Adobe CS goes cloud only

BlueStreak's picture

I knew this was coming, but it's here far sooner than I thought it would be. Adobe moves to the cloud only and disconnects those of us who want to work with our feet on the ground:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/06/adobe_kills_creative_suite_for_cloud

And unfortunately there's no alternative.

Theunis de Jong's picture

Also on InDesignSecrets: The Future is All Cloudy.

As David Blatner says,

.. like most software developers, they have found that it no longer works to offer new versions once every 12-24 months and hoping that people will upgrade ..

I s'pose he's right ... not for a "brand new improved dark interface" and a QR Code generator.

Joshua Langman's picture

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Igor Freiberger's picture

Just wonder how Adobe will manage continuous upgrades for InDesign. New application versions are not an issue to PSD or AI files, but INDD documents are not readable by older versions –and a similar issue arrives regarding plugins. Imagine a workflow broken or a production error because you used InDesign CC from September 9th while the printer was using the August 28th version. And then Adobe releases an update in September 17th changing the tool introduced in July 3rd but disabled due to an error in August 11th version, which are not compatible with plugin Xthing 9.9 so you downgrade to Xthing 9.4 and... Well, computers are here to make life easier.

This may seem a bit dramatic, but Muse is experiencing such a quick versioning.

Besides the marketing empty words, InDesign CC will offer no relevant addition except native 64-bit structure. Adobe really needs subscription revenues when their upgrades offer “modern black UI” as a great improvement. Better long document management? Maybe in InDesign CC7, or CS13, aka version 16.

phrostbyte64's picture

I guess this is yet another reason I don't what adobe products. Of course with my questionable internet connection, I don't even think that it would be possible.

JamesM's picture

> And unfortunately there's no alternative.

Well, an alternative is to use an older version. At least until you're forced to upgrade because a client or collaborator has.

> Just wonder how Adobe will manage continuous upgrades for InDesign.

That's a good question. Many folks deliberately don't install an upgrade until it's been out for several months to give time for bugs to be found and fixed. Don't think that will be possible with cloud-based software.

George Thomas's picture

It wouldn't matter to me if I had a secret government internet connection, the fastest on the planet -- I refuse to go the Cloud route. When CS6 came out I upgraded to that in anticipation of this, so if that is the end of the road for any upgrades then Adobe will not get any more money out of me. It really is that simple; I can get by just fine.

I really am sorry to see this day come.

charles ellertson's picture

There are so damn many bugs in InDesign -- including CS6, which seems to have added more than it fixed -- it is borderline unusable. Problem is, for simultaneous print/epub work, it is currently also almost necessary.

I'm with the guy who said "NOOOOO." Well, like PageMaker and Quark, InDesign will eventually be replaced. Soon, I hope, and by someone who views typesetting software as a tool, one to be used by skilled craftsman, not a coffee grinder for text so you can have kewl graphics. XeTeX looks more & more attractive.

One thing that would help InDesign would be if there could be a plug in so the H&J routines used the normal TeX routines instead of any of the "Adobe paragraph composers." I get so tired of InDesign not breaking the exact same text the same way in different proof stages. We have to run pdf-to-pdf comparisons at every proof stage, just to catch unwanted text reflow, which occurs with paragraphs that had no alterations. Publishers just don't put up with that kind of change in the text, so we have to catch it. So far, we've only had to pay for the reprinting of one book, but the time spent checking is not insignificant...

I'm sure they will promise better bug fixing in the cloud versions, pardon my skepticism. There are bugs we reported & were acknowledged with CS2 that still remain to this day.

Edit:

but INDD documents are not readable by older versions

For archiving, save an idml format file, too. Maybe .idml is what you should transmit as an "application" file, too. Except the text won't compose the same...

Joshua Langman's picture

Yeah, InDesign has its faults, but it's a pretty damn good piece of software overall. One of the best things about it is that it integrates so well with Photoshop and Illustrator. Any InDesign replacement from a different developer would be missing that integration, which is what makes CS so useful. Of course it's not perfect, but InDesign and the rest of the suite really do constitute an unparalleled collection of tools for designers and represent a massive amount of development work.

Don't ruin it now, Adobe.

William Berkson's picture

Well, I wonder if they have a subscription model, if they have less incentive to do whiz-bang new features, and more incentive to get everything working well. Just wondering.

Theunis de Jong's picture

Charles, you got it backwards:

One thing that would help InDesign would be if there could be a plug in so the H&J routines used the normal TeX routines instead of any of the "Adobe paragraph composers."

The "normal" TeX routines also consider an entire paragraph when breaking lines. There is no way to keep both even spacing and the same line breaks when you edit text.

That said: surely you know you can lobotomize InDesign into behaving like Notepad, Word, Quark XPress, and WordPerfect by switching to the Single Line Composer?

quadibloc's picture

@BlueStreak:
And unfortunately there's no alternative.

What features need to be added to Quark Xpress 9 or Microsoft Publisher 2013 before they could become alternatives?

Or even (gasp) Scribus?

EDIT: It should be noted, though, that I am well aware that for people with deadlines to meet and real work to get done, often nothing less than the best will do. In the case of Scribus, the lack of full Pantone support (there are workarounds, apparently, but they're imperfect) due to licensing considerations may be fatal.

Albert Jan Pool's picture

My Quark-feature to be added: Stylistic Sets.
I happen to have Quark 9.0 next to CS6. Quark 9.0 was disappointing to me because although extensive additional OpenType support had been announced, even in that version the OpenType Stylistic Sets were still not supported. Does anybody around here know wether that has been solved in a more recent update? And when, does it work properly?

quadibloc's picture

Since OpenType Stylistic Sets weren't supported in Word Pad, I questioned the usefulness of the feature. However, I assumed that if this font feature was "real", at least it would be supported in Microsoft Word, and anything else above a minimal word processor.

That they aren't supported even in major DTP applications is a serious matter indeed.

EDIT: A quick web search turns up the fact that Microsoft does claim Word supports stylistic sets. As well, I turned up the page

https://www.typotheque.com/fonts/opentype_feature_support

but even though I'm not red-green color blind, I still do not find that page's design very useful.

kentlew's picture

There is no way to keep both even spacing and the same line breaks when you edit text.

Theunis — I think you misunderstood Charles’s complaint [emphasis added]:

[Charles:] I get so tired of InDesign not breaking the exact same text the same way in different proof stages.

InDesign has a nasty habit of occasionally recalculating line breaks on a paragraph in which there has been *no* editorial change, under certain [mysterious] circumstances.

That is the issue — not entire paragraph composition, but willy-nilly paragraph re-composition.

charles ellertson's picture

InDesign has a nasty habit of occasionally recalculating line breaks on a paragraph in which there has been *no* editorial change, under certain [mysterious] circumstances.

Yes. You learn to look at potential trouble spots -- across page boundaries (text frames), wraparounds, etc., but it can occur anywhere, anytime.

I had one recently, about a 5-line paragraph, middle of the page, where an editor changed (say) the words *if only* to *only if*. This in the middle of a line, in the middle of the paragraph. InDesign recomposed the paragraph, making different hyphenation decisions. But at least it happened in a paragraph being worked on.

My guess is what will increase with upgrades is "features," not bug fixes. The thing about "features" is one group -- say book compositors -- doesn't give a hoot (not my chosen word), but the complexity of the program grows, and at some point, the program stops working correctly. Here's another one from CS6: After you use "fit frame to content" a number of times in a document, it stops working. Rebooting doesn't help, it's just a gone feature in that document from then on.

* * *

As to the cloud-based system, perhaps some of our concerns are not relevant. This from my business partner, who understands such things

I don't think the switch is going to change anything. Last year, they stopped selling upgrades in boxes and I had to buy/download online. Now they have discarded the idea of upgrades altogether.

With creative cloud, you still have to download and install the software. You still have to update, which now includes feature upgrades as well (I expect, kind of like Gmail, when things would change from time to time).

So, Adobe gets rid of any shipping costs, and regularizes their revenue stream. A real bummer for someone who just spent $700 buying a new copy, though. And for those of us who like to pay once, with a check...

BlueStreak's picture

>With creative cloud, you still have to download and install the software.

That seems to be true. This isn’t cloud software at all but rather simply a subscription model, which is a bit of a relief. The Adobe CEO clarifies a bit:

http://mashable.com/2013/05/06/adobe-ceo-interview-creative-cloud/

“[The Adobe CEO] insists that the cost for Adobe CC is now lower for ‘any customer.’ Those costs are now more predictable, he added.”

That’s simply not true. I, along with most designers I know, only upgrade when necessary. I skipped CS4 and CS5 before moving to CS6, and even that upgrade was more of a convenience than a necessity. While he says it’s not, this move by Adobe is all about the money and will ultimately cost me a lot more. I do see a silver lining with that though; it will cull the hobbyists from the market.

>What features need to be added to Quark Xpress 9 or Microsoft Publisher 2013 before they could become alternatives?

That’s a very steep hill to climb. Adobe has done a masterful job of creating brilliant software products while at the same time eliminating competition. The purchase of Macromedia to kill Freehand and the creation of InDesign to kill Quark were major coups. What stands out more than anything is the integration of product features. Quark and/or Publisher would need to integrate with fully featured vector and raster editors such as Photoshop and Illustrator. They would need a ubiquitous file format for export like Adobe’s PDF. There’s also the learning curve. I’ve learned and forgotten multiple versions of PageMaker, Quark, Freehand, etc. The switch to new software is a serious drain on my increasingly limited cognitive resources.

That’s the rub. Adobe wouldn’t dare do this move to the subscription model if there was a valid competing software product. They are being a bully because they know there’s no one to lose marketshare to.

charles ellertson's picture

>>That’s a very steep hill to climb. Adobe has done a masterful job of creating brilliant software products

Well, yes & no. At it's core, InDesign is just a bunch of modules, some of which Adobe subcontracted out. Probably one reason for all the (unfixed) bugs.

dezcom's picture

A cloudy future as Adobe is becoming Quark. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Adobe has no incentive whatsoever to either create any really useful new features or fix the mess they have already made of InD. They can now just sit on their asß and rake in dough.
As for working well with the rest of their suite, I ain't buyin' it.

JamesM's picture

I used Quark for many years and liked it, but I've never regretted switching to InDesign. I felt it was superior many ways, and the integration with other Creative Suite modules is a real timesaver (for example I can place native, layered PhotoShop files directly into my InDesign layouts).

Another factor is that InDesign has become the standard among designers. When I work on collaborative projects or when clients send me files, it's never a Quark file anymore, it's InDesign.

Quark really opened the door for the competition. I remember the days when users would complain bitterly about Quark's terrible customer service.

For better or worse, the cloud is the future. CD drives are disappearing the way floppy disk drives did.

ilyaz's picture

InDesign has a nasty habit of occasionally recalculating line breaks on a paragraph in which there has been *no* editorial change, under certain [mysterious] circumstances.

I suspect (La)TeX may do the same due to the “penalties” taking into account orphans/widows. So when a page boundary is sliding over an unchanged paragraph, the line breaks in this paragraph may change (due to widows/orphans being avoided before/after the slide).

Edited: There may be other, more subtle, issues affecting line break in unedited paragraphs: a reference to another page may change from “on p.9” to “on p.10”; likewise for fonts with digits having different widths; likewise for footnote numbers which may change width (and the footnote number can change from 4 to 1 if the paragraph migrates to the beginning of page).

And why mentioning XeTeX? IIRC, it is dead for a long time (at least it was a couple of years ago). Hmm, checking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xetex, they (re)started the development… — which is in a certain sense a pity, since one must decide again whether to use XeTeX or LuaTeX for a project — the bugs are not shared between the engines…

charles ellertson's picture

No "La" for me. We used a version of plain TeX for about 20 years, to set all manner of scholarly books, none of them mathematical. Most in the humanities fields.

In part, what stopped our use of TeX was the complexity of the program; mostly, it was the difficulties with color management.

Go read the patent Adobe got for their "new" paragraph composer. & if you can find it, read Don Knuth's observation on the merits of granting that patent... Well, he's a kind, charitable man...

quadibloc's picture

@charles ellerton:
A real bummer for someone who just spent $700 buying a new copy, though.

Aren't they the lucky ones, because they can use it forever? It's not like existing copies will stop working.

@BlueStreak:
I do see a silver lining with that though; it will cull the hobbyists from the market.

Why is that a good thing?

apetickler's picture

I’m not sure Adobe has all the advantages people assume.

I mean, as far as integration goes, you can change layer composition when placing Photoshop documents into InDesign, but that’s pretty much the big one. You can’t even place an Illustrator document in another application unless the .ai file contains a full PDF copy of the same document.

Also, the timing of this switch seems kind of risky, since the possibility of some critical mass of people switching to mobile operating systems on a full-time basis appears more and more plausible (it even seems weird that we’re still calling them “mobile operating systems”), and nobody owns that market yet.

JamesM's picture

> the possibility of some critical mass of people switching
> to mobile operating systems on a full-time basis appears
> more and more plausible

That's definitely happening with consumers; there's a big-time switch to using smart phones and tablets rather than PCs. Because things like checking email and Facebook, surfing the internet, playing games, etc. works just fine on mobile devices.

But in the business world it's a little different. Certainly mobile devices are used more and more, but there are certain jobs (like page layout, photo retouching, etc) where a computer's big monitor, high-powered processor, big hard drive, and the precision control of a mouse are still needed. At least for now.

hrant's picture

Another thing that stinks to high heaven on a mobile device is typing (and I don't mean "wats 4 dnr").

hhp

5star's picture

I don't really care either way ...it's a business expense that is 100% deductible.

Unfortunately it won't diminish the amount of horrible graphic designers who pollute the graphic design industry year-in year-out.

charles ellertson's picture

I don't really care either way ...it's business expense that is 100% deductible.

So?

Do the math. The only way the added costs don't affect your return on assets is if the increased asset cost results in increased net revenue (or your tax rate is 100%).

Nick Shinn's picture

When I first heard about this sort of computing, maybe 20 years ago, I assumed that the beauty of it would be that one might only choose to use an individual module, rather than a massive application, for a short period of time.

Micro payment.

So if I don't use Tables or Effects or pathfinder, I don’t have to pay for that stuff.

And the idea was that the type layout engine is the same in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, so why pay for it thrice?

Surely that is the way it should be with cloud computing, not “negative option billing” where you have to pay every month for what you never use. Netflix, pay on demand.

I wonder if subscription services are an interim step before we get to full only-pay-for-what-you-use, and whether the market will evolve to drive this rental model out.

JamesM's picture

Individual app subscriptions are available for $20 a month; subscribing to the entire suite will be $50 a month.

People who own CS3 (or newer) get a discount and can subscribe to the entire suite for $30 a month for the 1st year.

For pros who are used to buying the newest versions whenever they come out, this new pricing system will actually save them money. But for folks who only updated occasionally in the past, this new system may be more expensive.

hrant's picture

Yet again I'm nicely reminded how much more I prefer making fonts to using fonts...

hhp

quadibloc's picture

@charles ellerton:
Go read the patent Adobe got for their "new" paragraph composer.

That would be U. S. patent 6510441.

BlueStreak's picture

I said, "I do see a silver lining with that though; it will cull the hobbyists from the market."

Quadibloc asked, "Why is that a good thing?"

I see it as a good thing when people who want to use professional software, and call themselves professional, have to invest in the professional resources to do so.

Back in the days of rubylith, wax, and photo-lettering, people didn’t dabble in graphic design. That’s not to say that graphic design back then was better. It wasn’t. The abilities brought by software like Adobe’s Creative Suite have dramatically improved the possibilities and results of graphic design. However, it was strictly a professional endeavor back then. There wasn’t much in the way of hacking around on a whim and calling it professional graphic design.

I see far more hack work these days. As it is now, I’ve seen way too many people who wound up with professional software with little or no expense and instantly declare themselves graphic designers — just based on possession of the software. I have too many stories of how that’s diminished our business to list here. Adobe’s move to the subscription model will ultimately cost me more, but will put an end to those dabblers. It’s put up or shut up mode from here on out. You either put up the monthly fee knowing you’ll get the return, or you stay out of professional graphic design and leave it to the pros.

Is that a bad thing?

Karl Stange's picture

I see it as a good thing when people who want to use professional software, and call themselves professional, have to invest in the professional resources to do so.

None of which would guarantee 'professional' work, whatever that means. There is a lot of poor design work out there, both sloppy and uninspired, which is likely to continue unabated as long as commercial appetites (and the internet) exist as a platform for it.

BlueStreak's picture

My point is that in the old days when I dropped off logo slicks to a client, the secretary didn’t have a set of Rotring technical pens, french curves, and triangles in her desk drawer to tinker with my work. As it is now, she has an old version of Illustrator and feels compelled to tinker with my work before I’ve left the parking lot. These people don’t make their livelihood from design, don’t invest the time to learn the tools and techniques, yet have the impression that access to the tools alone is all that matters to be a professional designer. It wasn’t that way with pen and ink. That impression has become pervasive and has become a chore to counter.

It seems to me that in time the subscription mode for high-end design tools will eventually limit access to those willing to dedicate the time and resources needed to adequately learn the tools and techniques, i.e., people who spend all day, every day, making their livelihood from design. I see that as a good thing for the graphic design profession.

JamesM's picture

I see your point, BlueStreak, and agree with it up to a point. But the Creative Suite wasn't exactly cheap before this happened. Someone buying their first copy (rather than upgrading) of InDesign CS6 at Amazon will spend $630; the master collection costs over $2,000.

Compare that to subscribing to InDesign for $20 a month, or the entire suite for $50 a month.

Will it stop some amateurs from using these products? Yes, maybe. But to many businesses $50 a month is pocket change.

hrant's picture

Does this help fight piracy?

hhp

phrostbyte64's picture

@BlueStreak. Maybe this will stop amateur tweaking of your files, but this won't stop clients from sending you cr@p from low end software. Many times such files are are completely unusable, making it impossible to import into your high end software even if you need to. But then, I get the same kind of cr@p from professionals, so I don't notice the difference.

Thomas Phinney's picture

BlueStreak wrote: “The purchase of Macromedia to kill Freehand....”

That was not a major goal of Adobe’s Macromedia acquisition. It was first and foremost about Flash, and secondarily about Dreamweaver and other web stuff.

DTY's picture

For pros who are used to buying the newest versions whenever they come out, this new pricing system will actually save them money. But for folks who only updated occasionally in the past, this new system may be more expensive.

Maybe for those who were licensing every version of the Master Collection. But I suspect most CS users are using a subset suite. As a Design Standard user, the subscription model would roughly triple my costs over upgrading the suite every 18-24 months. I can't see much point in coughing up the extra money; it's not like they've been improving the software much in recent years.

Nick Shinn's picture

But why do you need to subscribe with a regular fee?
Why can’t you just use as much of it as you need for as long as you need that?

Si_Daniels's picture

I've not read the entire thread but someone asked about OpenType Stylistic Sets. These are indeed accessible in Word, Outlook and Publisher, but the UI only lets you apply one at a time making them less that ideal for most professional fonts. However, John Hudson's Gabriola font was in part commissioned to highlight this feature of Office.

As for OpenType support in general your standard web browser has infinitely better OpenType support than and DTP or word processing product.

Cheers, Si

quadibloc's picture

@hrant:
Does this help fight piracy?

Oh, definitely. If your software is on your servers, it can hardly be copied.

It prevents piracy. It prevents cheapskates from using old software they did pay for, but never upgraded. It keeps the revenue flowing in to an extent that is something to behold.

It's just money, money, money until Quark decides to improve their product enough to be able to take advantage of this potential market opportunity for someone less greedy.

marcox's picture

@Quadibloc: Not sure if this is what you were implying, but the Creative Cloud apps aren't housed in the cloud. You download them to your machine, where they run like their predecessors did. The difference is that the CC apps check with the Adobe mothership once a month to make sure you're a user in good standing. Contract's up? Software won't run.

Not knowing how software is "cracked" these days, I have no idea whether that'll reduce piracy, though.

Chris Dean's picture

[to follow]

charles ellertson's picture

It prevents cheapskates from using old software they did pay for, but never upgraded.

Really? How? Believe my old ID-CS4 will keep right on working (as well as it ever did). Even the CS6 bought on a DVD...

hrant's picture

I'm sorry, but what's this "too greedy" business? Adobe has worked hard to get to this point by playing by the rules of our Capitalist society. It's a publicly-owned company for chrissake - what should we expect? If you don't like what they're doing, complain about the system instead of demonizing individual entities.

hhp

quadibloc's picture

@hrant:
Maximizing profits is indeed a responsibility companies have to their shareholders.

However, the system as it stands now does include antitrust laws, so monopolies are frowned upon.

And, despite the limitations of Quark - and the efforts it will have to make to address its own reputation with users - Adobe doesn't even really have a monopoly. So they may have behaved... injudiciously... which need not necessarily be of benefit to shareholders.

Thus, rather than advocating the overthrow of the capitalist system, I think it will be sufficient for consumers to aggressively explore alternatives to their products. If this leads to Adobe requiring the use of Chapter 11 soon, this will encourage Microsoft not to abandon Microsoft Office in favor of Office 365.

@marcox:
My mistake, I wasn't aware of the details of their means of implementing SaaS.

@charles ellertson:
Yes, it doesn't stop existing cheapskates, but it prevents new ones from starting.

charles ellertson's picture

Maximizing profits is indeed a responsibility companies have to their shareholders.

The nightsoil of a large and well fed male ox.

You have to consider the timeframe of "profitability" as well. Most mutual fund managers interest is short term. They are in business to get management fees, and they get those by appearing to do better than indexed funds. So, their interests are short term, they are continually buying and selling companies stock, passing the well-hidden costs on to their consumers. Just like advertising.

Usually, the company's job is to remain profitable over the long haul. What becomes interesting -- theoretically -- is when institutional investors own more than 50% of the stock. Is the 6-month profitability then a larger responsibility than the survival of the company?

And do you really care about the answer? If not, stop using such nonsense sayings.

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