Petition: Adobe: Eliminate the mandatory "creative cloud" subscription model


  • Why aren't more people calling for non-adobe alternatives?
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 838
    edited May 2013
    I think this is going to be the next step if Adobe continue with its abusive policy. And a good opportunity for other software companies.
  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 630
    It's time to start investigating the alternatives, just in case. Please, anyone who finds something really good, post the information here for the rest of us.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,966
    Why aren't more people calling for non-adobe alternatives?
    They’ve all tried to saved money by installing GIMP, Inkscape, or Scribus one point or another, and assume alternatives are a lost cause. And for what a professional designer will be getting from Adobe for $50 monthly, this probably doesn’t seem too horrible.
  • Jack JenningsJack Jennings Posts: 151
    I hope that they keep it, because I think that it's the only way that someone other than Adobe is going to think about building something new. Whether someone will actually build something new, I have less confidence.

    There are good alternatives to Photoshop (at least Acorn and/or Pixelmator look like they could be viable for my level of photo processing; but for heavy professional photo editing this might not be the case), and I do most of my vector editing in a font editor.

    But all of the open source alternatives that James mentions are junk (as most GUI-heavy open source applications are), and there's no good alternative to InDesign. Partially I assume this is the case because for any alternative to have mass appeal it would have to essentially replicate all of the features that InDesign has. That itself would be a huge undertaking, let alone the task of improving on it's (broken) model enough to not be seen as just a clone.

    Whoever takes on that task is going to have to be a huge company already, and I don't see a lot of the big players (other than Adobe), having much interest or expertise in this space.

    Microsoft? Yeesh. Apple? Doubt it. Google? Nope…
  • Jack JenningsJack Jennings Posts: 151
    I'm ready to use my copy of CS6 for a long time…
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,966
    Partially I assume this is the case because for any alternative to have mass appeal it would have to essentially replicate all of the features that InDesign has.
    I think that’s true of Indesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. I constantly encounter designers who rave about Pixelmator. I used it for all of five minutes before uninstalling it because it lacked a feature I consider essential in Photoshop, and I think that most long-term Photoshop users who try Pixelmator have the same experience, which is why Pixelmator hasn’t strip-mined a giant hole in Adobe’s empire.

    This is because there really is no typical user of these programs. Outside of 3D modeling apps almost no software has succeeded at being so complex and so useful. Adobe’s big three are digital favelas, sprawl precariously on the edge of chaos, but providing just what this or that person needs to such a great extent that they sustain millions of people. I think that this is the result of equal parts incompetence, fear, and genius. And that’s why Adobe is so hard to take down—the ecosystem it has built is too inane to respond to rationally.
  • Jack JenningsJack Jennings Posts: 151
    Just out of curiosity, which featured made you ditch Pixelmator?

    I guess one solution would be for a number of competing applications to be created, that's more opinionated about what subset of graphic designers it appeals to. I guess what I was trying to say is that I don't think that anyone will be able to create one application that can compete with InDesign's mass appeal (It can do most things, but it does most things in awful and unexpected ways).

    Personally, I'd love to have a page setting application that's stripped down to as bare a minimum as possible, but that offers a robust scripting interface (a la Robofont). InDesign has a very interesting javascript-powered scripting engine, but the documentation and support sucks.

    I can also see a single application that caters more towards poster designers, which doesn't have stuff that book designers need (footnotes, etc.). Illustrator is already kind of this, but illustrator's type handling is a mess.

    Having a common file format would be great as well (like .ufo). The prevalence of the proprietary .indd file format (and .psd, etc.), certainly doesn't help ease the Adobe's monopoly.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,966
    Just out of curiosity, which featured made you ditch Pixelmator?
    I don’t remember. It’s been a while.
  • It was an inevitable business model, and I think we'll soon see a lot more of it. Isn't Microsoft doing some sort of Cloud Office now? That would be something worth resisting. Paying monthly for Word? Imagine how you'll feel about that.

    What would be nice, though, is for Adobe to extend the introductory price to all people 30 and under. I believe the model could sustain it, and they'd likely benefit from it in the long-run.

    I like having everything up-to-date because I work with printers around the world, but as a user of the Middle Eastern features, I'm disappointed that their implementation has been spotty. Only InDesign is 100%. We're actually behind where we were when the ME versions were made on license by a company in France. Therein the downside: there's nothing in this business model that spurs them on to doing things faster. They already have our money.

    The biggest upside is that there's now little excuse not to learn something new, no more "I don't want to spend $600 on something I might not use." How has that affected me? It's increased my shame by a factor of magnitude for not having updated my website for eight years. Thanks, Adobe!
  • Why aren't more people calling for non-adobe alternatives?
    It's sort of odd, but since I've been hearing about this I've been thinking of the forward-leading aspects that are web-based composition, regardless of output. So, I see this as an alternative to other kinds of web authoring that's been rather crude, and unrelateable to pri t.

    I can understand a lot of traditional print authors looking askance at the whole thing, until later.
  • kupferskupfers Posts: 259
    I’m not sure if I’m just that old and nobody but me remembers them, but for what it’s worth, I still use Xpress, and Preview and Graphic Converter for images. I actually never really used any Adobe applications, only recently started with Illustrator because I took over existing files.
  • Ouch! I don't know how you do it, Indra!

    What I found inadequate about Quark, which I gave up on after version 4, was the H&J algorithms and the inability to compose decent paragraphs without constant manual intervention. It's not that InDesign is perfect, but that it starts at a much higher level. In 2006, to help a friend who took ill on a trip to Scotland, I had to acquire Quark 6, which hadn't changed significantly, at least not in regard to the H&Js. It felt like a visit to a really bad neighborhood one left behind.

    As for the necessity of Photoshop, you cannot do serious color (or B&W) work for reproduction with Preview or Graphic Converter. They simply lack the tools. It's more than likely that your printers are doing the remedial work for you—in Photoshop.
  • Max PhillipsMax Phillips Posts: 474
    What I found inadequate about Quark, which I gave up on after version 4, was the H&J algorithms and the inability to compose decent paragraphs without constant manual intervention. It's not that InDesign is perfect, but that it starts at a much higher level.
    Am I the only one who hates InDesign's Paragraph Composer? I'm always turning it off to eliminate awkward rags it thinks are a great idea.
  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 630
    No, Max, you aren't the only one. I always turn it off. I think my many years of commercial typography experience, will trump their algorithm just about every time. Those tens of thousands of pages I've typeset that came back with proofreader corex marks tend to teach one something.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,966
    The Indesign Paragraph composer is for typesetting justified copy with little or no manual intervention. Use the Single Line Composer and enable balanced rags if you will be tweaking ragged type manually.

    Not that the Indesign interface actually gives users any indication of this! Hell, the composer should automagically switch with justification settings!
  • Am I the only one who hates InDesign's Paragraph Composer
    I think it's one of InDesign's most interesting features. The Paragraph Composer is a patented enhancement of the Knuth-Plass linebreaking algorithm that was originally developed for TeX.

    The single-line composers that you find in most digital typesetting engines use a simple "greedy" method where they'll put as much text as they can on the current line, then go to the next one and repeat.

    Whereas Knuth-Plass continually reviews the whole paragraph as it goes, computing all possible sets of linebreaks with the current text, and picking the best set of linebreaks based on current H&J settings.
  • Sometimes you just gotta read the manual to find out how things work. Or try them out. Good typesetting can never be so automated that the work could be done by chimps. There will always be things to turn on and turn off, though I think James's suggestion for an automatic toggle for the Paragraph Composer is a good one. If a few people suggest it to the InDesign team, they might eventually do it. The question they grapple with is whether or not there's a reason NOT to do it. I can't think of one in this case.

    Those of us of a certain age remember that, when PageMaker and Quark first appeared, in the late 1980s, they marked a big step backward in composition quality from the last generation of dedicated systems, such as Xyvision. This was largely for the lack of sophisticated H&Js. But the vast hordes who suddenly became typesetters had no basis on which to make comparisons, so complain as they did, the old-school typesetters represented only a tiny minority to whom Quark paid no attention. There wasn't much love between those users and the company. I recall taking a certain pleasure moving to InDesign, though I doubt Quark saw my hand gesture in the rear-view mirror.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,966
    If a few people suggest it to the InDesign team, they might eventually do it.

    If I only spoke Kannada.
  • kupferskupfers Posts: 259
    edited May 2013
    Ouch! I don't know how you do it, Indra!
    No pity necessary, Scott. It seems our work and flow just differs significantly. 95% of my jobs are in German and set ragged right, and this is what Indesign’s algorithm is double shitty at. I relate to what George said. I want to have full manual control over all my typography and line breaks. Also, I never had any problems with preparing images in Graphic Converter, but at least half of the ones I do now are for the screen anyway. Maybe you stopped using GC with version 4 too?
  • FWIW, I think XPress 9.x justifies text much better than InD (hanging punctuation!), but its OT support is so bad (for one thing, stylistic sets are not supported), that I still end up with InD all the time. And InD’s GREP styles are really great, QXp can’t match that.

    But, nowadays, all I use InD for is just font testing anyway.

    PS: I did replace Photoshop with Pixelmator.
  • kupferskupfers Posts: 259
    edited May 2013
    EDIT: Redacted. I’ll stop the advertising now. I’m just in general in favor of non-monopoly situations where there are still alternatives around and everyone is free to choose whatever soft- or hardware they want to use.
  • And in cases where you have what might be a natural monopoly--at least for the near- to medium-term future, as regards Adobe, its resources, and the InD-Ph-Il triad's combined functions--you find what is nominally one important reason we need governments and regulation: to prevent firms from abusing their market position in non-competitive situations. Price gouging would be one example of this; another would be using the courts to shut down potential competitors.

    Whether the governments and regulations we actually have can do this is another question, of course. But at least to start, I'm asking myself: is Adobe's price unreasonable? I realize that as an academic user I may not be the best-positioned person to answer that question.
  • Indra, I apologize if I seemed at all condescending. We each have our own design and production needs, and even our own language and script sets that may be implemented in different ways in different applications. Much of my work is multi-alphabetic: Hebrew-English; Hebrew-Polytonic Greek-Syriac-English. As the Hebrew in question is for liturgy and Bible, with full diacritics as appropriate, it requires good implementation of an extensive set of OT features. That makes InDesign a sine qua non; there is no other option.

    I've looked at Graphic Converter, which I think is a nice thing for 99% of users. Another part of my work is the development, design, and production (all the way through prepress) of high-end illustrated books. Here's a brief list of what Graphic Converter lacks: the ability to make UCR/GCR adjustments, the ability to adjust mid-tone contrast as a class, refined shadow balancing, advanced layering for adjustments, sophisticated bezier drawing tools (for isolations), fine control of sharpening and blurring, AND a world of third-party plug-ins for special requirements. I could easily add a dozen more.

    Is the CS Cloud a good deal? I suspect that for the single app user it may not be, but if you need up-to-date versions of two or three apps, it appears to be reasonable. As for Adobe's competitive practices, you'll recall that InDesign was a latecomer to a market completely dominated by Quark XPress. They didn't twist peoples arms or wage lawsuits to get them to switch. Quark was then a stubbornly unresponsive company. In the 1990s, people used to describe Microsoft as a paranoid company that ruthlessly went after competitors. Much of that may have been true, but I always thought their paranoia was fully justified, that they were a large company with weak products that worked 80% of the time. Gates was a brilliant general winning with a third-rate army. Look at them now!
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,128
    This issue has some resonance for type foundries, now that we rent out web fonts.
    Our argument is that the Web is an entirely different medium than print, therefore businesses should pay again (and again) for typefaces they have already licensed.
    Doesn’t that argument apply here?
    If Adobe wants to abandon the downloaded application market to others and start out fresh in the Cloud against whatever competiton may emerge, shouldn’t it be allowed to take its chances?
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,966
    I think the reason Adobe has angered some customers with the move to subscription is that many people already see Adobe as a monopolist that abuses its position in the market. Adobe is viewed especially harshly outside of North America where prices are substantially higher. But I agree with you; Adobe’s monopoly is largely the result of weak competitors rather than market manipulation.
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