November 13, 2008

Installer rant

Lots of people are writing me to mention a blog post that rants about the CS4 installer.  Yes, I know about the post, thanks.  I’m going to work with the installer folks to create a response.

Posted by John Nack at 2:45 PM on November 13, 2008

Comments

  • Jim Poor — 2:57 PM on November 13, 2008

    Hi John, I’ve been a lurker up to now, but since you mentioned looking at blogs with issues posted, check out this mystery. So far, nobody can help (not even Adobe help).
    http://www.jimpoor.com/nucleus/index.php

  • Leigh — 3:16 PM on November 13, 2008

    Not sure if this is the right place to address this as it’s more of an uninstall issue.
    After CS4 is installed and you use the CS3 uninstaller, Photoshop CS4 says that some of its support files are missing.
    Is there any way to repair this without having to reinstall CS4?
    Thanks!

  • Phillip Kerman — 3:30 PM on November 13, 2008

    I think the fact the range of complaints were SOOO minor speaks to the significant improvement to the installer–I’d say there’s nothing to “respond to”. I mean, half his argument was about how he didn’t want to quit safari. Or, how “setup” should be renamed “installer”… or how it doesn’t use autorun on the CDs (something I can’t stand). Is there one mention of it not working? Nope… so, I’d say he had to dig pretty deep to find something to complain about.
    Don’t get me wrong–I think complaining is great but that was one lame rant!

  • Mark Thomas — 3:47 PM on November 13, 2008

    I have similar gripes about the installer — everything that guy points out is true — but at the same time it should be noted that ultimately the installer does work and isn’t difficult or especially puzzling to figure out. I could see my mother being thrown by the inelegance of it all, but then my mother isn’t going to be installing the Creative Suite anytime soon. So I’d say, yeah — it’s totally non Mac-like, and a simple drag and drop of a folder would be cool, but in the end the installer is not going to prevent anyone from getting the software loaded. I’ve been around long enough to remember what it was like to have to install PageMaker from, like, fifteen floppy disks, so things could definitely be worse. On the other hand, those floppy-based installers were at least smart enough to detect when the next disk was inserted. And for what it’s worth, I can also remember when Photoshop was a single icon installed via drag-and-drop. Those were the days. . . .
    At any rate, authorizations are a far more annoying and consumer hostile thing. He should be waging holy war against that before he nitpicks the installer.

  • Brian Johns — 3:59 PM on November 13, 2008

    He forgot to mention the unexplained requirement to not use a case-sensitive filesystem. I had to re-install my whole OS just to install CS3!
    And why can’t we use SSD volumes either?
    [You certainly *can* use SSD volumes. The warning was badly written and was meant to keep customers from trying to install on things like removable CF cards. (Seriously, people try some weird stuff.) We need to publish a clarification on that front. –J.]
    If there’s some reason for these things, please let us know. For instance, I understand why CS4 is not 64 it on Mac OS. It wasn’t Adobe’s fault and it was explained to the community, so I accept it. It’s the unexpected randomness of “You can’t do that and I won’t tell you why” that gets me…

  • flip phillips — 4:43 PM on November 13, 2008

    Something I don’t quite understand (and this isn’t an indictment of Adobe in particular) but why aren’t there more ‘drag and drop’ installs? The ‘software is too complex’ argument doesn’t wash, as there are very very complicated/large applications like Mathematica that are d+d. Office -used- to be d+d install, but now its going backward, requiring an installer! Acrobat’s ‘self healing’ demonstrates that Adobe has -thought- about this sort of thing…

  • Brian Johns — 4:47 PM on November 13, 2008

    John – thanks for the clarification about the SSD volumes. I’m sure there are lots of MacBook Air road warriors that will appreciate that.
    Any word on the case-sensitive thing?
    [It’s always just been a question of bang for the buck. No Macs, to my knowledge, ship with HDs formatted as case-sensitive, and the overall percentage of customers who reformat their drives to be case-sensitive is extremely low. (Of course, those who care about this issue are highly motivated to make their perspective heard, but that doesn’t change the overall numbers.)
    No one thinks that supporting both options is a bad idea, and of course no one wants to irritate customers. It’s just a question of whether the effort is justified relative to doing other things customers want. –J.]
    I’m off to install CS3 on my striped RAID of iPods… ;-)
    [Hopefully set up in a Beowulf cluster. –J.]

  • Daniel Sofer — 4:52 PM on November 13, 2008

    John:
    The installer was not really a problem for me and I felt slightly improved from CS3. My problem is _always_ Adobe’s Download Manager which refuses to play nice with Safari.
    [Hmm–I just used it (v3.1.2) to download the entire Master Collection the other day, and today I watched my friend do the same with no problems. I wonder whether there’s some conflict with your version of Java (on which the download mgr. runs). I’m just guessing on that. –J.]

  • Paul Sweeney — 6:14 PM on November 13, 2008

    I mean, half his argument was about how he didn’t want to quit safari.

    Seriously, as a web developer this is a big issue for me. Thanks to a goof with Dreamweaver CS3 beta, it took me 7 hours to force CS3 Retail to install.
    [We’re talking CS4, not CS3. The CS3 installers were deeply problematic. The new ones are much improved. –J.]
    Being unable to view websites (yes Virginia, Firefox too gets the lockout treatment too) is a fairly big effing deal.
    [The temporary browser restriction is lame, though well intentioned. Of course, no one is saying that you can’t browse the Web, just that if you’re installing Flash or Acrobat you can’t browse using Safari *during installation*. –J.]
    Especially when my OS of choice happens to include a much better PDF viewer than the one the CS suite installs. I don’t think that asking for the ability to opt out of browser altering behaviours is too much to ask from an installer.
    [True. –J.]

  • Ernie Longmire — 6:21 PM on November 13, 2008

    I think the fact the range of complaints were SOOO minor speaks to the significant improvement to the installer–I’d say there’s nothing to “respond to”.

    I guess it depends on how important (or unimportant) you think fit & finish are. As long as your new BMW gets you to the store in one piece, does it matter if the glovebox pops open every time you make a left-hand turn?
    [There’s no question that installer rough edges send the wrong message & get things off on the wrong foot. To me, though, a better metaphor is that the BMW dealership is messy while the cars are fine. –J.]

  • John Burnett — 6:51 PM on November 13, 2008

    Not to pick nits, but something the installer does (on Windows) that’s always struck me as rather rude is that it just blasts all its app icons into the root of my start menu, instead of in a folder named “Adobe” (or something similar).
    [I could be wrong, but I believe MSFT’s guidelines now encourage this practice. Maybe someone who knows more can confirm/correct that detail. –J.]
    And when installing one of the Suite products, that means you suddenly have a very, very cluttered Start menu. It seems like a very non-Windows-standard thing to do…
    That said – thanks for the great blog, keep up the good work :).
    [Thanks. –J.]

  • Mark Anderson — 7:37 PM on November 13, 2008

    From the standpoint of an Enterprise customer, the Installer is absolutely horrible.
    I took me hours to find a method of making a network-compatible, single-folder installer from the install DVD’s.
    This is my only viable option since the “Deployment Toolkit” has to be purchased separately even though I spent roughly $30,000. (This would have been nice to know when I was purchasing the license.)
    Other wonderful gripes I agree with are:
    1. The process takes a very, very long time even when just installing Illustrator and Photoshop.
    2. About every third install, my Enterprise serial number won’t be accepted. Lovely.
    3. Can’t make a disc image of the single folder installer. Brilliant.
    4. Let me choose whether or not I want the Flash plug-in. Don’t force it on me.
    5. GOD FORBID that Adobe utilize Apple’s Installer so I can use the Casper Suite or Remote Desktop.
    Oh, and last but not least… it would be nice if someone at Adobe would ASK an Enterprise customer like me my opinion once and a while. Maybe spending $30,000 every year isn’t enough.

  • Phillip Kerman — 8:25 PM on November 13, 2008

    For the record, Adobe still has some major issues. Just today, I went to launch Dreamweaver 8 (macromedia) because I uninstalled CS3 from my laptop. Well, I guess you can’t safely uninstall CS3 without foobaring your computer.

  • imajes — 8:58 PM on November 13, 2008

    Mark Anderson’s comment “Can’t make a disc image of the single folder installer. Brilliant.”
    reminded me of recent complaints that you cannot fully back up your HD to disk images due to Adobe installation issues. I’m assuming these are anti piracy measures, but as they can seriously inconvienience actual purchasers, it’s not a good solution. Does this also stop Time Machine/ChronoSyc/etc from doing a full restore? Don’t want to go through the pain of trying it to find out. As redoing all ones prefs/tweaks/pressts is so very painful when doing a fresh install.
    I seem to recal a fix to the original activation issues from some years ago was to buy the software and install a cracked version! As at the time people were unable to reactivate if thngs went glitchy at weekends or when on location. Which only underlined the fact that the antipiracy thing didn’t even work and those that had problems were those who bought the software.
    I also do not believe that there’s a ‘lock’ that cannot be unpicked. Humans are quite sneaky.
    I just installed your softare as part of a fresh OS install and can’t say I was particularly bothered by not being able to drag the apps to folder, but not being able to use Opera is indeed irritating whilst waiting for the ‘setup’ to finish.

  • John C. Welch — 9:01 PM on November 13, 2008

    Oh no, it gets better. It is evidently far better to spew files all over hither and yon and then have to use SQLite databases to keep track of it, which means the adobe uninstaller scripts have to do DATABASE OPS to uninstall a program.
    When I asked “Why not just create a “CS4″ directory in /Library/Application Support/Adobe/, and put all the CS4 files in there, so you know right where they are, making uninstalling MUCH easier” the response was, “Our customers prefer it the way we do it”.
    Funny, I have yet to run into someone who likes Adobe’s completely incomprehensible directory structure. Evidently, they exist, and are the only people the installer team talks to.
    Because there’s some great secret to installing beyond “Copy Files from point a to point b”. No one at Adobe has ever explained in a sane manner, but someone there is convinced it has to be as hard as possible.
    Let’s see…oh the logging and the speed.
    Yes, here’s one. Look at your install logs after you install CS4. Notice the insane size. Why is that? Well, it’s related to the completely bizarro way Adobe installs files.
    See, normally, when you have to install a bunch of files in a directory that all need the same permissions, and assuming you’re sane, you’d create and name the directory, copy the files over, then set the permissions for all of them at once.
    Not Adobe, that’s *far* too simple. No, no, no.
    First, it creates a directory with a specified mode. Then it resolves the group and owner ID for the directory and verifies they are what they say they are. Then, it saves this. Where? I don’t know, because it then specifically sets those values on the directory. If you’re going to set the owner and group to specific values, why do you CARE what the old values for a BRAND NEW DIRECTORY are?
    Beats me, but then, I still think this should be simple.
    So, to create a directory, these are the log entries:

    6953 Creating directory at “/Applications/Adobe Flash CS4/Adobe Flash CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobelm.framework/Versions/A/Resources/LMResources/ru_RU” with mode 0775
    6953 Created
    User “0” resolved to uid 0 for path “/Applications/Adobe Flash CS4/Adobe Flash CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobelm.framework/Versions/A/Resources/LMResources/ru_RU”
    Group “80” resolved to gid 80 for path “/Applications/Adobe Flash CS4/Adobe Flash CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobelm.framework/Versions/A/Resources/LMResources/ru_RU”
    6954 Saved owner 0 and group 80 for “/Applications/Adobe Flash CS4/Adobe Flash CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobelm.framework/Versions/A/Resources/LMResources/ru_RU”
    6954 Setting owner to 0 and group to 80
    6954 Set

    For every.single.directory.
    Oh, but we’re not done yet. Now we have FILES.
    Same deal, but with more log entries. Here, take a gander:

    6955 Copying file “/tmp/.tempdir0hfS6S7T/Assets/AppFiles/Adobe Flash CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobelm.framework/Versions/A/Resources/LMResources/ru_RU/ActivationDenial.zdct” to “/Applications/Adobe Flash CS4/Adobe Flash CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobelm.framework/Versions/A/Resources/LMResources/ru_RU/ActivationDenial.zdct”
    6955 Copied
    User “0” resolved to uid 0 for path “/Applications/Adobe Flash CS4/Adobe Flash CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobelm.framework/Versions/A/Resources/LMResources/ru_RU/ActivationDenial.zdct”
    Group “80” resolved to gid 80 for path “/Applications/Adobe Flash CS4/Adobe Flash CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobelm.framework/Versions/A/Resources/LMResources/ru_RU/ActivationDenial.zdct”
    6956 Saved owner 0 and group 80 for “/Applications/Adobe Flash CS4/Adobe Flash CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobelm.framework/Versions/A/Resources/LMResources/ru_RU/ActivationDenial.zdct”
    6956 Setting owner to 0 and group to 80
    6956 Set

    It does this for every.single.file. Got 300 files in a directory that all have identical owners and permissions? No, we can’t just use chmod -R and chown -R, we must do every file separately.
    What, are you people getting paid by the disk operation? Installing CS4 created an almost 150MB log file. That’s better than CS3, which managed to weigh in at 400+MB. But Really, even a first year compsci student could do this more efficiently.
    Evidently, there’s a “shoot to kill” order against anyone who makes a utility folder with a meaningful name. so instead, I get this as a folder name in Adobe’s application support folder:

    5b32a167b200d54265ab48248b7c614

    I kid you not.
    how in the name of Bizarro #1 is anyone supposed to know what that is?
    On, and on, and on.
    I can’t even get into the silliness of Adobe’s supposed great new utility to make silent installs easier, except to say one word on it: FAIL.
    There’s only one response to all the valid complaints about this installer idiocy from Pierre, me and every other person who is so angry at this installer that if there were ANY competition for Adobe, we’d use it , and that’s a promise from the CEO that CS4 is the last time this abomination will be used on both Windows and the Mac, (it’s NO better on Windows, so don’t think Adobe is only hosing the mac users), and that CS5 will use the proper installers for a given platform, meaningful names, sane logging and installing procedures, and that all support files for CS5 will be in a directory named bloody CS5.
    Any other response will be useless. Adobe has been making its customers pay and pay for its insistence that it is more clever at installers than Microsoft and Apple *combined* and it has never, ever succeeded. Stop it. Just stop it.

  • Eric — 9:04 PM on November 13, 2008

    I’m waiting for John C. Welch to weigh in with a rant about the problems of doing hundreds of installs of Adobe products in the Enterprise (an all-Mac enterprise).
    [He beat you by 3 minutes. –J.]
    I downloaded the Creative Suite Premium this time, and didn’t expect some elegant solution for installing. And although the process took a lot of time, I didn’t have any problems. But this was, what, my eighth version of Photoshop to install since the early 90s?
    Reminds me of all the jokes that end with, “…because it feels so good when I stop.”

  • John C. Welch — 9:16 PM on November 13, 2008

    Oh, and for the first round of updates, could CS4 work better than CS3?
    By “Work better” i mean, “not completely lock up a 10GB 8-core Mac Pro for hours at best”. By “completely lock” I mean, “The mouse moves, that’s it”
    that’s the BEST case.
    The worst case is that you have to force-shutdown the Mac, restart, and re-run the update. On the 5th or sixth try, it finally works.
    Of course, you have to do this MANUALLY. Thanks a pantload Adobe.
    OH, I ALMOST FORGOT…that whole thing where you can’t even SELECT “check for updates” unless you’re LOGGED IN AS AN ADMIN?
    Maybe that stupidity could be fixed in CS4 too.
    Oh, and why do Device Central and Bridge each need a separate copy of Opera, with full email and IRC features? Note that in my testing, I deleted them out of both Application packages, and they still seem to work.
    Oh yeah, both are still really old.
    It’s a good thing that your products are as good as your installers are bad, because nothing else would be worth the pain you put people through to install and update applications.
    Everyone else seems to get this right, (Even the Mac BU is using Apple Installers now), why can’t Adobe?

  • Rosyna — 9:24 PM on November 13, 2008

    What I don’t see mentioned here is that every single problem with the CS4 install procedure that site mentions is identical to the CS3 install experience.
    No attempt seems to have been made to improve the CS3 install experience with CS4

  • Phillip Kerman — 9:26 PM on November 13, 2008

    A few followups:
    master collection does put stuff in its own folder, other apps make a mess. This seems just inane.
    I’m curious if those who have such a huge need to keep their browser running while installing a gigantic software suite do the same while they install an OS or something. I mean, really… this is just an odd issue to complain about. Yeah, I can’t stand it when I get the oil changed in my car and they have the nerve to tell me to switch off the engine.
    Oh, Acrobat. 2 gigs? What has the world come to?

  • Jonathan Boyett — 9:37 PM on November 13, 2008

    John already hit on most of the issues we encounter on a DAILY basis, but I’ll add a few more to the list.
    John’s already mentioned the ridiculous size of the install logs, but how about those uninstall logs? Do you really need to change the permissions on EVERY file individually when uninstalling as well?
    Here’s a look at the uninstaller log:
    12631 Saving file at “/Applications/Adobe Bridge CS4/Bridge CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobe_eula.framework/Versions/A/Resources/pl.lproj/sheetText.strings” to temporary location
    12631 Saved to “/private/var/folders/zz/zzzivhrRnAmviuee+++++++++++/Cleanup At Startup/.tempf2q6KG”
    12632 Saved permissions of 0775 for “/Applications/Adobe Bridge CS4/Bridge CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobe_eula.framework/Versions/A/Resources/pl.lproj”
    12632 Saved owner of 0 and group of 80
    12632 Deleting directory “/Applications/Adobe Bridge CS4/Bridge CS4.app/Contents/Frameworks/adobe_eula.framework/Versions/A/Resources/pl.lproj”
    12632 Deleted
    If I need to reinstall CS4 for any reason, I end up with over 500 MB log files. No matter what Adobe says, I’m pretty sure this is a stupid idea.
    There is still need to quit every running application when running an installer. I think a “silent” install should actually be invisible to the user. I really shouldn’t have to warn them that they wont be able to launch any Adobe apps, any Office apps, or any web browsers for at least an hour, or if we’re updating right away, 5 days.

  • Erik K Veland — 9:43 PM on November 13, 2008

    Hello derivative name brother!
    You downloaded CSP and didn’t expect some elegant solution for installing? Talk about lowered expectations!
    For the record, Adobe Photoshop 1.0 was literally a drag and drop install (or you could run it from the floppy). Ah, the simpler times!

  • Justin — 12:12 AM on November 14, 2008

    Thank god someone at Adobe is listening.
    If there is one app on my Mac that annoys me the most it’s the Adobe installer and software update system. Every time I run Photoshop I get nagged to update the updater software, which doesn’t resemble the update process for every other app.
    [The updater is a separate entity/issue, and it sucks much less in CS4, too. –J.]
    And then there is the folder pollution. None of the Adobe apps use the package system, either. Anyone advanced enough to be able to manually install plug-ins and other stuff should be able to manage “show package contents”.
    [A) The apps *do* use packages. Try looking inside Photoshop, etc. B) A very large percentage of customers aren’t like you and me, in that they’re totally put off by trying to drag plug-ins, scripts, etc. into the right locations on disk. (Seriously, before we started wrapping Camera Raw updates in an installer, this was the #1 tech support call generator.) Anyway, the point is that messing around in packages would *not* be a comfy thing for most people. –J.]
    Non-default stuff shouldn’t be kept in the application folder, anyway, but in the library, like every other app does. If a multi-platform app like Firefox can manage this, then you guys should be able to.
    [Have you looked in the Library/Adobe folder? –J.]
    Installing an Adobe suit is more like installing a special platform than a suit of software packages. It’s a philosophy that also shows in the new GUI, and it’s a philosophy which makes me start praying for an alternative to Adobe.
    [I take this to mean, “Even though you’ve been doing more Mac-like things (e.g. making Cmd-~ cycle through windows), you dare to use some custom UI elements, and that makes you bad (in a way that it somehow doesn’t make Apple bad when they do the same thing).” Which sucks. –J.]
    Because as slick as it seems to you guys, to us end users, it is anything but. The Adobe apps should be like any other app, and not some sort of special software installation on my system.
    OK, end of rant.

  • DrWatson — 1:37 AM on November 14, 2008

    Don’t know if this is an installer issue, but maybe it’s of interest for the installer crew anyway: I installed CS4 Design Premium. The first start of Distiller resulted in a window, which asked me to enter a serial for Acrobat 9 Pro? Huh? I tried to enter the CS4 serial, which was rejected. I quit. I started Acrobat. It told me that the activation was no longer valid and quit. HUH? I restarted Acrobat — and it worked. I the restarted Distiller and it worked too. This happened on two independent machines (PowerMac, MBP). Maybe a problem with activation during the installation? All other apps of the suite started without a hassle…

  • John Burnett — 2:02 AM on November 14, 2008

    Just to follow up – here’s a link to Microsoft’s guidelines on Start menu organization:
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa511447.aspx
    …about half way down, in the section titled “Start menu folders”, there’s a description of what they recommend. With three or more programs, you’re “supposed to” use a folder. With CS4, it looks like just Photoshop ships with 7 programs on the menu (running 64bit here)…

  • James — 2:16 AM on November 14, 2008

    To be fair, the CS4 installer is a bit better than the horrendous CS3 one, That used to take almost 2 hours!
    It takes the piss when your operating system is faster to install than a bunch of PAINT PROGRAMS.
    Seriously Adobe the only company that should be strewing files around the underbelly of my OS is Apple. I haven’t felt like my computer has been this badly molested since I foolishly installed Acrobat Reader on a windows machine… or got a bad virus

  • james — 2:33 AM on November 14, 2008

    Also
    http://www.betalogue.com/images/uploads/adobe/AdobeCS4-InstallerCD2.png
    Bootstrapper???? I was really worried when I saw that for the first time, sounds like something that is gonna mess with my OS boot up process.
    I’m very paranoid about software that meddles too much with the OS ever since a MSN Messenger update rendered my windows machine unbootable.

  • Richard Earney — 4:38 AM on November 14, 2008

    One thing that would certainly make sense from the ‘rant’ is to use a Symbolic Link to the Setup.app in the main window. A user should just have to double-click on an Install icon in the first window.
    The other thing that occurs is that Office used to have a drag and drop installer that then installed stuff on first run. That was a reasonable idea – as it is then installing from a hard drive which is faster.
    CS4 was certainly a better installer than 3. I had the most awful times with CS3 this summer while writing a book. There were moments when I thought I’d cry!

  • Stefan — 7:08 AM on November 14, 2008

    Take it up with the setup folks you mean ;-)

  • Kevin Newman — 8:04 AM on November 14, 2008

    As someone who had to do a 4 day, nearly complete system rebuild to install CS3 that I even blogged about (by far the most visited post on my blog), I will happily turn off my browser to do the 1 hour install of CS4. Could it be very marginally better, sure. But I’m not complaining about 1 hour to install all of the CS4 apps. That is an impressive improvement. I may even blog about it.

  • Stepher — 8:11 AM on November 14, 2008

    Hi John,
    While I do have the same gripes as posted here and on betalogue, these days I’m trying to be a little less negative. Thus I take a deep breath (puff the humbolt) and wait until I can use my new Sweet Suite.
    Adobe software still rocks…

  • John C. Welch — 8:48 AM on November 14, 2008

    The GUI difference issue is, in this case, a strawman to the installer issue, which, especially in a mixed-platform enterprise, bad enough that it causes real delays in deployment.
    Even worse, because Adobe’s installer philosophies are *so* bad, it causes real delays in pushing out security updates. Yes, the Flash installer uses an Apple installer package. But, I still have to make everyone quit every browser, (and in my company, that means “stop working”), because even if you push it out remotely, it will NOT install if there’s a running web browser.
    That just delays the deployment of the patch, instead of letting us push it out, then just send an email telling everyone “hey! Restart your browser!”.
    This is like a 2 million-dollar piece of avionics gear blowing to protect a 40-cent fuse.
    Yet in *every* discussion I’ve had with Adobe on this, the idea of not making you quit the browser is met with the kind of disdain you reserve for a dog peeing on your shoe.
    Honestly, I have lost any hope that Adobe will ever listen to anyone but the voices in its corporate head about installers.

  • John Klos — 10:54 AM on November 14, 2008

    Regarding the case sensitivity issue, there are some EXCELLENT reasons for choosing case sensitivity. Primarily, every major UNIX and UNIX-like OS and filesystem are all case sensitive, and there are many, many UNIX programs which do not always work properly on case insensitive filesystems.
    The argument that Adobe doesn’t care because there aren’t a lot of people who use case sensitive filesystems is disingenuous. The problem is that Adobe programmers have been sloppy and careless
    [Yes, it’s always–ALWAYS–a function of stupidity and malice. Never mind that when much of the code was written, Apple didn’t offer a case-sensitive option. Dealing with a new option means more development and testing (and not just once: it’s just another ongoing cost). Rocket science? No. But supporting case-sensitive drives hasn’t been important enough to enough customers to warrant addressing it at the expense of other things people have requested. –J.]
    and punishing a small percentage of users (who are usually trying to run UNIX applications) is a lame way to disavow responsibility for Adobe’s problems.
    If Adobe were giving software out for free or for cheap, this might be tolerable. But when people pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for software which they can’t just use out of the box because Adobe programmers are lazy, this is just WRONG.
    [Lazy. Yep, you nailed it. (And of course namecalling is a great way to bring people around to your point of view.) –J.]
    Stop forcing people to adapt their computers to Adobe’s limitations. Start making Adobe products work out of the box. Thank you!

  • Mark Thomas — 11:58 AM on November 14, 2008

    John’s totally right about people not wanting to have to manually install updates into deeply nested folder hierarchies. I’m 100% in favor of drag and drop software installation for the initial install, but I do not want to have to manually plow through a complicated and confusing series of nested folders just to update the Camera Raw plug-in. That sort of thing needs an installer.
    As always, the simplest solution tends to be the right one. What’s the simplest way to install a huge software suite? Drag a single folder icon to your hard disk.
    [Yes, but is simplest best? Pierre simultaneously complains about having too many choices & too few. Drag-and-drop offers none. –J.]
    What’s the simplest way to update a plug-in buried deep within that folder? Double-click an installer.
    [CS4 now installs Extension Manager, a utility that unpacks archives and puts everything into the right places. This means that we don’t have to keep writing and distributing one-off platform-specific installers. Instead we can just post MXP files (which are just glorified ZIPs containing some instructional metadata) & yet offer the same double-click-to-install experience. –J.]

  • Phil Brown — 2:08 PM on November 14, 2008

    So much better under CS4 than CS3, at least on Windows. Uninstalling is also better.
    As for Windows Start Menu folders – under Vista 64, at least, they’re nicely grouped in a folder called “Adobe Design Premium CS4″, so I don’t see the problem there.
    I think the main issues seems to stem from the fundamental differences in Mac and Windows installers. On the PC side, it’s pretty simple and common to find the setup.exe file and click it and then away you go.
    On the Mac side, this is not common behaviour (from what I can gather).
    It’s pretty clear that John isn’t happy with the installer and he coined a phrase a while back “profane fugue”. I think that reasonable and considered criticism will be taken on board, which is a great thing.

  • Mark Thomas — 3:22 PM on November 14, 2008

    [Yes, but is simplest best? Pierre simultaneously complains about having too many choices & too few. Drag-and-drop offers none. –J.]
    Ha ha, yeah — and you think I’m difficult to please.
    I think the way I’d do it is I’d have the DVD window open automatically and inside there’d be one icon — the Master Collection folder — labeled Drag and drop this folder to your hard disk to install the complete Master Collection, or open the folder to drag and drop individual Creative Suite applications. Inside the Master Collection folder would, of course, be individual folders containing Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign etc.
    I know you guys spend hours sweating over this stuff and have probably already considered such a thing, but as a user, this is what I’d consider the best combination of user friendliness and usability. Simple, straightforward, and you still have total control.
    And ideally, deinstalling the apps from your hard disk would be as simple as dragging a folder to the trash and emptying it.

  • Klaus Nordby — 3:30 PM on November 14, 2008

    @John: “Seriously, before we started wrapping Camera Raw updates in an installer, this was the #1 tech support call generator.” Huh??? I downloaded the latest ACR just a week ago — for Windows — and there was NO installer in that zip file, just the same old dumb plugin which I had to manually copy to the right folder. So???

  • Matt Radel — 6:30 PM on November 14, 2008

    While I agree that it is annoying that you have to quit browsers to install CS4, and the process isn’t the most intuitive, I can say that Adobe does spend a tremendous amount of resources listening to their customers and improving their products. Lousy installer? Big deal – I’ll enjoy the hell outta my content aware scaling & 3D objects in Photoshop…and won’t give an installer another thought – untill CS5. :)
    I’d rather you spend your time ironing out the damn updater…that thing annoys the crap out of me on a MUCH more regular basis.

  • Matthew Rigdon — 9:04 PM on November 14, 2008

    I’m not going to complain about the installer too much. It’s not the worst one I’ve ever had to deal with (that’s faint praise).
    What does irk me is that the installer doesn’t recognize serial numbers from all older versions. I bought an upgrade from Web Premium 3 and Studio 8 to the Master Collection. It scans my computer, says I don’t have a valid number. I enter my Studio 8 number, no dice. Web Premium? No dice.
    I have to call every single time I want to install the software. The customer support people were nice enough, and yes, I did buy the right upgrade, but for some reason I have to call and get a challenge code. There’s no option to enter my legitimate serial numbers and finish the install.
    I understand that you guys WANT to punish upgraders for not paying full price, but why did you go and actually punish us?

  • rbs — 11:58 PM on November 14, 2008

    I popped over here to the Adobe blog because betalogue mentioned this post.
    If anything, my installation of CS4 Design Premium than the experience described on betalogue has been worse.
    If any web browser (not just Safari) is running on my Mac when I first start the CS4 install, then I get a _completely_ _blank_ error dialog, distinguished only by a title bar that says “Install Error”.
    The only way to get rid of this is to force quit the CS4 set-up program.
    If it hadn’t been for reading the comments on betalogue before starting the install, I mau have had no clue what the problem.
    This is not an isolated occurrence, as I have encountered it on two different machines.
    Also, at the moment I am 35 minutes into an install on a G5 Power Mac and am still waiting for it to get done with the first disk. (I am typing this from another machine, of course.)

  • rbs — 1:38 AM on November 15, 2008

    Well, after waiting 40 minutes for the Design Premium Installer to move on from saying it was installing Version Cue, it seems a force quite was necessary. Clicking the Cancel button had absolutely no effect. And now… time to start over.

  • John C. Welch — 7:51 AM on November 15, 2008

    To every one who thinks the installer isn’t that bad…
    install it 300 times. on Macs and Windows systems. Remotely. (there’s been a SLIGHT change to that process, but it’s still as fragile and frustrating as ever).
    Now, apply 300 flash, CS, and Acrobat updates to that same number of Macs, (Intel and PPC) and Windows boxes.
    You’ll soon see why IT people really hate dealing with CS.

  • Richard Henley — 11:42 AM on November 15, 2008

    If the installer worked in a quirky Vista x64 way I’d be quite happy right now, BUT I’ll be calling support first thing Monday.
    The CS4 PS extended installer doesn’t find my CS2 or CS3 PS, and doesn’t like either the CS2 (which for some reason the CS3 is now reporting) or the CS3 serial numbers:
    Upgrade Check
    We looked in the default locations for qualifying products and none were found.

    But they are here, understandably on Vista x64:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS2
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS3
    Non standard locations to the installer I bet. No option is available to search for them or use a different CD !
    So, dead in the water with this install. I’m not interested in attempting a trial mode. Why this is a problem for me, it’s hard to know, the system has been rather freshly built.

  • john renfrew — 11:46 AM on November 15, 2008

    Would be nice to get a comment on the very first (or second) point please.
    Install CS4 with CS3 still in place so it picks up the old install.
    Copy all kinds of personalised stuff like actions and brushes and…
    Then deactivate CS3
    Then uninstall CS3
    Then run Photoshop CS4 and it tells you that it needs to re-install it for it to work properly as some of the files are missing.
    Please explain, or better still get someone to fix, I have another 5 machines to do in the next fortnight.

  • Matt — 11:51 AM on November 15, 2008

    Here is an idea Mr. Nack, instead of preparing a response- prepare a team to FIX THE ISSUES!
    Apple developed the Installer.app system for a reason- a uniform method of installing applications and updates. And it also allows installing remote using Casper and ARD.
    The other issues are valid as well- all application’s support files are supposed to go into, guess what, “Application Support”! Surprise surprise.
    There is a reason why I advise our 5500 kid school district to avoid any Adobe applications at all. Because they are a pain to install, update, and support.

  • shangara singh — 2:01 AM on November 16, 2008

    No doubt installer is much improved but could do with more minor improvements.
    I forgot to choose a different location than the default. I canceled but then couldn’t install again. It said it was preparing but actually was doing no such thing. After 5 or so minutes, I quit. I then had the bright idea of uninstalling. That got it going and install went ahead OK.
    IMO, it could’ve told me I needed to uninstall the files it had already installed (I assumed it would just overwrite them). It could’ve told me where the uninstall alias was.
    There’s a reason why good installers break installs into steps. It cuts down on mistakes like mine. Had it been broken into logical windows: a welcome box, agree to licence, choose components, choose location, enter serial, install, there’d be less chance of failed or aborted installs.
    When you mount DVD, you should be taken to a setup/install window (why show extensions, bootstraps, etc., ?).
    When you install, an animated progress bar would help. The cyan bar moves in little or large steps and doesn’t indicate whether installer is busy or frozen when it doesn’t move for long periods.
    As for Setup or Installer, I would go with Setup for Windows and Install for Mac OS.

  • Paul — 4:40 AM on November 17, 2008

    [CS4 now installs Extension Manager, a utility that unpacks archives and puts everything into the right places. This means that we don’t have to keep writing and distributing one-off platform-specific installers. Instead we can just post MXP files (which are just glorified ZIPs containing some instructional metadata) & yet offer the same double-click-to-install experience. –J.]
    Great reinventing the wheel again for no reason, my OS already supports a way to wrap files and scripts together.
    [Are we living in a single-platform world? Would making content creators wrap, post, and maintain two packages (one Mac, one Win) make it more or less likely that they’d share their creations? Would it make it easier or harder for customers to use those creations? –J.]
    I don’t need YET ANOTHER ADOBE THING IN MY APPLICATIONS FOLDER.
    [Feel free to rock out & delete (or not install) it, then. It’s your HD. –J.]
    Adobe would never have pulled crap like this before they merged with Macromedia and assimilated their horrible coding and ideas.
    [Yes, making it much easier to share content is a horrible, horrible idea. –J.]

  • John C. Welch — 6:55 AM on November 17, 2008

    Are we living in a single-platform world? Would making content creators wrap, post, and maintain two packages (one Mac, one Win) make it more or less likely that they’d share their creations? Would it make it easier or harder for customers to use those creations? –J

    Considering the complete failure of Adobe’s OMGSOWONDERFUL installer to work with any enterprise management utility save…no, there isn’t one, and this sucks on Windows too, I’d say it’s about time Adobe suckes it up and admits that no, their installer is not all that and a bag of chips too.
    Yes, in fact, we DO want you to use the appropriate installer technique for the platform. That means MSI on Windows, (or whatever replaces MSI), Apple Installer Packages on Mac OS X, and whatever package management system is appropriate for whatever other platforms you support.
    Will that create more work for Adobe? Yes.
    But guess what, too friggin’ bad. I’m paying Adobe to do things the right way on the platforms I support, and I, along with every IT manager I know, (and I know a LOT), are tired of paying Adobe for the privilege of doing all the damned work to make your installs work across a business.
    When utilities like Casper have instructions on how to completely repackage YOUR installer so it friggin’ WORKS RIGHT, that’s your fault, but MY time YOU’RE wasting.
    and I’m paying YOU for that.
    When it takes DAYS to install an update, that’s MY time and the USER’S time YOU’RE wasting.
    and I’m paying YOU for that.
    When it takes 2-5x as long as it should to apply “critical” security updates because you’re so impressed with your installers that you can’t bear to change anything to make it easier to apply patches, that’s MY time you’re wasting, and MY machines that are at risk for longer than they should be because of both YOUR bad code and YOUR bad installers.
    Yet, i’m paying you for this.
    and yet you sit there and complain like WE’RE at fault for DARING to question your friggin’ installers?
    Man, unless you are willing to fly out on your own dime to every single CS4 business install and do all the installs for us, don’t tell us that it’s all okay and that it’s all our fault for not “understanding” things.
    it’s real easy to think the installers are all great when you aren’t doing jot one of the work caused by them.
    [You misunderstood my response. See my explanation of Extension Mgr. below. –J.]

  • zwei — 8:33 AM on November 17, 2008

    There are no apps on my system that have a worse install/update procedure.

  • Steven Fisher — 8:42 AM on November 17, 2008

    Less rude sniping of commenters. More fixing of code. Thanks.
    [Sorry–where was I being rude? –J.]

  • Kevin Chen — 9:41 AM on November 17, 2008

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I much prefer drag and drop installs. It’s much easier to spend 10 minutes copying 3gb of data than it is to let my laptop run at 100% cpu for three hours while the installer figures out a way to COPY 3GB OF DATA.
    Also, adobe updater doesn’t work anymore on my fresh install. I ended up having to manually patch every application because the updater would start a download, realize it was downloading what it just started to download and fail because it was downloading what it was supposed to.
    That’s assuming it’s working when it does download updates. Why does it need 100% cpu for thirty minutes when patching?
    It’s not like this is an ancient computer, it’s about 10 days old.

  • Ian Davies — 11:44 AM on November 17, 2008

    “I’m going to work with the installer folks to create a response.”

    Ummm, yeah. That’ll be the same kind of “response” that you said you’d get for us regarding the obscene pricing structure for non-US customers, right? We all know how well that worked out…
    I know you don’t really see eye-to-eye with John C. Welch on much. I would agree that his bitching is sometimes excessively venomous for the subject matter at hand, but on this one he’s right on the money. Sorry, but he is.
    The general view of you and some of the others in this thread that because the CS4 installers are not quite as shitty as the CS3 ones, we should somehow be grateful and celebrate the fact, is shameful.
    I have 4 or more Acrobat updates stacked up in the Adobe Updater on our OS X machines that all fail. I have a 5.0.3 updater for InDesign on Windows that always fails. It goes on.
    There is *NO* good reason to replicate/bypass a working system-level component that is already there to do the same job. Each platform has working installers. Use them, FFS.
    Adobe is surely full of very smart people. So why do you find this so hard? No-one — NO-ONE — else in the software world makes a worse software installation experience. It doesn’t matter how you try to spin it.
    Either you think the installers are acceptable – in which case, give up now, quite frankly – or you think they are unacceptable, in which case why the FECK did they get out the door?

  • Kevin — 12:01 PM on November 17, 2008

    [Are we living in a single-platform world? Would making content creators wrap, post, and maintain two packages (one Mac, one Win) make it more or less likely that they’d share their creations? Would it make it easier or harder for customers to use those creations? –J.]
    Are you honestly telling me that managing to “wrap, post, and maintain two packages” is too burdensome a task for Adobe?
    [No no, not at all. I’m not talking about Adobe installers. I’m talking about Extension Manager, which as I noted is a utility that helps people share files (creating packages on the one end, and unpacking their contents & putting it in the right locations on the other). It’s a tool designed to help customers help one another, *without* making them write installers or rely on platform-specific installation mechanisms. –J.]
    You guys are one of the largest application developers in the world. The idea that you’re too resource constrained to manage this is ridiculous.
    That people at Adobe would try to spin it as valid justification is insulting.
    We understand that at some point in the past, some well-intentioned person thought they would make better use of Adobe resources by having a single, cross-platform install architecture. That has failed utterly.
    For the love of God, quit playing defense, admit that it didn’t work, and do the right thing.
    [Again, to clarify, Extension Manager is entirely unrelated to the Adobe installers. –J.]

  • Chris Rank — 12:48 PM on November 17, 2008

    I am amazed at the lack of response from John to this thread. John avoids answering anything from Welch because he KNOWS he would have to make an indefensible argument.
    [Actually, I’m giving the right people time to talk to Pierre (the original poster) and John Welch. They’ve been talking over the weekend, and now we’ve got Adobe MAX going on, so it’ll take a little time to craft a proper response. –J.]
    Nack, the answer is really easy. I have it for you. Reassign the ENTIRE installer “team” and put 2 guys on it for a week to package the apps with platform specific installers. Done. That easy. Really. Until you are willing to tell us that Adobe will use platform specific installers, then please spare us. Your answers will never suffice until we get what we want. Period. There is no explaining or negotiation. Do it. Just that simple. Stop, just stop with the inane nonsense as to why we are wrong. Just fix the software. I seriously hope that the Justice Department has a good hard look at Adobe in the years to come, because Adobe is acting just like the monopoly it is. The only response that John Nack can offer at this point, that would not be meaningless, would be to copy and paste what is on Welch’s blog today and post it here.
    [John misunderstood what I wrote, and rather than trying to get clarification, he flew off the handle (as always). I have a hard time constructively engaging someone like that. –J.]

  • Mark Thomas — 4:39 PM on November 17, 2008

    I feel like I’m losing my edge or something. Shouldn’t I be the one ranting about Extension Manager? I say, if it makes it possible to upgrade plug-ins without having to go folder diving, then fine. Unless, of course, the experience of using Extension Manager is wrought with complexity and confusion. And I don’t know as I haven’t seen it in action.
    Complaints about not cluttering up the Applications folder could be fairly easily solved if Adobe moved everything — including individual app folders, the Extension Manager folder and the files normally included in /Library/Application Support — into a single unified “Adobe” folder in /Applications. I don’t see any reason why Adobe has to use /Application Support anyway, even though that’s the officially sanctioned place to put shared resources. To my mind it’s just there to prevent /Library from being cluttered with third-party folders. If Adobe put everything into /Applications/Adobe, installing Creative Suite really could be as simple as drag and dropping a single folder. Nobody would have to write or test installers and the complaints from Betalogue would cease.
    Or not.
    Yes, somebody would then complain about there not being an installer or a way to customize what gets installed, but simplicity trumps all of that. The guys who complain about these things are smart enough and computer savvy enough to just go in and delete the folders they don’t want after-the-fact anyway. Don’t heed the cries of control freaks. Listen instead to the good fairy of simplicity.
    (Good fairy?)

  • charmichael — 6:21 PM on November 17, 2008

    Quote: Are we living in a single-platform world? Would making content creators wrap, post, and maintain two packages (one Mac, one Win) make it more or less likely that they’d share their creations? Would it make it easier or harder for customers to use those creations? –J
    It is not a single platform world but Adobe has chosen to play in both (and in some places three worlds) so why not do it right and wrap, post and maintain two packages. You guys posted a very profitable quarter not too long ago – use some of that money (made no doubt from the overcharging of international customers) to play nice in the worlds that you have chosen to play in. As with Premier, there was a time you decided not to compete there for a while and someone else came in and took your place. Since coming back you have “come to play” with a program worthy of possibly enticing people back (given that Apple has done little to the FCP suite in some time.)
    Quote: Feel free to rock out & delete (or not install) it, then. It’s your HD. –J.]
    Does Mr Narayen support you giving his clients the boot if they dare disagree with you?
    [Who is giving you the boot? I said you’re free not to install Extension Manager (or to remove it) if it doesn’t provide you value. Please try not to overreact. –J.]
    This is not a random comment – a lot of people feel the same way and DearAdobe.com is full of complains about the installer. Right now we have little choice with Photoshop (although I am looking closely at Painter) but as with Premier, someone might come and give you a run for your money. Here’s looking at you Apple! LR 2is all the better for Aperture, After Effects for Motion and Pagemaker for Quark (which I am guessing helped in driving the creation of the great ID software.)
    Quote: Yes, making it much easier to share content is a horrible, horrible idea. –J.
    After the pun, sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.

  • Kevin Chen — 9:37 PM on November 17, 2008

    While installing cs3 tonight, the installer failed to install adobe acrobat. Again. No, not again on this machine – it’s about 2 hours old. But for about the millionth time for my small company.
    So I have to fire up setup (setup? Setup what?) and let it run for another three hours maxing out the cpu. Fine, I’ll wait. Not like I was planning on sleeping tonight or anything. Makes me think of this thread so I fire this up while getting setup setup.
    Load this page, then go back to setup who says, “I’m sorry, you don’t need to be web surfing while spending your second three hours waiting for me.”
    Just an absolutely great experience.

  • charmichael — 9:43 AM on November 18, 2008

    [Who is giving you the boot? I said you’re free not to install Extension Manager (or to remove it) if it doesn’t provide you value. Please try not to overreact. –J.]
    My apology – misread the statement as to mean installing or not installing PS / Adobe products as a whole.
    [No, not at all. I suppose I should have been more specific. Anyway, I’m glad we got that sorted out. –J.]

  • John C. Welch — 12:34 PM on November 18, 2008

    John misunderstood what I wrote, and rather than trying to get clarification, he flew off the handle (as always). I have a hard time constructively engaging someone like that.

    Ah, that’s it. Deny every point because you dislike the source.
    [I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. I haven’t “denied every point”; I haven’t even posted a proper response yet (!), in part because I was first giving you a chance to talk with other Adobe folks. I do have a hard time engaging with you when you approach things this way. (And as long as we’re talking denial, it would be nice for you to acknowledge having completely misunderstood re: Extension Manager.)
    Listen, there are *plenty* of things wrong with Adobe, installers, etc. I welcome your feedback, but the process would be a lot more efficient if you asked questions first and then–if need be–shot the messenger. –J.]
    Way to demonstrate the absolute zero of a chance that Adobe shall ever do the right thing with the installers.
    Of course, the attitude that we, as the IT community have gotten from Adobe has never, EVER been one of dismissal or just being outright ignored.
    It’s not like anyone from that community has ever tried to get Adobe decision makers in the room to talk about these issues *YEARS* ago. No, no, we’ve never done anything but yell at the poor undeserving Adobe people who really created a perfect installer for everyone. It’s just that we refuse to do everything Adobe’s way. Obviously, since it can’t be Adobe’s fault, it must be IT’s fault for being too lazy to go from machine to machine and install it manually, which is how CS should be installed.
    If it takes us days, or weeks, well, what other purpose do we have?
    Oh goody, my latest round of CS3 updates locked up a machine again. Forced restarts are the BEST! THank you Adobe for all the practice I get with filesystem repair, thanks to your wonderful installers.
    Maybe if y’all admitted that your custom installers were, and are a bad idea and started doing things the right way for the platform, as opposed to whatever VP is promulgating this idiocy, you wouldn’t get beat on about this particular issue so much.
    Or is Adobe refusing to fix anything until we ask nice enough for you?

  • John C. Welch — 1:48 PM on November 18, 2008

    Listen, there are *plenty* of things wrong with Adobe, installers, etc. I welcome your feedback, but the process would be a lot more efficient if you asked questions first and then–if need be–shot the messenger.

    John.
    The Adobe installers have been garbage for mass installations since CS2.
    They got worse, *far worse* in CS3.
    There has been no improvement on that front in CS4.
    CS2 came out in what, 2005? So in coming up on 4 years, the installers have gone from bad to worse. Every attempt to talk to Adobe about this has at best, gotten us statements like “I’m going to work with the installer folks to create a response”. Normally, the response is either to be ignored, or get some inane statement about how we just don’t understand how hard installing software is.
    [Is that what you’ve gotten from Barry? –J.]
    So, the BEST response we get, from someone with no control over this mind you, is “We’re working on a response”.
    That’s right up there with an LA Talent Agent saying “Trust Me”, or “The Check’s in the mail”.
    What *you* can’t see is that your reply to the response I supposedly misunderstood, (as a mind reader, you’re a great Photoshop PM), illustrated every.single.thing that is causing the installer problems.
    [Again you’re conflating a couple of issues. Re: Extension Mgr.: People like to share settings (brushes, color swatches, etc.), and we want to make it easier to do so. The effort we put into Extension Mgr. is in direct response to customer requests for easier sharing–that’s all. (It’s objectively easier to share files when they’re cross-platform than when they’re platform-specific. Cf. Open Type fonts, etc.) None of that has anything to do with the shortcomings of the application installers. –J.]
    You, and by extension, Adobe, keeps trying to create these completely identical experiences on every platform, and are so invested in that philosophy, that when it is absolutely and utterly failing, you either *can* not, nor *will* not see it, much less really admit it.
    [Problems with the installers don’t invalidate the idea that features should be consistent across platforms. (Do you like it when you get a Word file that doesn’t work properly on your Mac because MSFT added Windows-only features to the Windows version?)
    Platform consistency matters. Cross-platform consistency matters. It’s not always possible to please everyone completely, but we do our best. I’ve written about this at some length. –J.]
    Oh sure, we get platitudes about “We know there are problems with the installers”. Well, considering that release after release, you refuse to fix those problems, you either don’t really see them, or they have no priority for you, aka, you simply do not care enough about them.
    hence my invite to come on out and install your product on a few thousand machines at once on different platforms and different CPU architectures. Because maybe if you live that pain, day after day for a few months, you might finally get it.
    I doubt it though. You and Adobe seem to be blind to such things. As long as it works kinda correctly when you sit in front of the machine and install from physical media, it’s all good as far as you’re concerned.
    We don’t need platitudes, or yet some other carefully crafted and vetted PR BS. We’ve had those for years now, and we know the difference between urine and rain. Really.
    If that’s going to be your response to this issue, yet another steaming pile of PR, then don’t bother. We’ve heard it all before, and we stopped believing it a while ago.
    [Thanks for the preemptive abuse. In spite of that, I’ll carry on gathering information to share, and I’ll share it when it’s ready.
    In the meantime, I have a job to do, and I’m going to get back to doing it rather than engage with you further on this thread. –J.]

  • David Curtis — 1:50 PM on November 18, 2008

    Hello,
    I need to upgrade from CS2->CS4. Much of my computer work involves image editing of RAW files, both with the RAW plug in and, later, in PS proper (i.e., layers, masks, filters, etc.) So I’d like to be able to edit fairly large 16 bit files with reasonable speed and efficiency.
    For this I need to replace my old G4 dual PowerPC processor (500 Mhz, 1GB RAM) tower. Ideally I would upgrade to a Mac Pro, but it’s a bit beyond my present budget. So I’m thinking about going with a Mac Mini 2 GHz, 1GB, 160GB (higher storage option).
    Can the Mac Mini’s performance meet the processor and memory-intensive demands of running Photoshop CS4 in 16 bit? Overall, is the Mac Mini a viable option for serious photo editing, as well as output to print?
    Also, I need to replace my aging CRT with a high resolution, high quality, mid-range ($500-1000) 24 inch LCD monitor with a color range of at least 16.8M and a gamut approaching Adobe RGB, plus viewing angle not less than 170 deg., and excellent brightness and contrast. The panel technology should be IPS or VA or variants thereof, and not TN. So far I’ve encountered the following possible candidates.
    HP LP 2465
    Samsung 245T
    NEC 2490 (LCD 2490WUXI-BK)
    Dell TM 2407 WFP or 2405 WFP
    and just possibly Apple’s 23″ HD Cinema display
    Any recommendations, based on price/performance, as well as other considerations perhaps, like technical/warranty support, etc.?
    I’d very much appreciate any insights or recommendations. Links to useful resources that could point me in the right direction would also be helpful.
    Thanks!
    Dave
    http://www.myartspace.com/davidcurtis

  • John C. Welch — 4:51 PM on November 18, 2008

    Is that what you’ve gotten from Barry?

    No. Out of all the rest of Adobe’s PMs who think the sun shines out of their nethers, he’s the ONLY one to consistently understand the real frustration and anger the installers create, and at least try to get the info he needs to do things better.
    Funny how I have a ton of respect for him for that.

    Problems with the installers don’t invalidate the idea that features should be consistent across platforms. (Do you like it when you get a Word file that doesn’t work properly on your Mac because MSFT added Windows-only features to the Windows version?)

    What is it with you and “WELL WHAT ABOUT BILLY!”? What Microsoft, Apple, Quark, Red Sweater Software, and my Aunt Ronnie who likes green text on a pink background do *doesn’t matter*. Frankly, Microsoft has its own ways of screwing up, and if you’d bother to check, I call their tushies out on it when they screw up as well.
    However, this is about a specific issue, the installers, and a huge part of that problem is the insistence that the installation experience not be consistent across platforms, but identical. It is perfectly possible to have a consistent installation experience, (insert media, start installer, serialize, authenticate if needed, select destination, etc.) without it being identical.
    But since you insist on bringing Microsoft into it, the Mac BU is now using Apple installer packages for Office, what’s your excuse?

    Platform consistency matters. Cross-platform consistency matters. It’s not always possible to please everyone completely, but we do our best. I’ve written about this at some length.

    “Consistent” and “Identical” are different words with similar, but not identical meanings. No one, not even me would deny that a consistent experience is a good thing. But when you sacrifice the advantages a platform has for the users of that platform in the name of “the same experience”, then you’re helping no one but the size of your code base.
    The fact that Adobe seem to think consistent requires same doesn’t make it true.

    Thanks for the preemptive abuse. In spite of that, I’ll carry on gathering information to share, and I’ll share it when it’s ready.
    In the meantime, I have a job to do, and I’m going to get back to doing it rather than engage with you further on this thread.

    Well, maybe if Adobe hadn’t been abusing US for almost 4 years now and 3 product cycles with ever-worsening installers, we’d not be so eager to return the favor. It’s rather hard to feel bad for the abuse you take when it’s a result of the abuse you dish out. I understand there’s a saying about that…

  • The Bad Yogi — 4:53 PM on November 18, 2008

    Shorter John Nack:
    Waaah! You don’t love my toys and and say means things. I’m leaving!
    [I was just hoping for a little less ad hominem ranting. –J.]
    I mean, grow up, man. Either Welch’s rants have a base in reality or they don’t. If they do, and Sweet Jebus it certainly looks like it from over here, then engage with the real issues and be done with it. If not, ban him and be done with it. But quit whining like a little puppy.
    [Is calling me names (while hiding behind a fake name yourself) supposed to help make your case for growing up?
    Look, I *want* to talk about the real issues. I don’t want my response compared to “urine” before it’s even been posted. It’s harder to make progress when people are getting hysterical. –J.]

  • The Bad Yogi — 6:44 PM on November 18, 2008

    John, my email is valid, and my nick is my nick. I’ve had it since before you were born, most likely. I’ve never met you, so I have no idea if “John Nack” is YOUR real name, but so what?
    In 5 days, you haven’t ONCE engaged the actual issue: the installer(s) do crappy things, badly. OK? It’s really that simple. Or, if you don’t agree, point out why.
    But complaining that the internet is the internet is just whining. And refusing to engage the actual issues BECAUSE you don’t feel respected is just childish. Whether you like it or not, that’s the truth.
    “People” aren’t hysterical, that’s your attempt to devalue their problems. (Possibly Welch is, but not more so than normally.) In any case, his arguments are valid. Ignore the hyperbole and answer the questions, and all the noise will die down. Keep shooting the messenger, and you’ll get more of the same. If YOU want a solution, take care of it.

  • Phil Brown — 4:02 AM on November 19, 2008

    John C. Welch – there’s a minor problem in the middle east, seems to have stemmed from something a few years back…ok maybe a few millennia.
    Since you apparently have the solution to everything, and everyone else is wrong when they don’t agree with you, perhaps you could save us all a whole heap of trouble (and possible bring the price of oil down ’cause that would be waaay cool) and tell us the solution?
    I work for a company with offices around the globe and with tens of thousands of employees throughout the group. Fortunately, I’m not responsible for installing software on all their machines. I do have to install it on the ones I’m responsible for, as well as my personal ones. I don’t have a real issue beyond the obvious point that it could be better. CS4 is better than CS3, but there’s plenty to be done. Getting to the point of personal abuse of people involved is just ridiculous (as I hope my ridiculous introduction highlighted).
    It’s clear there’s an issue with the installers. That’s been acknowledged. It’s right here in black and white. It’s not unreasonable for you to blog about the issues and try to get them fixed – in fact I’d say it’s a good thing.
    What’s not a good thing is your attitude that you know everything, that your solution is perfect and can be implemented immediately with no particular effort.
    Clearly, if the perfect solution were available and simply implemented it would be very unlikely that this discussion would be taking place.
    Do you really think the folks at Adobe sit around thinking, “Hey, this installer sucks but you know what, it doesn’t matter because all the time and effort it takes for us to have to deal with the angry customers has no impact on us at all”. Really?
    There’s an attempt here to communicate – very bravely as John Nack seems to be wont to do – in public about the issue and how to resolve it.
    You, Mr Welch, are not privy to the internal machinations of Adobe. You do not know how easy or how hard it is to address this issue within the confines of that corporation. So, instead of pontificating about how you’re so smart and how easy it is to fix and how they’re so stupid and make things so difficult, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and consider what it is you really want to achieve?
    You want the installer fixed. So you have a choice. 1. Stop using the product until it is fixed (if you feel there’s no alternative, then that’s a business decision you’ll have to come to terms with – interesting, isn’t it, that you can’t always do what you want because of business constraints, eh?). 2. Politely and reasonably communicate your concerns and proposed solutions and engage in constructive commentary (in or out of the public arena as may most benefit your ultimate goal) and work toward a common goal of making a better product.
    Of course, that would reduce the hits on your blog since tabloids sell, but hey as I said there’s always a price.
    And in parting, John C. Welch, let me put this to you, in public. You said, and I quote from your blog, “and I’ll be installing it with my new thought implants as I eat my pill meals on my zeppelin house before catching the FTL train to Fantasy Land.”
    So if you see the installer issues fixed (to the extent that the majority of users are satisfied) will you post a nice video on your blog eating a large serving of humble pie, or will you simply rant about how you were right (as you liked to tell us in regard to the SNMPv3 Article, you clever guy, you)?
    Seriously, people. Complain when it’s valid (and it is) but haven’t you all learned that screaming and yelling and cursing does *not* make people want to help you?
    Sometimes I look around at humanity and I am inspired. Other times…

  • JRF — 8:50 AM on November 19, 2008

    John C. Welch writes

    It does this for every.single.file. Got 300 files in a directory that all have identical owners and permissions? No, we can’t just use chmod -R and chown -R, we must do every file separately.

    chmod -R is going to hit the chmod(2) system call 300 times. chown -R is going to hit the chown(2) system call 300 times. There is absolutely no material difference at the end of the day whether you make those 600 calls as you create the files or after. You make numerous excellent points, but peppered with enough rants about things which you clearly don’t understand to undermine your credibility on the things you do have valuable contributions on.
    What you missed in your analysis, that actually is a performance hit, is that each package install is fully transactional. That means when you start installing the package, your system is at state A. If all goes well at the end of the install your system will be at state B. If something goes wrong, your system will end up exactly at state A again, not some undefined in-between state, like the Apple Installer leaves you. Naturally there are costs in doing this. This performance hit also applies to Windows, as a byproduct of using MSI which, unless you blow it with non-transactional custom actions, is fully transactional as well.
    (Note that the entire product install, composed of numerous packages, is not transactional, but in the event of a failure, there are only a handful of possible system states to deal with. Each package is either fully and correctly installed, or not installed at all.)
    The other thing going on is that the uninstall is tolerant of post-install relocations. Want to move Photoshop.app after you install? Go ahead. Uninstall will happily remove it from its relocated position (within limits, it can’t track relocations across filesystem boundaries). Not surprisingly, this isn’t entirely free either. Apple’s installer is famous for being completely intolerant of relocated applications, not to mention their uninstaller…oh…wait, the Apple installer has no uninstaller.
    (Whether Photoshop.app correctly runs in another location…well…that is a separate problem that has nothing to do with the installer.)

  • Nat Brown — 12:18 PM on November 19, 2008

    Nicely put Phil.
    John (Nack), your responses demonstrate that you read and take seriously each comment that comes through your blog. Listening of that sort is an uncommon gift.
    I like to say that as long as people run things, they’ll be screwed up. I’m happy, therefore, that its you and your team working on your software and not some of your ranting commenters. Your focus is us, their focus is themselves.
    It is easier to burn than build.
    Keep up the good work.

  • John C. Welch — 7:37 PM on November 19, 2008

    Since you apparently have the solution to everything, and everyone else is wrong when they don’t agree with you, perhaps you could save us all a whole heap of trouble (and possible bring the price of oil down ’cause that would be waaay cool) and tell us the solution?

    Read my site, I’ve done it there a few times.
    But here:
    1) Use the OS provided installers. That goes for all vendors. Period. You’re not that clever, nor are your installers.
    2) (apply to Windows as appropriate) Here’s the new support directory structure for CS5:
    /Library/Application Support/Adobe/CS5/
    Within that you have [application name] subtrees or [common files]
    3) All support directories have human-readable and human-obvious names. Not a string of random letters and numbers. Yes, there are directories in the Adobe support files with names like “5b32a167b200d54265ab48248b7c614″
    What’s that mean? I don’t know. You don’t know. No one but a programmer at Adobe knows, and I bet they need notes.
    Or was I not supposed to actually have given the solution to this any thought and just been blindly ranting? Because if that’s what you thought, sorry. I’ve been thinking about this since CS2, and really hard since CS3.

    Getting to the point of personal abuse of people involved is just ridiculous (as I hope my ridiculous introduction highlighted).

    You’d like to think that…that reasoned discourse and participation is the fast track.
    Well kids, Unca John’s here to tell you that I tried that, and got…well, look at the installer for CS4, and you see what that did for IT.
    In fact, you know what finally got me noticed, to where people from Adobe started talking? Possibly the most profanity-laced article I’ve ever posted, (Kids, I know profanity. It was a masterpiece of the obscene), and a relentless assault on the evilness of installing CS2, CS2+, CS3, etc.
    THOSE created far more, and faster progress than “Hay guyz? Listen, your installer is causing the following pain points.” I know far too many people who sent well-thought out emails to Adobe and were utterly ignored. My rants? Not ignored. So, it’s pretty obvious how you have to talk to Adobe to get stuff done. “Nice” ain’t the label. It’s a shame really, but I’m not here to question effective methods, I’m here to use them.

    Do you really think the folks at Adobe sit around thinking, “Hey, this installer sucks but you know what, it doesn’t matter because all the time and effort it takes for us to have to deal with the angry customers has no impact on us at all”. Really?

    So here’s an uncomfortable fact…companies, quite often mind you, ingore the installation experience because the mechanics of installing it on hundreds of machines, or thousands of machines don’t occur to them, or if it does occur to them, it gets shouted down for more visible tricks. IT is the bad guy anyway, right? So let’s see…the people who have to support it, or the people who use it..we have to piss off someone…hmm…guess who loses there.
    I’m simply unwilling to suffer silently. Deal.

    You, Mr Welch, are not privy to the internal machinations of Adobe. You do not know how easy or how hard it is to address this issue within the confines of that corporation. So, instead of pontificating about how you’re so smart and how easy it is to fix and how they’re so stupid and make things so difficult, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and consider what it is you really want to achieve?

    i do not CARE what Adobe is thinking. What I want has been stated, clearly and consistently, over and over.
    1) Platform-appropriate installers that integrate with management tools out of the box, i.e. MSI on Windows, and Apple Installer packages on Mac OS X. Note that wrapping a custom installer in a platform-appropriate one (ADOBE READER 9) is not acceptable. The benefits from this are legion, and a bright lad like you, I’m sure you’ll figure it out.
    2) A clear, simple directory structure that doesn’t require complex scripts, SQLite databases, and full distributions of Python to manage.
    3) An installation process that isn’t paid by the disk op.
    That’s it. With those, CS would be transparent and quick to install and update. With those, uninstalling would be a snap. What EXACTLY is so hard about that? Even MICROSOFT finally got this with Office 2008. Oh wait, unlike Adobe, they have DEVELOPERS that talk to people. The Mac BU is all over twitter. You’d be amazed at how many people, even if they dislike Office 2008, (and there are a PLETHORA of reasons to dislike that product), like the people behind it, because those folks don’t “craft” messages, they talk to people.

    You want the installer fixed. So you have a choice. 1. Stop using the product until it is fixed (if you feel there’s no alternative, then that’s a business decision you’ll have to come to terms with – interesting, isn’t it, that you can’t always do what you want because of business constraints, eh?). 2. Politely and reasonably communicate your concerns and proposed solutions and engage in constructive commentary (in or out of the public arena as may most benefit your ultimate goal) and work toward a common goal of making a better product.

    As I said earlier, I and my IT compatriots tried reasoned and constructive. We were ignored. Carrot didn’t work, I used the stick. The stick got *noticed* and now some actual productive conversations are happening. Should they lead to actual acceptable solutions, I’ll be thrilled. Until I see solutions, and not promises, I’m not believing a thing. I’ve been in IT too long to really believe any vendor.

    Of course, that would reduce the hits on your blog since tabloids sell, but hey as I said there’s always a price.

    I should be so lucky, My bandwidth bills are insane. Please, stop reading my site, I’ll save money. (No, I don’t really try, nor wish to sell ads. I like the freedom I have without them. Google to date has made me…I think 40 dollars.)

    So if you see the installer issues fixed (to the extent that the majority of users are satisfied) will you post a nice video on your blog eating a large serving of humble pie, or will you simply rant about how you were right (as you liked to tell us in regard to the SNMPv3 Article, you clever guy, you)?

    Humble Pie infers that I was wrong to point out that based on *actual behavior and product code*, the chances of Adobe fixing this are slim and none. *Adobe* created this problem, not me. I’d have been happy to not have to deal with this idiocy. If there’s humble pie to be eaten, it’s by the person at Adobe who keeps insisting on these bizarre installers. I’m just a guy yelling about the stupid, *THEY’RE* the ones inflicting the stupid.
    How come it’s more wrong to complain than to do stupid things that cause people pain? When did THAT happen?

    Seriously, people. Complain when it’s valid (and it is) but haven’t you all learned that screaming and yelling and cursing does *not* make people want to help you?

    What, Adobe’s a company of oversensitive tweens? We have to blow kisses at them and pat them on the rump? Let’s try this: When a group of sysadmins, release after release after patch after patch say “What you are doing is causing us harm. it is causing us to have to delay BUYING YOUR PRODUCT so we can confirm that we can work around this bad thing you’re doing, and what is needed is for you to not do it that way, but to rather do it in this way that makes it easier for us to GET YOUR PRODUCT ON PEOPLE’S COMPUTERS” then maybe, instead of ignoring that, and doing the same stupid thing over and over, and insisting you’ve really improved it by adding yet more complicated steps to it, maybe, just MAYBE, you should actually listen?
    What is this whinefest of “We’re not fixing our product until you talk nice to us”? Baloney. Don’t do stuff that’s stupid, and you don’t get yelled at so much. What, you’d rather spend all your time dealing with installer fallout instead of real customers, just to show you can take your ball and go home?
    Cowboy up and fix the installers. That’s the only way to fix the bad feelings.
    Here’s an example of not doing things the Adobe way:
    A PM for Entourage got up *at macworld* mind you, and *apologized* for how bad E’rage 10.1.X was with regard to Exchange support.
    Publicly apologized for this in a room full of people who were not fans, and by and large had not been terribly nice to him. You think Adobe catches guff from people? Try being in the Microsoft booth at Macworld. They catch more guff in 30 minutes than Adobe does all year.
    Even better, with every release, and even *off release*, there are material improvement to E’rage’s Exchange support. So it’s not just promises and apologies, they actually do fix things. As fast as we’d like? No. But are there obvious improvements every release? Yes.
    Maybe Adobe should learn some OTHER lessons from Microsoft.

  • John C. Welch — 7:56 PM on November 19, 2008

    chmod -R is going to hit the chmod(2) system call 300 times. chown -R is going to hit the chown(2) system call 300 times. There is absolutely no material difference at the end of the day whether you make those 600 calls as you create the files or after. You make numerous excellent points, but peppered with enough rants about things which you clearly don’t understand to undermine your credibility on the things you do have valuable contributions on.

    Ah, but you missed a critical point…
    Each operation is individually logged. So 300 chown and chmod ops result in 600 log entries. The physical log file is written to for each of them. I watch it grow.
    chmod-R and chown -R would create…two log entries. So your way, you not only take the hit for the ownership and file permission changes, but the log writes. That’s 1200 operations for 300 files.
    My way, you get…602. 600 for the chown and chmod -R, and 2 for the log writes.
    I’m still seeing a significant improvement with my way.

    The other thing going on is that the uninstall is tolerant of post-install relocations. Want to move Photoshop.app after you install? Go ahead. Uninstall will happily remove it from its relocated position (within limits, it can’t track relocations across filesystem boundaries). Not surprisingly, this isn’t entirely free either. Apple’s installer is famous for being completely intolerant of relocated applications, not to mention their uninstaller…oh…wait, the Apple installer has no uninstaller.

    1) In CS3, moving things broke the install. IIRC, InDesign or Illustrator never recovered. CS4, you only have to “fix” the install once. However, that’s still bad. So I moved it. Big deal. Why do I have to fix the install? As long as I move the entire Photoshop Folder, the internal path hasn’t changed. The full path to the /Library support folders hasn’t changed. What exactly is getting hard coded?
    2) Uninstallers are a sign your install is too complicated. Here’s an alternative: Make your install directories clear and obvious, and the need for an uninstaller goes away. If I only have to delete product folders, a “CS5″ directory, and *maybe* some prefs files, (if those are doing harm, you have bigger problems), then the need for an intelligent uninstaller goes away. If you make your install simple in the first place, the need for a complex uninstaller *goes away* or is *greatly* reduced. Uninstallers perpetuate the problem, they do not fix it.
    3) I agree that Apple’s rigidity with regard to application locations is silly. *However*…I can install Apple software remotely using any one of a dozen tools, no repackaging required. Their updates, even if I push them out myself, work unchanged with Apple Remote Desktop and other tools. I’ve never seen the absolutely repeatable pain from Apple installers that I do with Adobe installers. Not being able to install or update iTunes in the directory of my choice is minor when I consider that at least I can remotely install and update iTunes on 200 machines in less time than it took me to remotely install Adobe Reader 9 on *one*.
    In addition, Apple’s silliness in no way validates Adobe’s. If Billy kicks a puppy every morning, that doesn’t make your punching of a baby any less wrong. It just means Billy’s wrong *too*. Using other people’s mistakes to justify your own shows a lack of ability to accept those mistakes.

  • Phil Brown — 11:09 PM on November 19, 2008

    Oh my, you do think a lot of yourself, John C. Welch. You think that YOUR whining and shouting is what has brought about change.
    It couldn’t possibly be that there’s a group of people who provide feedback to Adobe on a regular basis and that they are listening to them. Or perhaps that people in Adobe themselves were not satisfied with the situation? No, it must have been you. All you. Thanks ever so much!
    Here’s the real problem – you don’t get the big picture. You want your little corner of the world fixed, and fixed right now. That’s OK, by the way – it’s pretty much the normal way of looking at things. It also explains why a lot of people don’t understand when they don’t get their way, right away.
    Have mistakes been made? “Profane fugue” they sure have! “Come to Jesus meetings” they sure have! Can you imagine who I might be quoting?
    There’s inertia, there’s differences in priorities, there’s differences in opinion, and there’s plain and simple bad decisions. It costs money to fix them, it costs time, it costs resources, it costs opportunities to do other things. It’s far from free and easy.
    Now it’s being looked at, and given the level of language used in replies to your own blog posts, I certainly do think you should be eating humble pie if this is all sorted out by CS5 because your precocious and arrogant postulating leaves no room for you to claim a position of grace, to honestly suggest that you have an aggrieved status. You’re revelling in the attention, assured that it is your acidic tongue that has burned the powers-that-be at Adobe and forced them to act when there’s no evidence of that, but plenty to the contrary.
    Go and sit in the corner for a while, John C. Welch, and when you’re ready to act like an adult, come back and make some positive contributions.

  • Robert Hammen — 2:20 AM on November 20, 2008

    John Welch is correct in that numerous people have tried all manner of approaches with Adobe to tell them that, for “more than one computer” deployments (i.e. people who send Adobe tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for licenses and/or maintenance), the “roll your own” installers Adobe uses are horrible. The installers were so bad that CS3 almost missed its ship date because of them, everyone screamed about how bad/terrible they were, and the result is that the CS4 installers do not address the mass deployment issues and suck slightly less? And we should be grateful for this why?
    When this point is brought up, repeatedly, to many different Adobe employees at varying levels inside the company, the response I get is “we hear you, I agree with you, but the people making these decisions are higher up the food chain than me, I can’t do anything”). Smart companies will listen to their customers (and those who have strong competition have to). It’s apparent that Adobe’s internal structure (and its competitive position in the marketplace) does not allow for customer feedback to make a real difference, at least in this case. John Nack, you want to make a difference here? Find out whatever VP is insisting on the non-platform specific installers, point them an email linking to this thread, and tell them they’re wrong and that Adobe needs to change its approach. And don’t let up until they see the light.
    John Welch is 100% right that IT folks want installations that are based around Installer packages (Mac) or MSI (Windows). We all have tons of options to deploy if installers are correctly built using these technologies. We also want updaters that will work correctly (i.e. on a Mac, let a non-admin user at least open an update, but let me plug in an administrative username and password to apply it, just like Apple does). Heck, even work with Apple to extend Adobe updaters into Apple’s Software Update stream (so I can manage them/my bandwidth by using an internal Software Update Server).
    There aren’t any technical reasons that you can’t use the platform-specific installer technologies, since many people end up “converting” the roll-your-own ones into Installer packages (point is, we shouldn’t HAVE to waste all of this time reinventing the wheel, repeatedly in the case of updates). Don’t shoot the messenger, but do read the message, and LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS (at least in this case, you’re not giving them what they want) is all we’re asking.
    Sincerely,
    Robert Hammen
    Manager of IT
    Sells Printing Company (go search Adobe’s site, we’re featured in quite a few case studies there, FYI)

  • Thomas — 11:35 AM on November 20, 2008

    I have a dream, that one day i’m able to punch somebodys face at adobe company.

  • John C. Welch — 3:47 PM on November 20, 2008

    Now it’s being looked at, and given the level of language used in replies to your own blog posts, I certainly do think you should be eating humble pie if this is all sorted out by CS5 because your precocious and arrogant postulating leaves no room for you to claim a position of grace, to honestly suggest that you have an aggrieved status. You’re revelling in the attention, assured that it is your acidic tongue that has burned the powers-that-be at Adobe and forced them to act when there’s no evidence of that, but plenty to the contrary.

    I never claimed that I did anything solo. What I said was that when I, and people from very sober and calm groups like MacEnterprise et al talked with Adobe reps and pointed out the same list of real problems that make not only installing, but applying updates, (like, you know, SECURITY UPDATES) take *far* longer than they need to, we were politely ignored.
    Nothing changed at all to make this easier. In fact, CS2 to CS3, the “silent” install got more fragile and worse. CS4 slapped a package installer on a stub that required an even MORE fragile process.
    So that’s bad to worse, to worse. Lots of sober, constructive feedback. No change. Not even word one from the Installer team(s). Nothing.
    I finally snap, because it’s happened once too often, and caused people to get behind in work, (yeah, because when updates lock up a computer for hours or days, that messes with more people than just IT), and vent. No holds barred venting, and guess what. I’m getting emails and phone calls from people who REALLY want to work with me.
    You’d be hard pressed to call that coincidence, but do try.
    Had Adobe taken positive action YEARS ago, this installer issue would.not.exist. Period. They chose to blow it off, regardless of reason, and not really talk with the people who were actively setting aside their frustration and trying to be constructive. Those choices by Adobe lead to the current situation.
    If you stop poking people, they don’t get mad because you poked them. Blaming the guy getting poked for finally getting mad about it is hardly going to make the pokee stop being mad.

    Go and sit in the corner for a while, John C. Welch, and when you’re ready to act like an adult, come back and make some positive contributions.

    Hey Mom, I just published a primer on using SNMPv3 on Mac OS X so that sysadmins can check their network more securely, a number of SNMP-related articles on my own site, any number of IT-focused scripts that I give away, and am doing a two-day session on network monitoring fundamentals and practices at Macworld Conference & Expo.
    What have YOU got?
    [I’m no longer paying attention to this brawling, and I won’t accept future back-and-forth comments on this point. I’m not going to let the blog devolve into shouting matches while quieter people stream out of the room. –J.]

  • phil brown — 5:14 PM on November 20, 2008

    My apologies, John N. I should have let things be (and to that extent, my apologies to John W., too).
    [No prob, Phil. –J.]

  • JRF — 1:14 AM on November 21, 2008

    CS2 install on Mac, from what I hear here, sucked. CS2, CS3, and CS4 install on Windows, from what I hear here, also sucked. Since those are all platform native installers (Apple installer and MSI respectively), I dare say that the suggestion to use platform native installers isn’t helpful. It misses the point which is not the technology the installers are built with, but what the installers actually do and why.
    The closer installation is to “just copying files” the better, for the user at least. I don’t think anybody will disagree, especially the folks tasked with putting the installers together. An installer that simply doesn’t exist is the easiest installer to build!
    Not to defend, but to shed light on how that goal becomes a mirage in a large organization…
    Somewhere in the process, the folks tasked with doing installers get handed a list of about 132 “The installer must…” requirements in addition to the basic “copy files”. Some are byproducts of how the application was written or built (these 112 registry entries need to be setup before our app will run). Some are legal requirements (no, we are contractually bound to not even put those third-party codecs on the machine until you supply a valid serial number). A great many revolve around “business” requirements (everybody must have bridge!). Some are imposed by the architecture of the target operating system (no, the system won’t recognize that color profile until you do this series of API calls to register it). Some are in conflict with each other because they came from different parts of the organization that don’t communicate with each other. Some fall through a rips in the space-time continuum from bizarre parallel universes and make precious little sense in this universe.
    At the end of the day some requirements are legitimate, but many conflict with a positive user experience directly with visible behaviors, or indirectly by adding complexity that makes the process more fragile. Also at the end of the day, the folks making the installer can either (1) curse at the idiocy of it and implement the requirements anyway or (2) push back and make noise about the idiocy of it, followed by higher up folks re-assigning the task to someone who will do (1). Since any large organization will have an ample supply of folks who will do (1), the 132 “The installer must…” items get implemented, whether they make sense or not.
    The user experience won’t get better until the installers get simpler.
    The installers won’t get simpler until the requirements get simpler.
    The requirements won’t get simpler until the organization finds a new way to establish the requirements.

  • Ian Davies — 11:15 AM on November 21, 2008

    To John Nack:
    “Brawling”? That’s a touch dramatic, isn’t it? This is an official Adobe blog, and there’s only words being exchanged here. It’s not like someone’s come into your house and taken a dump on the rug…
    Adobe’s installers *are* a problem. Here the company has a golden opportunity to take a problem which has attracted a lot of negative attention, and turn it into a massive positive.
    1.) Acknowledge the problem. Specifically. Saying “there’s lots wrong with the installer” doesn’t count, for reasons that shouldn’t need explaining.
    2.) Commit to doing something about it. Go on the record that CS5 (or at least the major components thereof) will be use vendor-supplied installers that are remote admin-friendly.
    3.) Give updates that show progress is being made on this issue (rather than a platitude that is forgotten in 6 months).
    4.) Clearly it’s not your job to take on the cause of the whole Adobe installer platform. Get the installer teams to start a blog!
    [I’m working with them to compose a guest post for posting here. As I mentioned earlier, it’s been a hard week to get a hold of all the right people. –J.]

  • John C. Welch — 3:40 PM on November 21, 2008

    CS2 install on Mac, from what I hear here, sucked. CS2, CS3, and CS4 install on Windows, from what I hear here, also sucked. Since those are all platform native installers (Apple installer and MSI respectively), I dare say that the suggestion to use platform native installers isn’t helpful. It misses the point which is not the technology the installers are built with, but what the installers actually do and why.

    HUH? They most certainly are not. THey’re that inane “Adobe Custom Installer” or something powered by iNosso or whatever else someone felt like using. If they were actual Installer Packages or MSIs, we’d not be having the problems we are.

  • eric — 4:57 AM on December 10, 2008

    My problem is that after several hours of installing, i get the prompt to change to disc 3..well, for some reason the disc is still running in the drive and i can’t get it opened.. if i force it to open, the installer still thinks any disc in the drive is still disc 2 and won’t continue the install…
    i’ve wasted 3 days installing and uninstalling and then reinstalling..

  • Don Montalvo — 10:23 AM on December 10, 2008

    We have 300+ Macs at one very high profile global company.
    We purchased CS3 Design Standard.
    We have not begun deployment.
    Can anyone guess why?
    Don Montalvo, NYC

  • Don Montalvo — 3:16 PM on December 10, 2008

    I gave up on deploying CS3. Tried to add it to our Leopard image. Explodes on every Mac after a couple launches. Have to run manual install (Silent Install is a complete joke for enterprise).
    I put in a call to Adobe customer service to see if we can deploy and use Sassafras key server. Thought maybe Adobe can “fix” this CS3/CS4 deployment problem by embracing key server – like Quark did with Quark License Administrator.
    Adobe called me today to ask a few questions. Said it would be escalated. Thought…hmmm…maybe we’re all fighting the wrong fight here? What would it take for Adobe to allow (and facilitate) use of K2 (www.sassafras.com)?
    Just a thought…for now I’ll continue to loathe Adobe dev team. Ironic, I don’t hate Quark dev team any where near this much. :)
    Don

  • Ed — 8:18 PM on January 01, 2009

    Hi John – Happy New Year!
    Maybe old news, but as a new Mac user, coming from the PC world, the biggest gripe about naming an installer “setup” is somewhat of a mystery. To a PC user like me, it’s the exact opposite experience – I knew exactly what “setup” meant. This is also mentioned in the READ ME…I guess this proves that nobody actually reads the READ ME :)
    Installation was quite smooth for me actually (Production Premium CS4).
    If you want a gripe, it’s got nothing to do with your software, as I’ve known it to be superb – from the first incarnation of Illustrator for the PC, to this day. It’s got everything to do with your sales and customer service operations.
    My cross platform upgrade was such an ordeal that I formed certain perceptions:
    – you’re spending on customer service operations which don’t help customer relations
    – it’s not that the reps are “bad”, it seems that the operation itself has some systemic flaws
    – reps don’t seem to know the full story and can’t disseminate complete/accurate information (conflicting)
    – throughout my ordering ordeal, communicating with the customer, even with impersonal email, is a lost art. I mean I didn’t even get an order confirmation, a shipping confirmation, etc. Nothing.
    – so that meant numerous phone calls, a lot of back and forth with email – which isn’t productive at all given the previous note on reps seemingly not having access to all/accurate/up-to-date info.
    All this seems to point to an expensive operational cost…without having to be.
    Anyway, I hope this helps. Superb software only is when it gets to a customer/user.

  • Sine — 6:12 AM on May 25, 2010

    My gripe (s) are of the IT 101 kind – I have had Adobe CS3 for three years or so, and the Updater has rarely run smoothly. Recently I upgraded my computer and so had to re-install the software – and the Updater wouldn’t run. Finally I discovered that it would work, once I had manually updated it from 5.0 to 5.1 – but it took me forever just to find the 5.1 update. Why is there no separate info. forum etc relating to the Updater, since it causes a lot of people grief?
    Next gripe: since updating, the Extension manager has stopped working. It seems I can’t install it separately from the installer, and when I download a copy from Adobe, that tells me that I have to work with the one in the installer? What- so do I have to reinstall everything then? Why is there so little separate info. about the Extension manager? Why can’t the messages give clearer more comprehensive instructions? Where do I go to find it? When I ask Adobe they won’t speak to me, or reply online unless I have a support contract. I think stuff like installing the extension manager, or getting the updater to run as it should – is way too basic to require a support contract.

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