Adobe Software, Please Get a Frigging Life

May 29, 2009

As a software development shop, we use a fuck-load of Adobe  Nasdaq: ADBE (and formerly Macromedia) software. (apologies for the language but frustration level is at maximum)

We have had such horrible experiences with their software licencing mechanism that we are starting to look at alternatives.

The most recent – eight hours (multiply that by my salary and the software developer sitting on her thumbs to get the idea) and all is still not fixed.

We purchased another Adobe product (Audition) and the installation blew up. The software would not run at all. Not only was that software dead, it killed many of the other Adobe products (eg. Captivate, Photoshop, Flash, InDesign etc) on the workstation.

The problem with Adobe’s software is that you shell out all that money, but the software still won’t work until you let it ‘phone home’ to Adobe’s servers to activate the licence on that particular workstation.

In order to remove the licence, and reinstall it, you need to start the software and ‘de-activate’ it. The software then phones home to Adobe’s servers and lets the licence be transferred to a new machine.

You can guess, since I could not start the software, I could not deactivate those licences.

The eight hours was with their tech support, the first part trying to get the software working (including their nuclear bomb clean.exe utility which supposedly blows away everything it touches)

Then, one application at a time calling back to use tech support to do what ever it is they have to do to let me re-install the software when the licence cannot be deactivated. (Dear tech support, yes, I know it should be deactivated, yes I know it should be done first, but the damned machine is dead, yes the software is legally purchased,here is the licence, the list goes on)

The SMB Takeaway

Yes, Adobe packs more features in its software than a Swiss Army Knife. Maybe if you are a Global 2000 sized organization, you have methods and licences to bypass this pain.

But since most people use less than 20% of the features in any particular software package, save yourself the cost and look for alternatives.

Footnote: The software that started it all (Audition) is still not working, at this writing, we have tried it on two other machines (A Sony running Windows Vista and a Dell running Windows XP)

The SMB Takeaway Part 2 – For the financial officers

Lets look again;

Direct labour cost, my time for eight hours

Indirect labour cost a software developer who cannot do her job for eight hours

Indirect soft cost, (like many in this recession) we are working on several initiatives to reduce costs, one major one that I am running. The domino effect on that project could be 30 days of excess costs.

Indirect soft cost, The project that developer was working on is now over a week late for its delivery. What cost can you put on that?

And that is a true, rather than rhetorical question.

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2 Responses to “Adobe Software, Please Get a Frigging Life”

  1. elliotross Says:

    Thanks for your comment! – Our team treats any new product like a kid in a candy store!

    And the above was not meant as any comment on the features and benefits of the software – just the pain of their licencing mechanism.

    There has to be a better way – perhaps the licence admin account (required anyway on their site) could manually remove a licence via the site for transfer – And if the old machine tries to ‘phone home’ again – it justs hits the non-licenced mode to resist scamming.

    Again, I am not against the licencing and protecting in general – just the mechanism as it currently exists.


  2. E Says:

    I totally agree. We use a variety of Adobe products at our shop, and while we love them when they work…when they don’t, they are the bane of my existence!

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