google Desktop Search. I sit mine flush with the right of my screen. When I have multiple applications open and full screen I sometimes want to minimize them all, and I do that by repeatedly hammering the ‘minimize’ buttons top-right. Right up until Google Desktop appears, and because it has a custom UI the minimise button isn’t sitting under my mouse, instead the ‘add widget’ button is. And so instead of minimising like I want, I end up having to wait for the dumb widget panel to load. Purely because of dumb non-OS standard window chrome.
    The window chrome is about my OS workflow, and every program should obey it because when I use the window chrome I’m not navigating the programs, I’m navigating the OS. The moment an app doesn’t obey the OS chrome it becomes a problem for my workflow, no matter how nice the custom behaviour or look might be in context of the program itself.

  22. (NB: In the following, I’m ignoring the international pricing issue!) I’d like to chime in against all those whiners who gripe about Adobe’s software being “too expensive.” Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, etc. are *professional* applications, not toys or games, and any working professional who has even a modestly normal business turnover will very quickly recoup the few hundred bucks these apps cost individually, not to mention the cost of a suite upgrade from a previous version, which, for CS3 Design Premium, was $600. For working, billing graphics professionals, that’s *not* a Big Scary Figure. The problem may be that there are just too many sandbox-playing amateurs out there who want to fiddle around with Photoshop — instead of sticking with PS Elements (at the staggeringly-reasonable-price of $90) — hence we get all this pathetic whining about Adobe’s “high prices”. The simple fact is that, in a professional context, Adobe’s software is perfectly reasonably priced.

  23. John, love your blog. I appreciate your honesty and help with PS and Adobe in general. “I swear because I care–at high volume” was great comment. I’ve got a detailed gripe and begging request. My biggest gripe about the whole “consistent interface” seems to be so small. Why does the keyboard command for “Place” different between each Adobe program, and Illustrator doesn’t even get a keyboard option. The other request is build some of GoLive’s easy-to-use functionality into Dreamweaver. Same with LiveMotion and Flash.
    I’m on CS2 Win at work, but CS3 Mac at home, but I still use some older items at home because I like them better.

  24. Re: “Consistent interfaces. Sweat the details. Designers notice how much you fake this crap.” That’s nice. Have you noticed how much more aligned things became in CS3, and how much further that’s been taken in the CS4 betas now revealed? We’re actively making things more consistent, and that will necessarily entail change, pain, and thus bitching. So it goes.
    Consistent between Adobe apps is great, but I also want consistent between Adobe apps and my other apps. Adobe seems to be trying to create their own UI “brand” and it’s only making me frustrated because nothing is where I expect it to be, and shortcuts have quite unexpected results. Why does this have to be? In my experience, my productivity with Adobe apps peaked back around Mac OS 8.5 (!) and has steadily gotten worse with each new release. That’s not to say some of the new features haven’t been (very)welcome, but you keep making UI changes which are the muscle-memory equivalent of making the brakes in my car operate by rolling the window up and down…
    [Packed inside your comments is a contradiction: Adobe apps aren’t consistent enough with the (Mac) OS, and we shouldn’t change anything. How are we supposed to make anything better/more consistent without change?
    As I’ve mentioned, our efforts to improve consistency are going to piss some people off in the next release, though we’re doing everything we can to minimize the disruption. It’s the kind of thing we never take lightly. –J.]

  25. Customer number is a funny one, almost every time i phone Adobe customer service I get a new customer number. I have five, what is the point when you get a new one all the time?
    And last I would like to comment on the price, I have 3 computers and I’m the only user. To have PS on all my machines I need to pay another 1700 USD = 10869 SEK (thats the price for PS CS3 in Sweden) for my last machine. I know piracy is a problem and for sure there is no simple solution for the licens fee, but an extra 1700 USD for just another copy of PS and I’m the only user.
    [Though I haven’t tried it myself, I’m told that Customer Service is usually pretty good about setting you up with a third activation so that you can run in three-machine/single-user case. –J.]

  26. Well, I’m no OS controls nut, but there are two situations where Adobe’s lack of OS UI integration actually hurt my workflow on Vista.
    1. Non-Vista open/save dialogs. I actually use my Explorer shortcuts, and it’s a real time-waster when I have to manually navigate to my projects folder EVERY SINGLE TIME because all my Adobe apps don’t use the updated open/save dialogs with shortcuts. This works on OSX (not to mention Notepad), what gives?
    2. Thumbnails in Windows Explorer. JUST. FIX. THIS. Don’t give me some excuse about file corruption, or about how I really should load up a whole separate Adobe app just to see some thumbnails. Again, this works fine in OS 10.5. There’s no reason it can’t work in Vista. (PDFs, JPEGs, and TIFFs work fine. Why not PSD, .AI, .INDD?)
    [Apple ships some support for various formats (e.g. PSD, PDF) in the box, whereas Vista (to my knowledge) doesn’t. Both OSes are extensible, and the work of offering more complete support for Adobe formats could be done by the OS vendors, by Adobe, or by third parties.
    I’d love to see Adobe take the various file format libraries (the same ones used by apps like Bridge to build previews) and to turn them into Quick Look plug-ins/Vista codecs. (I’d like to extend the OS search mechanisms to handle XMP better, too.) Unfortunately that work hasn’t yet gotten above the cut line, but I promise I’ll keep bringing it up. –J.]
    Those are both real workflow irritations, not just UI nitpicking. Please make sure this stuff is resolved in CS4.
    Great blog by the way, keep it up.
    [Thanks. –J.]

  27. I don’t know if it’s still the case but the standard retail and even volume licensing SKUs didn’t allow for cross-platform upgrades when I was a manager for an independent retail Apple reseller a few years ago.
    Thus Adobe resellers (VARs, retailers, etc.) may be reluctant to lose out on the sale by sending their customers to Adobe direct.
    This problem would trickle down the supply chain (thus a retailer may ask their supplier about this and the supplier may not help them for the same reason)…

  28. But it’s not. So who manages OperaCS3?
    The Bridge team. I don’t know the status of security updates, but I can check.
    They aren’t. At all. They’re still on Opera 9.27 which is probably the version available when they called CS3 code-complete.
    The code is not embedded to enable general-purpose Web browsing. Rather, it is (or, mainly, was) used for highly controlled experiences like access to Adobe Stock Photos. In those cases security updates are less critical than when you’re browsing to unknown, potentially malicious sites.
    What they *intend* is not the point. The bridge team made the decision to embed a complete, 100% functional web browser *application* within Bridge, and then they ignore it. That’s just not acceptable, and that’s in an environment where I *don’t* have to audit every single application. In a high-security environment, “hiding” applications is *poison*.
    That’s not to say that updates shouldn’t be made, just to explain why making them has probably been less of a priority.
    Again, security is not about what happens when people do what you expect, it’s about what happens when they take what you give them and do unexpected things with those resources for evil. I’m pretty sure the BIND dev team didn’t expect anyone to do things like cache poisoning.
    As it happens, Opera was embedded ~5 years ago, when leveraging the OS HTML renderers was less of a viable option. It’s a decision I’ve been asking that we reevaluate. –J.
    So because it was a necessity 5 years ago, it has to continue until the end of time? Even 5 years ago I have my doubts, because I do believe Gecko was available in 2003. I severely doubt it was anything resembling a necessity in the CS4 timeframe, but I’ll bet that once CS4 is released, I know what I’ll find, and I’ll not blink at all if it’s still the same version.
    At this point, everyone who wants to play knows that every installation of CS3 Bridge on the planet has an old, fairly unpatched version of Opera that the user probably has no clue about.
    Is Adobe really willing to make “We’ll hide the application inside a directory so no one can find it” the centerpoint of security for that decision?

  29. @Klaus – Really? I’m pretty sure if all the “amateurs” walked away from Adobe it wouldn’t be pretty for their immediate bottom line or market momentum. I actually feel bad requesting the upgrade price on the CS suite every year because of its cost. I’ve worked in graphics / multimedia shops (big enterprise places) where management refused to upgrade because of the cost. Admittedly I’m only an “expert” with the Flash IDE and probably a rank amateur in your eyes with the other tools. I use Fireworks fairly frequently, but mostly for slicing or compression. I can make After Effects sing when I use it, but its not an every day app for me). I use other apps (ID, PS, AI) infrequently, but manage to get the job done when needed.
    I don’t pretend I’m a world class layout or graphic designer, but I do periodically want and use the tools. Maybe I should take my ghetto skillz and head to Paint Shop Pro or Corel, but I’m an “Adobe” guy even if I’m not snobby enough to hang with some. I think that’s a reasonable assessment of a lot of the “pros” I’ve worked with over the years.
    I’m guessing that price isn’t something we can expect to see drop until there’s real competition in the market place. Hardware manufacturers used to have the same attitude and to some degree you still see this in the real upper end tools market (high end Avids, etc.). However, even Apple’s price points today reflect the commodity market reality and high end content creation tools are dinosaurs.
    If Adobe didn’t see the trend towards commodity priced / free software they wouldn’t be attempting to deliver RIAs and services with new business models behind them. It’s also not unreasonable for someone who has Lightroom, Flex and CS 4 Master Collection to say ouch–please do something about expensive software.

  30. Re: cross-platform upgrades John, you are the total opposite from people in Adobe’s customer service department. You can regard this as a big thumbs up for the great work you do with this blog in communicating information and providing very helpful advice. I contacted the German customer service department approximately three or four weeks ago with regard to changing my Photoshop CS3 Ext license from PC to Mac. I never received any response and ended up purchasing a Creative Suite license for Mac since I am a student and was interested in Acrobat and Dreamweaver. Still it would be nice for Adobe’s customer service to be a bit more responsive. Apparently it is not a problem with people knowing about the options but Adobe providing this opportunity to customers. Adobe is lucky to have guys like you as product managers and developers, as the quality of their products rather than the quality of service (or lack thereof) is the selling point for me. I can only hope that quality remains on a high level so that I do not require the help from customer services. All the best wishes, Andreas

  31. You say you’ve heard the message loud and clear about the installers and updaters, but Acrobat 9 comes with the same broken update system (just incremented the version number of the updater – woo!).
    I’ve been providing feedback to Adobe for nearly two years to use the platform-specific installers (.pkg on Mac, .msi on Windows). If you surveyed Mac managers at WWDC you’d get a nearly 100% approval of that suggestion. I suspect the same on Windows. Yet that’s not what we are apparently going to get for CS4.
    Until you listen to your customers and do what they want, we’re not going to stop bitching about your lame-ass Java installers and broken updaters…

  32. John, why haven’t you directly addressed the statements about the pricing in Europe?
    [Because I’m not a pricing expert (to say the least), I’m loathe to speak out of turn and say something inaccurate/unhelpful. I’ve asked for guidance from the people who make these calls, but I don’t yet have a response in hand that I can share. –J.]
    The Master Collection ESD in English is $2,499 in the US and $4,425 (without VAT) in Germany. Since there is nominal distribution cost for ESD and no translation expense, can you either break down your extra $1,926 expenses incurred when you sell it to a resident of Germany, or admit that we are subsidizing your US pricing despite designers here almost certainly having a lower average income? If you’re going to reach for the “we need to maintain shelf price parity” canard, then I’d settle for a breakdown of the additional $1,926 it costs to put a physical copy of the Master Collection on a shelf in Germany.

  33. I personally think that the Photoshop CS4 beta is already better than CS3, at least it is on the Mac. The program is much faster, the interface more responsive, and much less crashy. In the 30 days I was allowed to use Photoshop CS4 beta it probably crashed once.
    The only gripes I had about it are things that I believe will be fixed in the final version such as getting rid of the grey background and when making selections larger than the window is capable of showing the thing scrolls way too fast.
    Since those thirty days expired early this month I’ve had to deal with the rampant crashes and memory leaks from CS3. Just not having to deal with those two things would make me want to buy CS4 despite all the other improvements made.

  34. Thanks for writing about this – gripes and whining aside it’s better to have some discussion than none (I’m looking at you Apple…).
    Users will never know how much work a developer does. I certainly don’t and I have some limited programming experience. I get that there is a lot of massive work going on to get all the apps consistent. Even so, like everyone else I’m impatient. This is mostly because the transition wasn’t a choice for me.
    Was there ever a huge outcry for Adobe to absorb Macromedia? I don’t know, but I do think that some of the increased whining you’re hearing is due to users having to suffer through a transition they didn’t account for. We’ll get over it if things level out for a while.
    PS – I’d love it if the Acrobat team could eliminate the need to keep two copies of the the Adobe Help Viewer around.

  35. “I agree that it sucks, but at least you know the rationale. ”
    Couldn’t you just check for the file’s existence, read it in, parse it, record the setting. And the re-stuff during over-write?
    [You would think so. I don’t know why it doesn’t work that way now; obviously it should be smarter and more graceful. –J.]

  36. I think this site addresses what should be a great concern for Adobe as it grows larger, less nimble and more cash-hungry. Particularly as it grows through aquisition (a-la macromedia) since this tends to make companies even less nimble and product lines more difficult to manage.
    Because Adobe (pretty much) has a monopoly on the global graphics production software market, it is able to price its products far higher than the market perceives the actual value of the products to be. People pay the high prices begrudgingly because they need the software and there is alternative.
    Companies in this kind of position often make the mistake of trying to milk the customer base, rather than streamline and produce better products. Instead of taking their dominant market position and strong cash flow to improve their products, they let products stagnate, while their customers grow more and more restless for a better alternative. I’m not saying that adobe abuses it’s customers, but it is very clear that Adobe favors bringing new and useless features to market over fixing the multitudinous bugs that riddle their current offerings. Adobe’s customers on the other hand are *clamoring* for the bug fixes to finally get made. In that regard, Adobes position is not unlike that of Quark’s 9 years ago. Where is quark today? Quark got eaten alive by inDesign, because people were sick of it.
    Adobe has a customer base that is only loyal to adobe because it’s the only game in town, but I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t trade up in a heartbeat the moment a young and hungry company shows up with a competing product. Adobe should look at the grievances aired on http://dearadobe.com/ as an ultimatum by it’s customers … because I guarantee you there are someyoung and hungry independent software development firms out there looking at that very same list, but they’re not looking at it as a problem. They’re looking at it as a huge market opportunity.
    This isn’t to say that there aren’t brilliant engineers working their asses off day and night to make Adobe products better. The fact is – I’m sure there are by the bucketful. This isn’t a problem that the developers and engineers can handle, the fact is the bean counters and the people steering the company have to have the foresight to resolve the issue before it becomes a crisis. This is the kind of decision that needs to come from on-high down. The choice is:
    a) Bleed some cash now to improve your product lines dramatically, and benefit down the line by protecting your position in the market.
    b) Continue to profit briefly by churning out pointless feature-updates that simply contribute to the dogpile of software bugs and crappy user experience that are currently pissing off your users, alienating them to the extent that their displeasure with you leads them to jump on the bus with the next guy to offer a decent alternative to your software. At this point, you will be so far behind on bugfixes etc that you will be unable to compete with your young and nimble adversaries. Game over.
    When you are as big as Adobe is, and your customers have little recourse but to put up with your shoddy products, your position is more perilous than it seems.

  37. One thing I appreciate about Adobe over Apple is the very existence of this blog.
    However my biggest gripe is with illustrator. Why is it impossible to copy/paste an image from Safari? You get a bizarre error about the lack of a QuickTime tiff decompressor. It of course works fine if you go to from safari to photoshop to illustrator.
    This bug has been present since at least CS1. It drives me crazy on a daily basis.

  38. I’ve been a licensed Photoshop user since version 5, even though I’ve never been paid one thin dime for doing anything remotely related to it. So I’d like to apologize to Klaus for being one of those “sandbox-playing amateurs” who’s polluting the Photoshop community. As a professional software developer in an age of open source, I understand how galling it is to see the tools of our respective crafts mercilessly twisted into the service of the pathetic losers who use them for simple creative enjoyment. (The nerve!)
    I’d love to see Adobe join the ranks of vendors who offer their full applications at a discount in exchange for license terms that exclude commercial use. Shame that if they tried, they’d probably be robbed blind by working, billing graphics professionals who’d just buy the cheap version and to hell with the license terms.

  39. “I find myself having to defend the improvements (e.g. drag-resizing from any window edge) to Mac partisans.”
    IMPROVE? You dare ship that butchered shit and you won’t be seeing a purchase from my studio.
    How can I put it clearer?
    [So much anger, so much fear… Dude, relax. Why is this such a big deal to you? If resizing from any edge isn’t useful to you, *don’t do it*. By all means trek over to the lower right corner of your window, and if that’s obscured, by all means feel free to move your window before resizing. It’s not as if the existence of resizing from any side degrades the app or even shows up in the UI.
    By the way, does it piss you off that Apple’s pro apps (Final Cut et al.) let you drag-resize from all window edges? Are you going to send them a profane rant now? Or does the mere fact of the feature showing up in Apple tools automatically make it good & make all apps that don’t offer it bad? –J.]

  40. Great blog and amazing responses, John!
    Personally, I think Adobe’s biggest problem is that the company and its products *feel* too impersonal, like something a behemoth like Microsoft would create. It’s in the little things: the way the installer makes you quit your web browser (I keep mine up for months without quitting it), the hassle of “activating” software I paid a large sum of money for, the fact that CS3 comes on multiple disks and takes *hours* to install, or the way the updater wants to install updates when you *launch* an Adobe app which is right when I need to get work done and don’t have time to update, etc. Those little things scream “no one has even tried to use this software in a real production environment” and “this stuff was designed by committee.”
    In terms of reality, Adobe’s products are generally excellent. I adore InDesign and Photoshop’s great. Both programs have come a long way and I live and die by Adobe shortcuts like the up/down arrow in editfields that increments/decrements values. I *love* that!
    However, I do have my gripes. Pricing is definitely an issue. I really got burned on CS3 and I’m not sure I’ll bother with CS4. Prior to CS2, I only owned an ancient copy of Photoshop (running under Mac OS Classic) and InDesign, but I paid $700 to upgrade to the full CS2 suite. That was $400 more than just upgrading InDesign, which is what I really needed. Part of my justification was that the price difference for upgrading the entire suite versus just one app was like $100 ($400 versus $300), so I figured I’d even out in the next upgrade when I upgraded the whole suite. Well, a year or so later, CS3 is out… and then the whole suite upgrade was not $400 but $700 — I’d have been better off to just wait for CS3 to upgrade to the suite! That said to me that you didn’t care about me as an existing customer, but just wanted to gouge me. Keep in mind I’m no longer a full-time designer, so I don’t really need the suite: I just got it thinking I’d get a better discount in the future and then I didn’t. If pricing to upgrade to C4 isn’t reasonable ($300-$400), I’ll skip it.
    I also think that the pricing effects the software. Because the suite is expensive, Adobe feels they need to “justify” the cost by including tons of extra crap. I never use 90% of that stuff. I don’t use Bridge, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc. I rarely use Illustrator and only use Photoshop and InDesign at certain times. But the installer installs gigabytes of stuff I don’t even want and then the updater is constantly pestering me to update stuff I’ve never even launched!
    Perhaps what Adobe needs is a “Light” suite, with just a few main apps (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Acrobat) and half the price. I’d buy that.
    — Marc

  41. In all the years I’ve used Adobe apps (higher ed IT) I’ve always wondered why Adobe doesn’t integrate their scattered apps into one, as Deneba/ACD did with Canvas.
    I know the various apps originally came from different sources through acquisitions, etc. and are now more compatible with each other than ever before, but a large Presidential suite is preferable to smaller adjoining rooms.
    Once you work in a truly integrated application (not a fragmented suite where you must jump from app to app to get something done) you get very spoiled – and more efficient!
    Full integration is a radical concept I would like to see a major player like Adobe run with and pull off more successfully than Deneba did (forget ACD; they don’t have a clue).

  42. I am a hobbiest – purchased CS3 via some upgrade deals (managed to snag DreamWeaver 2 from eBay for about 20 bucks and then upgraded to Macromedia Studio 8, then again to CS3).
    However I would like to see Adobe take a leaf from Apple’s book – Mac OS X Server is sold in 10 user and unlimited user versions for different prices. Same product though.
    If Adobe had some sort of limit on the number of files, websites, or amount of time etc which could be used, for a cheaper price, then this would be attractive to me (i.e. I am not using CS3 apps all day every day).
    Otherwise should I be investigating the student version? 😉

  43. I have loads of beef with Adobe apps; clunkiness (Acrobat), stupidity (Installers and Updaters) and arrogant inconsistency (Cmd-H is not yours anymore, get over yourself) but none of those issues actually make me seriously look for alternative tools to use.
    The one issue that does make me look around is price. I’m not talking about the general cost of the apps, but rather the blatant extortion when buying the software in non-US regions, and the insulting lies that Adobe execs try to peddle when asked about it. “Cost of doing business in foreign regions” and “Cost of localisation” are both bandied about as supposed justification for the Creative Suite costing close to 40% more in the UK than in the US. And that’s with gradual price cuts over the last year or so. At launch, CS3 was as much 100% more in some European regions than US list prices.
    A quick perusal of UK software prices from other vendors shows an average premium of about 20% over US prices. I don’t know exactly how Adobe goes about “doing business” in the UK, but it sounds like their staff here spend all day up to their necks in whores, coke and beer, flown in daily on private 747 from Vegas. Who would have guessed?
    As for the supposed cost of localisation, just try this…
    Price of ‘English’ CS3.3 Design Premium from US store – ($1,799)
    Price of ‘Spanish’ CS3.3 Design Premium from US store – ($1,799)
    Price of ‘English’ CS3.3 Design Premium from UK store – ($2,315)
    Price of ‘Spanish’ CS3.3 Design Premium from UK store – ($2,871)
    All prices are those listed on the Adobe store, exclusive of any sales tax or delivery and converted using exchange rate at time of writing 1 British Pound = 1.854 US Dollars.
    Simple question: why don’t Spanish-speaking US customers get stiffed with the same BS localisation costs? Oh, that’s right, because it’s BS.
    John, I’ve been reading your column for a while (long time reader, first-time poster…) and while you are undoubtedly a person of integrity, intelligence, and humour in the face of unfiltered customer criticism, the big problem for Adobe is that these attributes do not seem to have made it along to the people in marketing, or whichever department pulls the global product prices out of their collective rear ends.
    Excuse the language, but the whole issue takes the piss, and is unbecoming of a company capable of great things, like Adobe. (I wouldn’t say Adobe was necessarily doing great things now in some areas, but it’s certainly capable of them…)

  44. For those who are blaming price differences between countries. There is absolutely no way to have a fair system, except if we only use one currency for the rest of the world (then people will complain that their bank have exchange rates).
    What happened is usually people don’t complain when they benefit from the exchange rate… until the data for your own currency dive.
    I know it sucks, but there is not that much that Adobe can do. Been there done that for another organization with fees in international countries.

  45. “[Two comments ago it was claimed to be $4k, and here’s it’s already $5k. Inflation really *is* crazy these days! 😉 (The package actually sells for $2,499.]”
    No what is really crazy is the fact that some of us do have to pay those stupid prices. If you live outside of the US, then $4,500 is actually about how much it costs some of us.

  46. John, the biggest beef I had with CS3 was the killing if ImageReady without a proper workflow replacement. Going from Photoshop to ImageReady for slicing and export in CS2 was great. After installing CS3 I reinstalled ImageReady CS2 and still manually make the transition for slicing and export/optimization. It’s hard for me to believe that Adobe would just trash such a great piece of software and not build in the slicing/export support into Photoshop. If that’s not fixed in CS4, I’ll be giving the upgrade a skip.

  47. @karl
    My post most likely got approved in the same batch as yours, so you probably didn’t see it before you wrote yours, but this is not a simple exchange rate issue.
    If I divide the sterling price by the current exchange rate and see a roughly equivalent price to the listed dollar amount, then I’m good.
    What makes me want to roam the corridors of the Adobe executive suite with a crossbow is the kind of price raping illustrated in my previous post.

  48. [A certain class of Mac users has a quasi-religious devotion to the idea that Apple & only Apple is allowed to design UI controls. Despite the whole “Think Different” thing, I find Windows users more open-minded (or maybe just blasé). –J.]
    The fact that you have this attitude grates me.
    Yes, Apple does not provide ALL the controls needed to do a rich creative suite with flexible controls – granted. But how about working with Apple trying to improve the UI so that it can match your requirements?
    [To the best of my knowledge we do exactly that. We’ve been making requests of Exposé, for example, that we think would benefit not just Adobe apps but all those that use tabs. Apple engineers, of course, are just as busy as the rest of us, and they have to choose to pursue just a subset of the good ideas they have/hear. We keep talking with them and exchanging ideas. (Maybe that sounds like a bunch of platitudes, and yes, I have the Democratic convention on in the background, but it’s true.) –J.]
    But do you really think Mac users are more lenient towards Apple? We are on them like flies when they too deviate from their own UI standards.
    [I guess I never hear that, but I’ll take your word for it. What’s weird to me is when people want to take functionality away from all apps (Apple-made apps included) just because it’s not present in the OS. I don’t understand the desire to make everything limbo under the Finder’s UI bar. –J.]
    The GUI should be provided by one source and one source only: The Operating System. There can not be a consistent working interface if applications keep making up their own controls. That they almost look like native controls and almost work like them is even worse.
    Adobe needs to drop the attitude that Mac users are zealots. We swear because we care too.
    [I know, and that’s why I suggested that maybe the dichotomy is due to Windows users just not having as much interest in these issues. Of course, there are some Grade-A wingnuts (like this guy, posting just ahead of you) who are wrapped *waaaay* too tightly on this subject.
    I want Adobe apps (and all apps) to benefit from being consistent, but not crippled by it. –J.]

  49. John, I have the utmost admiration for you out here on the frontline of customer feedback, offering helpful and incisive (and polite!) responses to some utterly abusive messages. Thank you.
    And in keeping with your very accurate observations on the personal interpretations of ‘consistency’, my call would be for everything to behave like Photoshop.
    (And I’ll be back here with the torch-&-pitchfork brigade when CS4 proves otherwise!)

  50. Mr. Nack, thanks for commenting on my post, and I look forward to hearing more about this pricing issue from you once you hear from the people who can explain it.
    karl: I don’t think people would complain if the differences were just due to being pinned to an exchange rate over the long term, but if that’s what’s happened here, the price must have been set when the Euro premiered in 2002! But I don’t really think this is the case, since the bundling plans for CS3 allowed Adobe to set entirely new pricing, which means that a situation like a more than 70% markup on the Master Collection was simply a financial choice. As was mentioned earlier, selecting Spanish or French versions of the Master Collection in the US and Canadian stores don’t result in higher prices, so the issue isn’t software or documentation localization, and this is further underlined by how expensive international English editions of the software are here. I could see local staffing and gasoline prices here adding (maybe) 10% but no more.
    I’m not only disturbed by this as a licensed user of Adobe’s products who feels used by the company, but also as a proponent of good commercial software who sees the harm that an obviously unfair pricing policy does to the market. Most young designers I know would never pay for Adobe software (couldn’t, actually — as I mentioned, they make less than their US counterparts), and they think people who do are idiots, since they are objectively allowing themselves to be ripped off. That can’t be the culture Adobe is intending to promote vis-a-vis software IP, and it’s hard to imagine how it is to Adobe’s long-term benefit to lead potential new users to mentally associate “software purchaser” and “sucker”.

  51. I’ve used DW and FW since version one, I still have a copy of Freehand installed too – I was a solid Macromedia fan and am glad that the products have been given the teddy bear treatment (big hugs/welcome to the family). I recently designed a business card (that the client gushed about) using only FW.
    I love the way that I can click on an object(text/image/vector) regardless of what layer it’s on and having access to it. I shy away from photoshop (vastly improved since I started using it at v3 btw) And don’t have that same access. It’s frustrating, but I no longer tend to use PS so meh .
    Two things that I hope are in CS4 (I haven’t beta’d them yet): When I change an export (e.g. a jpeg) filename in FW and then select the folder to place it in, it reverts back to the default (the PNGs filename+.jpg). Seems minor but why does it change the filename after I’ve already input it? And DW – great program with awful FTP. I have to click on wait, click again, wait then drag files over. I suppose if I mirrored my local file structure to mirror the Web site structure i could use a shortcut, but I shouldn’t have to. And don’t hover over a folder two long with your selected files or it will open the remote folder and you have to select your files again.
    UI, don’t care as long as it’s intuitive and the keyboard shortcuts carry over.
    The comment about Adobe being too impersonal almost made me snort out loud. Did the commenter not realize he was posting to a blog answered by a real and caring influencer of the products? And the products too impersonal? Clippy? ha! – But, if Dreamweaver made my breakfast in the morning and Fireworks massaged my feet, those would be 2 killer features (and might stop the foreign currency rants; I live in New Zealand, everything is expensive, I’m over it)

  52. Great blog you have here. Thank you very much for trying. We use the whole bundle of apps at our office. I’d like to passionately plead for all the applications to handle text specifications the way After Effects does… with that great ‘click-and-hold-on-the-number-and-drag-left-or-right’ way of doing things. once I show non-motion people how quick it is to adjust type the have a hissy fit and go back to their millions of clicks just to do basic formatting verions.

  53. I’d like to chime in against all those whiners who gripe about Adobe’s software being “too expensive.” Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, etc. are *professional* applications, not toys or games, and any working professional who has even a modestly normal business turnover will very quickly recoup the few hundred bucks these apps cost individually,

    Actually, I’m sick of that argument, because it has no logical validity. By this logic, a professional photographer should be paying $200 for a roll of 35mm film, because they can afford it. Graphics designers should be paying $50 for a cup of coffee because they are making wads of cash.
    The market just doesn’t work that way.
    You also ignore massive segments of the market – students, struggling new self-employed businesspeople. You have to start somewhere. Are you saying that designers and artists should be learning their trade on inferior tools? How the hell are they supposed to compete with the established players if they are learning second-rate tools that aren’t used in the industry?
    Photoshop Elements? You must be kidding. Anyway, the attitude doesn’t help Adobe make profits – all it means is that people either pirate the software, or hold off on upgrades.
    I haven’t upgraded my suite since CS1, simply because the prices have been rising, while the attractiveness of the product hasn’t risen. If it cost less, I would have upgraded, even if I don’t need the new features. At the current rate, Adode would have to introduce really impressive features to convince me the cost is worth it.
    Then there’s the economic issue that Adobe has more customers than ever, and most of the work on the key products has already been done. So, the cost of producing the applications should be lower than ever (as a percentage of income). In almost every other industry, competition means that the cost of professionals’ tools is constantly dropping, not rising. How well do you think Apple would be doing if they were still using their old pricing model based on the rationale that “professionals can afford it”?
    Given insecurity in the economy, those professionals who are making good money today might be bankrupt tomorrow, so I wouldn’t feel so blasé about spending cash unnecessarily and wastefully.

  54. kudos to you john for even acknowlaging that this exists. contribrited quite a few explitive laced ones last night, figured after spending about $50k with you guys over the last few years i’ve got the right to drop a few f-bombs. i suggest starting ever meeting at adobe with a handful of these and remember that frightningly these are the people who also love you and dump tons of money at you, so thanks for listening….kind of

  55. I’m a bit ambivalent about the UI Consistency issue. While I do agree that apps should use the native window chrome of each OS, the image of iTunes or Safari on XP with an amalgam of the Luna window chrome and OS X style controls a bit too funny.
    I don’t know why Apple insists on using the native OS X look on their apps for Windows even if every one of the os controls they use on those apps could be converted to their native Windows versions. Maybe they think Windows users will think their apps look “cooler” and thus switch to a mac–I do recall an instance when my classmate saw me running Safari on Windows and exclaimed “Oh my god! You’re running Mac on your PC!” Yeah, I know. Stupid.
    Raise a few eyebrows if you will, but I certainly like the fact that Photoshop doesn’t use native controls. My main workstations are Macs, but I also Windows often, and I like the fact that main UI of Adobe products stay consistent on each of those machines. It’s just like my sketchpad; the weight of the paper, the grain–it’s all the same wherever I use it. It doesn’t turn all woodsy when I’m on my drafting table and it certainly doesn’t become velvety when I prop it on a pillow. So when I open Photoshop, expect the same. I don’t have to care whether I’m on a PC or on a Mac. I’m on Photoshop, the shortcuts are the same, the tools are the same and that’s all that matters.
    And since I’ve been using Adobe products for so long, I almost don’t sweat the details. Yeah, I admit I was royally pissed when I saw the new Photoshop CS3 interface–I thought that all palettes were suddenly permanently docked unto the sides–but after pulling them all out and floating them, I was back to the old workspace I knew. Maybe I just don’t look too clearly or maybe it just doesn’t matter at all for me, but I really don’t see the big problem regarding UI consistency among the Adobe apps I use. I have a different workflow for each one I use and I do not feel the need to have the same arrangement for any of those workflows. I dock my palettes for Illustrator, I float them for Photoshop, I hide them for InDesign.
    On the issue of the installers and updaters, I echo the concerns of many. They quite suck. I stopped updating my software about a year ago after the I noticed that the updates just add bloat and no discernible improvement. And I long for the day when I could just drag and drop Adobe products to my Applications folder. I agree with one comment on the Dear Adobe site, Applications/ and /Library/Application Support/ is all you should use. And if Adobe can’t do that, at least provide us with a log that tells us exactly what files it installs and where you put them. I don’t think few lines of code to do that would bloat the already bloated installer.
    And please, please, please.. Give us options to opt out of certain items we don’t use. I haven’t launched Bridge since my CS3 installation (except for a few cases of “drunk-mousing”) and I will not reach the phase in my career as a designer to actually start using Device Central. And oh, yeah, I almost had a panic attack figuring out when I was drunk enough to install Opera without me knowing it. Embed the code for the love of vodka! Don’t embed a full app.
    That being said, I do think that Adobe is doing an okay job. Using Adobe products is like having a bunch of crazy teenage son–they may do stupid stuff, they may want me to cut my throat every now and then, but hey, I still love them.

  56. Everyone likes to complain about “bloat” while asking for just one or two “wafer-thin” features.
    No, seriously, I just want Reader to run as fast as Foxit… that’s the only feature I want. I promise. (I know you don’t work on Reader. 🙂

  57. I’m told that the requirement to close your browser during CS3 installation is related to a desire not to overwrite a color settings file that could be in use by Firefox.

    Do you happen to know why the CS3 installer asks us to close browsers other than Firefox? I’m pretty sure I’m usually asked to close Safari when installing or updating the suite.

  58. With all the “bad-ass type engine” and similar work that goes into Flash, could Flash also be made color managed? Currently, Flash’s lack of color management is causing web browsers to also remain un-color-managed, with the result that color on the web is device-dependent and often looks awful. This is increasingly problematic as improved displays come along with larger gamuts (and sometimes, as with the OLPC XO machines, smaller ones).

  59. Re cross-platform licensing…
    Actually, take it from someone who’s tried, it’s much more complicated than that.
    You have to be able to prove your very first purchase of Photoshop. So even if you’ve bought the last 3 upgrades from the Adobe online store, if you didn’t register your first purchase (and who did, in those days), you ain’t getting the license for the other platform.
    Very disappointing, really. And it just means that Adobe misses out on the revenue.

  60. I think there was a mistake in the “intstaller gripe”. The issue with the installer is not that it is slow, painful and not working with filevault, the issue is, that it EXISTS at all.
    Mac user drag their apps from the install volume, to their applications folder. thats all.
    oh – and when i am already on it:
    PLEASE follow osx “guidlines” – we don’t need separate folders for every app and we dont need your company name in every app! 🙂
    you probably know, that your updater is a major pain, too – consider the sparkle framework by andy matuschak.
    if you’d just solve those 3-4 issues, many many mac users would be very, very happy.
    next version -> please use apple api’ (cocoa???). oh and snowleopard will be a 64bit system.

  61. My only gripe with CS3 is something that I didn’t even notice for ages, and could probably have been avoided if I’d researched prperly before purchase…
    Why can’t PhotoShop *load* animated GIFs, even though it can still create them? I bought Design because I’m no fan of FireWorks, so I ended up without the only officially supported way to edit pre-existing GIFs 🙁 Compared to the ridiculous amount of processing involved in loading a Stack, surely this small feature could have been retained when you combined IR and PS?

  62. Contrary to what Fsake said, Coming from Windows and Linux, window resizing from all sides is so much better. Maximize was always funky on OSX too. weird.
    Since we all have our xmas lists out in this thread…
    In PS I’d like Edit > Stroke to have an option to stroke from current brush. What kind of demon can remember the keyboard shortcut?
    I’d like for Director to die quickly or go back and time, and simpley never exist. Flash should and can absorb everything it did, because it sucked so bad. Unless you had 3 months to find all the Xtras written across the land. Then maybe director did a lot. Who knows.
    Give Illustrator the ability to create fonts start to finish, wasn’t that it’s function at the very get-go anyway?
    Inside help for Flash, I think the most widely used tutorial would be, “How to code a button to take you to another frame or maker on the timeline.” Geez moving to CS3/AS3 I had to search all over to figure out what all this “listener” crap was in AS3. I mean, navigating the timeline is like #1 for a designer making flash website apps. Why wasn’t the tutorial right there? Maybe new behaviors will save me.
    This upcoming flash (if the preview seminar footage I’ve seen is true) will probably be what CS3 should have been. In terms of bones and other animation goodies. (some of it kinda looks like Director (visible moveable bezier directional animation path hellyeah))
    Please support AVCHD video in Premiere and AE. Please create a competitor for Sorenson Squeeze, as they really need some healthy competition. You could even create an Air app that is priced at $5 / month that does the compression and that way, people who need it once in a while don’t need to pay 599 or whatever squeeze is, just pay as you go.
    I wish LiveMotion’s capabilities could be resurrected, but it was really bad with rotating on the center of objects, and the timeline was super-jumpy. Apply effect and the timeline jumps to beginning. Add item, timeline jumps to beginning. ugh.
    In Acrobat, can we just bundle everything into one acrobat. Like how much more confusion do we need. Does Mac have Desiger yet, or is that still only on Windows. I mean, you got Std, Pro, 3D, Server, and others I don’t even know.
    Lastly, in PS, you know how you can “render type layer” I’d also realy like to be able to “Render this layers effects and blending” so it flattens the single layour out. Without having to create another layer underneath and then merging it. Seems logical to me. Oh and in regular window mode, can you make it so I can use the hand tool and drag the viewport further and not be stopped at the image edge? I’d really like a couple extra inches there in regular mode too. so I know I’m seeing the very edge.

  63. Dear Adobe,
    Please let others access the RAW processing procedure.
    We would like to see RAW file NR before the Demosaicing process and we would like to see third party company do it.
    [I’m not sure I understand your request. You can already drop your own raw-processing plug-ins into Photoshop. –J.]

  64. I would think that some of the pricing complaints are valid for some people more than others. Let me give this example: I work as a production graphic designer. So I’m using Photoshop for a good portion of my day. In that capacity, I can’t complain about the price. Photoshop is simply the best tool for the job and I know my files are going to look right when they go through the rip. It’s no different than a mechanic paying for top-quality wrenches, or a carpenter buying $50 hammers and $300 saws.
    However, at home, things are different. I get occasional odd jobs to put publications together here and there. Some of them I do for charities, so I don’t get paid for them; they’re causes I believe in and the work is a godsend to them. The ones I get paid for also come along, but they’re small jobs, so I’m not making huge money off of them. I’ve had years where I haven’t gotten enough side work to make enough to pay for an upgrade to Photoshop. But I need Photoshop to make my work come out right. So I keep using my trusty ol’ Photoshop 7. I can’t really justify the upgrade costs, since this is just a thing I do occasionally in my spare time. Now when I work on my own car, I use decent but not top-notch tools. If I have to do a little carpentry work around the house, I use a cheap hammer and a $39 Black & Decker saw. But Photoshop still commands a premium. Yet I have to use it to get the results I’m after, even though I’m not seeing a lot of return on it. (Yes, there are cheaper alternatives, but I won’t trust them with production art. Most don’t even support CMYK.)
    I don’t mean this as a bash; it’s just another point of view. There are a lot of offices that need Photoshop for just the occasional piece of work. When that is the case, pricing does become an issue. It’s not something that’s easily solved; Adobe needs to protect its revenue stream from graphics professionals while still being able to stay in the market for other businesses.

  65. J wrote:
    “Why do you think that is? Will customers actually pay for just polish & bug-fixing?”
    Customers SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PAY for polish and bug fixing. It’s fixing mistakes that shouldn’t be there in the first place, and making things work as well as they should. Some of the (large sums of) money paid for the initial software should actually be reserved for polish and bug fixing. Shouldn’t they?

  66. “You also ignore massive segments of the market – students, struggling new self-employed businesspeople. You have to start somewhere. Are you saying that designers and artists should be learning their trade on inferior tools? How the hell are they supposed to compete with the established players if they are learning second-rate tools that aren’t used in the industry?”
    One thought I’ve heard echoed by industry people, including some with ties to Apple and Adobe is this: “students and beginners are going to pirate the software anyway, so we raise the price high and make up the shortfall by gouging the professionals.”
    I don’t know if any such words have ever been spoken within either company or whether they are part of an unspoken policy, but I’ve heard that idea quite a few times in social circles.
    If it is true, then both companies are ignoring something vital: users who are used to pirating software from early on will be much harder to “convert” to sales later on (after all, why fix what isn’t broken)? Instead, both Apple and Adobe should reduce the price of their creative suites and provide further low-price incentives for students. That way they build a solid user-base that can then pay full-price when they head out into the marketplace. And they don’t need to gouge anyone.

  67. After reading this, I have to wonder how often people resize their windows…
    IMO, custom controls are OK if they somehow look significantly different from standard controls. It’s when they look standard but behave non-standard that you end up in trouble. It’s a sort of Uncanny Valley of UI design, and also the reason why I don’t always like putting OS controls on webpages. With this logic, dragging on all window edges would make more sense if there was some sort of clear hint that you could.

  68. CS4 64 Bit OSX Adobe not to blame for Apple building but not shipping 64 bit Carbon???
    Come on this is lame COCOA has been out for a years (over 15 if you count its predeccessors). Adobe should have begun a thorough rewrite in COCOA years ago as Carbon was always meant to be transition. Then we could have radical integration with OS – imagine photoshop/lightoom on a future I camera/phone.
    BTW if Lightroom was developed as COCOA app what do you use for windows version GNUSTEP?
    Also 64bit Lightroom on Vista crashes when importing from a device and no longer automatically picks up devices – though this was annoying when plugging in flash drives.

  69. By the way, does it piss you off that Apple’s pro apps (Final Cut et al.) let you drag-resize from all window edges? Are you going to send them a profane rant now? Or does the mere fact of the feature showing up in Apple tools automatically make it good & make all apps that don’t offer it bad? –J

    Dude, just stop with this, because it’s 7-year old gaming theory: “Billy does it too!”. Well, Billy’s wrong, and honestly, people DO bitch about Apple’s flouting of their own guidelines, they bitch about it loud and long.
    [I’m not saying “Apple’s wrong, so we should get to be wrong, too.” I’m saying, “Apple’s app teams see that the baseline Mac UI is good but could be better, so they’ve felt compelled/empowered to make it better where needed. We feel the same and ask the same latitude.”
    To date no one has suggested a single reason that the ability to resize windows from any edge is a bad thing, except for the fact that the Mac OS doesn’t give it to apps for free. Of course, if Apple were to enable that capability, any apps that didn’t instantly follow suit would be termed deficient, their creators “stupid” and “lazy,” etc. –J.]
    The fact you don’t see it tells me you aren’t looking terribly hard. On the rare occasions Apple has a GUI/Finder feedback forum at the WWDC, it’s a friggin’ bloodbath.
    As well, part of the problem is that when you choose to completely rewrite the UI controls and windowing code, well, you now take on full and total responsibility for all problems arising from that. You can choose not to like that fact, but your liking of reality changes it not. When you change widget sizes, mouseover behavior, target areas, when you break UI scripting,
    [You love to bring up the UI scripting thing, but you don’t like to read closely and note that the CS4 apps will use OS-standard close/minimize/maximize widgets. –J.]
    you cause harm, and that is ADOBE’S fault when we are talking about CS. It is not Apple’s fault because of what they did in Final Cut. If Apple wishes to do silly things, that still doesn’t make Adobe’s silly things not silly. It just means Adobe has company.
    You want to argue Suite COnsistency across platforms is a greater concern for you than OS conformity, great. That at least can be justified.
    [They’re both important, and we continually work to find balance. I’ve written about that any number of times now (see links above). –J.]
    But “Well APPLE DOES IT TOO!!!”. Really? Every time I see that, i want to ask if you’re really twelve.
    [You’ve missed my point. –J.]

  70. ‘Stop creating new features and make your software fast, stable and straightforward,’ really means ‘stop creating new features except for the ones that really help me.'”
    Cmon’ John, thats a pretty straightforward statement, one that Adobe has heard for years. Your retort unfortunately shows that even you, who understands our perspective, are simply not truly listening.
    To fix, to make things work better, without adding a ‘new feature’ would result in hundreds of not thousands of seemingly new features suite wide. Not to mention speed… Apple is essentially doing it, does that make is ok?

  71. @karl
    You are wrong on this one. This is price gouging by Adobe in other countries – or price gouging by Adobe Inc in the US if their cost prices to the other countries are causing this. It’s not an issue of exchange rates.
    On overriding an OS’ behaviour: “Why is this such a big deal to you?”
    I believe it’s not this particular issue in itself that is causing the anger, it’s what it invariably leads to – more of the same. If each app or app suite implements their own standards, controls, etc, then you don’t actually end up using an application on an OS that you know – you end up using multiple “part” operating systems, none working exactly the same, and devaluing the encompassing and underlying OS. Nothing feels the same, works the same, or looks the same. It’s just a bunch of apps of a screen, with no connection to make working between them easy and fluid.
    That said, there was A LOT of anger. Perhaps he was just trying to fit in with the new moronic use of uppercase in the CS4 apps?

  72. I guess I’ll pile on the cross platform rant. Last month I switched a photographer friend from PC to Mac. Called Adobe before purchasing the Mac to make sure that he could cross-grade.”Sure no problem you just need to fill out a Letter of Destruction and fax it back to us.” It took 30 days, 9 phone calls, three faxes, 5 emails with attachement and then finally I just mailed the LSD to them. Something that seems so simple, no?

  73. Huge list of comments but cross-licensing bugbear which I have discussed before here.
    Hi, I need to switch to Adobe on a Mac platform.
    ATS: Certainly, I need your original install media sir.
    Its this.
    ATS: No Sir, thats you CS2 serial, , no sir that’s your CS serial, No sir that’s your PS7 no that’s Dreamweaver Studio MX serial. You need your original PS5 serial number for us to send you out the switched media.
    Cue lots of JNack type caring at the person on the phone. In the end it was easier to just buy it all again from scratch, because sometimes the Big Red A just don’t want to listen.
    Alright, partly my fault because I didn’t keep my PS5 packaging and discs for what 10-12 years.
    Yey, reward company loyalty.

  74. I’d settle for being able to use CS3 in different OS’s on a single machine. Why tie your activation to the OS rather than the hardware? We are dual booting Mac Pro’s into XP64 occaisionally for use of particular proprietary simulation software. Same user, same hardware, why do I have to buy another license?

  75. BTW on the prices of the Master Collection (or any other product) you can’t really say that it costs $2.5k… Because if you live in Portugal it costs 2400€ (at current exchange rate is $3500… not including shipping or other expenses!
    And in the UK, it costs the lovely price of £2315 which is the beautiful price of $4250…
    And I’m pretty sure the average income on these 2 countries (especially other than UK) are lower and the cost of living higher than in the US…
    So don’t give me that “crap” of the cost being $2500 when you clearly know that a LOOT of your customers are NOT from the US!! You can’t leave “international pricing disparities” out of the question… It’s a huuuuge thing, and I don’t get why it’s even that hard to change! The euro-dollar and pound-dollar exchange rates are stable enough to adjust at least those IMO… $100 more is OK… Almost $2000 is *clearly* not!
    Not to mention the integration between the Adobe and ex-Macromedia apps… Most of the problems still on the CS4 betas (like Fireworks not exporting -or even copying correctly for pasting in- to Illustrator… Illustrator 8 export?? LOL)
    And the laughable Flash player on OSX… The slowest thing I’ve ever seen on my MBP with 2.5Ghz Penryn CPU and 4GB of RAM… I almost have to shut down all apps to view a Vimeo.com video on my browser…
    Again, I’m mentioning issues but I’m fully aware I *need* Adobe products! Maybe that’s why me and a lot of other people get really emotional about it… :/
    Keep it up guys… Make it better next time! We know you’re “just” humans… 😉

  76. Opera Press Release…
    “Oslo, Norway – April 04, 2005
    Opera Software today announced that the Opera browser is now integrated in Adobe® Creative Suite 2. This complete design and publishing environment will use Opera as the engine for the majority of content manipulation, powering Adobe GoLive® CS 2, Adobe Photoshop® CS 2, and other components of Adobe Creative Suite 2. Opera has leveraged its cross-platform performance to join Adobe in helping developers create optimal Web pages for both desktop computers and mobile devices.”
    Like a previous commenter, I couldn’t remember having installed Opera on my system, yet it showed up in the “Open With…” contextual menu. That was a sneaky thing to do.
    [No one was trying to be sneaky. Using Opera was, at the time, Adobe’s best option for enabling consistent, cross-platform HTML rendering inside apps. Now, 3+ years later, there are alternatives we could consider. But there was never some shady initiative to stick a stand-alone copy of Opera onto your machine against your will. –J.]

  77. So why is it exactly that Adobe never seems to offer (let alone produce) a .X update between their full upgrades like most other programs (bug fixes, performance enhancements, etc.), but instead ops to hold off for 18-24 months for the upgrade cycle?
    Well, there was Photoshop 5.5, but I don’t believe that quite counts. By all means, DO optimize the applications, but offer these as .X “updates” for free. At these prices, we deserve that at least.

  78. John, love the blog… but two things:
    Regarding the excuse that “Apple has inconsistent custom interfaces, why can’t we?” I think that’s a lame reason to ignore UI consistency even though everyone is asking for it. I hate (for the most part) Apple’s Pro Apps and their UIs. The fact that Aperture completely disobeys the Leopard rule of “window is lighter when unfocused, darer when focused” drives me crazy. The fact that the entire Final Cut Studio suite has varying degrees of UI drives me crazy. Perhaps if Apple implemented one core “Pro” interface, and Adobe’s Pro Apps could follow it, then it would be “permissible.” But they don’t. But Adobe AND Apple need to either make their apps consistent on a “pro” level or on the OS level. It’s a matter of workflow. The idea in Mac OS is that the shortcuts and behaviors in one app are by and large the same in all others. But when I Command M in Photoshop CS3, does the window minimize? Nope.
    [Gah–I’d typed up a really detailed answer inline here when I suffered a kernel panic, and of course Safari doesn’t save drafts of what’s in text fields. Dammit. Anyway…
    Check out my reply above. I’m not saying that Apple is wrong & therefore Adobe should be wrong too, nor am I defending all aspects of Apple’s pro app UI design.
    As for Cmd-M, if we changed it we’d immediately enrage people who’ve had it assigned to Curves for ~20 years. Would they get over it? Yes, eventually. Could you just assign Cmd-M to minimize via the PS shortcut editor? Sure.
    As it happens, we’re assigning Cmd-~ to cycle through open documents in the next rev of Photoshop. We’ll get blasted by all the folks who’ve used that shortcut since the dawn of time for working with channels, so we’ll offer them an override that restores the previous behavior. (They’ll still be pissed.)
    I wanted us to add code so that the first time you hit Cmd-H, Photoshop would ask you whether you want that shortcut assigned to hiding the app or hiding the selection. Unfortunately we ran out of time to make that change. You can make it yourself via the shortcut editor.
    The point is that we don’t take any of this lightly–at all–and there’s no easy way to change things without stepping on a bunch of customers’ toes–something we’re naturally loathe to do. –J.]
    Secondly, when is CS3 getting updated (most specifically Photoshop) to play nice with spaces? When I launch Photoshop (which I have set to Space 3) and I’m in space 1, all the palettes and controls appear in space one, the document opens in space 3, and sometimes I have to manual switch to space 3, sometimes I don’t. Once at space 3, clicking on the document moves half of the palettes to the space, with the grey translucent palette backgrounds overtop of the palettes. I have to click the desktop, then photoshop again to get palettes working right. And the layers palette NEVER shows up without first clicking in the place where it’s supposed to be after switching apps.
    [I don’t have all the details here, but I know that we’ve been giving Apple engineering and UI feedback about Spaces for a long time. They fixed a number of Spaces bugs in Leopard updates, but there’s probably more work to be done. I don’t know what percentage falls on their side vs. Adobe’s side. As always it takes two to tango. –J.]

  79. I echo Mike Bedford’s post: you guys don’t know you’re alive until you uyse a fully integrated app like Canvas where you do everything in the one window. Vector, raster, DTP, websites, presentations. Suites are kludgy. Canvas has weaknesses, but also some great strengths, quite apart from its greatest strength of all, total integration which makes for amazing work flows, which Adobe’s apps still haven’t caught up with despite the fact that ACD Systems has stopped Canvas development on Macintosh and doesn’t seem to be too enthusiastic about it on Windows.
    I also echo the complaints about high prices of Adobe products outside the USA. We suffer from them here in Australia. We’re told that the extra is necessary to provide for proper support here. Yeah, right! That’s one of the things that has put me off the Adobe suite.
    Another is that the suites are led by Photoshop. For the host of DTPers, Elements will more than do that part of the job (or would it if had CMYK). Their main thing is the DTP app.
    Ah, PageMaker. Now there’s an app … except I’m now totally spoiled by Canvas’ integration so that even though it has some DTP weaknesses, overall it comes out the winner.

  80. Hi John, love the blog. I’m concerned though about your comparison to the Apple pro apps every time when people complain about the UI. I can’t speak for others, but I don’t *use* the pro apps nor would I care what Apple do to them. But I *do* use Photoshop, and other Adobe apps, and drag-resizing from any corner is not something that helps me. Moreso, it changes my cursor for a good 5px either side of your border so that the *only* thing I can do is resize Photoshop, not click past it.
    So, if my usual Photoshop window is 1024*600 in size, you’ve just taken away 32,480 pixels from my usable interface! (2048+1200)*(10px), ignoring overlapped pixels at each corner.
    *That* is why Adobe’s design decision is unacceptable if it’s not optional.
    [I appreciate the feedback, Steve. If it’s of any comfort, I can tell you that of the 10,000 or so forum messages generated during the prerelease cycle, not one has complained about the window dragging causing a problem. In contrast there have been plenty of questions, gripes, and raves about document tabbing, etc., which we’ve used to make any number of refinements to the original design. Your mileage may vary, but I simply haven’t heard a single complaint from people about the window drop shadow being draggable. –J.]

  81. On pricing and freelancers/self-learners, I wonder if Adobe has considered something Microsoft does; Microsoft will give away some of their software for free at special events. (I have gotten a copy of MS Office 2007 that way, and I know they gave Vista away at some events. (Not the one I went to, however.) (I purposesly excluded university students, since I believe there are academic discounts.) They could go to shows where there the demographics are that where … the participants aren’t big professionals but people kinda starting out… I don’t know, independent and self publishers or the like. Or, if that’s too big of a cost, maybe offer people at these shows something like a six or twelve-month trial (as opposed to a thirty-day trial) or a “starter” discount. Help to hook the freelancer on the program so you could have a new customer if they do become a professional.
    I’m one of those ‘freelancers’ who cannot afford to use Photoshop right now. I right now is use CorelDRAW 10, which is a version or two back, I believe — and I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I do repeatedly install the trial version of Photoshop (after w. It is a program I am trying to learn, and need to get experience with it, even if I am extra broke…)
    Just an idea.

  82. Joeles[i]PLEASE follow osx “guidlines” – we don’t need separate folders for every app and we dont need your company name in every app! :-)[/i]
    Imagine the complete mess if Adobe didn’t use Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Indesign, Adobe Photoshop, with the folders in Applications. Apps are currently grouped together alphabetically so if I had the entire Master Suite in Applications, then if I look in apps, all the numerous Adobe apps would be all nicely grouped together. On a PC where you have more choice/control I would simply place them in Graphics/Adobe/CS3.
    Now the usual drag icon to apps method that some request simply won’t work if you are installing a suite of apps, not all of whom may be installed, especially if on a series of disks.Though it would be nice in they were all placed in a single Adobe CS3 folder with the Mac install, so why not make it more PC like and let us put Apps exactly where we want them to go? Much tidier that way.
    On the subject of installs, you also have to close Opera when installing. Annoying! – as you already know, but worth repeating.
    The zealots/Stepford Wives [and yes you are zealots] above who moan about Adobe not ahering to OS conventions despite the new UI being way better, are the sort of morons who make me feel emabrassd to admit I own a Mac. In case you hadn’t noticed Apple software is buggy [Leopard, dear me how flaky?] and at times quite poorly designed, Finder is simply shocking.
    Rezing from one corner is simply pathetic compared to the Windows resize from any side or corner. If Mac software was as good/perfect as some insist, then why do they keep improving it? And copying Windows methods.
    As for PC users not caring/noticing like Mac users, patronising nonsense. It’s just they are not so pathetically anal as the sad Macolytes, so if something is a different from the norm and better, it’s simply not a big deal. In the Beta testing forums of CS4 comments have been made by both Win + Mac users regarding how Adobe has moved past OS UI norms, both are better IMHO with the the PC interface being markedly better than the Mac, but even so PC users have certainly critiqued the implementation/details as it could be even better, just as much as the Mac testers have done so.
    Windows software can be more varied anyway in look and feel and you know what it’s rarely a problem as usually stuff tends to look different to make life easier. Ableton Live for example looks and does some things very differently to most Windows software, yet brilliantly suits the way the programme works, just like Office 2007 chucked out the rules/standards and is again is a big improvement.
    I like many other people use both platforms, so if Adobe didn’t make their software work much the same the same on both platforms then it would be a real pain in the posterior. Though there are a few subtle difference between PS CS3 in OSX + Windows and interestingly they are mostly better in Windows and are usually due to the OS.

  83. John C. Welch wrote – “But “Well APPLE DOES IT TOO!!!”. Really? Every time I see that, i want to ask if you’re really twelve.”
    If you think that is a 12 old’s year old retort, then that is more a reflection of the age of your thought processes!
    I simply took it to mean that when people complain about Adobe breaking Apple UI conventions, John was simply pointing out that these conventions are not even adhered to by Apple with their own software, so are they in fact conventions at all? Maybe Apple will eventually roll out window rezing across al their apps, after all it is much easier!
    Personally Adobe can trash any OS UI it likes, IF and it’s an important if, it makes the product better. Just like with the new style PS CS4 UIs that John previewed here a while back. Big improvements on both platforms.

  84. You might want to give the same feedback to Apple for their pro apps, however, which are all about custom, non-OS-standard chrome.
    Custom chrome isn’t what really bugs people. In the case of the Apple pro apps, while they take liberties with the look of the chrome, the UIs for the most part behave just like any other Apple app with scroll bars, scroll arrows and window widgets in expected places, and with expected behaviors. That’s the true meaning of consistency. But look at Photoshop CS3 for Mac which puts Windowsy close Xs on the wrong corner of palette tabs, or even better, look at Lightroom which a scroll bar on the wrong side of a list, and bizarre scroll arrows which look and behave like nothing on this planet, not to mention the silly, over-designed — perhaps even over-the-top — chrome. You see what I’m getting at, I hope. I like dark gray GUIs and don’t really mind black GUIs, but what I do mind is improper, unexpected, inferior behaviors. And yes, Apple has some of these too, but that doesn’t make it okay for Adobe to be just as bad.

  85. I would like to add my support of Adobe’s UI work. I am primarily a Mac user, but use Windows too. I feel like Adobe applications are becoming their own OS and that is ok.
    On the price issue, I am somewhere in the middle. They are expensive but they are a professional tool. I will say, as someone who does web work with some occasional print I’d like to see the CS2 suite lineup back. I want Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash and Dreamweaver, but I also want Indesign.
    As an aside, you must have been doing pretty well as a freelancer ten years ago to get Photoshop in one day. I know I wasn’t making that much back then.

  86. I don’t care how bloated or buggy the CS apps are, if you don’t allow the option to restore the Mac OS style palettes that were lost in the “upgrade” to CS3, I won’t buy another Adobe product. We use the Mac for these touches, and so we don’t have to suffer with Windows style kludgy, clunky interface details.
    [Let me make sure I’ve got this straight. The only difference between the CS2 panels & the CS3 ones, other than being able (but not forced) to group the CS3 ones into docks, is that the close & minimize buttons are on the right side instead of the left. The buttons work just the same way in both versions, and the difference is purely cosmetic. Yet you’re saying that because they’re on the right side instead of the left, you won’t buy any more Adobe software–is that right? There’s absolutely no functional significance to the right/left orientation, but because Windows controls also happen to be on the right, you won’t use the tools?
    I’m not fond of ideology trumping functionality. I raised a stink about a lot of things in the CS3 UI design, most of which were addressed by the time the product shipped, but I never got into it with the UI designers about the placement of the close/minimize controls on the panels because it’s functionally irrelevant.
    In any case, you’ll be happy to know that the controls are absent in docked panels in CS4, and that the close button is on the left when panels are floating. –J.]

  87. I understand that some people may need the dozens of plugins in Reader that make it load so slowly and take so much memory. But please, give an easy check box to disable plugins, for those of us who don’t need that stuff. Why do people like Mac PDF preview and Foxit? Because they aren’t bloated, are fast and use less memory.

  88. John,
    You’re a saint for suffering the slings and arrows.
    Adobe hopefully recognizes the value of putting a human face on their products, as well as the emotional cost to that same human face from enduring the onslaught.
    You likely do it because you do take the job ‘personally’, but try not to take the noise *too* personally.
    Keep up the great work.
    [Thanks for the encouragement, James. — Slainte, J.]

  89. The fish is rotten from the head. The business people at the top need to move on. The CEO’s of Apple and Google are not sales guys. The CS3 icon set was clearly designed for PowerPoint and possibly in PowerPoint. The creative tools are not an office suite. Software quality has already fallen too low.

  90. John,
    I am constantly amazed by the self-control you exhibit when replying to commenters. Though I have my own gripes about Adobe’s products, reading this blog and your replies always makes me feel like someone at Adobe actually cares (which is more than I can say about filling out Apple bug reports when Safari crashes for the 100th time in a day.)
    Keep up the excellent work, and don’t let the bastards grind you down! Your role is an important one, though I’m pretty sure you’re the definition of cannon fodder!

  91. It seams to me that Adobe becomes more and more the only company that provides cool Apps. But with that also big risk is coming …
    They are became to big and take the users with they’re problems not really serious or at least that’s what we feel.
    And for that the Apps are fare to expensive. Since we the user are pros and Adobe want also to be pros, than behave like that …

  92. [You love to bring up the UI scripting thing, but you don’t like to read closely and note that the CS4 apps will use OS-standard close/minimize/maximize widgets. –J.]

    You love to talk about UI scripting, yet every time you do, I am more confident that you honestly don’t really know what it is. Does the new CS4 UI work correctly with UI scripting? There. A yes/no question. Heck, does it even PARTIALLY work with UI scripting?
    Again, Adobe wants to write it’s own UI, those are questions that need to be answered.

    I appreciate the feedback, Steve. If it’s of any comfort, I can tell you that of the 10,000 or so forum messages generated during the prerelease cycle, not one has complained about the window dragging causing a problem. In contrast there have been plenty of questions, gripes, and raves about document tabbing, etc., which we’ve used to make any number of refinements to the original design. Your mileage may vary, but I simply haven’t heard a single complaint from people about the window drop shadow being draggable. –J.]

    If you mean specifically talking about being draggable, no. If however, you are talking about the fact that it creates a “phantom window” around the visible window that when clicked on, still intercepts the mouse clicks, and/or allows you to change the window size, even though the cursor is NOT actually “touching” the visible window, which means that all PS CS4 windows are actually larger than they appear to be?
    Yes, yes there ARE complaints about that. I can even quote you the bug number i filed about it.
    When I am in another application and I click outside of the visible area of a window, (and NO, the drop shadow does NOT count), then I expect what I am VISIBLY clicking on to receive that click, not photoshop because I forgot about the 1/4″ phantom window border.
    That is not a “convenience” that is not “innovative UI”. that’s damned annoying, and it means that you have to now make sure you click “far enough” away from a CS4 window so that you click on what it LOOKS like you are clicking on. Drop shadows are not clickable areas.
    Word 2008 doesn’t do this. iChat doesn’t. ARD doesn’t. Hell, Bridge doesn’t even do this. But Photoshop? Oh yeah, big time.

  93. Speaking of icons, can John clues us into any changes on that front for CS4? I hope Adobe learned from the outcry with the CS3 icons and packaging.
    [Well, I can just tell you that I don’t design the icons and have no input in their creation. Maybe you’ll like them, maybe you won’t, but the ball is way, way out of my court. –J.]

  94. John, why haven’t you directly addressed the statements about the pricing in Europe?
    Because I’m not a pricing expert (to say the least), I’m loathe to speak out of turn and say something inaccurate/unhelpful. I’ve asked for guidance from the people who make these calls, but I don’t yet have a response in hand that I can share. –J.
    Sorry to bother you about it, but is there any word on the mystery of the extra $1,926? It just seems to create so much ill-will towards Adobe around these parts that I’ve always wished I could hear the thinking behind it from someone high up.
    [I’m in the process of asking those someones whether they’d be interested in doing a guest blog post on the subject. –J.]

  95. Good Grief, I cannot believe people are still moaning that Adobe changed their [IMHO] vague and somewhat naff icons into something modern and more importantly something far more usuable.
    Apart from anything else, no matter what the design was, someone would complain as it is simply personal taste and there is nothing that appeals to everyone.

  96. A note to “Wes” who in an earlier comment wanted to know “if Adobe has considered something Microsoft does; Microsoft will give away some of their software for free at special events….where … the participants aren’t big professionals but people kinda starting out… I don’t know, independent and self publishers or the like.”
    I would like to humbly propose that Wes (or anyone else in this vein) consider finding a local Adobe user group. Our group is provided with all sorts of goodies from Adobe and other Adobe-focused companies — including over $4k worth of suites each year and the chance to get review copies of individual programs monthly).
    Adobe really does support our “community” and they give user groups every opportunity to demo, learn, and spread the love with software, demos, and presentation access. Our group is composed of quite a few freelancers and independents who have enjoyed free copies of many Adobe packages simply by attending meetings, giving demos, and so forth.
    So…thanks, Adobe, for (a) listening to the gripes on the Dear Adobe blog, (b) allowing John to actively post and respond to some of them, and (c) supporting your user groups so we can help people like Wes who want to learn and don’t have enormous budgets to do so.
    And John, I would offer my heartfelt desire for Adobe Updater (sorry, I cursed there) to have the ability to update my “Camera RAW” certificate whenever necessary, and not have to quit my @#$* browser to do so. Does anyone really care that I’m reading a blog or the news headlines while my Camera RAW certificate updates, courtesy of Adobe Updater? (grin)

  97. Re: noncommercial pricing. Microsoft offers a noncommercial version of Office. Granted, Microsoft also makes 90% of its money from volume deals (by volume I don’t mean 100 copies in a design shop, but rather 100000 licenses in a multinational). So it’s not as vulnerable as Adobe is to businesses snapping up the noncommercial version.
    If Adobe were willing to offer a subscription model, though, that could solve a lot of the “casual use” scenarios. Pay-by-the-hour, or pay-per-pixel manipulated, or pay-per-feature used that’s not available in Elements, or some such scheme.

  98. Hi, I have a long story, let me preface it with “caveat emptor”. I recently bought (Feb-Mar) Adobe Design Premium from a place called (REDFLAG#1) http://www.cheapsoftwares.org. The price was right (REDFLAG#2) and I had just been laid off from my job (the doors were closed-bought out by a British Publisher). I am a cover designer and now freelance. Life was good ADP was installed and then a week ago an activation screen popped up! 5 days to activate or…no more ADP! I contacted the above company-no problem! Send us the activation code and leave the window open and we will send you a new auth code. OK a little ahead of myself here…When I got the software – FROM CHINA – in a brown envelope (no box)!-I should have known…It installed, just like they said, use phone activation, email activation code, they send auth code…(REDFLAG AGAIN). So , again everything has been fine until…Please, please, can you help me? I will send you anything I can privately-s/n,receipt, emails…This is my livelihood at stake. I am currently contracted to do covers and no tools to do so, working 24/7 til my activation window closes. I contacted Adobe C/S and well…customer service is simply not getting it. They tell me I need to re-purchase!!! Come on, I already borrowed the money to buy it once. Please, this is legitimate and I was, I assume “taken”. Please do not hesitate to contact me (Please contact me). Is this professional piracy? I appreciate your consideration. Thank You Cathy

  99. I still have my PageMaker 3 install disks around here somewhere. I bought FreeHand back when it was an Aldus product, too. I’ve bought upgrades to Adobe and Macromedia versions over the years. I couldn’t afford the upgrade mill, and now I’m looking at big bucks to upgrade Macromedia Studio MX so I can have apps that work under OS X 10.5. I’m not a professional graphic artist, so it’s hard to justify the massive expense.
    When I do consider the expense, I consider how PageMaker was terminated… I consider what a steaming pile Studio MX turned out to be, and comments I’ve heard from friends that Creative Studio is worse in some ways… and I see Adobe showing Frankenstein’s-monster UIs that are neither quite Windows nor Mac… and I put my wallet back in my pocket, and consider open-source and alternative products.
    As for the UI issue:
    Having read your various comments, John, what I think you don’t understand about long-time Mac users is that the entire initial concept of the Mac was the consistent user interface. What you learned with MacWrite transferred right over to using MacDraw… or any other program that followed Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines. Programs that didn’t use the HIG generally withered on the vine.
    I want my Mac programs to act like Mac programs. I don’t want to have to learn “special cases” for Adobe products. If Adobe products on the Mac act like Mac programs, but have extra functionality that doesn’t get in the way of everything I’ve learned about “how Macs work”, that’s wonderful! But if you make controls that sort of look like Mac controls, and sort of work like Mac controls, but aren’t Mac controls and sometimes act in unexpected ways, that’s terrible.
    Take the idea of resizing the window from any edge. I work with UNIX daily. Sometimes it really bugs me that Macs only resize from the lower right. However, when I’m using a Mac, I depend on the fact that windows only resize from the resize box. On a Mac, dragging window chrome at the edge of the window moves the window, it doesn’t cause a window resize. For those of us who don’t use Adobe products to the exclusion of all else all day, this nonstandard behavior is a bear-trap on the sidewalk. It’s an accident waiting to happen. It’s something that will cause an impressive number of explicit, uncouth, and FCC-unapproved adjectives and anatomically-improbable imperative verbs followed by the word “Adobe” to be uttered.
    I don’t want to reach for a window to move it and have it resize instead. i don’t want to click on a window to bring it forward and have it resize a little bit instead. I don’t want to have to think about whose idea of a “window” I’m about to click on. And that goes for Apple, too!
    Stop thinking “but Apple does it.” Stop thinking “but power users like the workflow.” Stop thinking “but other programs have tweaked the UI.” (Did anyone truly love the Kai Power Tools alternative user interface? Why didn’t Adobe adopt that monstrosity for Photoshop as a whole?) Start thinking “What would someone who made the conscious choice to buy a Mac instead of a PC expect?”

  100. nothing to say? I figured, all noise…no balls. corporate hacks “doing the right thing”
    [Are you kidding? I didn’t get you a personal response in the last 9 hours and that means I have “no balls”? Wow. I’m sorry, Cathy, that I don’t have time to reply to each of the 100+ comments posted here, much less on your timetable. –J.]

  101. Adobe is a for-profit corporation, NOT a socialist government. Adobe spends enormous amounts of money developing programs that it hopes will be of value to customers and then prices the products so as to maximize profits, just like any other corporation. Adobe must live or die with those decisions. (Remember what happened to companies like Lotus, Borland, and Novell who made critically wrong decisions on their important products.)
    Professional grade software is generally priced higher than consumer software because there is generally a smaller market for the software than there is for consumer software and because the product is more valuable to a customer who is using it to make a living than it is to a customer who is using it just for personal amusement.
    That being said, Adobe has gone a long way to help satisfy customers who do not use the products professionally full time and cannot reasonably pay the retail prices. Adobe’s academic prices are among the most generous in the industry. (For those who are not full-time professionals and just use the products occasionally, why not take an occasional course at a local community college and avail yourselves of the academic prices?) With some programs, Adobe has also marketed consumer versions (e.g. Photoshop Elements) that contain virtually all of the features of the professional product that a consumer would use for a price that is a small fraction of the cost of the professional product. (With that compliment, I’ll add a personal plea: It sure would be nice to see Adobe market a Dreamweaver Elements.)
    I wonder how many of the chronic complainers about the price of Adobe products discount their work outputs for anyone who thinks they are charging too much for whatever they are selling.

  102. Cathy,
    You bought pirated software. You got scammed. You lost money. Get over it.
    You’ll get little sympathy from those of us who pay full price for our software through authorized channels.

  103. Not the fastest horse can catch a word spoken in anger. ~Chinese Proverb
    [No prob, and thanks much for saying so. –J.]

  104. I would LOVE to see a ‘guest blog post’ from whichever department of numb-nuts conjures up the pricing structures for CS products.
    I challenge anyone to give me an honest, rational answer as to why Spanish CS3 (for example) costs $1799 from the US store, and $2871 from the UK store.
    If I were a betting man, I would wager heavily that no such answer will ever materialise, and I’m pretty certain my money would be safe.
    Cynical? Moi?

  105. Just checked with Customer service, nope they said I had a single user license and that I needed a volume licence and that would not be cheaper for me. So the best price I could get was to buy an English version for PS CS3 for about 1200USD = 7500 SEK. Thanks but no thanks! If I paid around 350 USD to have PS CS 3 to run on two computers why do I have to pay an extra 1200USD to have it on my third Mac? And as I said I’m the only user.

  106. wow… you got some major comments. Regarding when I said:
    “Regarding bloat–the fact is the sort sighted bean counters would never in a million years accept a new rev of the product that simply improved performance.”
    Then you said:
    “Why do you think that is? Will customers actually pay for just polish & bug-fixing? It will be very interesting to see what price Apple asks for Snow Leopard. My suspicion is that to command revenue, you need to deliver both sizzle and steak, changes both big and small. –J.”
    To answer, it’s probably true you’d have a hard time selling an upgrade that simply fixes bugs–but what about cranking up the quality a tad so that there are fewer bugs in the first place? CS3 (well, Flash and Encore in particular) are borderline non-usable! Seriously, I only use Flash CS3 if I have to… To make things worse you can’t patch it. Adobe Updater… yeah, everyone at Adobe is quick to distance themselves from that–but I see no fix. I can’t run patches stand-alone… it’s just a mess. I’m sure CS4 will be way better (not only because it can’t get worse).
    I think long term what happens is people write off a particular company’s software. Take Real for example… it used to work. Then a few revs of obnoxious behavior and, guess what, I’ll never use it again. I wonder if Adobe purposely tries to put themselves on the borderline between “good enough” and “not worth using”… that is, every other rev of Flash is just sad… so, when a new rev comes out people are happy (partially because they’re ready for anything new).
    I’m not trying to call out any employees as lame are causing this–but I do believe quality assurance is a statistical endeavor where you can assign a level acceptable quality. I do think the solution is as simple as just moving that mark up. And… have you (Adobe) every considered that just maybe having a billion different products that have to release on the same date sacrifices some kind of quality? Just wondering if a) you don’t agree that is does lower quality, b) you agree it does, c) you’re willing to sacrifice that quality, or d)other.
    Now I’ll go read the rest of this thread.

  107. I challenge anyone to give me an honest, rational answer as to why Spanish CS3 (for example) costs $1799 from the US store, and $2871 from the UK store.
    I can’t imagine it’s possible to explain credibly, but I’m curious about whether it is possible to get someone to volunteer to be the poor schmoe who has to publicly give the explanation which has no credibility, and then absorb the user outrage as a result. It seems like it would be easier and more ethical to just have a fair pricing policy.

  108. I’ve been a user of Photoshop Elements first bundled with devices, and more recently bought stand-alone. It has an impressive range of functionality and when it works, it generally works very well. I love the tagging system, which is great for my rapidly increasing library of photos.
    I do have several major gripes with the product, though:
    There is a major bug in PE 6.0 (Adobe KB403728) whose workaround involves excising multiprocessor support. This is a pretty blatant and obnoxious bug, especially as I recently upgraded to a multicore box specifically to speed up photo processing. As a software product manager myself, I do understand that it takes time to produce and qualify fixes for bugs like this, but it has already been some months. What I really find unacceptable, though, is that Adobe has now announced a new version of PE — version 7 — much sooner than Adobe’s usual release cycle, and presumably expects me to pay $80 to upgrade in order to fix the bug. That’s not right. The bug should be fixed in a maintenance release/patch, or perhaps a free upgrade should be offered.
    The documentation is poor. There are tutorials, which is nice, and there is (rather sketchy) reference documentation, but there is no “principles of operation” documentation which clarifies the basic processes. For example, file handling between the Organizer, ACR, and the Editor doesn’t seem to be clearly explained anywhere. Though with some experimentation, I now have a pretty good sense empirically of how to use the system, I’m still not completely sure which editing steps will create new files, which ones modify settings in existing ones, which ones modify existing files, whether DNG is a lossless formatting of NEF, etc. I have bought two books to try to understand all this better (Kelby’s poor one and then Andrews’ pretty good one), and I’m still struggling.
    PE doesn’t seem to know how to do things in the background (maybe this is related to the multicore bug?). For example, I recently uploaded a few hundred photos to Smugmug, and PE could not be used for anything else for several hours. That is a classic background task.
    The relationship of Raw images, 16-bit images, and 8-bit images is very confusing. Why are 16-bit and 8-bit images in the same (Editor) interface, but Raw images in a separate interface, ACR — why isn’t there a unified interface? Why can you only call ACR on JPG images by explicitly specifying the filename (and therefore breaking all the Organizer tracking), etc.
    Perhaps PE is simply the wrong app, and I should upgrade to Lightroom, which from what I hear is the true successor to earlier versions of PE and a far better photo editor. But that isn’t clear either: there is no upgrade path from PE to Lightroom; I can’t find any comparison between PE and LR on the Adobe site; it is unclear whether my PE tagging will transfer to LR; LR appears to be a professional app and is certainly priced as one; and finally, LR is intended to be used with CS3 (“Together with Photoshop CS3 for pixel-level retouching and compositing, Lightroom® 2 offers a complete photography workflow solution.” — Photoshop family page) which I certainly can’t afford.
    Thanks for your attention to this long message; I look forward to your replies.

  109. JoeBoy’s comment on the pricing (and international price-gouging) on 25th August is spot on.
    I’ve used and taught Adobe (and Macromedia) products for years – I’ve used Photoshop since version 1.0 on the Mac. But I find I’m using it less and less because it’s A) so bulky and B) doesn’t pay it’s rent enough.
    The pricing is ridiculously high (and the international problem is unforgivable), regardless of which way you look at it. You can argue the IP in there, you can argue that a professional designer should be able to earn enough to cover it, but that all flies in the face of the market situation. For a start, there are plenty of professional jobs that don’t require the bells and whistles (and sometimes bloat) of the CS+ apps. Then there are freelancers for whom the price/earning trade-off isn’t worth it. There’s usually a way to work around 90% of the things new features enable and the extra time required usually doesn’t add up to the extra cost. It’s a particular problem if you work across a wide range of media (and who doesn’t?) because you are really forced into a massive outlay for things you need occasionally but not all that often.
    Secondly, the professional/amateur divide is much more blurred and it’s simply arrogant of some of the commenters to go down that route. I’ve seen amateur work that way outstrips the quality of professional work.
    Buying professional physical tools is very different from software. If I buy a spanner for $150+, it’s because I want it to last me a lifetime and I’ll never have to buy another. Software is a constant upgrade treadmill – it’s as if that $150 spanner becomes crap and useless every 18 months unless I pay another $80 to keep it up to date.
    With that, I find myself using alternate apps for quick tasks (Pixelmator, Lineform) more and more. They open faster, they install with a drag and drop and they can handle themselves on many a professional job just fine. Just not all the time. But they will.
    I think Adobe’s position in terms of creative tools is precarious because of that and I’m not surprised to see the company move into much of a an enterprise infrastructure direction because of it. But it’s worth remembering that Adobe’s (and Macromedia’s) fortunes were made on people (amateurs and professionals) willing to ‘play’ with the tools and come up with amazing things, quite often outside their paid work. I feel quite sure that the amount of pirated copies of Adobe products that plenty of students use means that Adobe remains the de facto suite and skillset in the industry. But times are changing and there are plenty of good alternatives for those starting out. It would be a shame to see Adobe become IBM, especially because folks like you, John, that have a lot of passion for creating tools like you do, will get shafted by some terrible management and marketing decisions.
    Someone from the pricing/marketing team has to get involved in this discussion (either here or through other Adobe communications) because it won’t go away.
    Thank you for listening and responding to all you have – I feel sure it’s beyond the call of duty.

  110. Hi John,
    This one is from the peanut gallery, for what that is worth…I love CS3! I start to twitch when I have to open something in Quark and let us not even speak of apps such as Punisher (Publisher).
    [“Punisher” makes them sound too cool; I prefer “QuirkXPlode.” 😉 –J.]
    My major toy in the bunch is IDCS3. But I use 5 of the apps regularly.
    Do any of them have everything I need (want)? Nope. Does each have more than I will ever use? You betcha!
    Keep up the great work, I’m always amazed at what comes next!
    [Thanks, Jenn. –J.]

  111. I’m surprised, so many people complaining about pricing.
    Two Solutions:
    1) Go back to school and purchase upgrades with student pricing. Pay for continued education and upgrade your software tools with more reasonable prices. John correct me if I’m wrong on this.
    2) Adobe doesn’t demand nor force everyone upgrade on their products. If you are well verse using Photoshop 3.5 or 4.0, stick with it. The same applies to CS1 and CS2. There is enough backward compatibility. This is one thing Adobe does better than other software giants.
    BTW, after reading the top 50 complaints… I really feel sorry for John & Adobe. End users whom lacks technical skills will complaint about every little thing with easy solutions. The time spent complaining, they could have use that time to find easy solutions.

  112. You said:
    “Russell Williams wrote, “Of course the top engineering item, ‘Stop creating new features and make your software fast, stable and straightforward,’ really means ‘stop creating new features except for the ones that really help me.'”
    NO. We really mean NO NEW FEATURES. We WANT stability. We want speed. We don’t want apps that crash all day long. We JUST want apps that WORK all day, just like we do.

  113. Dear John Nack,
    I’m trying to download flashplayer 9 so that I can watch the CS4 launch.
    But after downloading flashplayer 9, I’m told that I must first download Adobe AIR. OK, fine. But then after downloading Adobe AIR, I try to install it only to get the SAME error message essentially telling me that I must Install Adobe AIR before Installing Adobe AIR!!!!
    Absolutely beyond moronic…
    Let’s hope that isn’t how CS4 rolls…

  114. one of the most production hours of my life spent reading an informative quality blog. thank you for the time spent.
    while I am on…
    Freehand, drawing tools, text tools, multiple pages, multiple sizes, great for e.g. desiging cards, comp slips and headed paper all in one document, or multiple small symbols all to be exported to eps later time on same page
    Illustrator, more but not neccessarily better tools, single page only per document
    InDesign, brilliant software, very powerful, drawing tools poor, multiple pages, only one page size
    so why kill off the best one (Freehand)??
    What about asking Freehand users *exactly* why they used and then include that in the software which has elbowed the best one out of the way?
    [We’ve been over this in very thorough detail. –J.]

  115. At least most of you guys are able to get into your software apps from ADOBE.
    I want the coporate headquarters address and phone numbers. I am 20 year veteran teacher who went back to grad school to get her masters in Library and information sciences. To get ready for the two year full-time program ( for which I took a two year developmental leave nonpaid), I called Adobe a year ago and explained what I would be doing and that I would be purchasing a MacPRO and and MacBookPRo and using bootcamp and parallels to access the windows side.
    I wanted to know what I needed to buy software wise in CS3 web premium tp be able to use both OS systems and apps. Because I will be training teachers and students on the technology which Houston ISD also purchased and licensed for work regarding Dreamweaver, and teaching respect for copyright and licensing. I personally, for home, bought a full copy of the mac version of CS3 web premium and the same for the windows version. This cost me over $1000. I later also purchased both OS systems of Adobe Acrobat 8 Pro separately because I was having trouble even opening the web premiums after install. I was told after two months of customer support calls in AUG and Sept 2007 that there were problems with a 3rd party activation software that they were trying to resolve and that it would take a few months. Part of the problem was that I had both OS versions installed on the same machine though I had only been trying to use the PC/windows version thus far and there also problems with activation because, using parallels to access the windows OS – it asked me to reactivate every time I signed on to the Windows XP – apparently it didn’t recognize that it was the same machine. So Adobe told me they would work on it and I had to pp buy separate versions of Acrpobat Pro for the classes for which I needed that app at the time. I
    I am now one week into my web design class and since my prof uses a mac and it is a face to face class I can use the mac version . Problem is when I went to click on Dreamweaver ( and btw I am also trying to redesign the library website for a magnet high school for Health professions strongly supported by the Houston medical center) it had me do set up though I had done the installation long ago. I typed in the serial number on the back of the mac version and got an error message with no number though it had a big red sphere and white x in it saying it was an invalid serial number. Now I bought all four softwares or apps from Adobe itself online. Shouldn’t it be reputalbe and accounatble for what it sells itself?
    I have now spent hours with customer support and activation support with call centers in India and Manila where people have no clue what they are doing much less using the English language correctly ( and I am actually orginally a foreign language teacher so normally very tolerant) and being given the run around passed from dept to dept only to discover that my case numbers over the last year are no longer recorded or traceable nor are the new ones given to me except one which they closed in less than 24 hours without resolution afeter giving me a “new” case number and new phone number to call with alleged notes recorded so I wouldn ‘t have to explain it all again for the umpteenth time. Turns out the alleged new case # is my customer id and no notes were recorded and nothing was recorded from the activation dept either on the case – they just closed it without my approval very quickly saying I was in a hurry after I spent three hours on the phone with them. They didn’t acknowledge the three hours. No notes on what the problems were or anything else. I was also lied to. Spent 42 minutes arguing with a female agent in manila asking to be passed on to a supervisor continuously for 42 minutes before she stopped refusing to do so – this after an hour spent with her additionally trying to get her to understand that I could never get to the actiavtion window and had reentered the serial number andcd tried again 13 times before even calling, rebooted ten times and reinstalled 3 times trying to fix it myself before even calling Adobe for help. I can’t even open or access or activate all this software I bought in either OS and installed a year ago. I am ready to buy a ticket , fly to the corporate headquarters, get a news team and a lawyer and land on the front step of Adobe physical headquarters. I am also about ready to file a lawsuit. This masters and two years represents a $70, 000 plus investment for me in equipment, software, wages, tuition ,books etc. If I am unable to complete it during my two years because of this fiasco I will not have a job to go back to. This is so totally unacceptable. I am at my wit’s end and need real help. My cell is 713-249-7079 and my email is cherlyng@earhtlink.net. I have patiently helped students with French and technology issues for 20 years as a teacher and now in return I hijacked financially, educationally and career-wise by Adobe incompetance and left hanging out to dry. I used to love Adobe. If I don’t get help soon from Adobe,Houston ISD friends of mine in IT and IT library services will be hearing from me to get rid of Adobe along with family friends and doctors and hospital admins in the Houston medical center. I came across this blog by accident when trying to find helpin the forums and other places as well and it is a bit of a last resort before before I start an all out PR and legal war with Adobe, which I would prefer not to be pushed into but will do so if it concretely threatens my career.

  116. Hello, if anybody could help me with a theoretical problem before I waste a substantial amount of money, I’d be grateful!
    The Cie where I work has After Effects and Premiere CS3 installed on our laptops (Macbooks Pro). As we’re working towards the Middle Eastern market, I somehow need to install Illustrator and Photoshop Middle Eastern edition on my laptop. The trial versions are working fine (from Winsoft), but I am a little bit weary to buy AI and PS, and find out it conflicts with the regular AE and Premiere CS3 installed.
    Thanks to tell me about your experiences mixing software editions (in particular regular and middle eastern edition products), and thanks a billion.

  117. Cherlyn
    All I got to say is good luck with that…hahahahahaha! Believe me I know! and to Ramón G Castañeda-No kidding!? That was my point jackass.

  118. Cathy, the only jackass here is the greedy one that went out and bought pirated software.
    Most Photoshop users are creative types who respect other people’s intellectual property rights because they want others to respect theirs.

  119. John, let me start by saying that some of my faith in Adobe has been restored by this blog. The messages from your customers seem to be loud and clear: there are things that are really seriously pissing off people like me.
    My own betes noirs are the pricing disparities and your utterly f*cking insane CS3 installer.
    The lack of response to the issue of US vs EU / rest of the world pricing suggests that this is not something that Adobe want to engage with.
    Smaller developers don’t seem to incur staggering extra costs for localisation – the price is the same for English, French, German, Spanish, etc. So do please keep needling whoever it is that’s responsible, I’d hate them to be let off the hook.
    Also, the installer is an ugly and for me costly mess. At present I can neither install the bits of CS3 Design Premium I skipped during initial install, nor uninstall what’s already there, having tried everything suggested in the relevant forums. The only remedy is to do a fresh build (Vista 64) and reinstall everything, including all the non-Adobe stuff I use. This is not a trivial undertaking and will take many, many hours.
    I could just about swallow the rip-off UK pricing if the damned software actually let me use what I paid for without devoting great chunks of valuable time to fixing it.
    Adobe are going to start losing customers if they screw up CS4 as badly.

  120. I am in the US. I truly can’t understand how people think the Master Collection is overpriced. Considering everything you get in the collection and what it would cost to buy each app separately, it’s an incredible bargain. That being said, I firmly believe those outside the US are getting seriously hosed as far as pricing goes 🙁
    My one request, make Bridge faster and more stable please. Thank you.

  121. Ramon aka jackass, did you read thru my first letter? It may have been pirated but I GUARANTEE if you go to http://www.cheapsoftwares.org you will see how easily people can be duped and I was. The site is rather blatant and as I said before I worked in publishing and up to this point I had no reason to purchase. I am now a freelance cover designer and reject nose-up-the ass people that think only “creative types who respect other people’s intellectual property rights because they want others to respect theirs” So I am going to ask, do you do your work for free and eat and feed your family with the respect earned? Again, my opinion stands with an addition, Plastic,Psuedo, elitist jackass! And John THANK YOU for allowing me a little vitupretive (adj. harshly abusive, severely scolding )outlet.

  122. Cathy, I see how you were duped. To be expected of anyone with an IQ at the room-temperature level–in degrees Celsius. If someone offers me Photoshop at those prices, I know it’s illegal. (You should use a spelling checker too. It won’t help the style and tenor of your writing, but it will save you some additional embarrassment.) Poor you.
    Sorry, Mr. Nack. Cathy’s posts speak for themselves, starting with her very first one.

  123. You are right, I misspelled “Pseudo” oops, sorry. And your IQ is? A measure perhaps of the size of your ego? Certainly not your intelligence. Nuf’ said!
    [It’s rare that I seek to discourage conversation, but this 1:1 thread isn’t adding any value here, so let’s consider it closed. –Thanks, J.]

  124. Dear Mr. Nack,
    It looks as though it would make more sense to separate my comments on Photoshop Elements 6.0 into separate, more concise postings. So here’s the first.
    The multiprocessing bug in PE 6.0 has a workaround involving disabling an important piece of functionality (Adobe KB403728). When can we expect a patch? If fixing this bug involves upgrading to PE 7, perhaps a free upgrade is in order.

  125. Photoshop Elements vs. Lightroom
    I haven’t been able to find a clear explanation of the relationship of Photoshop Elements and Lightroom. Does LR replace PE for photo management and editing (which is all I do)? Does it complement it? Do they work smoothly together? What functions can be performed in one and not the other (comparison grid)?
    It seems that they cannot share a catalog of photos, but instead export from PE to LR (kb402470). So it seems that LR obsoletes PE; yet there is no upgrade path from PE to LR.
    Thanks in advance for your clarifications.
    [Tom Hogarty (LR PM) replies, “Lightroom replaces Photoshop Elements’ catalog and image organization functionality. Lightroom customers will be able to upgrade their Photoshop Elements catalogs up to and including Photoshop Elements 6.0 on Windows. (Photoshop Mac does not require an upgrade process because it uses the Bridge file browser for organization.) The upgrade process is a one way street and the expectation is that you will not return to Photoshop Elements for image organization. Photoshop Elements does include a very competent pixel-based editor and can be used as an External Editor to compliment Lightroom’s extensive non-destructive editing capabilities. -TH” –J.]

  126. I have come to the conclusion that only morons use products from Adobe. They are the worst software company on the planet by miles. They’re the only company that can release ten iterations of a product that has no perceptible difference between each version.
    MS Office is widely regarded as bloated rubbish, but Acrobat is to Office what a beached whale is to a svelte gazelle.
    [Wow–non-specific hostile feedback from a fake email address! I’m shocked, shocked. –J.]

  127. No Problem, just annoyed by obtuse. On a related note, I fixed my CS3 with a little tech help. Just please let people know that sites like had previously (www.cheapsoftwares.org)noted do prey on the quick dollar and I hope this helps someone. And I hope adobe is pursuing sites like this.
    OK, I’m over it.

  128. “Of course the top engineering item, ‘Stop creating new features and make your software fast, stable and straightforward,’ really means ‘stop creating new features except for the ones that really help me.'”
    *facepalm* That sounds like an engineering team that just doesn’t get it. They’re hearing, but they’re not listening.
    The last version of Illustrator I bought was Illustrator 10. If you came to me and offered an Illustrator 10.5 upgrade, and it worked exactly the same as 10.0 but faster and without the bugs, I would have bought it.
    No more crashing, no more spinning beachball for 5 minutes (even though I’m editing a small document with 2 gigs of RAM), no more “auto-updates” from the web which destroy my Illustrator.app, an installer that actually works (without forcing me to call tech support and muck around in my System folder first), and so on. Zero new features. That would have been the world’s easiest sale, because I know I like Illustrator 10 (and I’ve invested the time to learn it). I just didn’t like that it was so buggy.
    Instead we got “Illustrator CS”. Funny name (version numbers aren’t good enough any more?), new fluff features (pseudo-3d?), and no claims that any bugs were fixed. (On Amazon, it has 2.5 stars, and the second review is titled “too darn buggy”.) I can’t justify spending any money on that. Today, the Illustrator webpage says “CS3 users are finding a number of new features exciting”. I guess bugfixes don’t make good ad copy.
    I’ve got Illustrator 10 open right now, for a new webpage design I’m working on.
    Open-source applications, as awful as they often are, have release notes that are full of “fixed bug #12345”. I’ve never seen mention of bug fixes in Adobe software releases. It’s like you refuse to admit that your own software has bugs, much less that us users care about them getting fixed. And that is often even more frustrating than the bugs themselves.

  129. Let’s focus on the principle issues listed in the top 10 gripes at DearAdobe.com.
    John said:
    [ Will customers actually pay for just polish & bug-fixing? It will be very interesting to see what price Apple asks for Snow Leopard. My suspicion is that to command revenue, you need to deliver both sizzle and steak, changes both big and small. –J.]
    Considering that at least three of the current top 10 gripes are about cutting the bloat and making Adobe products faster, I think there are a number of people who truly are serious about this. Adobe Reader 8 for Mac clocks in at 112MB, whereas Apple’s Preview 4 is 18MB in size. Unless an Adobe product is absolutely required, I prefer to use more light weight applications (Preview, Acorn) for my work. So I would say, yes, there actually are some people who would prefer a performance increase instead of a bunch of new features (which they may or may not use).
    The installation and updating process is a devil I’ve had to wrestle many times, especially with CS3. Did you have the PS CS3 Beta? Guess what, the final version won’t install without having to do some serious clean up of your system. The installer works sometimes, and other times it just locks up. The updater also works… occasionally. I’ve seen several cases where it refuses to even launch. Other times it won’t even find the new software. And if you are hoping that the updater will make it all the way through successfully, one might want to take up religion first. Installing Adobe Reader 7 was beautiful and simple. Just drag and drop. Reader 8 and 9 got ridiculous with their install process. When people are griping about just trying to install the program, that can’t be a good sign.
    I’ve heard similar complaints from my British co-workers that Adobe products get REAL expensive outside of the U.S. Hopefully someone is reevaluating this and making the non-U.S. pricing more reasonable.

  130. Price of ‘English’ CS4 Design Premium from US store – ($1,799)
    Price of ‘Spanish’ CS4 Design Premium from US store – ($1,799)
    Price of ‘English’ CS4 Design Premium from UK store – ($2,318)
    Price of ‘Spanish’ CS4 Design Premium from UK store – ($3,239)
    All prices are those listed on the Adobe store, exclusive of any sales tax or delivery and converted using exchange rate at time of writing 1 British Pound = 1.856 US Dollars.
    Spanish CS4 is $360 MORE in the UK than CS3.3 was just last week.
    Adobe thinks its customers are stupid.
    Adobe deserves to have its marketshare stolen from underneath it by a more reasonably-priced competitor that releases bug-fixes without calling them paid upgrades.
    As a direct result of this, I will actively seek out smaller, more focussed, more reasonably priced alternatives to all of Adobe’s applications that I use.
    Pushing out over-priced, conveyor-belt ‘major’ versions every 18 months, regardless of whether there’s sufficient new functionality to make it worthwhile is like a geriatric dog that just drops a turd wherever it’s standing.
    Better hope you don’t get put down…
    Fuck you very much.

  131. I have a huge problem with Adobe’s upgrade policy. When CS3 came out I had just purchased Premiere Pro and Encore and was told I had to pay the same price for an upgrade as someone who had never Paid Adobe for Encore previously. (I should have recieved more of a discount!)
    Now I purchased Photoshop CS3 less than two month ago and Adobe wants me to pay another $199 in order to get CS4?
    I think if they keep this up customers will be looking for non-Adobe solutions!
    [Why is this related to Adobe in particular? If you bought a Canon 5D last week, would you expect to get a discount on the 5D Mark II in November? What if you bought a new computer or car right before a faster, cheaper version was announced? –J.]
    Grrrrr!!!!!!! Snarl!!!!!!!

  132. John
    I am disappointed, but not surprised, that no-one from Adobe has answered questions about pricing disparities between different regions.
    But I can’t describe how angry I am that Adobe are doing the same thing with CS4: it’s between 50% and 60% more expensive in the UK, and considerably more in the ‘Euro-zone’.
    Are Adobe banking on the fact that many users this side of the pond will have no choice but to stump up? Well, maybe we will. But we will also know that we’re being ripped off, and that’s not good for Adobe or for us.

  133. You know, Adobe is a big corporation. Maybe John and others aren’t ALLOWED to discuss the pricing situation.
    [It’s not a matter of being allowed so much as of me not being the right person to do the discussion. I have no involvement in the development of Adobe’s pricing, so I’d rather you hear info from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. –J.]

  134. “You know, Adobe is a big corporation. Maybe John and others aren’t ALLOWED to discuss the pricing situation.”
    Yes, I know. I’m calming down about this issue now.
    I don’t mind what Adobe are asking for their products. I just object to paying significantly more for the exact same thing than other people do.
    And I know that John has tried to get a response to that objection. Adobe’s failure to offer any kind of explanation suggests to me and many, many others that they don’t have one, at least one that’s palatable to their user base outside the USA.
    On the plus side, it means I can book a weekend in New York, see a show, buy Design Premium CS4, fly back and be no worse off than buying it online in the UK.
    Which is obviously crazy, but there you go.

  135. From a user’s perspective, what I see is this: Computers have become faster, and your applications have become slower.
    [You’re mistaken, actually. We put a lot of work into making Photoshop CS3 launch faster and made great progress. I’ve just seen the final results for CS4, and overall running a suite of actions is faster than it was in CS3 on the same hardware. When you factor in the new GPU and 64-bit features in CS4, other wins become apparent. –J.]
    That’s the wrong way round.
    It doesn’t matter what the reasons. What does matter is the user experience, and key to that is responsiveness to the user. Sitting and staring at the monitor while the application loads (and loads and loads) or updates or does who-knows-what when I want to get to work is annoying. Trying to use a tool and having to deal with lag or repeated appearances of the “wait” icon interrupting the task is unbelievably frustrating.
    The user comes first. If a new application, or feature within an application, cannot be made responsive, fix it, simplify it, or drop it.
    [We do that all the time. Earlier this year we gave a sneak peek of some very cool selection-refining technology we’ve been developing. When push came to shove, however, it became clear that we weren’t going to be able to make it as fast as it needed to be to ship. It’ll still be a great feature eventually, but we’re not going to ship it in a state that makes interaction unpleasant. –J.]

  136. [You’re mistaken, actually. We put a lot of work into making Photoshop CS3 launch faster and made great progress. I’ve just seen the final results for CS4, and overall running a suite of actions is faster than it was in CS3 on the same hardware. When you factor in the new GPU and 64-bit features in CS4, other wins become apparent. –J.]
    I’m glad to hear it. But my recent experience with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Reader leaves room for a lot of improvement in this area. Switching between modules in Lightroom (1.4) is painfully slow, and I can’t even browse my library of images quickly because Lightroom insists on continuously re-generating the thumbnails. I’ve read that LR 2.0 is even worse in this regard although I haven’t experienced that first hand.
    From what you’ve said in your reply it sounds like Adobe is putting more focus on responsiveness over feature capability. That’s a good thing. But I suspect that in order for most users to once again feel like Adobe’s products are fast and responsive the balance needs to shift even further.
    What is the standard for acceptable speed? If a function is “acceptable” on the latest and greatest hardware, it’s not going to be acceptable on mid-range equipment, or even on three year old top of the line stuff. Most of us can’t afford to upgrade our computers annually.

  137. John, I owe you an apology: for badgering you about Adobe’s international pricing policy and their clear unwillingness to address the issue.
    Now that I’ve done a little research into the subject, I see that it’s absolutely standard practise to charge more for software (and some hardware) over in Europe at least. I found an article going back to 1992 using the phrase ‘price gouging’ – an ugly-sounding term which, since it has a specific legal meaning in some States, is something I won’t accuse Adobe of.
    Since the current type of pricing policy is standard practise, Adobe would be crazy not to follow suit. Some companies are absolutely fair and charge the equivalent price (before taxes and allowing for currency fluctuations) in all markets. Others charge a premium of 10% to 20% for, ahem, ‘localisation’, something most European users would be comfortable with. Not happy, but OK with it. But Adobe’s policy with CS3 and it appears CS4 is not fair, reasonable or ‘OK’. The differences make no sense until you realise that Adobe think that the European market will bear the price they’re charging.
    The big corporate market probably will. But most small to medium businesses aren’t that wealthy and not that stupid: if it’s cheaper to buy at the US price, that’s what they’ll do… I wonder how many US-purchased licenses are actually operating in Europe? (NB most continental Europeans involved in the Media speak excellent English: a native-language version may be perceived as an expensive luxury). And let’s not get into the whole P2P thing.
    The simple fact that a lot of software used in Europe is actually the US version tilts all sorts of statistics – including the sort of statistics companies use to justify their international pricing policies. This pushes us into a vicious spiral, one which I think has already started. It’s up to Adobe to sort it out. By all means charge us Europeans a little more for all the reasons that software companies confronted with this practise fall back on (none of which stand up to close scrutiny). Most of us will give you the benefit of the doubt. There’ll always be some who buy US versions simply because they’re a bit cheaper. Adobe need to get their pricing structure organised to the point where, for most of us over here, it makes more sense to ‘buy local’.
    If pricing was fairer, it would also take away one of the ‘justifications’ used by the P2P brigade. That would lead to less people going down that route. That would mean them actually paying money for their software.

  138. I think the lack of market for Linux is purely a chicken and egg issue. I would switch to Linux in a heartbeat if I could run my Adobe apps on it. The reasons for preferring Linux are for another forum, but the main reason for not using it is the lack of “real” software for it, with potatoshop being the most oft cited example.
    The elephant in the room is Open Source. For example, I got sick of waiting half an hour for the acrobat reader to load every time I wanted to look at a pdf, so I went looking for a replacement. The Sumatra PDF reader is coded by one person, and is a 1.2 megabyte application that does the same job, but better. What have the people in the acrobat reader department been doing all these years?
    My point is that if open-source apps like these start doing adobe type things better then people are not going to be nearly as receptive to crap like the overseas pricing scam for long. And they’ll discover that Adobe isn’t the only game in town.

  139. I just got a big shock today when I tried to upgrade from Dreamweaver MX 2004 to CS4. Turns out that because Dreamweaver MX 2004 was part of a suite, I can’t upgrade just that one application! The sales rep could give me no logical explanation (just that it was Adobe “policy,” even if it didn’t make any sense). He also suggested that I should have known about Adobe’s upgrade policy when I bought MX 2004 Studio — which would have been a trick, because I bought it from Macromedia. I didn’t need most of the suite, but bought it because it included both Dreamweaver and Freehand — only to discover that Freehand had been ruined (in response to a lawsuit by Adobe, natch). Instead, I’m still using Freehand 8 in the Mac Classic environment. So Dreamweaver is the only app in the suite I have been using, but I can’t upgrade it for $199. My choices are to buy it new for $399 or upgrade to the CS4 Design suite for $599. (I currently have the CS2 Design suite.) I don’t need to upgrade Photoshop, Acrobat, or InDesign (the apps I use in that suite). All I need to upgrade is Dreamweaver. I don’t understand why I can’t. Shouldn’t “downgrading” from a suite to an application be possible? And even less expensive than “upgrading” the entire suite? And I can’t even get Customer Service to give me the name and title of someone in Adobe customer relations to whom I can complain in an actual letter. (The people in India with whom I have spoken either have hung up on me or claimed that there is no such position, department, or function at Adobe and no address to which complaints about policy can be sent. Right. I’ve found this site, read all the posts here, and written this note all while on hold for a supervisor while Adobe Customer Service waits for me to give up and hang up. )

  140. I used CS2 for many years without issue – did exactly what it said on the tin – no more no less. Unfortunately, when I had to upgrade my PC, CS2 no longer worked, so I reluctantly (and expensively) upgraded to CS5. Needless to say, this has proved an expensive nightmare! Talk about ‘full of shit’ – CS5 has cost me ten-fold what I paid for it in productivity nightmares, on the basis that there’s so much shit in it I’ll never use and the Adobe Community pops up, everytime I want to do a certain function. I require a full refund and compensation for the lost revenue and heartache. BTW: This is the ‘clean’ version!!!

  141. I think one could make a case either way. I seem to recall that when the Big 10 finished their season before Thanksgiving, they had teams that would steadily move up the polls as other teams played a game the next week, then the conf championships would knock a few others down a peg. Say, a team would be at 6 or 7, then find themselves in the top 3-4 by the time everyone else beat up on one another. A downside was that by the time the bowls came around, they had not played for 50 days, but they cashed the check nonetheless.

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