Creative Suite 6 Unboxed

Adobe quietly announced earlier this month that CS6 is no longer available for purchase. During the course of the last year, Adobe was making it more and more difficult to find that product on their site, and in 2016 we also stopped getting ACR and security updates for CS6. 

So now the only way to "buy" Photoshop is to get a Creative Cloud license. Either the US$9.99 a month Photoshop/Lightroom combo, or a more expensive full Creative Cloud Suite version. 

Meanwhile, users of CS6 are slowly discovering that operating system updates are breaking things that are no longer getting fixed. On Macs, for instance, there are now some clear printing issues with Photoshop CS6. Plus, of course, there's the issue of needing Java installed to use some of the products in the Suite, which no longer gets installed by Apple updates due to security concerns. One can imagine a point in the not too distant future where an OS update completely "breaks" CS6. 

While I realize that a lot of you are reluctant to subscribe to software, some of the reasons you give me are wrong. Software eventually dies. At best case, it morphs (which is what happened with Photoshop). There is no "buy it once and keep it forever" software world. First of all, software developers can't stay in business and keep fixing bugs and adding features if they only get one initial fee when you buy the package. Why? Because it's like a ponzi scheme: you can sustain development as sales initially grow, but eventually they peak or plateau, while your costs continue to go up. That's generally the point where you issue a new "for a fee" update of some kind. Adobe's subscription fees for the Lightroom/Photoshop combo are actually slightly better than the update fees they had been charging (and less cumbersome). 

Where I criticize Adobe is in the way they handle end-of-subscription life. Plenty of products have yearly update renewal fees. But they don't have the product disable part or all of itself if you don't renew, which is what the Creative Suite now does.  Adobe's greed here is obvious and extreme, and I predict that they'll either eventually have to change their model or they will hit a bump in the road that hurts them badly.

Why? Because Adobe essentially put a "hit me" label on their forehead. Photoshop has been a target of other software developers for some time, but now there's a growing legion of dissatisfied Photoshop users because of Adobe's pricing and support. So Affinity Photo, for instance, is a near Photoshop clone that doesn't have subscription fee associated with it (and it's currently US$39.99, or US$10 off its regular price). It's garnering a larger and larger following, and it's gotten better with each iteration. 

Adobe's treatment of photographers as indentured slaves to their subscription service has enough of them looking elsewhere that alternatives other than just a direct clone are also quickly developing. Without giving away any secrets I shouldn't, I'll just say that those developing programs are looking to clone Lightroom, ACR, and Photoshop. The entire photography suite Adobe sells, not just Photoshop. None have gotten close or been released yet, but it's only a matter of time. 

Sometime later this spring I'll be demonstrating some alternative workflows that are not Adobe based. 

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