That’s kind of a weird title, but there have been a few slightly freaked-out posts in the last couple of days suggesting that the Photoshop CS3 beta is installing spyware. The deal is that Photoshop uses Apple’s Bonjour technology to make it easy to connect to Version Cue servers. For more details, I consulted Thomas DeMeo, Director of Product Management for the team that creates Version Cue. Here’s what he had to say:
Adobe does not use spyware, period.
Since the inception of the Creative Suite (CS) family, Adobe provided a file collaboration tool with the introduction of Version Cue. Version Cue is a file management tool that is integrated in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Illustrator and other creative applications within the Creative Suite. It is client/server based. The clients are integrated into each of the applications and they all communicate with the Version Cue Server.
To make setup and configuration easier, Adobe uses Apple’s Bonjour technology to enable the connectivity to Version Cue servers on a local area network. Bonjour is widely used throughout Mac OS X and Windows in applications like iTunes and popular printers to allow users to set up a network service without any configuration.
From Photoshop or Bridge you can connect to a Version Cue server without having type in a IP address. It does not enable Photoshop or Bridge to do file sharing as this is done by the Version Cue Server. It does not send information over the Internet or to Adobe. When you click on the Version Cue area in the Adobe Dialog, the Bonjour daemon running on the local machine will browse for visible Version Cue servers on your subnet. You can then log in to access the file management capabilities of the Version Cue server.
To request access to the Version Cue beta program, please contact Mike Wallen (mwallen at adobe dot com). For more info on Bonjour, see also this Apple developer FAQ and the entry on Wikipedia.
[Update 5/11/07: I saw the following info from Timo Naroska of the Version Cue team and thought it would be worth sharing:
Bonjour sends/receives packets to the multicast IP 244.0.0.251. Routers do not forward these packets outside the local network. Furthermore Bonjour pings the local DNS server to check whether it supports service discovery.
No critical information is ever transferred.
The user should usually allow Bonjour to connect the “internet” to seamlessly browse/connect Version Cue Servers in the local network.
If the user decides to block Bonjour internet access, automatic server discovery on the local network and the local machine are hampered. The user will have to connect servers manually by IP/DNS-name.]