June 13, 2009

Unintended humor

Occasionally I have to laugh at–not with–the comments I receive here. This week’s gem:

can i have the full version of adobe photoshop cs4 for free,cause this is our business that’s why i need it.

Wow, that’s awesome. It’s for your business? Well, coming right up, then!

Coincidentally, from the “having no concept of/respect for others’ intellectual property” department, reader Torben Brams passed along this little gem.

Posted by John Nack at 7:18 AM on June 13, 2009


  • Zu — 7:54 AM on June 13, 2009

    On the other hand I’d like to tell you my story.
    I started out on Photoshop 3.0 (no not CS3… 3.0 from last century). Back then I was young but I wanted to learn it. So I did learn it. 3, 4, 5 then the CS versions.
    When CS3 came along I got a paying contract and I actually bought version CS3. Yes… up until that point I did all my photoshop education on pirated versions. I’m not afraid to admit it. In fact I doubt I would have been able to become the legal photoshop user had I not used pirated software.

  • Stephan Bollinger — 8:38 AM on June 13, 2009

    that is funny. and a bit tragic too.

  • fr — 8:51 AM on June 13, 2009

    That’s just great :)

  • Thomas Jaeger — 8:55 AM on June 13, 2009

    *rofl* … this make my day :). Unbelievable …

  • Alan — 9:10 AM on June 13, 2009

    John, I think it’s absurd that Adobe charges for photoshop. My computer came with MS Paint for free.
    They are both drawing programs, so why should I pay for Photoshop?
    [Heh. And hey, man, people do some cool speedpainting stuff in Paint. Tools are just tools. –J.]
    * On a serious note, I’m sure Adobe has thought about it, but I wonder if Adobe could offset the piracy of their products by charging less – effectively making it eaiser to buy then it is to pirate….
    [No, because no price beats “free.” People rip off shareware. It doesn’t matter what we charge: as long as Photoshop isn’t made for free by itinerant transgender stoners on Cory Doctorow’s Marxist Antfarm, it’ll be “evil” and thus “deserving to be stolen.” –J.]

  • Bill G. — 9:31 AM on June 13, 2009

    I must say John you are not only required to put your images back up for him to steal from you but work for him for free too.
    My Adobe story starts with Photoshop 3. I got it from a photo lab that legally transferred the ownership to me. One month later got an email from Adobe that due to the recent purchase I can get a free upgrade of Photoshop 4. I was hooked on upgrades ever since.
    On a side note I do miss the Big Eye on the open screen. It is like Johnny L is watching me to keep me honest.

  • Gaspy — 10:04 AM on June 13, 2009

    This is generation entitlement – information wants to be free and everything.
    On the other hand — I know you are not handling pricing for Adobe products, but where I live, Photoshop costs about three months pay. It’s absurd to charge in Eastern Europe MORE than you charge in US and then complain that piracy rate is 60-70%.

  • Gaspy — 10:16 AM on June 13, 2009

    Just to make my last comment about pricing clearer:
    – I always buy the software, even though upgrading from CS3 to CS4 (Web Premium) required some serious thinking.
    Where I live, Photoshop CS4 full costs 834 Euros, that’s 1170 dollars. Average salary is around $400.

  • Landon — 10:41 AM on June 13, 2009

    Now, now John, be reasonable here. Loriza did ask nicely and it is for a business after all. So I think it would be great if he/she could get a copy of Photoshop CS4 for free. So be a dear and just ship one off. Just make sure Loriza knows that he/she will have to pay the $999 shipping and handling charges for the PS Extended version. The least he/she could do is pay for the shipping after all. And I think everyone would be happy. ;)
    [I like it! Or better yet, let’s say the product is free, then bind her into some kind of “service” that results in the billing her $999 several times over. (Got love servicing the customer.) –J.]

  • Lucky — 11:01 AM on June 13, 2009

    Some people are so poorly educated.. it’s sad since we have to live between them. Let’s hope our kids will be better.

  • Martin — 11:08 AM on June 13, 2009

    I always pay for the software I use. It’s only fair because I also make money with it.
    But I would like to see a pricing model (or is out there something) for trainers which more or less “promote” your software. I do trainings for the CS Design Standard. But other tools I want to show my clients (e.g. InCopy) I won’t/can’t afford just for training. The same is true with Ps Extended. I realy love the features, but can’t afford them “just” for training.
    Best regards from Austria!

  • Alan — 11:11 AM on June 13, 2009

    ‘No, because no price beats “free…It doesn’t matter what we charge:”‘
    I disagree. Just look at the [massive] success of Apple’s iTunes and App Store, Netflix and others. Video sites such as Hulu have also proven that people don’t mind sitting through a few paid advertisements to watch ‘free’ content.
    Sure, it doesn’t make much money, and not an ideal comparison to Adobe, but it illustrates that when people believe they are ‘getting a good’ deal – and it’s easy- they will pay.
    Free software ( and piracy ) is not going away – in fact it’s becoming more and more prevalent. I love Adobe- but it is pitifully naive in this matter. Anyone who has an inkling knowledge of tech history knows that…
    Cheeper and easier always wins.
    Adobe needs to continue to pursue anti-piracy measures, but price their products in a realistic manner and evolve to the 21st century. Take companies like Red Hat and Novell. They were once all about ‘free software’, but now are understanding that this revenue model doesn’t scale well and their VCs are not happy with the tepid returns. They are now offering proprietary add-ons and it is so far successful.
    Even the average joe on the street rips off Photoshop because they believe that Adobe is greedy and arrogant – even if it isn’t ( and I don’t think it is ).
    Adobe is losing this one, and will continue to unless they adapt. I don’t want them to lose, but at the same time, I’m starting to not care if they do.

  • Ben Hansen — 11:13 AM on June 13, 2009


  • Martin — 12:17 PM on June 13, 2009

    @Alan I totally agree!

  • Alan Hess — 12:25 PM on June 13, 2009

    I don’t know when it happened, but it seems that people now believe that photographs, along with music, software, and movies should be free. Especially if the content is on the internet.
    Comparing Adobe products to iTunes is crazy. Apple gives away iTunes to sell iPods, iPhones.
    Maybe the solution is to have a build your own photoshop. Just modules you add wen you want to buy them.
    If Adobe made a photoshop framework that could be purchased for $25. Then you just bought the parts you needed. Wanna use curves, $15, want the pen tool, $10, how about the paintbrush? That will be $25.

  • Thomas — 1:58 PM on June 13, 2009

    I wonder why no one replys on Gaspys comment. He’s absolutely right.
    The company i’m working in is a famous post production house well known in international business and it consist of several houses with many hundred seats that are desperately in need of new adobe software, but our finance department cancelled adobe upgrades since CS2 commenting these steps with absolutely unreasonable and inacceptable pricing of adobe products in europe.
    for my opinion its more than just unfair.
    [I think we’d hear less complaining if the software cost twice as much, yet was priced identically regardless of region. It’s the disparities that get under people’s skin. –J.]
    PS: i can also agree to Zus comment, that story is true for 90% of people i met in my life.

  • Scott Valentine — 2:26 PM on June 13, 2009

    This is an all-too-common occurrence. On the PS forum I contribute to, we got similar requests for free work, with all the standard excuses: it won’t take long; it’s easy but I don’t have time; it’s for a charity; it’s for my business but I can’t afford it, etc.
    And I loved the offers of compensation…
    -I’ll tell all my friends about you! (Why, so I can work for them for free, too?)
    -You’ll get lots of publicity! (…to the 5-6 friends you have?)
    -It’s good karma! (which my family can’t eat)
    From time to time, we’d get people who were downright a$$hats. One guy, when rebuffed initially, tried to be conspiratorial and told us (on the sly) that he was really with Adobe searching out new talent. When called out, he began threatening and insulting us, then tried to smear us on a bunch of other forums.
    And what was so important to him? He had promised his jr college that he’d build their website UI for a small fee. I wonder how they felt about the conversation and email transcripts I sent them?

  • Eric Peacock — 2:51 PM on June 13, 2009

    As an undergraduate I learned Photoshop with version 3, followed by 3.5. I didn’t and couldn’t pay for it and barely had the horsepower to do anything at print resolution that used the new layers feature.
    About six months later my dad, knowing that I had limited resources and was doomed to creative endeavors, bought me a legal version at academic pricing (he was a prof).
    I’ve paid for most every upgrade ever since, even when my employer will not.
    Certain factors have made the CS4 upgrade a non-option at work and at home, but I’ll be OK for a while. I can still make stuff.
    Of the whole suite Photoshop has long been my favorite tool. I’m still in love with the last version, warts included.

  • Thomas — 4:57 PM on June 13, 2009

    [I think we’d hear less complaining if the software cost twice as much, yet was priced identically regardless of region. It’s the disparities that get under people’s skin. –J.]

    I don’t get your response!??
    A quick look at the store the numbers are telling me a different story.
    Example Photoshop CS4:
    German Store 296.31 EUR (= 414.954 USD)
    i really don’t get it.
    US Store 199.00 USD (= 142.102 EUR)
    German Store 1,010.31 EUR (= 1,414.84 USD)
    US Store 699.00 USD (= 499.141 EUR)

  • Paul — 7:27 PM on June 13, 2009

    Wait, let me get this straight, I did not have to PAY for my Photoshop CS4, John could have given me a FREE copy??? { sarcasm }
    I have to say, like others that did make me smile at humanity.

  • Landon — 9:30 PM on June 13, 2009

    Thomas –
    I think john was saying that people complain more about the disparities in price (my neighbor gets it cheaper!) than they do about the price itself. So if everyone paid the same–even if it was twice the current price–they’d be getting fewer complaints than they are getting now.
    Yeah, Adobe products are expensive and I would LOVE to get them super-cheap. The better question is whether it is a good value for your money; that is the real debate. Tools are tools and there are a lot of them out there. I dumped MS Office for open source Open Office/Thunderbird because I didn’t need all that Office has. I needed only the most basic tools and didn’t like different aspects of MS Office’s implementation. So MS Office was a bad value for me. Adobe products give me more tools than I can and have ever used. The money I can earn by using the tools Adobe offers that I do use–in an easier/faster/better implementation than other companies–makes it a good value for me. I’m earning enough from it to make sense. At least for now. If I don’t need the new tools of the next version or feel it’s poorly implemented, I won’t upgrade because it won’t be a good value for me. That’s business. I’d like to see some more discussion on the VALUE of things rather than “it stinks because I can’t afford it”. I’d like a printing press and could never afford it in my lifetime, but I don’t think that Heidelberg sucks or is evil. So my Press is a Canon inkjet printer. Some people’s Photoshop is Photoshop Elements, some are CS2, and for some it’s CS4 Extended. Don’t get me started on MS Paint though. :) (I actually used it for artwork in college way-back-when; tools are tools.)
    As for price disparities, I’ve worked in packaging for food products between USA and Australia – and though it’s not a direct comparison I can tell you that the price you pay in any given country is not necessarily because a company is trying to screw you over. In the case of food, a lot of it has to be irradiated at a huge cost during import and that ups the product cost. Don’t forget huge taxation differences between countries, tariffs and all that. I know software is different, and I don’t know why the prices are so different on Adobe products across borders. But I have a hard time believing Adobe execs sit down together petting white cats with a giant map of the world in a hollowed out volcano saying “we should gouge country X”. But I could be wrong… Does John have a timeshare on an out-of-the-way South Pacific island?

  • Phosphor — 11:36 PM on June 13, 2009

    “Coincidentally, from the “having no concept of/respect for others’ intellectual property” department, reader Torben Brams passed along this little gem.”

    “E_B_A tells the story behind the “Suing for Hotlinked Images” screenshot — the 2005 conversation is making the rounds again on Digg, Reddit, and Fark, without the followups”
    [via Waxy.org]

  • Zu — 11:56 PM on June 13, 2009

    The pricing argument is true. I know lots of people in europe that are simply pissed it costs so much more over there and on top of that they only get a “digital download copy”. Not even a box with cool stuff.
    While we’re on the subject I’d like to tackle activation. For crying out loud where are they getting their ideas? Ever since I went legal I cry myself to sleep after every install. CS4 was the worst of them all. It made made me want to drive to the nearby adobe offices and scream my lungs out in the parking lot(I didn’t… but still). Who was the genius who made the CS4 install so stubborn that you have to uninstall everything made by adobe before it even thinks of working right? Even PDF reader and flash had to go.
    Seriously do something about it. It’d be waaaaay easier just to get a pirated copy and use that instead.

  • Nir Sullam — 3:55 AM on June 14, 2009

    regarding lowering price – I even saw websites with “ripped” free software – can u imagine ?

  • Alan — 10:34 AM on June 14, 2009

    Ya know guys, I never said anything about ‘lower price’. :) I was alluding that Adobe needs a better marketing strategy and pricing scheme.
    I suggest Adobe move her products to a ‘Software as a Service’ aka SaaS model. For the near future apps like After Effects will have to still run native, but Photoshop, Flash Authoring, Illustrator…. can certainly have a SaaS model. It’s much, much cheeper, and piracy can be seriously reduced.
    [“Cheeper” for whom? –J.]
    The solution is out there, and companies are successfully deploying them. For whatever reason, Adobe is ignoring those solutions – or at least not articulating to the public that it is considering other options.
    [Evidently you’re unaware of Acrobat.com, Photoshop.com, Scene7, services like Browserlab… –J.]
    Transparency and honesty always pays off in the end.

  • Rich Morey — 11:13 AM on June 14, 2009

    I think that Adobe product pricing is reasonable. I think the “Suites” are one of the best things they have done — I remember contacting Adobe years ago (1996 I think) and asking about discounts if I purchased Photoshop, Illustrator and PageMaker. At the time Adobe had no discounts like that. I also think that having the trial versions allows people to test the products and if its the right fit, they can purchase the product. If not, they just uninstall it. Adobe has always been aggressive with upgrade pricing as well as offering educational discounts — my first version of Photoshop I bought when I was a college student. Adobe is in business to make money, as is any company, and the market dictates what product prices are acceptable. If a free or cheaper alternative to Photoshop was available and Adobe started losing market share I’m sure they would adjust pricing. But given that (I think) PS is the best product for image editing, etc. I believe the pricing is fair.

  • Thomas — 1:41 AM on June 15, 2009

    Dear Landon, thanks for a try of clarification.
    You can call me now stubborn or not but i don’t get the difference of EUR. 916,– for going full PS in Germany!!??
    No one can tell me that taxes and all that s**t can justify such a huge price difference?!
    i’m not saying that i want anything for free nor that any Adobe Product should be cheaper, i like to pay for good qualiy products but this difference is just inacceptable.
    find yourself in the position upgrading hundreds of seats the legal way.

  • Daf — 4:00 AM on June 15, 2009

    Ha ha – that 2nd one is so funny! In fact I laughed out Loud in the office so had to send it to all (I work in an image library).
    Would be interested to see how further communications went.

  • Robert Barnett — 8:53 AM on June 15, 2009

    OMG those are great. I just love how clueless some people are. How they managed to make it to adult hood without something horrible happening is just amazing. With smarts like that you would have think a finger in a light socket would have gotten them by now.

  • Igor Levicki — 5:04 PM on June 15, 2009

    How about you fix your CPU and GPU code before asking people to pay a grand for CS4?!?
    — snip —
    Adobe Photoshop Version: 11.0.1 (11.0.1×20090218 [20090218.r.523 2009/02/18:02:00:00 cutoff; r branch]) X64
    Operating System: Windows Vista 64-bit
    Version: 6.0 Service Pack 2
    System architecture: Intel CPU Family:6, Model:10, Stepping:5 with MMX, SSE Integer, SSE FP, SSE2
    Physical processor count: 2
    Logical processor count: 8
    — snip —
    1. Family/Model/Stepping is parsed incorrectly — it should say 06 1A 5.
    2. Physical processor count is wrong — it should say 4 if it refers to physical cores, or one if it refers to the physical packages (sockets). This is on Core i7 920 mind you, the CPU that performance conscious buyers would without a doubt pick for a workstation running Photoshop.
    — snip —
    Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2
    Video Mode: 1024 x 768 x 4294967296 colors
    Video Card Driver: nvd3dumx.dll,nvd3dum
    Driver Version:
    — snip —
    Last time I heard this card was capable of OpenGL and hence GPU acceleration yet the option is grayed out unless you turn off SLI mode which is just dumb because:
    a) SLI improves performance
    b) Application could manage SLI setting by itself instead of forcing the user to do it (hint: nvidia control panel API).
    Finally, fix the frakking window repaint bug with top right corner where plain old Windows minimize/maximize/close buttons poke through from under the window skin.
    Oh yeah, and allow deintegration of that Adobe Drive shovelware — not everyone needs that crap, much less would like to pay for getting shoveled.

  • Thomas — 5:20 PM on June 15, 2009

    Everyone gets bloated whenever the clock turns to that darn money since the dawn of time.
    I have compared the prices at the adobe store for every country i could. All these different pricing schemes are just pretty crazy for my opinion and make absolutely no sense to me. Again: makes absolutely no sense to me!!!
    If someone could provide information sources which can explain EXACTLY how this business work, i’ll trash my keyboard immediately.

  • Igor Levicki — 5:29 PM on June 15, 2009

    “I think we’d hear less complaining if the software cost twice as much, yet was priced identically regardless of region. It’s the disparities that get under people’s skin.”
    This is the most stupid argument I heard in the last 36 years.
    Your answer doesn’t explain the price difference
    [I wasn’t trying to explain it. I was noting that it pisses people off. –J.]
    because it cannot be explained rationally — you are simply charging that much because you can.
    You can dismiss the lower pricing option but it is going to bite you.
    [I was simply trying to illustrate the point that people, like other animals, are intently tuned to concepts of fairness (which relate to competition, rewards, and ultimately survival).
    People in poor countries that are on the rise are happier than people in rich countries that are stagnating or declining, *despite the latter being objectively far more prosperous*. Dogs that “shake hands” and receive no reward stop wanting to shake when they observe other dogs being rewarded the same act. It’s just how we’re all wired. –J.]
    It is actually very simple:
    There is a minority which uses Photoshop for profit and they would only pay for it if the risk of getting caught was considerably higher than the price and maybe not even then.
    However, most people use pirated software because their usage pattern simply doesn’t justify such a large expense.
    [Some do, and a lot do it simply because they can. –J.]
    By not providing affordable pricing you are missing on a lot of potential customers. People don’t like injustice and unfairness and they will pirate out of spite.
    Finally with more and more draconian anti-piracy schemes you piss legitimate customers off making them want to use pirated copy because it is hassle-free.
    [Don’t ever feel compelled, by the way, to actually prove an assertion like that. Just keep asserting it & eventually it’ll become true. (Cf. Flash being a “proprietary plug-in prison.”) –J.]

  • Chris Cox — 6:00 PM on June 15, 2009

    Igor – The processor detection code was written by Intel. Despite that, it does have a few problems with Corei7 (which was released after our code was frozen – it all worked on the prototype).
    SLI improves GAME performance – it actually breaks a lot of basic OpenGL functionality, so your driver says it is not capable of doing what Photoshop asks when you have SLI enabled. NVidia also says that SLI would slow down most Photoshop GPU usage (which is very different from a game).
    Next time, you may want to ask about issues you don’t understand before making accusations.

  • Thomas — 9:23 AM on June 16, 2009

    [I wasn’t trying to explain it. I was noting that it pisses people off. –J.]

    By all respect from your knowledge John, maybe you should try to think in reverse and believe that if you do NOT explain that’ll find more pissed off people anyway.
    [You’re likely to be pissed off no matter what I say, and I don’t have the time or expertise to try to represent Adobe in this matter–at least right here right now. Sorry, I can’t make everything right in the world. I’m not going to reply further to this thread. –J.]
    If it’s Adobes Top Business Secret, o.k., then let it go off.
    @ Chris: i think that the discussed problem has barely something to do with technical aspects.
    It’s rather about a fact we are trying to figure out, respectively looking an apropiate answer.

  • Thomas — 10:46 AM on June 16, 2009

    [You’re likely to be pissed off no matter what I say]

    Thats not true John! And you should know that. No one is complaining about the high quality of your work. Most complaints are going to Adobes Financial District, from which you are of course dependent.
    However. No one in this World can make everything right.

  • Igor Levicki — 1:35 PM on June 16, 2009

    “…people, like other animals, are intently tuned to concepts of fairness…”
    So let me get this straight — because you know that being unfair is a bad thing you have such unfair pricing? Somehow it doesn’t make sense to me — rather it smells like bull.
    “People in poor countries that are on the rise are happier than people in rich countries that are stagnating or declining”
    Why don’t you come live in one of those countries then?
    You would be happier, that is, unless you are already happier, or unless you believe in the opposite of what you just said which then makes you a hypocrite.
    “and a lot do it simply because they can”
    Not true.
    Photoshop is a de facto standard for photo processing. Many people have seen someone working with Photoshop or have been shown how to work with it. That makes them reluctant to try other cheaper or free solution.
    Furthermore, many people also do not want to shell out $1,000 to occasionaly edit a few photos and put them on a website — they are using 1/10-th or less of the Photoshop capabilities, and they are doing it for non-commercial purposes (in other words they aren’t making money off of it).
    Those people need a Photoshop like program which has RAW import, layers, plugins, levels, curves, sharpen, you know — the basics, and they need it for $100 because they won’t get their money back by using it productively.
    That is the majority of “pirates” out there and you are missing on them because you are selling a $1,000 monolith.
    “Don’t ever feel compelled, by the way, to actually prove an assertion like that.”
    That was a generalized statement that applies to all software. I was just pointing out a consequence of overdoing the protection because it already happened for other applications.
    @Chriss Cox:
    “The processor detection code was written by Intel.”
    Are you saying that Intel is writing your code now?
    Somehow, that doesn’t make sense.
    There is an application note AP-485 on Intel’s web site dealing specifically with CPU feature detection. There is also a Software Developer’s Manual which has a page on CPUID. There is a linux kernel source code and free CPU detection utilities with source code available.
    With that out of the way, Core i7 was out in November 2008, your update 11.0.1 was out on 18 Feb, 2009, not to mention that you could have simply released another update since February that resolves the issue.
    I know what SLI is for and how it works — if you are saying that Photoshop CS4 is using other OpenGL features beside image display, zooming and panning, then I would like to hear what those other features are. I’m listening.
    Btw, I recently wrote an image viewer application which uses OpenGL for image display, zooming and panning and it works regardless of the SLI setting.
    Finally, whether SLI can benefit or not is not important — it is important that the Photoshop could set the non-SLI mode on its own instead of presenting a grayed out box without a clue what to do to fix it.
    Last note — what I brought up aren’t accusations, I am simply pointing out that when you are selling something for $1,000 it better be damn perfect, customer doesn’t want to hear excuses about you not writing your own code or about how NVIDIA convinced you that the SLI is useless.

  • elyse.rachal — 11:08 AM on March 12, 2010

    Igor, I agree with you. “Furthermore, many people also do not want to shell out $1,000 to occasionaly edit a few photos and put them on a website — they are using 1/10-th or less of the Photoshop capabilities, and they are doing it for non-commercial purposes (in other words they aren’t making money off of it).”
    This is exactly why I started researching Photoshop prices! I used Photoshop in college, because my university had it on every computer in the library – I know it, I understand it, I love it. But now that I’m out in the real world, trying to launch an acting career, it would be nice to have control over my own head shots.
    A professional photographer is so expensive, I only purchase the basic headshots, and they do include a cd of all the .jpg images. I do not want to pay for any photo editing services the photographers offer. I’m perfectly capable of editing my own photos, if I only had the stupid software.
    This is a perfect example of how a person needs, doesn’t want, but needs some of the tools of the product, but isn’t using the entire product, and will not be making money directly from the use of the software.
    I’m all for paying for a quality product, but the fact is, I haven’t found a product that has the “basic tools of photoshop”; am I just not looking in the right places?
    I admit, I hate researching this stuff, because I’m ignorant of the technical aspects, and do not have the time nor the inclination to learn (although I have the ability). I just want to know, can I spend $100 and be able to erase under eye circles and an exposed bra strap?

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