The Inexcusable Creative Cloud

Periodically Adobe tempts me to get Creative Cloud and start paying them a large subscription fee monthly, forever. The temptation is to get access to all of Adobe’s latest software at one low price… That low price however is almost three times what the amortized cost of Creative Suite ever was. Moreover once you subscribe nothing prevents Adobe from hiking the price. And you can never stop paying, because you never own software you can go on using.

Today I received an ad email that stated that I could “Lock in your price for up to two years!” Which if you think about it is a promise to raise the subscription price within two years.

I recently found on my iPad, in Adobe Reader, an offer that I could pay an additional $11.99 per month to make PDFs! Really? I have been making PDFs without paying a subscription to Adobe for more than 20 years.

This is a company that spent more than $1671 million on “Sales and Marketing” in 2014. That is about twice what they spent on Research and Development and more than 47% of their gross profit of about $3525 million. Adobe is not a software company. It is an advertising machine.

Also look at their R&D budget. Adobe spent a bit more than $844 million in 2014 on R&D. At any given time in the last 20 years you should admit that any particular Adobe product has been mostly resolved already. So if they are paying R&D (coders, testers and etc.) $100 per hour (That would be a lot, I know.) that would imply that Adobe employs more than 4500 researchers and developers full time to work on products that are always mostly researched and developed already. The Adobe product line never needed almost eight and a half million hours of redevelopment in 2014.

Adobe’s financial statements are here (http://www.adobe.com/investor-relations.html) if you want to gasp for yourself. Be prepared to use the words exploitative and monopoly.

Snow Leopard, Adobe PDF Printer, HP Printer Support

I am quite pissed with Snow Leopard. For one thing it has lost significant PDF support. In particular Apple has suspended support for the blessedly useful Adobe PDF printers. No one knew this was coming because of an actual conspiracy between Apple and Adobe. They had a non-disclosure agreement to prevent anyone finding out before the release. While Snow Leopard does not actually remove the PDF printers, they will not work after the install. Unfortunately one of the first Acrobat 9 updates removes the CS4 Adobe PDF printer. Thankfully it leaves the Adobe PDF printer from Acrobat 8 (CS3) in place. Whatever you read, even though it does not work under Snow Leopard, do not delete this printer from your printer list. You are going to need it for the work-around.

Adobe has replaced its PDF printers with a Save as Adobe PDF option under the PDF button in the print dialogue of most applications. However, this does not work in their own products because they have specialized print dialogues. You have alternatives. In InDesign you can still use the Adobe PDF Presets to output pages to PDF. However this output and the PDF option under Save As in Illustrator and Photoshop lack most of the functionality the Adobe PDF printers allowed. For sending proofs of illustrations to clients, I rely on that functionality.

The only solution I have found so far is to return to the 90’s, to “print” (save) a .ps file then run it through Distiller to get a PDF. If you want to control your PDF output using the print dialogue in Illustrator or Photoshop set up to print as you would have under the Adobe PDF printer. Keep the PPD set to Adobe PDF 8.0 but change the Printer to Adobe Postscript® File and save. You will get a .ps file you can drag onto Distiller to get a PDF, but you must use the Adobe PDF PPD to get the results you would have under the Adobe PDF printer. This is why you must leave the Adobe PDF 8.0 printer in your Printer list under the Print & Fax preference pane.

For the life of me I cannot figure out how Apple and Adobe made this choice. What could possibly have motivated it? I am leaning toward the idea that they were stupid rather than greedy. Now HP is greedy.

HP has also conspired with Apple. In this case, they wish to boost sales of new printers by suspending support for many as of Snow Leopard. While I can still print to my DeskJet 1220C using the third-party Foomatic hpijs and usbtb drivers (http://www.linuxfoundation.org/en/OpenPrinting/MacOSX/hpijs) the Snow Leopard install actually removed the HP printer support, utilities and such, from my drive without telling me. I am reluctant to try reinstalling them for fear that they will mess up Snow Leopard in some way. Fortunately my G4 Laptop is still on Tiger so I can use the DeskJet printer utilities by connecting it to the USB printer. With environmental concerns as they are, surely such an obvious indulgence in corporate greed, filling landfills with perfectly good equipment to fill HP’s pockets with money from replacement sales, ought to attract a government smack down?