Q&A Adobe Cloud Questions & Concerns
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To aid us in making Digital Help as helpful as possible, please be specific in your query and include components, including software, that you use. David says, “Make me guess the problem and I might guess wrong.”—Editor
In early May Adobe issued a press release that the company will focus their creative software on its Creative Cloud applications. The Creative Suite 6 applications will continue to be supported and available, but Adobe has no plans to continue their Creative Suite. Adobe says their Creative Cloud has been well received by the creative community with half a million paid members and two million total members.
Adobe Creative Cloud is a membership-based service that provides members with applications that can be downloaded. Since then Adobe has acknowledged they expected some user reaction, particularly from photography enthusiasts. They have responded to some of these issues from the public directly on their website as well as that of Scott Kelby (http://scottkelby.com/). Digital Help has also received numerous reader letters about this change and responses to a recent Digital Help column, some of which we share here.
Older CS Apps
Q. I have several questions re: Adobe CS.
1. Does that mean that CS5 is now unworkable on all computers?
2. Does that mean that we will have to pay a monthly fee to keep CS5 workable on our computers?
3. I switched CS2 to a second computer and it does not and will not work; is this because it cannot be authorized because Adobe’s server no longer exists?
Seems to me Adobe is heading down the Enron road; you may have paid for it but too bad, we don’t care.
A. Here are the answers to your questions:
1. No, Adobe and many other software vendors have just changed the way you purchase licenses for new and current applications. An existing license to use CS5 will remain unchanged, and the license will stay in force as long as the application remains on the same computer. But if you change hardware and have to reinstall CS5 you will have to contact Adobe and have your software re-authorized for the reinstallation.
2. No, the monthly/yearly fee for new versions of the Creative Suite will be sold as a rental. You can pay either by the month or by the year in one shot.
3. With older versions like CS2, CS3, and CS4 you can reinstall it on new or different hardware and it should work without re-authorization from Adobe…maybe. For instance, if you replace an older computer you can migrate the data, including applications and user accounts, from the old to the new computer.
This new way of marketing and selling software licenses may be an inconvenience, and a different procedure, but it does reduce the waste of manufacturing CD/DVD discs and all of the packaging. It may also reduce the ability of some to pirate the software and sell phony copies to gullible customers who want it cheaply. The world changes, both the good parts and the bad, and we all have to adapt because no one can turn the clock back to another day.
Internet Based Image Editing?
Q. You stated in your September column that Adobe will be discontinuing CD/DVD (certain?) versions of its software so customers will have to get services from the Adobe web cloud on a subscription basis.
Your exact words were, “They will change Photoshop and all Creative Suite applications to being licensed for use from their Creative Cloud storage by subscription rather than as an application sold in CD/DVD disc format.” The words “for use from their Creative Cloud storage” are the subject of this e-mail.
While I understand why Adobe and other software manufacturers feel the need for that kind of protection, here are some questions/concerns you may want to address.
Will image processing still be done on a subscriber’s own computer, or will all processing be done within the cloud, remotely. If the latter, then a subscriber had better have a huge pipe to the Internet, and Adobe had better have a huge and growing server farm. If the latter (processing done inside the cloud), then response times (changes visible on the subscriber’s screen as he/she tweaks various values) may degrade to the point of being unworkable. Surely Adobe will download apps or applets to the subscribing computer at the outset of each session, so as much local processing as possible can be done as responsively as possible, even if Adobe wipes out the apps/applets at the end of the session when the subscriber signs off. How long it might take to download such apps/applets may also be an issue for subscribers. Much less convenient for subscribers, it might seem—the extemporaneity is removed, and sessions may have to be planned instead.
Do you see this evolving into a “per transaction” charging scheme, as with Organic Imaging?
What Adobe products are affected by this change? For example, will Elements still be available on CD, or will it also move strictly to the Adobe cloud? What about Lightroom? Perhaps you can define for your readers just how this is going to work, or have “Shutterbug” run a special article explaining it.
As always, David, thanks very much on behalf of all of your readers.
A. Yes, you described the change quite well, that some software companies like Adobe will no longer sell applications a user “buys” and installs from a CD/DVD to create an application stored in their computer for use.
You have to look at this change both from the customer’s and the software publisher’s perspective. Customers have always misled themselves into thinking they have actually purchased a real product because it is a CD/DVD disc in a box, but in reality all they have is a license to use the application they have purchased. Most never read the legal documentation that accompanies the software, in which the manufacturer reserves a lot of rights for the use of the software.
Software companies in the past had a lot of manufacturing and marketing costs to sell their software on CD/DVD, so if they only sold the same software downloaded from a web cloud they could sell their software at a price (lower) without all the manufacturing costs for CD/DVD discs, boxes, and printed instructions. There is more to the story because it also reduces the opportunity for pirates to make fake versions of the products and sell them to customers.
Whether purchased as a rental application downloaded from the web cloud or purchased as a CD/DVD disc in a box, a customer gets the same thing, an application installed in their computer, and it functions the same to edit and process images. The customer does not have to be connected to the Internet to use the software. For applications like Photoshop, whether a new downloaded version or an older one installed from a CD/DVD, both work similarly and completely locally on your own computer.
Adobe, like Google and Microsoft these days, all have server farms located in out-of-the-way places around the country, and the world. But remote image computing is not as readily done as say text documents because photo image files are very large and, as you suggest, would demand a large pipeline for customers to be connected for every editing process they would need to do.
The really significant difference for customers of companies like Adobe is that instead of sales for perpetual use of some products it is rent-to-use software, whether paid monthly or yearly. Unlike software sold on CD/DVD the customer will no longer be able to think he or she owns the software. It is just rented. And if you don’t pay the rent you won’t have the use of the software.
What Adobe customers can get from their new Creative Cloud services is detailed on Adobe’s website at: www.adobe.com/products/discount-software-coupons.html?promoid=KHQGG.
I wouldn’t expect that using photo-imaging applications will change fundamentally because of this new cloud marketing arrangement, even though paying rent to use an application is quite different. But for many who use Adobe Photoshop Elements and other brands of inexpensive consumer software, although they may be purchased now as downloads from the web, nothing else will change. But all the more advanced applications like Lightroom 5 may be in the new rental category. For now Lightroom 5 can still be downloaded—I checked on Amazon.com right before finishing this column.
Regarding your question about whether this is like Organic Imaging’s charging a fee after the free trial is used up, the answer is no. The image editing is done in the application on your computer; the images are not sent over the Internet for editing in the cloud. But paying only for what you actually use may be a more common structure for some in the future; why pay rent for something if you are not using it?
The Future Of Software?
Q. Your reply to an individual concerning the question as to why his CS5 would not load, while correct as far as it went, could give the false impression that the change in the Adobe software sales model was the reason.
I run Photoshop CC for now; however, I can also run CS6 if I wish, and can run CS5 on a laptop. Adobe has stated they will continue to support at least CS6 (for bug fixes and compatibility) through the next Windows version and in a recent interview they conceded the change will not stop the pirating of their software. Nothing is going to stop those thieves.
The only way CS5 (or CS anything) users will have a problem is if they try to install the software on more than two machines. When doing a Windows clean install, failing to inactivate your software before the reinstall could cause such a problem too, if you have a copy on a laptop. Even though you are doing a clean install, fully expecting to reinstall the software, Adobe servers will still be seeing two installed copies. It will see your reinstall as a third installation. I had this happen to me with CS6. With one phone call the matter can be fixed.
Anyway, the pricing model change did not affect virtual licenses associated with CS6 and below. That reader who wrote you has another issue. I suspect your comments in support of the pricing model probably got you some hate mail; please do not consider this as such, I am staying out of that controversy. I have my opinion, but that is all it is, and my opinion is that because software companies have failed to persuade us to upgrade every time they release new software, you will see more of this. Despite their snarky remarks about Adobe doing this prematurely, Microsoft will go completely to that model soon and so will others.
My apologies if you did e-mail that reader and tell him what he should check. I wrote this because your reply “seemed” to assume the new model might inactivate older software. It does not.
A. Sorry but sometimes readers send me questions and I have to guess what their meaning might be, so with the news of the new Adobe market strategy in my mind, I thought maybe it was connected. As to piracy you are correct, it will never be stopped, but selling software licenses as downloads will be an impediment to thieves.
Getting things fixed through Adobe from my experience is not always easy; it depends on who is on the other end of the phone, and that is not always a reliable solution. I have obtained very different “policy” responses from calls I have made.
For instance, personally, having six Apple Macs registered it has been a problem for me. Apple only likes five without a commercial license agreement; but I got really incensed by that bit of idiocy—what if you buy a new computer every year and they last longer than five years? Corporations do not employ all the best and most thoughtful minds, but they try to run our lives anyway.
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