October 28, 2006

Why no PowerPC support in Soundbooth?

A few days ago Adobe introduced Soundbooth, a free download (in beta form) from Adobe Labs.  Notably, and happily, the app not only supports Mac OS X, but also runs natively on Mactel systems.  More controversial, however, has been the news that the app runs only on Mactel systems, not those using a PowerPC.

"The elimination of PowerPC support in Photobooth [sic] raises major issues," writes Macintouch.  I’m a little puzzled: how is it that people can refer to the "elimination" of something that never existed–namely, PPC code in Soundbooth?

Here’s the reality: Apple’s migration to Intel chips means that it’s easier to develop for both Mac and Windows, because instead of splitting development resources optimizing for two different chip architectures, you can focus on just one.  That’s all good, and it makes Mac development more attractive. Users benefit from having developers’ efforts go elsewhere (features, performance tuning, etc.), rather that into parallel, duplicate work. In the case of Soundbooth, the team could leverage Adobe’s expertise in building great audio tools for Intel chips (namely Audition) to bring the app to market faster and with a richer feature set.

Now, if you were Adobe and had started developing a new application at exactly the time when Apple told you, "This other chip architecture is dead to us," would you rather put your efforts into developing for that platform, or would you focus elsewhere?

This logic seems lost on a lot of online posters, who leap to some fairly outlandish conclusions.  "Oh my God, next thing you know, Photoshop and the other apps won’t run on PowerPC, and the next thing you know, they’ll kill Mac versions altogether and just tell us to run Windows using Parallels!"  At what point Adobe will burn Snuggle the Fabric Softener Bear in some dark pagan ritual isn’t specified, but that must be the natural next step, right??

Come on.  As regards Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, etc., these apps have been tuned for PowerPC for many versions, and therefore continuing that support is a very different matter than creating support from scratch. To put the freaking out to rest: the next versions of the CS and Studio apps are being built as Universal apps, and they’ll run great on PPC.  Someday Apple, Adobe, and everyone else will stop supporting PPC, as they did with 68k chips, OS 9, etc.–but not anytime soon.

Macintouch writes, "There are 10 or 20 million active PowerPC Macs and no excuse in the world for abandoning them and forcing people to buy new Intel Macs to run applications."  Doesn’t it seem like something would have to exist before it could be abandoned?  "That’s completely contrary to Apple’s whole approach to the Intel migration," they write.  And again, in order to migrate, you have to start somewhere (namely, on the PPC). Soundbooth is a fresh start, not a migration.

If you’re a Mac user, I think it’s important to ask yourself, "Would I rather encourage software developers to bring their titles to the Mac, or would I rather jump down their throats given any opportunity?  If Adobe were to bring other Windows-only apps to the Mac, would I be happy about that, or would I rather give them hell for focusing on features & functionality rather than a discontinued chip architecture?"

I have to ask myself, Why on earth am I devoting part of my weekend to writing all this?  Why not blow it off and get out of the house?  Maybe I should, but as a die-hard Mac user I feel like someone has to speak a little truth to the Mac community–or rather,
to that vocal little group of
zealots and forum trolls. So here’s my message for those folks: You’re hurting the Mac platform. You’re hurting the Mac community. You need to crush a little aluminum foil against those antennae of yours, because you’re hurting everyone concerned. You’re making it harder (and less appealing) for people of goodwill to make the effort to support the Mac.

In economics, Gresham’s law states that when both legitimate money & counterfeit money are in circulation, the bad stuff tends to remain in circulation while the good stuff tends
to be hoarded or exported.  This applies to politics and to online conversations: extreme voices drive out (or at least silence) more moderate, level-headed thinking. I’ve bothered to write this, and to risk catching a lot of slings and arrows, because it’s important that someone stand up and say, "Whoa, hey, simmer down.  Take another look at the situation, and let’s take a second to accentuate the positive."

At the end of the day, instead of supporting only Windows, Adobe is bringing a new app to the Mac.  As a Mac user, I think that’s great news, and I suspect the vast majority of Mac users do, too.

Grabbing the Aerobie and heading out the door,

J.

[Update: Soundbooth PM Hart Schafer shares his perspective on the question of making Soundbooth support PPC. Suffice it to say, it's not a "flip the checkbox in Xcode and you're done" kind of thing.]

Posted by John Nack at 3:33 PM on October 28, 2006

Comments

  • Chafic Kazoun — 4:11 PM on October 28, 2006

    Excellent write up. I agree 100%. I think sometimes people forget the amount of effort it takes to develop cross platform applications still.

  • 6trak — 6:43 PM on October 28, 2006

    Good stuff.
    Nobody is *forcing* anybody to buy a new mac. I do, actually, have the option of not installing the beta afterall.
    Good ol’ American overinflated sense of entitlement. Goota love that.

  • sfenerule — 8:09 PM on October 28, 2006

    Has Adobe used Xcode to build the Soundbooth app?
    [Yes: Apple requires the use of Xcode to build Mactel apps. If you're using CodeWarrior, you have to convert your whole project. Luckily Soundbooth is brand new, so conversion wasn't necessary. --J.]

  • Ajit — 8:55 PM on October 28, 2006

    So your point is: don’t make a stink because companies are less likely to satisfy you.
    Hmmmm…?
    [No. My point is to not shoot yourself in the foot by shooting at people who want to develop for your platform.
    No one is saying that it wouldn't be better to support both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs. The Soundbooth team made a decision that focusing on current and future Macs would let them come to market faster, with a better feature set, than if they put their time into developing for the PPC. That may or may not be the right trade-off, but it's a trade-off like any other. Another option would have been not to support the Mac, or to take longer in doing it, or to defer other work to do it.
    What bugs me here is that some people would like to make the perfect the enemy of the good, and to lambaste Adobe to the point where it seems they'd rather have no application at all than one that doesn't support all systems. It's not even a matter of seeing the glass as half-empty or half-full; it's a matter of people saying, "It's 10% empty?! I'll see you in hell!" Not super helpful, and it doesn't really make you want to go to bat for making more Mac software.
    It's not the end of the world, and most people are thicker skinned about this stuff than I am. I would like the zealots out there to know, however, that ranting does actually affect real people who are trying to do the right thing. --J.]

  • John Dowdell — 9:43 PM on October 28, 2006

    HEY! WHERE’S THE LINUX VERSION ALREADY!?!?!??!
    (heh, couldn’t resist, let me try to sneak out of here quietly now…. ;-)
    (hmm, but before I go, maybe the folks who are concerned are thinking more about their own systems, their own plans, and see a signpost in Soundbooth of their current investments, more than about engineering practicalities. Seem plausible…?)
    [Sure, and I respect people's desire for info about the future of Adobe support for their systems. That all makes sense, and I tried to provide some info above. My irritation stemmed in part from the conclusions to which some people were willing to jump. --J.]

  • Chris Petersen — 11:28 PM on October 28, 2006

    John:
    Thanks for your continued support on the Mac. It’s appreciated. I work in mac software development and do see comments from a small minority of mac user bitch about something that wasn’t included (feature). Your passion and desire to make something great doesn’t go unnoticed by other mac users. Keep it coming !

  • Jeff — 11:49 PM on October 28, 2006

    The use of Xcode means that, afaik, the creation of a universal binary would’ve required Adobe to click a check box before compiling.
    They chose not to, and that is what upsets people, I believe. I know it irks me, as a PPC owner, not to be able to try out this supposedly wonderful new product, because Adobe was unwilling to click a check box in Xcode.
    [Let me see what additional info I can get here. It might help shed more light on the decision. --J.]
    Adobe is marginalizing a large segment of the Mac-using population. And for no good reason–your well-stated article notwithstanding–that I can think of. Yes, some performance tuning would’ve been necessary, even after clicking the UB check box, but is Adobe so hard up for PPC devs that they couldn’t spare one guy/girl to bust it out for them?
    Even though the PPC platform is “dead,” I still think there are enough systems (10-20 million) that Soundbooth would be a Godsend on at least 3 or 4 of them.
    Thanks for the article, although, respectfully, I disagree with you.
    [That's cool, and I appreciate your taking time to engage in the discussion. Maybe that's all I was really looking for: some level-headed conversation, instead of what I was picking up on various discussion boards (lots of really shrill ranting that I found pretty demoralizing). --J.]

  • Mark S. — 1:12 AM on October 29, 2006

    To me it just seems shortsighted. Though I have a MacBook Pro nd an intel mini, the fact of the matter is that 90+% of the installed base is PowerPC. Lots of mixed media environment and most of the Pro’s are still of PowerMac G5’s (why? Because of Adobe’s slowness in getting their Apps out!).
    No one is going to standardize a piece of software into their workflow if so many of their machines can’t run it. Just bad decision making, something that hasn’t been to suprising lately from Adobe, sorry to say.
    Their is a difference between being forward looking and ignoring the realities of the market.

  • Karen Eliot — 1:25 AM on October 29, 2006

    John is right. The Mac community has a fair share of zealots that make the majority of Mac users cringe. It’s great that Soundbooth exists for the Mac in any form. For users who use PPC Macs (like me at work) nothing has changed. For Intel Mac users – great.
    Cheers

  • Jeremy Caney — 2:47 AM on October 29, 2006

    I hear your point and I agree with the business logic. Nonetheless, the Mac platform is in an awkward limbo right now. Many people I know (including myself) aren’t willing to upgrade to Mactel until the performance of Photoshop is improved (which is dependent on a Universal Binary, which is still many months off) – and yet at the same time, Adobe is pushing full speed forward with Intel only apps. I don’t think anyone would fault Adobe for fully investing in the Intel platform, but some may see the different approaches as a mixed message.
    [Yeah, good point. I'm giving some thought to ways we can provide better guidance. --J.]

  • Javaholic — 3:29 AM on October 29, 2006

    Nicely ‘restrained’ article, considering the moaning from those wondering why CS3 isn’t ready for the new Intel hardware they just purchased from Apple. ;D
    As a Mac user running Adobe apps for many years now, I personally can’t see the big deal making Soundbooth Intel only (nice UI, btw). It’s a new app. That’s progress. That’s business. That’s the way it goes. Maybe if there were an additional 20 million PPC Macs out there the decision might have been different.
    And with regard to that CS3 release – I’d prefer CS3 to be in great shape, not just good shape. Some of us don’t mind waiting.
    [Thanks--that's what we figured. We don't want to pull a Quark, where (according to Macworld) the native version of the app is actually slower than the emulated version. --J.]

  • Rob — 5:57 AM on October 29, 2006

    Forgive me if you’ve already covered this, (and i know this is a little off topic) but what is Adobe’s perspective on linux? i’ve thought a few times that switching would be a much more stable alternative to WinXP (and cheaper than Mac, since i have a lot invested in PC already) but i wouldn’t bother doing something like that when i don’t have access to Photoshop, AE,Premiere, Illustrator, and the other stuff I use pretty often.
    [Adobe hasn't announced any plans to bring those apps to Linux in native form, which is about all I can say on the subject. I know that various teams have been hoping to make their products work well with WINE (Windows emulation on Linux), but I don't know where those efforts stand. --J.]
    back on topic,
    I agree completely with your perspective. while i personally use a PC at home for my freelancing, my office uses PPC G5’s for our editing and other work and yeah, i’d love to have a really great new app to use there, but i also realize that the product is brand new and not being re-coded for the MacTels. so it makes sense (even though it’s a bummer) to do it the way Adobe has chosen to do it.
    Good luck with the trolls!

  • nagha — 9:11 AM on October 29, 2006

    Listen, it sucks to be stuck with hardware that’s getting abandoned but it’s reality. I do think that Adobe is being a bit short sighted because there’s a lot more PPC machines out there than Intel machines so you’re leaving a lot more money on the table.
    The truth of the matter is that people will buy new hardware when they see software that they need/want. So, the same people who are griping will make a decision – do I buy a new machine to run this new software or will I look for an alternative that runs on PPC?
    I think Adobe has more to lose by those people choosing to stick with their PPC.

  • Peter P — 10:35 AM on October 29, 2006

    With all due respect, we don’t ‘need’ soundbooth at all. Good luck with wasting resources on it though. And really, I’m getting sick of Adobe pulling the ‘well we could just do it for Windows’ line. Just do it for Windows, then. It’ll probably only sell as well as liveMotion anyway.
    [Thanks for your thoughtful support of Mac development. --J.]

  • Frank Fulchiero — 11:43 AM on October 29, 2006

    John, I’ve been a professional Mac user since the Mac Plus, mostly supporting video, audio and multimedia.
    Don’t worry about all the whiners, you’ve made a good decision, and thanks for the explanation.
    There are many sound edit packages that work on the PPC! It’s not like Soundbooth is the only one. Some people are acting like they are being starved to death, or being deprived of a unique high-end app. I’m happy that you are supporting OSX on the Intel chip. And I wonder if all the whiners would actually pay to use Soundbooth.

  • Preston — 12:09 PM on October 29, 2006

    The use of Xcode means that, afaik, the creation of a universal binary would’ve required Adobe to click a check box before compiling.
    If only it were that simple. Sometimes there is processor-specific assembly code, sometimes there are endian assumptions, and so forth. A totally clean app written with no architecture assumptions would compile into a UB easily. A cross-platform application with assumptions about the machine it’s running on and written with lower-level APIs like Carbon would require extra work.
    And, hey, who’s to say that if there’s enough potential return on investment after release, Adobe won’t do the extra work to add in some PPC support? It seems for now, they are focused on getting it released, and it’s easier to assume an architecture to do that.

  • kevintel — 1:09 PM on October 29, 2006

    I can understand the thinking behind an Intel-only release, but there are two things I’m interested in: the answer to previous question about how much is actually involved in supporting PPC (I imagine quite a bit for something that works on this level, using Adobe frameworks) and also, has the attitude of people such as Peter P and Ajit actually resulted in projects being sidelined? Adobe, what used to be Macromedia, the Mac BU at MS, I’m sure all of these have had this treatment at some point. But did it affect product planning?
    [Well, by and large decisions are made for some pretty solid, unemotional business reasons: there are X number of users on this plaform doing task A, and we think such-and-such percentage would buy a solution that did Y, etc.
    I think it's accurate to say, however, that the reaction of the user community does factor into one's gut-level decisions, and besides that, it has some bearing on the desire you bring to the table. As I say, I've been writing this on the weekend. Clearly I care a great deal about making these tools, and about the Mac platform in particular, as do a lot of other passionate folks here. You end up with a lot of yourself wrapped up in a product, and I don't think we'd be human if we weren't affected by how people respond. I'm all for constructive criticism, but I tend to take the emotional ranting on the chin. --J.]

  • Steve — 2:12 PM on October 29, 2006

    Good article, to which I basically agree. But maybe you can answer this unrepentantly unrelated question: Why did Adobe take the finely named “Adobe Lightroom” and awkwardly shoehorn “Photoshop” into it? It dilutes, in one swoop, both the Photoshop name *and* Lightroom’s (which really has nothing to do with Photoshop…).
    Read Gruber for a cogent case for why “Adobe Photoshop Lightroom” is a craptastic name.
    [Yeah, I did read that. I'm going to let others tackle that naming decision. --J.]

  • Henrik Wannheden — 2:45 PM on October 29, 2006

    If it was that simple, to check the box to compile for PowerPC, I’m sure Adobe would have done so. Since this is cross developed with a Windows version I figured that there are libraries that are finetuned for Intel hardware and that it’s pretty much just the GUI that’s platform specific. It would be pretty hard to port sound libs (probably accelerated by SSE and such) these to PowerPC.. and it might not be worth the hassle. I’m all for rapid development and deployment of new applications. If it means leaving PowerPC behind, so be it!
    [That was the Soundbooth team's thinking. I believe Hart Schafer, the Soundbooth PM, is due to post some additional info on that point. --J.]

  • John McCaffrey — 5:46 PM on October 29, 2006

    I think you summed up the situation nicely. Since the new chip is really a profound change in the Mac, this will be an issue for some time. I think the best point you raised is the fact that developers will be able to produce more apps for the Mac. Down the road that is the bigger picture issue. Thanks for taking the time out of your weekend to address this important issue.
    [Sure. Thanks for taking the time to read it. --J.]

  • Neema Agha — 7:59 PM on October 29, 2006

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that if Apple was doing more to grow the platform and expand marketshare, developers wouldn’t be as reluctant to invest in the platform.
    Apple needs to be selling more Macs and make it a better platform to develop on and for… that means affordable expandable desktops, better development tools and an eye to growing a self sustaining platform.

  • Werner — 12:42 AM on October 30, 2006

    “We don’t want to pull a Quark, where (according to Macworld) the native version of the app is actually slower than the emulated version.”
    I think you should read the MacWorld article better, John.
    [Sorry, which one to do you have in mind? Is it "Slow performer’s new features and improvements cater to a limited audience," or "PowerPC performance takes a hit with version 7.01"? The latter shows the Quark update running faster in some cases & slower in others than its emulated predecessor. What's inexcusable is that the update apparently whomps QXP performance on PPC.
    I don't feel particularly great bringing this up about Quark. It feels like negative campaigning--not what I want to be about. I mention it, however, because of two things. One, during the 18 or so months that Quark lagged behind InDesign in delivering a Mac OS X-native version of its product, they swore up and down that they wouldn't release anything prematurely, that because they weren't a public company they could take their time and really nail the quality (with obvious implications about Adobe). If QXP7 isn't a rush job, I don't know what is. And two, they kept talking about how it was going to be "fast as hell," when in some cases it's getting beaten by emulated versions of QXP 6 (not to mention InDesign).
    So, maybe you're right; maybe I shouldn't bring them up at all. But I feel like they've been taking smack for a while, and someone had to point out the results. --J.]

    To hit on Quark, who are already supporting MacIntel, to cover up the failure of your company to support MacIntel, is pretty lame.
    Remember, that Chizen himself announced on stage with Steve Jobs that Adobe would be first to have all apps native?
    [Whoa--when did he say that? Can you find some quotes? I remember him saying that he thought this was a great step for the Mac platform, and that Adobe would support it with native versions of our apps. I don't remember any promises about being first. The point is to do it right, not to do it first. --J.]
    And now, beside MS, you are the only ones NOT supporting Intel natively? And you are going to be nine months later than Quark?
    Makes me think… history repeating itself (just vice versa)?
    (And hopefully you won’t delete this post. Just admit that it took you longer than you thought and you are very much behind.)
    [Heh--I don't think it's taken longer than we expected. Actually, given the confluence of Mactel, Vista, the Macromedia integration, I expected we might all be contemplating seppuku right now (blown schedules, decimated feature sets, etc. That's not the case, and we're on track to deliver what we always said: the next versions of the Adobe apps as Universal binaries. --J.]

  • macmoz — 1:34 AM on October 30, 2006

    And another point that wasn’t mentioned yet: Soundbooth comes out in mid 2007, that is not today.
    By that time i will have a MacIntel, too. And so do many other professional users. And those are the ones that buy these apps.
    [That's a great point, actually, and one I/we probably should have made more clearly. --J.]

  • Alphab — 1:44 AM on October 30, 2006

    Congrats to you and Adobe for a great exemple of how a blog can be appropriate for handling user relations and countering a stupid negative buzz.
    Well done!
    [Thanks. --J.]

  • Snorre Milde — 1:53 AM on October 30, 2006

    I would like to hear Hart Schafer’s honest estimate for how long it would take for a single developer to sort out the endian issues, tick that Universal checkbox and do any other necessary PPC alterations.
    I do not believe SSE3 optimisation is an issue for a project of this scope/performance – besides, Intel’s compilers are pretty clever these days.
    There is a sizable group people in your target market with PPC rigs who are unable to migrate right now due due non-Intel compatible software and hardware.
    I believe you made yet another bad PR move, Adobe. You are, as far as I know, the first company to announce a major Intel-only software product, and you will deservedly continue to get a lot of flak for it.
    [What if Apple had gone first? Would you, Gruber et al. roast 'em on a spit? Or does Apple get a special pass because their brand makes us all feel special? I wish we could know. --J.]
    Bruce Chizen has proudly exclaimed that he’s a salesman and couldn’t give a damn about software development. It’s starting to show more and more in the way you treat your customers.
    Maybe a candidate for Daring Fireball’s Jackass of the Week?
    [So, out of curiosity, would you be calling our CEO names if he'd said, "You know, these Mac guys are out of their minds; let's not bother supporting that platform with our new app"? I get the impression you wouldn't have even noticed. And that gets at the root perversity of this whole thing: some percentage of Mac users would rather take Adobe to task for supporting the Mac than for not supporting it. Bizarre. --J.]

  • David Young — 2:11 AM on October 30, 2006

    Rest assured, Apple is doing all it can to grow its platform, and it’s working, albeit slowly.
    I was at the helm of a fairly large software project for the Mac when the Intel switch was announced. Porting was more than checking a checkbox, but it wasn’t as though it was a separate development effort. And I’ll tell you what: very little had to do with the chip — it had to do with that we had written crap code which assumed the wrong kind of chip. I am surprised that Adobe has bitten off the Intel-only cookie, but there it is.
    There’s more to think about here though: Intel-only means 10.4.x and later-only, and a reasonably fast piece of hardware to run on. In essence, saying Intel-only cuts off a huge area of discussion (“should we support Panther?” “What about performance on some customer’s crappy 1GHz PPC Mac Mini?” etc.) In reality, saying Intel-only at this point in time basically means “any hardware manufactured in the last year”, which is pretty much an engineer’s dream.
    Having said that, Apple goes to greater lengths than any other vendor to make the platform simply amazing to develop for. If you don’t believe me, go browse the docs on developer.apple.com. Problem is that with Adobe, there’s the battling of two corporate behemoths: do you really think Adobe would choose Core Image and Image Units for the next generation of Photoshop? (If I were Adobe, I’m not sure I would either.)

  • Jay Vaughan — 2:28 AM on October 30, 2006

    I don’t get it.. whats so hard about building Universal Binaries? I can’t see anything in Soundbooth which would support hard-coded assembly .. and if projects like Audacity can handle a cross-platform project, why can’t Adobe?
    The only possible reason I can see for not turning on the “Universal Binary” switch is, simply, laziness. Soundbooth isn’t such a hot app that its gotta be coded in Assembly for performance reasons ..

  • Jacques Lema — 2:50 AM on October 30, 2006

    What about the future CPUs? The great thing about using Xcode’s universal binary features is that it is not meant to build ‘dual binary’, it’s universal.
    So if one day… who knows… IBM, or someone else, comes up with a new architecture that’s 30 times faster, all the people that use Xcode will just have to wait for Apple to give them that new additional checkbox, and they will build new versions of their apps in one hour.
    In Leopard, Xcode will already be able to build code separately for 64 bits intel (including GUI and all standard frameworks, unlike now), making the “universal binary” a container for three builds.
    Granted, no one HAS to buy or even try the application. But I think it is somehow more forward looking, to adopt the universal binary system, than going with your own Windows+OSX Intel framework.
    [I'm not sure I follow you exactly, but the benefits of working in Xcode aren't dependent on choosing to exercise them. That is, choosing to write PPC code now wouldn't give Adobe or other developers an easier time supporting some future platform. --J.]

  • Jesper — 3:24 AM on October 30, 2006

    As a developer, the big question for me here is the message Adobe is sending. The message Adobe is sending is not “we won’t bend over backwards to support systems no longer shipped”.
    No, the message Adobe is sending is “we’re incompetent enough that, even using Core Audio, a hardware abstraction layer, we can’t create code that compiles and runs on more than one architecture, and when another processor pops up that Apple *will* switch to in the future, we’ll sit here and have to do this porting gig all over again”.
    It may seem provocative. You may think “my god, hasn’t he been listening?” And certainly I don’t think that Adobe’s programmers is incompetent. But I don’t know what else in actual fact to take away from this whole exercise. Generally, if you’re writing a new application today that’s bound to a specific processor on a platform with multiple processor, you’re doing something wrong. Sound processing is extremely demanding, but you’re using a hardware abstraction layer.
    If you can, please shed some light on this. In my eyes, my view of Adobe’s ability to code competently is what’s at stake, not its willingness to slough off support for less-than-brand-new technologies.
    [Wow--I really don't see how this is a referendum on the competence of Adobe engineers. Rather, it's a measure of the company's decision to make one trade-off vs. another. As I've been saying, in an ideal world you'd do everything: support all platforms, build all the features you envision, and do it in a day. But those goal obviously conflict with one another, so you have to make trade-offs. As Steve Jobs said, "Real artists ship."
    I'm curious: if supporting PPC made Soundbooth ship six months later (just a theoretical number I'm pulling out of the air), or cost more, or ship with fewer/weaker features, would it be worth doing? I dunno; maybe. That's not my call. The Soundbooth team said no. So again, it's not a question of competence (which is kind of an offensive assertion, when you think about it); it's a question of bang for the buck: Given constraints of time and resources, where do you build/cut in order to make the best possible product for customers? --J.]

  • Jim Rea — 3:37 AM on October 30, 2006

    As a developer myself I can see where this decision could make sense from a technical standpoint, and I certainly appreciate John’s post and thoughtful responses in the comments.
    On the other hand, this hasn’t happened in a vacuum, but in the larger context of Adobe’s handling of the Mac market. For example as a FrameMaker user, I have to question whether I would ever want to make a significant future investment in an Adobe product. After attending an Adobe marketing seminar in 1999 our small company began using FrameMaker and now have thousands of pages of documents using this now orpaned product. I imagine that the overall Mac community must have millions of pages of FrameMaker documents, but Adobe has rather rudely determined that this investment on the part of their users is insufficient for them to continue to support the product, and only a short time after they were actively promoting FrameMaker (a great product, by the way). Now we’re all stuck with either continuing to use the software on increasingly obsolete hardware, switching to a buggy Windows version, or making a huge investment in manually converting our documents to some other product. When a company has treated their customers in such a rude way in the past it shouldn’t be too suprising that in the future those customers are not very inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • Rick H — 4:49 AM on October 30, 2006

    Disappointed that I can’t try Soundbooth-yes, understand Adobes logic as you have so thoughtfully taken the time to explain-absolutely. I’ll have an Intel Mac soon enough and then I’ll give Soundbooth a try. I’m having good luck with Mackie’s Traction and still trying to sort out ProTools, which doesn’t work on my particular flavor of G4-either! I’m glad to see that Adobe isn’t afraid of stepping into an already (pretty) crowded pool of Mac audio applications- good for them.

  • Robert — 5:34 AM on October 30, 2006

    Hi John, thanks for your post. I do a lot of audio work on my dual 1 GHz G4, as many audio apps/plugins aren’t UB yet, and I was a little disappointed at not being able to try Soundbooth.
    I completely give the Soundbooth engineering team benefit of the doubt. I’m sure if it was that easy to add PPC support, they would have done so.
    And I also encourage someone from Adobe to communicate the technical reasons for PPC omission. I’m sure it would be helpful and educational for us.

  • Glyn Williams — 5:43 AM on October 30, 2006

    I totally understand Adobe having difficulty porting Photoshop. It’s a big old codebase and moving the whole thing to XCode is a big job.
    But Soundbooth is a brand new App – developed under XCode, supporting two architectures is hardly a major undertaking. The article uses the word split – implying that the development resources on the team would be divided, with half working on the Intel version and half on the PPC version. This is just misleading.
    [Sorry--that's not the impression I was trying to convey. Maybe "divided" would be a better word, in that it doesn't imply a 50/50 split. My point was that time spent developing for an increasingly outdated platform (in which I've invested, and on which I'm typing this, btw) is time taken away from building for the future. --J.]
    To support PPC would require somewhere between 1%-10% additional resources on the project. Not a bad tradeoff considering the number of PPC Macs still in use in recording studios.
    This is not a development decision, it’s not even an economic decision. This is a political decision.
    [That I don’t follow at all. I think there’s an unfortunate tendency in the Mac community to see things as really emotionally charged, as decisions made on the fly for emotional/political reasons. I don’t know whether I’m pleased or bummed to tell you, but it generally ain’t that interesting (more Excel than Melrose Place). –J.

  • kL — 6:25 AM on October 30, 2006

    I don’t like that attitude. Goodwill effort? Is the situation that bad, that making business with mac users is a favor?
    It’s the first (large) app that’s dropped PPC, and that’s a symbol that certain era in life of mac/apple has ended. That’s sad for many mac users, because it says them “you’re obsolete, you’re not worth our efforts”.
    If others managed to port other way round, it’s difficult to believe that it wasn’t feasible to create (at least less optimized) build for PPC.

  • Francisco Pereira — 6:59 AM on October 30, 2006

    they say to Apple custumers: stick with your PPC because we are no making universal versions of Adobe Creative Suite, and buy Intel Macs because Soundbooth is only for intel processors.
    [Um--I haven't heard Adobe say either that people shouldn't move to Mactel, or that we aren't going to make Universal versions of the Suite. We've said that Apple's requirement that we move all our apps to Xcode takes us considerable time (just as it took for the Apple teams), but that we're getting there. Clearly the move to Intel chips brings about great things for the Mac platform, which is what I remember Bruce Chizen saying on stage the day the whole thing was announced. --J.]
    Shame on Adobe.
    [Super. --J.]

  • Roger Dragon — 7:31 AM on October 30, 2006

    It speaks volumes — particularly coming from the company that killed-via-acquisition SuperPaint, FrameMaker, and Freehand — that we should be grateful that Adobe has deigned to release a new app for the Mac. The culture of corporate arrogance that the PostScript monopoly engendered is clearly alive and well.
    As far as I’m concerned, you can take your ball and go home. Take Photoshop with you, too. Adobe apparently won’t miss the income from those millions of Macintoshes.
    Oh, and you can attempt to delegitimize this viewpoint by Joe Liebermanesquely saying ‘thank you for your continued support of Mac developers’ — it’s your blog — but that’s BS, and you should know it. You don’t need us, you have the Photoshop monopoly.
    The fact is, Adobe has earned much hostility from the Mac community. The remarkable thing is that it doesn’t get more shit because of it.
    Acrobat has always — from 1.0 forward — been a po-faced afterthought on the Mac, a bad and ugly Windows port.
    FrameMaker had been essentially neglected since 1993, and was finally killed because Adobe didn’t want to spend the bucks to modernize it. You’re happy to rake in the dollars on other platforms, though, because you don’t have to recompile to sell it. Future support? FU, customers! We’re Adobe! We’ll tell you when you get an upgrade. Don’t call us.
    Not to mention that your installers and upgraders on the Mac are universally (a) ugly and (b) full of bugs. Windows users suffer like that all the time, but Mac users have higher standards. We expect things to work.
    I fully expect you to dismiss this comment as the inane rantings of a platform zealot, but you do so at your peril. There will come a time when CS is no longer the only game in town.
    [Look, I'm not dismissing anything, and I'll thank you to let me state my own opinions, as I welcome others to state theirs. --J.]

  • David Garon — 7:53 AM on October 30, 2006

    Most of what you say makes perfect sense. We all know, though, that as soon as Apple comes out with an application that may compete with Adobe’s similar product, just as with Microsoft, quite often development of that product is abandoned (Premiere, I.E., etc). For those of us who used those programs, that is a bit of a slap in the face. It really feels like you are punishing YOUR customers for Apple’s decisions. Either that or you are admitting that Apples versions are so far superior, further development of your products for the Mac would be futile. Sheer speculation on my part, but I think the history of many products from your 2 fine companies pretty much tells that story. As for Adobe, I “idolize” the company and have, along with sundry other companies, created a life over the last 17 years that has made me very successful. The tools you provide are typically no less than spectacular, so when you release a new Windows-only program, or a platform specific version, it feels like punishment. I believe Apple and Adobe basically have a fine, symbiotic relationship, honed over many years by cooperation. I would HATE to see that end.
    [The Apple and Adobe relationship is strong, and from what I can tell, it's only getting better. For obvious reasons I can't go into much detail about a lot of things, but you may be surprised by a few things in the future.
    One particular point: if it were true that as soon as Apple introduces a competing product, Adobe runs and cries and hides in the bushes, why did Adobe introduce Lightroom for the Mac soon after the introduction of Aperture? Why didn't we say, "Oh my, all is lost!" Instead, the team introduced Lightroom on the Mac first.
    Incidentally, I find it a little funny that Lightroom came to market as a Universal binary some four months before Aperture did, and with much more reasonable hardware requirements. Funny how quickly these things fade from the collective memory. --J.]

  • John Welch — 7:55 AM on October 30, 2006

    The problem is, when you talk about Mac support, there’s two Adobes:
    The Main CS team, (Photshop/InDesign/Illustrator/GoLive/DreamWeaver). They do good work. They rock, mightily.
    Then there’s the Acrobat Team. I’ve discussed their issues enough on my site, so no need to repeat. But, it’s safe to say that if you deal with the Acrobat team enough as a Mac user, or worse yet, a Mac IT manager, well, let’s just say that your view of how Adobe sees the Mac isn’t as bright and shiny as it is if all you ever work with is the main CS team.
    It is this Jeckyll/Hyde issue that really makes people not trust Adobe, and I think that’s a lot of what you’re seeing.
    [I can't really speak for the Acrobat team, but from what I can tell, whereas some earlier versions were distinctly less feature-rich on Mac than they were on Windows, the team has largely reversed that trend, esp. with Acrobat 8. Maybe I can entice them to share some more details on that point. --J.]

  • Mike Perry — 9:28 AM on October 30, 2006

    Since this discussion has broaden into Adobe’s support for various platforms, I’d like to toss in a suggestion of my own.
    I’m a Mac FrameMaker user left in the cold. I now use InDesign for books, but there are things ID won’t do that FM does well. We can still run FM under Classic for the 20-odd books that were done in FM, but that ability will go away when we shift in Intel.
    Adobe should put one or two programmers to work full-time improving WINE/Codeweaver support of FM from a dubious Bronze to an impressive Gold. With one bold stroke, you could sell Windows FM to Mac and Linux users. (And be honest from the start that you’re not guaranteeing full compatibility.) Given the growing market share of both OSs, that should be good for at least a 10-20% increase in sales.
    –Mike Perry, Inkling Books, Seattle

  • Wintersway — 9:49 AM on October 30, 2006

    I downloaded this app and loved it! Thanks.
    Gruber has sure got a lot of asshats for readers. I am really uncomfortable with the attitude many Mac owners exhibit.

  • Helge Grimm — 9:52 AM on October 30, 2006

    I think the problem is that Adobe forces Mac users to stay on the PPC platform by not offering Intel versions of their software or at least a “buy PPC version now, get Intel version later for free” promotion, and THEN decides to abandon these same people who have bought a PPC Mac only because of Adobe.

  • Tom Fuller — 10:13 AM on October 30, 2006

    John,
    got to agree with you, I can’t help thinking how quickly this will all blow over. Geeks are a funny and noisy bunch online. If -when Soundbooth is released next year- it’s a highly compelling piece of software and can save “professionals” money I’m sure it’ll pay for the hardware upgrade in itself. Keep developing great applications keep throwing that aerobee.

  • Peyton — 10:33 AM on October 30, 2006

    Great stuff John. This highlights the value of a company blog; communicating in mass in a less formal medium than say a press release.
    I am sad there is no PPC support but have to agree with what you wrote. It does seem to make sense. It also reinforces the logic behind Apple moving to Intel. If developers are going to be more inclined to develop Mac software b/c it’s easier using the same chip, then I’m all for it.

  • killroyWasHere — 10:43 AM on October 30, 2006

    tell people to quit bellyaching and just buy a new mac.

  • Darktanone — 11:11 AM on October 30, 2006

    There is a fear of a sudden decision to stop development for our favorite platform that’s at the heart of the matter. That may seem extreme, but the company’s behavior lately is helping fanning that fear. For example, instead of competing with Final Cut Pro, Adobe stopped development of the Mac version of Premier and the PC version of some products, such as Acrobat, have features not found in the Mac version. The reverse may also be true, but the closeness that existed between Adobe and its Mac user base seems to have faded. Seemingly, we’ve been kicked to the curb in favor of the PC and are now left begging to be treated with equal consideration and respect. What happened?
    As I mentioned earlier, there is the fear of abandonment by Adobe. That at any given moment the company could stop making key applications for Macs because it made good business sense. Just as in this decision to produce Soundbooth for Intel Macs only and left out a large part of Mac community. This only heightens that fear in many of us. The company wasn’t willing to take the extra step. It may have made good business sense but it’s becoming somewhat of a PR nightmare. This is just one of the many surprising decisions lately that’s scary to me as a designer. Right or wrong, I believe Adobe would stop development on Photoshop for the Mac if Apple created a competing product. Adobe needs to take a little time out to repair this broken relationship.
    [Addressing just the last line here: we're on it. Stand by. --J.]

  • Martin — 11:54 AM on October 30, 2006

    I’m glad that you defended this decision John, the amount of whining on this issue is unbelievable. Whiners – be grateful that Adobe decided to support the Mac at all with a new app. End of story.

  • John Mac — 12:08 PM on October 30, 2006

    Can the Senior Photoshop Product Manager please shut up about audio apps and GET BACK TO WORK ON PHOTOSHOP!
    Is this why it will be Spring ’07 before Intel-Mac native versions of Photoshop ship?
    His work isn’t done and he’s got time to bitch about a beta audio app aimmed at fringe hobbyists that a total of 2 Mac people in the world even care about?
    Reality check, if you’re looking to do anything with audio, who in their right mind would ever buy an Adobe product? How many times have you tried this already? The market is cramed to the gills with audio apps from pro to consumer, this is especially true on the Mac.
    This is why you are feeling hostility from the Mac community. You stick your foot in your mouth (CS3… tick, tick, tick) and the other where it doesn’t belong.
    Can we get an Apple Photoshop killer yet?
    [Classy and well reasoned, my brutha. Now, I have to ask, because I'm kinda fascinated: Do you have a goal in mind in writing something like this? Would the goal be to win friends & influence people, so to speak, or would it be to piss them off and make they sorry they tried to engage in a discussion & illumination of a company's decision-making? Do you want to light a candle or curse the darkness? --J.]

  • Andrea — 12:14 PM on October 30, 2006

    John, I do not understand all the fuss…
    Is not the same when a new application is made that will only run on 10.4 (or 5 or whatever) and everybody that is still running the previous cat start crying on how they feel “abandoned”?
    Ok, this is based on HW, not SW and therefore the upgrade is more expensive, but still is the same… to offer new features you need to focus only on new technologies… extreme backward compatibility only bring slowness and bugs in the mix…
    People should stop crying about it and (if they think they need Soundbooth) the they will have to upgrade their macs.
    If they don’t need it, or they do not want to upgrade there are plenty of other audio applications that most likely can do the job and that work brilliantly on a PPC mac…

  • John Mac — 1:14 PM on October 30, 2006

    In response… I think it’s highly unprofessional for you to be pontificating and putting down excited and enthusiastic Mac users for theiir disgruntlement over Adobe’s development pace. Clearly you guys are trailing the pack of software developers in getting your stuff Intel-Mac native.
    It’s understandable people feel left out in the cold by Adobe. Your claims that vocal people who want to be your customers but can’t because you don’t have the product in place are ridiculous. You should have a thicker skin towards forums, and I suggest staying off them until you have your work done. It’s like a quarterback whinning about baseball while holding up his own game.
    You are of course entitlted to do whatever you want in your free time, but you pontificating in bringing further ill will towards Adobe. Before I read a news post on Macworld about your comments, I couldn’t have cared less about Soundbooth. I’m a professional audio app user, I’ve been involved in the development of 2 pro audio applications and a number of audio plug-ins. I know the audio software world very well. I’m familiar with Adobe’s lackluster history there, Soundbooth might be a nice distraction for you guys, but it’s only interesting to Mac users right now because A. it’s a free public beta and B. Everyone’s been waiting for Adobe to ship something Intel-Mac native.
    When Soundbooth ships, interest will dwindle and your sales will dwindle to a few Dad’s buying their kids the wrong audio app. Ya know kinda like Audition.
    Bottom line: your blog is cute, but Photoshop CS2 runs like a dog on my Macbook Pro and loves to crash on larger files. When I see posts like yours today, I start to wonder if Adobe has larger problems. I’m not the first to notice Cupertino has been making some interesting noise with Apeture and FCP, and wonder if they might have something up their sleeve that the makers of Photoshop might not be too crazy about.

  • David — 1:28 PM on October 30, 2006

    My thanks to you for your article mirrors what many have already said today.
    One thing I would request of you, and I say this respectfully, is please do not act like developing for the Mac is a “gift” from Adobe. The simple facts are that we pay a lot of money for your software. Secondly, a majority of Apple customers have stayed true to Adobe. There are other reputable companies out there that people could turn to and make a great product, but at the end of the day, many Mac users are about loyalty and as a “die-hard Mac user”, I think you know a little something about that.
    Simply put, I would say Adobe’s decision is a business decision that is their’s to make. But please don’t let your ability to sell to Windows users go to your head, because without Mac users, Adobe loses, too.
    [Absolutely agree about the last point, and I don't want to sound like Adobe developing for the Mac is a "gift." Rather, I think it's simply a good thing, and more Mac development is something that I hope the Mac community will applaud. "Accentuate the positive," you know? --J.]

  • Joe — 1:42 PM on October 30, 2006

    “Apple told you, “This other chip architecture is dead to us,” …”
    They told you this? I thought they’ve been saying “PPC will be around for years to come”.
    “Someday Apple, Adobe, and everyone else will stop supporting PPC, as they did with 68k chips, OS 9, etc.–but not anytime soon.”
    Except Adobe, who has already stopped. It’s been 16+ months since the announcement, and you’ve released, what, zero Universal apps? (Are we supposed to be impressed?)
    “ask yourself, “Would I rather encourage software developers to bring their titles to the Mac, or would I rather jump down their throats given any opportunity?””
    *New* developers, I encourage. If they’re as big as Adobe, and they’re making very non-Mac-like apps, I’m going to give them hell for it. (We give Google and Microsoft hell for their crappy Mac apps, too.) How else will you know we’re not happy with the situation?
    The puzzling thing is that it’s *really* easy to make Universal binaries.
    I’m a programmer; I write code that runs on 3 platforms (even though I only ever use one). You pretty much have to be willfully bad, these days, to write code that won’t run on multiple platforms — especially platforms with *exactly the same API*, and with all the great tools Apple gives you for free.
    First Acrobat (insanely slow to start), then “product activation”, then an entire CPU transition happens with no Universal Illustrator and Photoshop, and now the inability to write a Universal app even when you’re starting from scratch — what the hell is going on over at Adobe?

  • Scott — 1:48 PM on October 30, 2006

    I think the “fuss” is coming from several different perceptions about Adobe and Mac OS development.
    Some people probably do feel “abandoned” and are unwilling to upgrade before their PPC Mac is truly outdated compared to it’s Intel brethren.
    On the other hand, I think many people view releasing a new Intel-only application as a short-sighted move by Adobe.
    As example, some people probably think Adobe’s dependance on PPC has caused the delay of releasing a Intel native version of Photoshop. While this may or may not be true, releasing a new app that only supports one architecture doesn’t build much confidence in future development, nor does it mesh with the Universal architecture message that Apple is sending.
    It’s not that Adobe didn’t support PPC, but that taken all of it’s eggs from one basket (PPC) and thrown them right into another (Intel).

  • Blitz — 1:58 PM on October 30, 2006

    The reason why people are making such a fuss over this is because Adobe has appeared to make a premature move away from PowerPC. Like it or not, Adobe is one of the biggest names in the Mac software space, and for a lot of smaller developers, this is precisely the type of indicator that they will take as a legitimisation for also dropping PPC development. Adobe has started the ball rolling.
    John, if you say the reason for not developing Soundbooth for PPC is due to disproportionate technical difficulty, fine. Adobe needs to be totally upfront about this and make that message crystal clear.
    Instead, what did Adobe actually say? “Apple is quickly moving its focus towards Intel Macs, and no longer sells Power PC systems in many places.” To the average person that reads as “PowerPC is dead; Apple made us do it.”
    When Apple announced the move to Intel, the message to consumers and developers was that Universal applications were the way forward. For Adobe to develop a new application for the Mac but only for Intel is wholly out of step with the picture that Apple described. It doesn’t even seem in step with Adobe’s own product line as CS3 isn’t even Universal yet. Seriously, a lot of pro customers held off buying Intel Macs and bought G5s until CS3 ships so that CS2 would run at full speed. (Anyone ever endured Illustrator on Intel?)
    Perhaps the Soundbooth application itself isn’t 1% as important as people think it might be, but when Adobe makes a (small) move like this, people do take notice. Yes, people get upset when a company that was once perceived as the biggest ally of the Mac, whether directly or indirectly, appears to move against the same people who supported it. As is often the case, timing is everything.

  • Jeff — 6:08 PM on October 30, 2006

    John.
    1. Thanks for discussing this – it means a lot
    2. If Illustrator crashes one more time I shall have to do something drastic
    3. I don’t use dreamweaver anymore
    4. I only use InDesign for legacy pubs
    5. I use PS & Flash because they are sole source… but on PC
    6. What ticked me off was the lack of updates to address speed or stability
    7. Wouldn’t mind paying for those updates if it means I could work
    8. Okay – I would mind but I’d understand it.
    9. Really don’t care about integration
    10. Really don’t care about Vistaolo
    11. Insulting to see UB apps when speed/stability of items I need not addressed.
    12. Lost all the loyalty I had to Adobe for not addressing the issue
    13. Now have LineForm & Quark
    14. Yes I paid for CS2 & I do mind waiting.
    15. This merger with Macromedia was probably very bad for consumers but probably worse for Adobe…

  • Jeff — 6:18 PM on October 30, 2006

    In our facility we have 16 PPC machines. They will all be replaced by the time CS3 comes out. I’m willing to bet that a lot of studios will be doing the same. The user base for PPC machines will be replaced over time with Intel machines and we have to deal with that fact. It doesn’t make sense for Adobe to develop a BETA product for PPC if it’s easier to get it out the door in Intel only format. Especially considering the potential user base for this particular program (I would assume it’s very small). Hopefully someone from the development team can clarify this. That doesn’t mean that if the demand is there they couldn’t eventually roll out a PPC version.
    I’m happy that we get a NEW program from Adobe for the Mac, even if it’s intel only.
    Yes, no UB version is a hard pill to swallow. Some of us need to get off the soap box and buy a new mac, myself included.

  • Chris — 6:34 PM on October 30, 2006

    Sheesh. I think a bunch of folks commenting here are having a hard time with the basics of both economics and capitalism.
    Did anyone think about the potential support burden of bringing a 1.0 product to market at a point when Apple has just finished the whole product line transition? Its a business decision, people – not some sort of half-assed raggedy jihad against the Mac or Apple or motherhood and Apple pie.
    Adobe isn’t doing favors here, and they’re not socialists. If they invested their resources in a brand new app (thank you form making the investment Adobe) and they don’t want to support the previous platform (this is still America, right?) then they… well, can. Maybe they want the Intel performance. Maybe they don’t want the drag of PPC support (whatever it might be – I’m not implying its a “problem”, but rather Adobe had and took an “opportunity” to do something they may have perceived as easier and/or more profitable).
    Excellent article – keep up that good work.

  • Bill — 7:10 PM on October 30, 2006

    I think the bottom line here for most people is that they’re getting shafted from both sides by Adobe. They’re forced to wait to move to Intel Macs because the CS apps run so poorly under Rosetta and because Adobe apparently ignored the fact that they would need to move to XCode for over two years so a Universal version will be a while yet. (Really, QUARK has a Universal version of XPress out, and they were the company that seemingly took forever just to support Mac OS X. Now THEY’RE the technology leader?)
    With the Soundbooth announcement, they’re being told that because the architecture is similar to that of Windows, future PPC apps may not be forthcoming Further they may be more or less ports of Windows apps. Great.
    Sure development for Intel only was a financial decision, but given the Mac community is perhaps 5% Intel at this point I just can’t see the logic of developing for a percentage of a percentage of a marketplace. Perhaps that’s just me. Or perhaps Adobe has bigger budgets that most companies where they can afford to have all their power users toss their G5s and move to Mac Pros overnight once CS3 and Soundbooth are released…

  • germ — 9:29 PM on October 30, 2006

    “You are hurting the mac platform!”
    This is B.S. Adobe, that’s who is hurting the Mac platform. The switch to Intel was announced by Apple in June 2005. JUNE 2005. Why on Earth does it take Adobe until JUNE 2007 to make a Universal version of Photoshop? That’s two fucking years. There is just no excuse for this.
    I am no longer using any Adobe product. They will not get one dollar from me.

  • Jay Vaughan — 11:59 PM on October 30, 2006

    Listen, the PPC is *NOT* an “outdated platform”, for the simple fact that OSX releases are still being generated for it, and the majority of OSX developers are willing to develop, able, and actually delivering Universal Binary builds of their apps.
    This idea that PPC is ‘dead’ will be a valid one when we can no longer see support for it in the OSX side of things. The fact remains: Millions, upon millions, of Apple users are on PPC. This is *NOT* the Yuppy Consumer world of ‘latest and greatest is the only thing worth doing’ – Universal Binary technology means that there is no such thing as ‘outdated’ in this world.
    Plain and simple, Adobe have missed the huge point, and it belies a grand ignorance, nay ARROGANCE that there is a continual justification over this issue. Either you can turn on the “Universal Binary” switch, and write good quality platform agnostic code, or you can’t – clearly, Adobe engineers are unable to do so, when so many of their competitors are doing Universal Binary builds, and doing it quite well ..
    Come on Adobe, drop the Yuppy “Keeping Up With the Jones'” BS, and admit it: This was a very, very poor decision on your part.

  • kevin — 1:35 AM on October 31, 2006

    The reason for delay of CS3 is the rebuilding from zero. Soundbooth is building from zero.
    Apple has said many times if you use xcode , which i thought adobe was going to do…. it’s a a switch of a button to make them universal.
    So only Intel just doesn’t make sense unless they’re not building it in xcode and so will have again problems in the future.
    It’s your job in bringing software that works, if you can not handle to make it work on 1 particular processor, which as apple said is just a switch on a button, someone isn’t doing their job correctly.
    You are leaving out the semi-pro clients. Who can not afford to just upgrade to Intel all at the same time, if they have 3 computers.

  • kevintel — 3:16 AM on October 31, 2006

    Ha ha ha, absolutely brilliant. “I am no longer using any Adobe product. They will not get one dollar from me.” – Germ, obviously you don’t use these products professionally. You’re using pirated software, or you’re a hobbyist. Because if you were a professional, then your investment would be such that would have to keep using your Adobe software, such as Jim Rea and Mike Perry above, who are clearly cornered by a (destructive, user-unfriendly) change in strategy in Adobe.
    There are some amazingly ridiculous statements here from people who clearly have no business sense whatsoever, or any knowledge of software development; it would be worth a post by itself, just to analyse those reactions, and why it is that some Mac users would rather have nothing at all than something. The mindset of the Mac-using fundamentalist is very interesting, and I’ll never understand how a vocal minority of a platform which has 4%-6% of the computer market think they can bully a software giant like Adobe (which could cut a massive amount of production costs by dumping those users, and forcing them onto PC). Maybe you have an insight into that, John.
    As an aside, I notice that there’s next to no criticism of the computer company which switched technologies at short notice in the first place, as it has done regularly in the past forcing fast redundancy of old hardware. Remember the kicking and screaming over SCSI and serial ports? The fundamentalists back then were so angry that they said they were ditching the Mac, and getting a PC instead…

  • luke — 3:38 AM on October 31, 2006

    John,
    thanks a lot for this truthfull article. I am reading all the replies but wanted to thank you in advance. I am slowly migrating to the mactel platform but still own a great dual G5, very very good box in my opinion and 3 years in advance to what intel is delivering just now. But the heart of a mac is OSX, and frankly I don’t care the chip as I care about the os. For someone like me who WORKS on a computer, the windows nightmare will never be an option and that is what software houses should care about, support computer that just works the user way.

  • Aram Fingal — 7:40 AM on October 31, 2006

    Apple probably should do an Intel emulator for PPC. It would be like Rosetta in reverse. That would take care of legacy users which is good because the longevity of a Mac’s useful life is one of the things which gives it an advantage in TCO and one of the things which attracts people to the platform. Having the emulator would also encourage people to go ahead and apply Intel optimizations without having to worry so much about legacy users. PPC users would have slow performance but at least they would be able to run all the new software.

  • Jesper — 8:27 AM on October 31, 2006

    John: I reiterate my point that I do not in the slightest think that Adobe’s engineers are incompetent, and I’m sorry if you were offended.
    [Okay–sorry if I misunderstood. –J.[
    But when faced with the facts that we’ve seen so far – and which I do realize that you can’t expand on for more than one reason – you’ll have to ask yourself what it’d be logical to take away from this situation as a programmer.
    My thoughts are more or less “they’re using a hardware-abstraction library, there are more than 10 million PowerPC Mac OS X users (and somewhere between 2 and 4 million Intel Mac OS X users) and they’re *not including PowerPC support*?”
    There may be a really good reason to exclude PowerPC support – and knowing Adobe, there probably is, actually. But that reason is not one based on marketing (since you could easily more than double your target market), and it doesn’t seem to be a technical one. It just doesn’t add up.
    The point, once again: Building Universal applications aren’t always a case of checking checkboxes, but going by what Adobe and its employees have emitted about the product there doesn’t seem to be anything really standing in their way – and I’d love to be corrected here, because this is the part where it’s hazy. Building *solely* for Intel will just ensure you’ll have to redo this whole porting jig when the next processor switch hits, and while that may not be tomorrow, it seems very un-Adobe-like to lack this foresight.
    [I'm not an engineer, but my understanding is that writing a bunch of chip-specific code for PPC wouldn't help us write a bunch of chip-specific code for some future platform. We actually go out of our way to hide the increasingly complex architectures (multi-processor, multi-core, GPU, NUMA, etc.) on which our apps now run. What I've discerned clearly from talking to the engineers is that there's a world of difference between making something simply run (checking a box) and making it run well. Much like developing a Web page, it's often that last percentage of development that eats up a disproportionate amount of development and testing effort.
    And, at the end of the day, this whole brouhaha goes back to a decision by one team that they shouldn't sacrifice other priorities (platform support, time to market, feature set, etc.) to make the PPC thing happen. --J.]

  • Phil — 9:01 AM on October 31, 2006

    Let me start by saying that I find very nice of you to discuss that kind of subjects here when lot of companies would leave those questions in a loud silence. Let me state as well that I disagree with some of your points, meaning I understand and/or agree on others :o).
    But my point is more global and should be resumed in this question: How did Adobe lost its status in the Mac community?
    We all (well, considering some post around here, I should probably say most) can understand a shift in a company strategy (heard the news? windows rules nowadays!!!) but I think that when it comes to Adobe, the Mac community feels betrayed and, worse, used for some years now.
    I won’t list the various disappointments but consider that: some people are actually happy that Quark starts to fight back (go figure since Quark was, for years, so arrogant with its customers). That alone should ring loud in Adobe’s headquarters… Not Quark (it’s an usual competitor and shall be handled as such) but the feelings in the community. Mac Users (even though they’re just 3-4 % of the market are tough for they feel like a community and don’t forget that, as good as it gets, Mac users aren’t like Windows users… till the market share grows enough that is.
    Adobe should probably remember that, from a business point of view, if too small to be considered a first class citizen, the Mac market is more than big enough to make money and give a software company enough space to thrive and, in turns, get to the Windows platform with a great product and a good reputation. The same, of course, can be said of the Linux community even though it’s a little more complicated on this side (free software sensibility and so on…).
    Finally, we should all remember that the hate is usually in line with the love that, for years, was given and received. Especially in such a sensitive community.

  • Tom — 9:40 AM on October 31, 2006

    Oh dear.
    “Maybe I should, but as a die-hard Mac user I feel like someone has to speak a little truth to the Mac community–or rather, to that vocal little group of zealots and forum trolls.”
    Reading Mac forums is like reading those moronic, far-religious-right forums. So much irrationality and anger. I know it’s just a really vocal but quite small element of the Mac community that seems to spend all its time online but it really ruined it for me. Like when that guy posted pictures of his macbook when it caught fire and he got called a microsoft shill and all sorts of names and practically got death threats… and then when France was thinking of forcing Apple to open it’s DRM and the blogs were filled with all sorts of horrible, racist anti-french vitriol… and when that wireless driver hack was demoed etc and now Adobe being on the receiving end of this hatred… i find it disgusting. The Apple community really needs to take control of those reactionary, fundamentalist elements.
    Sorry, I hate to come across as trollish.

  • Condor — 9:47 AM on October 31, 2006

    Thanks for taking the time and risk to say what needs to be said. More of us should speak out with a “Whoa, that’s a bit on the exteme and beyond the facts!” and maybe the entire Mac conversation would be a bit more civil.

  • Matthew Chasteen — 10:33 AM on October 31, 2006

    Relegate this comment to ‘fanboy’ over-zealousness if you must but as software manager for 300 G5 & Intel macs and very longtime Adobe customer, I just can’t understand what’s so hard about releasing an Adobe application in UNIVERSAL binary? How hard can that be? Adobe has known since 2005 that Apple would be moving to the Intel platform–yet, still won’t release a Universal binary CS2. Why is that? Why the foot-dragging?
    [Have you ever moved a large code base from CodeWarrior to Xcode? I know the Apple product teams (Final Cut, etc.) could give you some perspective there. --J.]
    This attitude reminds me of the same way Quark acted a few years back. They got too big for their britches and forgot about US–the users. Users in our industry began moving to InDesign in droves. Now Adobe (as evidenced by your indictment of mac users) is becoming the same way. All the users are asking for is consistant Mac support from Adobe and you blows them off.
    [I guess what I find depressing is that it seems Adobe would have had a much smoother ride from Mac users by not supporting the Mac at all--by continuing to make its audio tools Windows-only. I think that's a terrible conclusion to draw, but after picking burning arrows out of my back for the past 36 hours, I can see how people would go there. All I've been asking is for a little civility, calm, and positivity. --J.]
    My students and clients spend THOUSANDS of dollars on Adobe products– and to receive customer treatment like this is unacceptable. I’ll be blunt with you– the grumbling I hear is that Adobe is becoming JUST LIKE Quark was. Adobe may hold all the cards right now & feel high and mighty but I will guarantee you that the competition will show up eventually–and WE will remember WHO treated the users like so much garbage on their shoe..Thanks Adobe..
    [So, just to make sure I've got this straight: supporting the Mac platform with brand new software = treating users like so much garbage. I dunno... This is the kind of thing that gets kind of depressing and de-motivating to folks who are trying their best, given the resources they've got, to support the platform. --J.]
    [Update: You know, I've thought about it some more, and I think your anger isn't so much tied to the Soundbooth PPC decision so much as it's related to the time needed to make Adobe apps Mactel. On that note, I hear you. We all hear you. I don't know what to say, though. Apple put a big task on our plates, and we're chewing through it (with their help) one bite at a time. That's just the way it is. If there were a way to do it faster, we'd do it (and believe me, we've tried). --J.]

  • Frank — 2:38 PM on October 31, 2006

    Right on John. There’s a lot of Mac users who agree with you. I’m embarrased at times to be part of the Mac community for the ammount of elitist, over-reaction anger mounted against whomever doesn’t meet the expectation of what a Mac-loyalist (company or person) should do. Let’s all be reasonable. Let’s all support our 5% community and help it grow and thrive. Glad you said what you did and I’m looking forward to CS3!

  • Bret — 3:19 PM on October 31, 2006

    >> but my understanding is that writing a bunch of chip-specific code for PPC wouldn’t help us write a bunch of chip-specific code for some future platform
    Well… I am an engineer… and you are slightly wrong on that one. What you need to be doing is writing chip **agnostic** code, and deferring to low-level frameworks (like the Accelerate framework) whenever possible. Not doing this allows for bad assumptions and bad design patterns to creep into your code, and makes for both a) a less robust product, and b) trouble down the line. Your trouble with Photoshop is testament to this principal (although, from a human-factors perspective, that can be somewhat forgiven, as Photoshop dates back to an era when the tools and methodoligies were very immature, and you had to do many ugly hackish things just to get it to run OK on the hardware of the day).
    I, for one, am going to still build for PPC as long as Xcode allows it – even if nobody is using it but me, solely for robustness reasons. Heck – if Xcode could build 68K, or PA-RISC, or whatever – I’d build & test on those as well.
    :-)

  • Raed — 6:39 PM on October 31, 2006

    I think the frustration of some of the observers has to do with the fact that other companies are shipping some pretty sophisticated apps that are Universal. Clearly the software developers at those other companies aren’t any brighter than those at adobe. So the question becomes, why? Why can’t Adobe do it.
    The emotion comes in when the observer decides that Adobe just doesn’t want to. We believe that Adobe must just be trying to piss us off. Since Graphisoft can do it, and Wolfram can do it and Apple can do it, Adobe just doesn’t want to, the reasoning goes. So in the interest of this dialogue what exactly would be lost by coding to the API as opposed to the chip?
    Those of us with even longer memories can remember the previous iteration of OSX (Openstep), running on about half a dozen different platforms from SPARC to PA-RISC to x86 to 68K and a number of different OS’s. That was generations ago with these tools.
    I am not saying that nothing is gained by going the route that you have gone, but people just don’t understand.

  • germ — 9:49 PM on October 31, 2006

    kevintel, you are so wrong.
    First, you accuse me of using pirated software. Nice.
    Let me give you some of my history with Adobe. I was a FrameMaker user. FrameMaker, for those who don’t know, was a fantastic program for writing complex documents. Still today, nothing except LaTeX can touch it. As a scientist, I bought and used several versions of the program professionally. This program was created by a company called Frame (a nice, small independent developer). Unfortunately, the company was bought by Adobe. Immediately I knew that things were going to go downhill , and they did. Why? Because Adobe just bought the program with the intent to kill it. There followed a few annual “upgrades” from Adobe, which did not add any significant feature, but cost ~$200 each (you know, the Adobe tax). Finally, Adobe discontinued FrameMaker for Mac entirely. By then, I had already made the swtich to LaTeX. It pained me, after years of becoming an expert Frame user, to restart from scratch. But now I do not regret it: I use an open-source, free software that is even more powerful than FrameMaker. My files will be readable 20 or 30 years down the road, and I do not depend on the whims of a greedy, large corporation.
    You wonder how a platform that has 4-6% of the computer market can bully a “software giant” like Adobe. Perhaps because Apple sales still represent 40% or so of Adobe revenues? Because Adobe would not even exist without Apple? It is really ridiculous how Adobe as turned against Apple.
    Really, there is NO EXCUSE for taking TWO YEARS to move a large code base from CodeWarrior to XCode. Apple did it, Quark did it (Quark, for Christsake!!!)
    It’s pretty clear that Adobe has other priorities than serving Mac users. I will go with smaller developers that really care about their customers.

  • Seb — 10:56 PM on October 31, 2006

    John I think I have figured it out for you.
    Apple finally go it right by backing a platform (Intel) based on profit and future sustainability. I remember the day when Steve Jobs publicly announced the switch to Intel from PPC. All Mac users rejoiced and jumped up and then quickly fell to the ground angry. Angry when they realized all of the machines they own are now completely obsolete (myself included). My ultra, sleek, gorgeous, liquid cooled, Quad G5 is as modern as a toaster. But a great toaster that never gets thrown out but because it makes good toast.
    Waaaaaaa. My Quad G5 is obsolete.
    Waaaaaaa. My slow PowerBook G4 is obsolete.
    Waaaaaaa. My 10,000 I spent on Macs is now worth 2 bucks
    Waaaaaaa. My Toaster is worth more than my Mac?
    Thanks Apple your great :) I love you 6 generation iPod… Oh sorry 7th generation iPod?
    No wait… Let slam Adobe for not investing in my 2 dollar toaster. Lets blame Adobe for making a smart difficult business decision. But love Apple for making me believe I will always be able to run new software on my toaster because of the magical “universal binary” switch on Xcode. Yeah lets forget about the potential of any software company, including Apple, to make Intel only software in the future. I can at least get 18 months out of my Quad G5 before that happens? NOT
    Faulting Adobe for not supporting PPC with Soundbooth is like faulting Apple for not installing and shipping Windows XP on the new Intel Macs…..That would be a bad business decision for Apple. Adobe made a good future business decision with Soundbooth.
    All of you who write software for a living make decisions on the potential business opportunity to sell your software. I don’t own a Intel Mac yet so obviously I wont be a Soundbooth customer… until I purchase one.
    For some of you who are faulting Adobe on how they write code and saying you could write it better by not making it “hardware” dependant, well that’s like saying there is only one good way to bake an apple pie and if you don’t use my way then the rest all taste worse. So… Adobe writes software that is hardware dependent, who doesn’t?… Apple? Lets see them port FCP to Windows….wont happen, bad business decision.
    Does Adobe have to explain every little detail about how and why they make these decisions when some are just so obvious. Completely new app with no previous version… Lets spend time and money to make it work on old slow OBSOLETE computers. Ah yes but there are millions of these machines out there. Not in a year from now. They will all be burning toast and filling land fill sites across North America. Yes even Apple says my Quad G5 is 7 times slower than the new MacPro. Nice thanks Steve. Not joking here, I am happy the next generation is that much faster. When I can afford it I will by one.
    Waaaaaa. The end has come for my Quad G5 because now that Adobe is not going to support PPC in completely new software all of the others software developers will drop like flies and release Intel only code. The end has come faster than I thought for my Quad G5.
    Darn I am angry;(
    No wait even better lets slam the one person at Adobe on the Photoshop team who has a blog that is honest with his opinions and because of that will response to hate mail. Right.
    Get a life Power PC owners and chill.
    Keep trucking Johnny…. you are doing a great job and I really appreciate and respect your honesty and opinions. Love your blog by the way!
    Seb

  • Ernest Pliier — 12:54 AM on November 01, 2006

    I am ASHAMED of your blog. Looking at the comments and feedback it seems to me that you’ve managed to totally alienate one half of your customer base. Your attribution of ‘intelligence’ to those that agree with you and silence or implying ‘ignorance’ to those who disagree (and are clearly upset), is childish. I have NEVER seen such a forum where officers of a company insult their customers so much – perhaps this is a new way of handling PR – al la Monty Python. If Bruce Chizen has any sense he’d ‘have a word with you’ and close this blog down. I’m ex Adobe and apologise on behalf of all my old colleagues for the way you talk to and insult our loyal customers.

  • Seb — 6:55 AM on November 01, 2006

    Ernest,
    Have you ever seen a forum in which customers insult the very people who help make their products? I guess when you get insulted you are to just take it and not respond. Especially in your own personal blog.
    By the way the Adobe forums are somewhere else.
    In the same post you enjoy the freedom to comment and then want to shut down the freedom to make a comment. Your comments are outrageous, judgmental and have not contributed to the discussion what so ever.
    Think of what you are saying and where you are saying it. You would not have had the ability to post a comment if it was shut down.
    This discussion has only lead me to truly believe you cannot make all of your customers happy when making tough business decisions. Audio on the Mac is new for Adobe and if they have decided they only want to sell the application to Intel Mac owners then they will feel it in the sales of the product.
    This discussion also makes me appreciate the freedom to have open discussions. Whether you agree with the comments or not.
    Hold your shame and apologies for something you personally have done and don’t presume to speak for people you do not even know. Adobe has over 4500 employees and they all have their own opinions. According to you they should have none.
    The only thing you have added to this discussion is to insult John and ask for the CEO of Adobe to stifle his own employees ability to defend himself against people like you.
    Very helpful – Thanks a bunch – Seb

  • Chilly Willie — 9:42 AM on November 01, 2006

    There’s nothing sadder in our culture than the contagion that is faked self-righteous anger — like the poster above. Use of CAPS is usually the big giveaway.
    Keep up the good work John.

  • Stark — 4:39 PM on November 01, 2006

    [Update: You know, I've thought about it some more, and I think your anger isn't so much tied to the Soundbooth PPC decision so much as it's related to the time needed to make Adobe apps Mactel. On that note, I hear you. We all hear you. I don't know what to say, though. Apple put a big task on our plates, and we're chewing through it (with their help) one bite at a time. That's just the way it is. If there were a way to do it faster, we'd do it (and believe me, we've tried). --J.]
    I don’t think you do really hear us. We want Universal apps. Not CS2 that runs like crap on our shiny new multi-core Apples that we love so much. Ditto for Studio 8. Not Intel-only apps (btw, has ANYONE ELSE released an Intel-only app? I can’t recall any). Just make your apps Universal and make them soon.
    Thanks.
    [Gee, why didn't we think of that... >;-) Obviously that's exactly what we're working on. More details will become clear, but I can't talk about them now. --J.]

  • Alex M — 4:19 AM on November 02, 2006

    John – could you possibly send me an email regarding Adobe? I have some quick questions about the Universal Binary. I want to cut through the fudge that a minority of Mac users have thrown around about Adobe “not caring” and generally getting a bit worked up about…nothing.
    Thanks.

  • laurie — 6:57 AM on November 02, 2006

    Perhaps you’d like to elaborate on why Adobe has seemingly dropped Acrobat 8 Standard from their Mac product lines – forcing Mac users to buy Acrobat 8 Pro? Very lame move.
    [I don't know anything about that & haven't heard any news along those lines, but I'll ask around for more info. --J.]

  • Dude — 7:05 AM on November 02, 2006

    I have no problems with Soundbooth being Intel only, doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
    What I do have exception with is Adobe’s attitude towards the Mac platform whether real or perceived, as mentioned:
    i One thing I would request of you, and I say this respectfully, is please do not act like developing for the Mac is a “gift” from Adobe
    I could not agree more.
    [Me neither, which is what I said earlier in the comments. --J.]
    Suffice to say no other company other than Apple has to endure this “Well if you don’t like us, we’ll stop making apps for your platform” crap. If there weren’t an Apple there would be no Adobe.
    [I didn't say that Adobe wasn't going to develop for the Mac. What I've been trying to say all along is that a lot of us are really excited that, unlike earlier Adobe video and audio tools, Soundbooth is supporting the Mac. And, therefore, it's kind of a bummer to pull back the curtain on new Mac software we really like and catch a bunch of incivil hysteria. And by the way, I'm not equating any disagreement with the Mactel-only decision with incivility and hysteria. I was, and am, thinking specifically of the folks who disagree and like to be disagreeable.
    I guess I'd like Mac users to realize that they're actually talking to real people, who are working really hard on their behalf. And, therefore, shooting at your friends just doesn't seem like the most helpful approach. --J.]
    Maybe Apple should just buy Adobe and end all of the shenanigans. Not that I think this is a good thing mind you, But Adobe is tweaking the nose of what is (Apple) quickly becoming a behemoth.
    [Apple came to Adobe one day and said, "Hey, we're going to Mactel, and that means you now need to move your whole product line to Xcode and do additional work." And we've been working on it ever since then. How this is "tweaking Apple's nose," I have no idea. They don't seem to think so. We've been working closely with them for the last 18 months. --J.]
    Lastly as I’ve said before: CEO Chizen should not have been on stage ribbing Steve by saying “What took you so long”? Ummm who can this be turned around on now?

  • pjo — 9:53 AM on November 02, 2006

    Well, given that Sound Booth is a new application which is not shipping yet, I’m guessing PPC owners have [insert some application here] that they’re using to do their sound editing right? If I were in their shoes, I’d redirect my flames to ensuring that my vendor keeps their existing application supported under PPC.
    As for CS3 – I mean it’s not like there’s a windows version right now, and the PPC versions of CS* run pretty well IMHO – by that I mean better than a rushed UB of CS2 would run under Intel Macs. Given the high standards of the Mac community I’d imagine there’d be a bigger backlash against a totally buggy app.
    For the current Intel Mac owners, I totally feel your pain and yes, the only options right now are use parallels/bootcamp + a windows version OR consider supporting (mac)gimp(shop). Yes, it’s F(at and) UGLY right now but with some input from some Mac developers could probably be cleaned up (remove the X11 already) or something.
    In short, Adobe isn’t taking away anything from the Mac community by giving an Intel only version of Sound Booth. They’re actually ADDING something to the Mac community. It’s like complaining that Parallels doesn’t work on the PPC… that’s what VirtualPC was for!
    Early Intel adopters have a wait for UB versions of Adobe products… as well as Microsoft Office … i.e Adobe isn’t the only company lagging behind. In fact the only company making serious headway with UB apps is…. drum roll….Apple!

  • Jesper — 10:39 AM on November 02, 2006

    Okay, one last back-and-forth. (Me, I’m writing this on an Intel-based Mac, and I’m still making this argument, so it’s not personal bias.)
    “I’m not an engineer, but my understanding is that writing a bunch of chip-specific code for PPC wouldn’t help us write a bunch of chip-specific code for some future platform.” True. Amazingly true. However, writing *only* chip-specific code really clinches making it *harder* to write any sort of code for a future platform.
    All other things being equal, having a Soundbooth that ran on two platforms would mean that the Soundbooth team is always on its toes about having a version that could compile and run on platforms other than the current dominant one. When the next platform change comes, they’ll have a head start. I’m not saying Adobe should prioritize being overly flexible with their source code in case something will come up in about ten years. That doesn’t make business sense. (No matter what people are saying 16 months after Apple announced the transition to Intel and Adobe just got out its first “old Adobe” Intel product out of beta. Sorry. Easy target.)
    What I’m saying is: there’s a market of 15 million Mac PowerPC users out there. I’m betting that within a month you could release a PowerPC Soundbooth as stable as the Intel release – not as tight as the current Intel one, but it’s going to be slower anyway – and when the PowerPC users upgrade to Intel Macs, they won’t think of you as the guys that left them behind.
    Regardless of what Adobe feels about the situation, there’s only one group of apps that is justified in being Intel-only today, and that’s the group relying extensively with the new hardware itself, like Parallels or ExpressCard drivers. It is naturally up to Adobe to set their own agenda, but it’s also up to the group of Mac users – the *majority*, as it were – that use PowerPC-based Macs to actually decide if Adobe is a better or worse Mac developer for making this decision, and so far it’s not looking too good.
    To sum my main argument up in far fewer words than I’ve already blown on this: Would Adobe release a Soundbooth version for Windows that only ran on AMD64/EM64T processors? No. Of course not. Think about it.

  • stingerman — 1:28 PM on November 02, 2006

    It seems that the real reason that Adobe can’t produce universal apps for the Mac is due to a lack of management talent. It’s hard to believe it can be anything else. Software development is a discipline and that requires leaders that can enforce portability controls on the development process.
    Any software house that finds itself tied to an instruction set or development environment has lost its competitive edge.

  • mooncaine — 3:33 PM on November 02, 2006

    Neema Agha wrote: “…if Apple was doing more to grow the platform and expand marketshare, developers wouldn’t be as reluctant to invest in the platform.
    Apple needs to be selling more Macs and make it a better platform to develop on and for… that means affordable expandable desktops, better development tools and an eye to growing a self sustaining platform.”
    Though I am in complete agreement with you, I suspect that Apple prefers not to take on the lower-cost segment of the computer market. It would benefit me, I think, if they felt differently, but it seems they’ve had plenty of opportunity and motive to consider these moves, and have decided to disagree with us.

  • Ian Abbott — 1:47 AM on November 03, 2006

    Apple came to Adobe one day and said, “Hey, we’re going to Mactel, and that means you now need to move your whole product line to Xcode and do additional work.” And we’ve been working on it ever since then.
    Except that since the release of Mac OS X 10.0, Apple had been arguing for people to move over to their own development tools (if you can’t remember, ProjectBuilder was the ancestor of XCode). Even back then PB had the ability to compile for multiple architectures in the build UI – I know because I’m a software developer for Mac OS X and found the property list files for it. As Mac OS X had evolved from NeXTSTEP, itself a processor-agnostic OS, it was clear Mac OS X would be the same which was why Apple dedicated time to ensure developers moved to a compiler such as GCC which supports compilation for multiple architectures.
    Adobe had more than 18 months to initiate porting from CodeWarrior (or whatever tool you use) to the “official” OS X development tools. You’ve had 5 years… Don’t tell me that Adobe’s development team doesn’t have strong communications with the Apple development team. Surely someone in that 5 year period would have recommended a switch.
    [Out of curiosity, why is it that numerous Apple product teams were using CodeWarrior until they were made to move to Xcode? --J.]
    CS2 would probably have been Universal by now.
    Yes, PB was flaky for a while, and XCode has taken some time to find its feet, but the fact of the matter is that you could have taken a couple of developers off the main team and at least set them off on a parallel branch of the code where they could look at porting to the proper toolset with regular code merges using SCM tools.
    Adobe seem to have ignored all the HAL tools as well – stuff like CoreImage, CoreVideo, CoreAudio and now CoreAnimation would have provided a hardware abstraction layer to allow you to write code optimised for all OS X processor platforms – whilst AltiVec/SSE3 issues could have been dealt with using the Accelerate frameworks which call the appropriate AltiVec or SSE instruction sets for you.
    It seems strange to me that whilst other developers have “followed the rules”, Adobe seems to have disregarded them for so long. I understand that this is probably due to a common codebase deep in the heart of Adobe applications but you could have used adapter design patterns to bridge common core code (which would normally be non-architecture specific C/C++) to processor-specific libraries.
    It’s strange that Lightroom is a Universal binary. Did that team discover the HAL frameworks in the documentation and decline to tell the Soundbooth team?
    [FWIW, Lightroom was able to leverage a lot of PPC- and Intel-specific tuning done for Adobe Camera Raw. --J.]

  • Unidentified Stationary Object — 2:35 AM on November 03, 2006

    John Gruber of daringfireball.net: “The worst explanation I’ve seen from Adobe regarding Soundbooth’s lack of PowerPC support is from Adobe program manager John Nack, who wrote a weblog entry on the topic.”
    http://daringfireball.net/2006/11/soundbooth_intel
    [Super. Might've been nice for John to drop me a line before going off (you know, the whole civil discourse thing). Anyway, I'll have to read this over at some point and offer some replies. --J.]

  • Bill — 4:24 AM on November 03, 2006

    John
    I really do appreciate your taking the time to talk about all this – and I especially appreciate the fact that you’re continuing to engage with the debate throughout the forum.
    Clearly the whole thing is getting a little personal and angry on both sides, and that’s a shame, because what you’ve really given us as Mac users is our first opportunity to speak directly to Adobe about gripes, grudges and concerns that we’ve had for years (but have only been able to express to hapless Adobe salesfolk).
    As I think you’ve spotted, this is nothing to do with Soundbooth. 1% or fewer of the people engaging in the forum are remotely interested in the application.
    No, the debate is about CS2 delays; Acrobat Standard not being made available for Mac; Framemaker being dropped; the fact that you’ve bought Macromedia and thus so many more of our favourite applications; and the perception of general Adobe arrogance, as we see your senior management caring less and less about the 40% of Creative Suite revenue you get from us Mac users and more and more about the (almost totally Windows-based) revenue derived from Acrobat.
    Soundbooth indicates something strange going on – Lightroom proved that Adobe could do Xcode and UBs, fast. So we’re nervous. So some people get angry.
    But please don’t call us zealots. For a start I’m not one – I’m a professional using Adobe products on the Mac (& switched from Quark to inDesign because of their arrogance!) – but I am concerned about Adobe’s relationship with Macs in general and your initial comment simply put my back up.
    Anyway, thank you again for your honesty, openess and bravery. And good luck with those intriguing Photoshop/Apple collaborations that you hinted at earlier….!
    Bill
    [Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Bill. For the record--and I know I'm being repetitive, but it's worth saying for clarity--it was never my intention to say that taking issue with particular decisions that Adobe has made recently or in the past was equal to being a forum troll. I really did intend to emphasize the point that Adobe is made up of actual human beings, many of whom are passionate about what they work on (the Mac, digital photography, etc.). I was really turned off by the more extreme responses I saw to the whole Soundbooth announcement, and I was trying to encourage Mac users not to form a circular firing squad. To the degree that I've added to the incivility I've decried, I'm sorry. That wasn't my intention at all. --J.]

  • Peter P — 5:50 AM on November 03, 2006

    Right through this thread you’ve been defensive and occasionally rude to anyone who disagrees with your opinion. I’m certainly not angry about your decision to not produce your new sound app for PPC (there are plenty of excellent apps for sound production on the mac already) and I will be buying some Intel Macs soon, but your arrogance is quite staggering — see your comments on Quark, for example. ‘incivil hysteria’ isn’t even English, John, that’s perhaps why you should leave the PR to the PR people, or maybe John Dowdell – if he made the transition from Macromedia. All you’ve done here is create some pretty substantial ill-will. All this over a Mac version of Audition. Yawn. BTW, you mention that ‘unlike earlier Adobe video and audio tools, Soundbooth is supporting the Mac’. Go back and look at the history of Premiere, John, your lack of historical perspective has long-time media professionals cringing, just as most later versions of Premiere did. Spend more time on Photoshop, less time being a one-man PR disaster zone.
    [Maybe you're right, Peter. It's becoming clear that I just may not be able to communicate this stuff successfully. It's not for lack of trying, and I wish I could share some info that might change folks' perceptions.
    To say that I've been defensive and rude to anyone who disagrees with what I've said... That's a real bummer. I thought I'd been saying that I totally get why people could disagree with what is, at base, a rather small thing (Soundbooth being Mactel-only), and that I welcome discussion, disagreement, and dialog. What I can't dig is negativity, and to the degree I was trying to provoke some thought with what I wrote, it was aimed at people who are really shrill and self-defeating.
    But you know, I'm getting tired, and this conversation (such as it is) doesn't seem to be throwing off much light--only heat. I'm coming to regret trying to engage people in it. --J.]

  • Dude — 8:30 AM on November 03, 2006

    John- I think you missing the point of people’s anger (not me, It merely means I won’t be purchasing new Macs until CS3 is ready). Ordinarily people would be very happy about ANY new app for the mac (Intel, PPC, 68k or otherwise).
    It like the white elephant in the room Adobe seems to not want to acknowledge. Sure there are some people upset about Soundbooth being Intel only, but that is not the elephant that people want to talk about, the elephant the want to talk about is CS3.
    Why is this so bad from the user perspective?
    1) CS runs like crud on Intel through Rosetta.
    2) No patch to make CS Intel native
    3) CS3 at least 10 months away
    So where does that leave a lot of people who have new macs? In the lurch waiting for software that can run on Intel.
    So now here is someone from Adobe touting a new app for the Mac hopeful of a positive reaction. Are people going to be receptive of this new app? Under different circumstances they might be, but now… no way. There is a lot of pent up angst from users especially with no way to air their grievances. On other forums I have seen these people get labeled as cultists, fan-boys and worse. I disagree with labeling people this. The CS applications represent people’s livelihood. If others are in the boat of being able to wait on hardware purchases like I can for my users great, not everyone can.
    Adobe is on a very slippery slope right now. Quark literally dropped the ball on the whole OSX migration, which worked out greatly to Adobe’s advantage. I agree making sure CS3 runs great is a far better approach then rushing it like they did with Quark 7, however and this is a big however, I believe Adobe would be far better served by not releasing ANY other apps for the Mac until the ones users actually need are there first. Last time I checked no one I knew was clamoring for a Sound App from Adobe. Doesn’t mean it isn’t cool or that it isn’t compelling. I simply find it hard to believe that you didn’t see this coming. To me this seems value added. But in order to add value to the Mac platform when the major contributions from Adobe are missing is dubious at best.
    Again harkening back to Quark. I don’t think they realized what they were doing when the fumbled with OSX. They haven’t recovered since. Now Adobe is a far larger corporation, but even the perceived insult to Mac users can be horrendous as they spend and have a ability to finically harm a company in a far reaching manner then their numbers might otherwise indicate. I agree Adobe and Apple seem to be working on this and there is no hostility (at least outwardly). But 99.99999% of the time every mac user is going to side with Apple over any other company, and that includes Adobe.
    Next, if the whole Intel bombshell taught the computing world anything it is this: Apple will never be left in the lurch again. If I recall Apple approached Adobe about some of the apps that would become iLife, Adobe said no thanks to Apple and Apple did it themselves. Going back to Intel, Apple kept this a secret from everyone for 5 years! Even the US government can’t keep a secret like this. Why do I point this out? I do not doubt for one minute that Apple has ready and waiting in the wings a professional Photoshop-like application (aimed at Adobe) and an Office Suite (aimed at Microsoft) ready and waiting to go. Why? Because Apple is a different company to be reckoned with this time with Steve at the helm. Note: Pure speculation on my part, but after the Intel shocker anything is possible out of Apple, which I applaud.
    Lastly, I applaud any new apps for the Mac platform, keep them coming, but take care of the things people are asking for first.
    [I hear you Mark--honest to God. Just hang with us a bit longer & stay tuned... --J.]

  • Matt E. — 11:26 AM on November 03, 2006

    I only have one thing to add to this. You keep bringing up the fact that Soundbooth is a new app, started from scratch, which is part of the reason that Adobe has chosen to go Intel-only with it. How is that any different than the development history of Lightroom? Is it not also a new app from scratch? It seems rather silly to develop a Universal app (Lightroom) one month and then turn around and develop another app a few months later (Soundbooth) that is Intel-only.
    Perhaps this is why so many are confused about Adobe’s intentions with respect to future apps.
    [Yes, that would be a useful clarification. Lightroom was able to leverage a great deal of optimized code for PPC and Intel, due to it sharing its rendering core with Adobe Camera Raw. Soundbooth, on the other hand, didn't have that advantage. For details on the latter I defer to Hart Schafer, Soundbooth PM. --J.]

  • Jeff — 5:49 PM on November 04, 2006

    John
    thanks for engaging us.
    that makes you an Adobe hero.
    you kind of hit it on the head when you feel more heat than you should about this.
    the problem is that adobe PR is silent and you’re the only one brave enough to have a discussion.
    and some adobe folks signed on at cluetrain.org… is Mr. Hunt gone?

  • Chris — 10:19 PM on November 04, 2006

    You know what I think – I think Adobe makes great products, is a great supporter of the Macintosh (always has been), and is free to make the business decisions they choose to make.
    I’m fairly confident they’re unlikely to have a bunch of folks sitting around at Adobe with titles like “Macintosh Pisser-Offer”, “Bigot Who Wants to Short the Mac in Favor of World Domination via the OTHER Platform”, or “Short Sighted [fill in blank with Engineer, QA Manager, Product Manager, or Marketeer] Who Doesn’t Think This Crap Through”. As a public company and with their financial track record, I am ABSOLUTELY confident there’s no “Chief Revenue Prevention Officer”, although some who’ve posted negative feedback regarding the Soundbooth decision might not belive this.
    Here’s what I say, John – keep doing what you’re doing as long as it interests you, its supported (or at least not fought) by the folks you work for and with, and most of all don’t sweat the small stuff, which this little backlash surely is. Adobe busts its collective ass making great products, and hey – at least some of us realize it takes time to switch development platforms (boy, folks who want to ding you guys about CS REALLY don’t get THIS), not to mention swing what I’d guess would be several million lines of code for some products over to a new dev effort/architecure.
    Is it fair to wish for better/cheaper/faster applications? More quickly? Or to have every application support everything? Sure – why not? I’d like to be better looking, have a nicer car and be the benevolent ruler of a small island nation where the weather’s great and the food is better, but wishing hasn’t make that so, either.

  • Tom — 12:17 PM on November 05, 2006

    MacIntel market share is already a lot bigger than has been suggested by some people here. I’d like to throw in a couple of numbers to dampen the rage. Maybe something sticks.
    Apple has been selling Intel machines all year, with 50% of it’s line-up running on Intel by the end of the 1st quarter and 80% and 100% by the end of the 2nd and 3rd quarter respectively. Apple went on record stating that 75% of Q2 sales were Intels, and we can assume that a good chunk of Q1 sales, most of Q3 sales and all of October sales were Intel Macs.
    If you add those numbers there are already about 3.3-3.5 million Intel Macs in use right now. By the end of this year we will see more than 4M Intel Mac users and by the end of 2007 – right around the time that Soundbooth will actually go on sale – probably close to 10M.
    On the other hand we have about 16M PPC Macs still in use (according to Steve Jobs at WWDC’06, there are 19M active OS X users), which sounds a lot (though not 10 times or 19 times bigger as has been said in this discussion).
    It’s just that most of these machines are G4 and older, and we can assume that a PPC version of Soundbooth, should it have any innovative features worth buying it in 2007, would require a G5 which has never made it into the majority of Apples products.
    If you look at the sales numbers for the iMac G5 and the PowerMac G5 that Apple used to provide up until early 2005, they probably sold no more than 4.5M to 5.0M G5 Macs overall.
    Intel Macs are on track to outsell G5 Macs within the next 2-4 months, and G5 Macs will shrink into a minor platform for Pro Apps with every day passing after that.

  • FARfetched — 7:02 AM on November 06, 2006

    Yes, Hart Schafer’s explanation, “we have buckets of Intel-specific code for modules in Soundbooth that would all have to be re-written to work on PPC chips,” is truly sufficient.
    Part of the problem that Adobe faces is that they’re the only company complaining about how difficult it is to follow Apple’s transitions. Certainly, small firms are releasing simpler apps, but they have perhaps 1/10 of 1% of Adobe’s resources. So, again, while Mac users complain about Adobe, Adobe is the one complaining about “how hard it is.”
    Those Mac users who depended on FrameMaker as their primary work application have plenty of good reason to be suspicious of Adobe, by the way. We heard the moaning about how hard it was to move to OSX, the “think incompatible” barbs, and saw endless delays ending in Adobe totally abandoning us. And then you’ll wonder why I’ve chosen Quark instead of InDesign for the upcoming page layout work I have to do — the answer is that I’ve learned that I can’t trust Adobe to be there for me when I need them.

  • nick t — 12:39 PM on November 07, 2006

    On the one hand, no one with a PPC G5 wants to hear that Adobe is leaving them out, but who on earth would purchase an audio application from Adobe in the 1st place, especially when they can’t even eliminate the bugs in the latest versions ofPhotoshop & Bridge?

  • Rich.Y — 1:15 PM on November 07, 2006

    Even the After Effects team was not endorsing for AE’s external developers until recently with XCode 2.4.1:
    “Apple fixed the issues the After Effects team was having (and which were blocking me from using 2.4, and supporting you folks’ usage of 2.4).”
    http://blogs.adobe.com/ae_api/

  • Matt E. — 10:07 AM on November 13, 2006

    “according to Steve Jobs at WWDC’06, there are 19M active OS X users”
    I’m not sure where Steve Jobs got those numbers, but they seem rather low. Apple sold more systems than that in the last couple of years, and that’s not even counting all of the older systems that are happily running OS X.

  • Kelly — 11:45 AM on December 09, 2006

    It would be one thing if this were the first instance of Adobe shorting the Mac-base. Unfortunately, it’s closer to an growing trend. And don’t quote me any Lightroom anecdotes as it’s plain to see that Aperture can be thanked for this little fire under Adobe’s pants.
    How easy it is for so called “pundits” to dismiss all frustrated Mac-based Adobe customers as trolls. Many of those that Adobe is so quick to dismiss as the mere scourge of the web, are actually loyal customers who grow weary of the bottom-line platform antics of aging and bloating companies like Adobe. As time passes, it’s becoming more clear that economy is beginning to trump quality over at Adobe. Since the Macromedia acquisition, developers are also feeling the effects of Adobe’s lack of dimension and their need to pander.Flash Platform developers who base their projects on the Mac are an entire year behind when it comes to Flex Builder 2 as Adobe quickly catered to Win-based developers why leaving *nix-based savants in the waiting.
    The market is in definite need of some pound-for-pound alternatives to many Adobe products, especially Photoshop. (Maybe this accounts, in part, for the consistently declining quality of Adobe apps). In fact going beyond pound for pound would be very welcome indeed. Let’s face it, Photoshop is the best of the bunch right now, but it could sure use an intelligent makeover. As tools evolve, so does workflow, but Adobe apps maintain the same core graphical interface arrangements and strategies every upgrade. Anyone who wants to clearly witness Adobe’s inability to understand workflow need only look at Adobe Bridge or Adobe Acrobat. Only Redd Fox packs more clunk and junk than those clod-shod solutions.
    If only Adobe would hurry up and short-change Mac-based Photoshop users somehow in order to prod Apple into releasing a gorgeous alternative. One only needs to look at the differences between applications like Aperture and Lightroom; Final Cut Studio and Premiere; Shake and After Effects to quickly see that Adobe is the interminable slouch here.
    So do I now think I’ve weakened the Mac-base by speaking the truths of many Mac users? Of course not. There are many solid reasons why the lot of us won’t use Windows, and of all things, Adobe applications are close to the last reasons on earth we’d invest time or money in WIndows, (even on Parallels).
    Labeling dissatisfied customers as trolls is Yet Another Deliberate Occurance of Belittling End-users. It’s what we’re beginning to expect from YADOBE. But would anyone listen to me, I’m probably just another little internet troll in Adobe’s eyes!
    (To all you entrepreneurial developers, note that our shop is on a perpetual lookout for solid Adobe alternatives on the Mac platform.)

  • Kelly — 12:14 PM on December 09, 2006

    p.s. Thanks to John Nack for his impeccable ability to do his job; if only more people over at Adobe had his ability to listen to us head-on and engage us. It’s never easy dealing with Mac users, we’re an incredibly passionate bunch, which is one of the traits that allow us to see the beauty and appreciate the Mac-experience in the first place. Ultimately one would think this to be one community (demographic) which not to ignore; for even if their numbers are a far cry from Win-users, the loyalty and viral evangelism that manifests from passionate users can be very valuable. Unfortunately this sort of thing is built on trust, and over the past few years Adobe has absolutely lost our trust. Our inability to promise certain solutions to clients because of Adobe’s unreliability has become a consistent boon to our offering of Adobe solutions (be it web-based solutions for our customers or solutions in which to provide, we employ (employed) Adobe tools to do so. We’ve been weaning our workflow and solutions off of all Adobe products for two years now, with just under half of our original Adobe tools to go. Some wonder why not simply inject a Windows box or two into the studio? The reasons a many including security, open source bloodlines, etc, but our primary reason parallels the traveling salesman’s explanation for not spending his long hours in an old Tempo. And of all the software outfits in the world developing for Mac, Adobe is close to the last one when it comes to whining about how hard it is to develop for multiple platforms. Last I checked it cost $20,000 per CPU for Flex Data Services, and Adobe has the gall to turn around and tell Mac-based designers and developers that they don’t have the resources for cross-platform development? (Maddening!)
    Sorry Adobe, as forgiving as we aspire to be, you’ve rattled us more than twice (be it incompatibility, declining quality, no avail Mac versions, ppc/intel debacles) and that is something that neither we nor our clients can afford.

  • Joe — 11:04 PM on December 21, 2006

    Even a plate of shit can be made to look tasty.
    The power of words really is amazing. Anyone want to buy a bridge. Apples choice to go with the intel chip was more then just speed. Remember, they are a business. They need to keep creating new things to sell, a new twist. These computer companies have sound proof meeting rooms that are scaned for bugs. They sit around thinking of the best way to make more money. That’s the first rule. The public is way down on their list. I know the people that run intel, apple, HP, ashton tate, etc. I’ve built their buildings and their homes. I grew up and went to school with the guys at intel. Remember, there’s always more to it.

  • Paul — 3:24 AM on February 10, 2007

    First of all, let me just say that the transition from PPC to intel has felt more fluid and ‘transparent’ than the original 68k to PPC. I went through this transition and it felt like pulling teeth. I think much of the anger regarding Soundbooth being Intel only is mis-directed. let me explain. I currently have an ibook G4 which I bought last March and a G5 which I bought in June, and shortly after each the machines became obsolete. I figured this was to be, but needed the PPC not a slower Intel running emulation. Now even though I don’t regard this as a problem for me, I think what has perhaps annoyed many ‘Apple’ customers is the feeling that after paying a tidy sum they are now feeling ‘redundant or at least their machines are within a short space of time. Furthermore that they are to be left out in the cold, with projects like Soundbooth, unless they part with another bucket load of money for an Macintel. There are many students that I know of that invested heavily in PPC machines. As I have said I think the ‘ranting’ is perhaps mis-directed at Adobe and other developers and perhaps we the customers should be pointing at Apple and asking them as loyal customers why they don’t consider a trade-in upgrade path-certainly in the UK when I asked there wasn’t one.
    Personally I commend Adobe for developing the new app and sticking with the intel only approach, because really a universal binary is a ‘Jack Of All Trades’ and focusing on the Intel chip means the application will be fully optimized. So here’s to the future developments at Adobe, I personally can’t wait to see the new Flash 9 when it arrives.

  • Ken Ness — 7:17 AM on February 27, 2009

    The latest HP Z3100 update means that you can only print down the length of a roll. As the machine is 42 inches wide and so is the paper this is rather wasteful! WHY

  • Silicontrip — 4:43 PM on March 04, 2010

    At the time this article was written I would’ve had a shiny new Quad G5 machine, which I spent a pretty penny on. This was just before the Mac Pros were released there were no High End Intel machines available, The Quad G5 was the most power Mac available at this time. Then to have Adobe release an app that was not able to run on my machine, that was less than a month old. I would’ve been very dark about.
    Apple have played up their Universal Binary strategy saying how easy it is to build for both Intel and PPC.
    Open Source software doesn’t have this sort of issues, I can take an open source application and build it on my Macbook or on my Quad G5, If a bunch of enthusiasts can do it, maybe some commercial companies should look at that build model.
    I now get treated like a second class citizen because I’m not planing on upgrading my 3 year old Quad G5 machine, I don’t have the budget to buy a new mac pro.
    /rant

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