August 12, 2009

Goodnight, Suite RISC…

It’ll probably come as no surprise that Adobe is following Apple’s lead & going Intel-only with the next generation of the Creative Suite. That is, CS4 is the last version that’ll run on PowerPC-based Macs. You can read the details in the FAQ on

By the time the next version of the Suite ships, the very youngest PPC-based Macs will be roughly four years old. They’re still great systems, but if you haven’t upgraded your workstation in four years, you’re probably not in a rush to upgrade your software, either. Bottom line: Time & resources are finite, and with big transitions underway (going 64-bit-native, switching from Carbon to Cocoa), you want Adobe building for the future, not for the past.

[Previously: My fond reminiscences on PowerPC.]

PS–More info about other Adobe apps (Flash Player, Adobe Reader, etc.) will be available soon. [Update: The Lightroom team has confirmed that the next Mac version of LR will be Intel-only.]

Posted by John Nack at 11:03 AM on August 12, 2009


  • Daemon — 11:17 AM on August 12, 2009

    Oh Lord, that is the kind of mentality I would like ALL development companies to promote. By building workarounds just so your software can work on older systems you waste sooooooo much time and money.
    I do not want to steal your visitors John, but I would like people to read my blogpost about very very similar issue here on the topic of killing Internet Explorer 6:
    It is basically the same thing as Adobe is doing only on OS level.
    [These decisions are always double-edged swords. A desire to focus on the future & concentrate resources drove Apple’s decision to stop work on Carbon 64 and thus compel the Photoshop team to switch to Cocoa. If it weren’t for that decision, you’d be using a 64-bit version of Photoshop today (and, I’m guessing, 64-bit versions of Final Cut Pro & other apps). Does that mean it was a bad decision? No (and of course it’s entirely Apple’s call). It just means that such decisions have costs–often “pay now” vs. “pay later.” –J.]

  • RattyUK — 11:39 AM on August 12, 2009

    Any chance of a 64-bit clean version for the Mac?
    [I’m not sure what you mean by “clean,” but as I wrote last year, we’re working on a 64-bit version of Photoshop for Mac. We started working on it a couple of years ago, alongside the Windows 64 version. Converting to 64-bit (while retaining 32-bit support for 32-bit processors/OSes) is one pile of work; converting from Carbon to Cocoa is a separate pile of work. The latter wasn’t required on Windows, which is why a 64-bit version of PS CS4 for Win64 is available today. –J.]

  • bafitor — 11:53 AM on August 12, 2009

    How about Flash for PowerPC?
    [Flash Player for PowerPC will continue for what I’m guessing is a very long time. Flash’s popularity stems from its ubiquity, so the FP team has to keep supporting very old configurations (e.g. Windows 98) in order to maintain ~98% distribution. That’s actually one of the major reasons, as I understand it, that they haven’t more aggressively embraced things like GPU support: Flash has to work everywhere, consistently.
    Flash Professional (the authoring tool), however, will be an Intel-only application in the future. –J.]
    The performance is bad, and Flash videos are becoming the standard and my Powerbook G4 1.5GHZ has slowdowns watching this videos.
    [I need to defer to the Flash team to address other concerns. –J.]

  • Rich — 11:57 AM on August 12, 2009

    While some may complain, I believe that continuing development for the PPC at this point is truly an exercise in wasted money and effort. I imagine that the vast majority of customers are much more interested in resources being applied to your 64-bit and Cocoa transitions than supporting a dead platform. Kudos.

  • brian — 11:59 AM on August 12, 2009

    I think this is a great move. People complain that the CS suite is bloated…much of that bloat probably comes from legacy support.
    [“Bloat” means different things to different people, but having both Intel and PPC code in the app certainly swells its size on disk. Of course, what we save by dumping PPC we’ll give back up by adding 64-bit alongside 32. That’s part of why I said it’s too bad that the first-gen Intel-based Macs had 32-bit processors: I’d love to have PS go both Intel- and 64-bit only. –J.]
    You are 100% right when you say “if you haven’t upgraded your workstation in four years, you’re probably not in a rush to upgrade your software, either.” Apple is one of the few companies who have the balls to say “Your stuff is too old. You can’t play with the new toys until you upgrade your toychest.” That is a position to be respected.
    I can’t wait for a Photoshop that runs slick and doesn’t feel like some alien software trying to fit in with the natives (hello, Cocoa!) I skipped CS4, but if CS5 is a good as I hear, I’ll upgrade day 1!
    [I feel compelled to note that being based on Carbon vs. Cocoa has nothing to do with looking/feeling Mac-native. –J.]

  • Mario — 12:02 PM on August 12, 2009

    Funny stuff. The iPhone has RISC, what if five years from now apple decides to go back to risc (or something newer/similar) on all of their products?
    That is one of the reasons why I like to develop on higer asbtraction layers.

  • Dru Kepple — 12:05 PM on August 12, 2009

    Oh man…I guess it’s finally time to upgrade. Believe me, I’m happy to have a reason to tell my wife that I will need a new computer! I’m one of those people running one of the youngest Mac G5 computers. Yup, still a great machine, but it’s a bit long in the tooth.
    Congratulations, Adobe. I’m sure the flak you’ll get will be annoying but it’ll be worth it.

  • Eric Peacock — 12:06 PM on August 12, 2009

    In this case the move to Intel is probably a good thing in that it has promoted (forced?) Adobe, etc. to radically restructure development to a common architecture.
    [I’m afraid that’s wishful thinking. Cocoa is less cross-platform-oriented than Carbon (“The Carbon APIs are also well-suited to cross-platform development,” says Apple)–unless by platforms you mean “Macs + iPhones.” And the radical restructuring we were doing has had nothing to do with Cocoa. –J.]
    I currently have a PPC Quad G5, it still runs great and I can’t afford to replace it anytime soon (new twins).
    [Congrats! Twins–my God, I think one at a time is crazy enough. –J.]
    Yet I’m all for CS5 moving forward as efficiently as possible.

  • Goobi — 12:18 PM on August 12, 2009

    Great move. Always skate to where the puck is (or something like that). Either that or we’ll be stuck in a DLL hell (equivalent).

  • Sebastiaan de With — 12:23 PM on August 12, 2009

    I think this is great. It’s good to occasionally make tradeoffs like these, and it frees resources up for the better.
    Glad to hear it.

  • Neven Mrgan — 12:26 PM on August 12, 2009

    Sounds like a great move. I hope it makes development easier (how could it not) and I hope this then translates to improved performance and stability.

  • KJ — 1:01 PM on August 12, 2009

    There a good chance CS3 will be the last one I buy, anyway. My lack of satisfaction from this “suite” of software is intense.
    [Thanks for the total lack of actionable specifics; very helpful. –J.]

  • Mattias — 1:04 PM on August 12, 2009

    Any word on how smoothly a Snow Leopard install will go for running CS4? Should you install the first possible seconds or wait a while?

  • NickB — 1:09 PM on August 12, 2009

    Can you please make flash player work on the make in Snow Leopard even if its 64bit only and needs open CL to work its a start
    [It really is amazing how little people understand about any of these technologies. OpenCL isn’t about graphics processing; it’s about using your graphics processor to do general-purpose computing. And 64-bitness just matters for addressing huge amounts of RAM (more than 4GB). People want Flash to use less RAM, not more. –J.]
    I am sick of something like youtube using a whole core of CPU and heating the machine for no reason when all other video even HD in Quicktime can use less than a lot of flash videos.
    [As it happens, if a SWF is just doing what QuickTime does (i.e. just drawing video to screen), it can do so with similar efficiency. The overhead with Flash comes from allowing video to be just one element composited with others (bitmaps, vectors, etc.). But as I say, I really need to defer to that team to talk about details. –J.]

  • joecab — 1:38 PM on August 12, 2009

    Seems like the perfect time to switch and your reasoning makes sense. To be honest I was surprised CS4 wasn’t Intel-only.
    I’m still running CS3 at work because CS4 won’t cut it on some of our older PPC machines. (I work in a graphics shop.) Also, those upgrade prices are kinda hard to justify when it’s just for you. Heck, I still have a huge freelance client who still uses CS2 and it’s a pain to keep that around just for them, lemme tell ya.
    Remember all the people who got up in arms when the Intel switch was announced at Apple and they demanded that CS2 be rewritten for it? Talk about being clueless as to the work involved…

  • Bill — 1:40 PM on August 12, 2009

    Makes sence. I do cross platform software, and can contest that moving to cocoa is not easy or trivial. Keep up the good work. Dropping PPC support is a no-brainer.

  • Bill Wadman — 2:12 PM on August 12, 2009

    John, you mention that the first Intel Macs were 32bit only, but wasn’t that really just the first gen machines with Core Duo chips right? So the first macbook laptop and imacs before fall ’06?
    Considering your argument about the last PowerPC machines being 4 years old, by the time cs5 comes out the first Intel Macs will be about 4 years old and won’t their owners probably have upgraded by then? Seems like a small pool of users to cater for going forward.
    Maybe it would be a good time to just say Core 2 Duo and higher and let’s move on everyone.

  • Drazick — 2:16 PM on August 12, 2009

    As long as you use Open CL we’ll forgive you :-).

  • Stu — 2:19 PM on August 12, 2009

    It’s good to see that everyone is positive for this change.
    However, how much overhead is there in targetting both 32 & 64 bit architectures? How many Mac PS users are actually using 32 bit Intel chips? And still expect to be when CS5 ships? I dare you to be more radical and say that you’re going 64 bit only!
    [As you’d imagine, we looked into that question, and it turns out that supporting both 32-bit & 64-bit architectures is not a terribly big deal (nothing on the order of supporting both Intel and PPC), so the advantages of dropping support for first-gen Intel Macs weren’t great enough to justify the hit to sales (boxing out those customers). –J.]

  • Adobe Gripes — 2:42 PM on August 12, 2009

    Good news definitely!
    just make sure the next version doesn’t fall as short as the last, I’m really hoping you guys win us back with CS5!
    [So, you’re too lazy to supply any specifics & are too cowardly to use your real name/email address, and I’m supposed to take your comment seriously? Without supplying something more substantive, you’ve just wasted both our time. –J.]

  • Frank Jonen — 2:43 PM on August 12, 2009

    One thing that I’d recommend to anybody who still has PPCs around is to use them as time capsules.
    Some plug-in vendors have gone out of business or nixed products and you may need some of those to open certain InDesign or Illustrator files, not so much Photoshop files unless they rely on those Smart Objects with plug-ins applied.
    Trick your PPC out to its fullest and leave it as your fallback. We’re doing that here as well.
    Oh and please make Flash / AIR less of a memory hog in CS5.

  • Stephen — 2:47 PM on August 12, 2009

    Is this a wholesale (i.e. all of CS) move to Cocoa? Any word on If/When Fireworks will become 64bit?
    [Why do you want Fireworks to go 64-bit? Do you really want to assign it more than 4GB of RAM? If not, do you suppose there’s some other advantage to 64-bitness? And as for Cocoa, what advantages do you imagine it confers, besides opening the door to 64-bit? –J.]
    Does the move to Cocoa mean that Adobe apps will use the OS-standard controls/widgets/window chrome, as opposed to the god awful mess that is CS4?
    [No. On the contrary, the Adobe UI design team wants to go with more custom widgetry. I support that direction only when there’s a strong functional reason for doing so (e.g. enabling dark backgrounds, scalable UI, useful input mechanisms like scrubby text, etc.). I’ve spoken about this at some length.
    By the way, what do you think about all the custom UI that’s made its way into apps like iMovie? Does it make Apple apps un-Mac-like? –J.]
    Please, I want to like your apps, but when it seems like more time was spent on re-implementing the Window chrome than fixing bugs or improving functionality/performance, it becomes a hard task.
    [So, you find that things like tabbed documents have no value? –J.]

  • melgross — 3:10 PM on August 12, 2009

    So what should we expect as to multi-core functionality? Will we get a more efficient rendering on all cores/threads?
    [We’re continuously working on optimizing PS in this regard. Some things can’t effectively be sped up in this way. See my previous post for more info. –J.]
    Will we get multi-core open and save?
    [I don’t know. A lot of planned enhancements have had to take a back seat to Cocoa. –J.]
    This is something, with the big files I and others have, that’s required.

  • flash — 3:46 PM on August 12, 2009

    “And 64-bitness just matters for addressing huge amounts of RAM (more than 4GB). ”
    What about the NX bit?
    [What are you referring to? –J.]
    “People want Flash to use less RAM, not more”
    People want to be able to use Flash in 64 Bit Apps (Safari).
    [Didn’t Apple already say they’ll support running 32-bit plug-ins inside Safari on 10.6? Doing something like that isn’t easy, but we know a bit about it, because there’s no 64-bit version of QuickTime & we’ve thus had to spend a bunch of time building a bridge to QT. –J.]
    “As it happens, if a SWF is just doing what QuickTime does (i.e. just drawing video to screen), it can do so with similar efficiency. The overhead with Flash comes from allowing video to be just one element composited with others (bitmaps, vectors, etc.). But as I say, I really need to defer to that team to talk about details. –J”
    You know klick-to-flash?
    With klick-to-flash it is possible to watch youtube-videos in quicktime instead of flash! and you know what? the cpu utilisation is much much lower than using flash. the macbook unibody remains quiete.
    [Flash came to dominate the playback of online video because it was (and is) everywhere. Apple had a 10+-year head start, as did Microsoft & Real, but Macromedia pwned them all (and is the reason we have YouTube, Hulu, etc.) by keeping Flash comparatively tiny & predictable. I’d never call it perfect, and no one on the Flash team would, either, but there’s a reason that Flash’s share of the online video market continues to grow. –J.]

  • Dave Cates — 4:06 PM on August 12, 2009

    What’s all the fuss about 64-bit for? Why isn’t making apps multi-core aware higher up the list of priorities?! That would SERIOUSLY speed up the apps! Flash compiling and Photoshop processing desperately needs multi-core support. 64? Get over it ;)
    [What people need depends on the work they do. It’s not an either-or situation. –J.]

  • Brian — 4:07 PM on August 12, 2009

    Thanks for the heads-up! Given that you threw us under the bus when you dropped Freehand without a civilized means to correctly transfer many years and thousands of files we created over Illustrator (without major hiccups),
    [Have you supplied examples? What specific *exact* issues are you encountering? –J.]
    it’s positive that Adobe simply does not care. I feel about as welcome as anyone who dares speak out in disagreement with Nancy Pelosi.
    If Adobe had given Freehand users transparent way to move the body of a decade of work to Illustrator, and thus be able to use Intel-based Macs, your blog today would be a non-issue. But you are hurting both Apple and yourselves, because we will have to stay on PowerPC-based Macs for some years to come.
    I previously wrote and begged Adobe to take some of the best ideas from Freehand, and consider having your programmers re-create these features into Illustrator. Obviously, that idea went nowhere. Instead, you do what all victors do when the capture a country: trash it.
    [If this is the way you initiate communications, it’s not surprising you don’t get the warmest welcome. So, not all your ideas made it into one version of Illustrator? Surely the Illustrator team must be malicious, incompetent, arrogant, or all three. Could it not be that they liked your ideas and are working on them now?
    Listen, I give you & everyone else the benefit of the doubt, and I want to hear your specific, constructive suggestions. Please don’t shoot yourself in the foot by starting out by jumping down my throat. –J.]
    Some brilliant ideas, such as the contextual menus of GoLive, have been tossed aside as well. In your corporate hubris, you have left so much brilliant intellectual property in the garbage. Both we, the customers, and Adobe are the worse for it.
    Oh, a tip: when you get a moment, take a look at the upgrade chart on your Web site for customers wanting to go to the latest version of Creative Suite. It made me think of this: There’s a lesson in it for Adobe. That is, if you are willing to listen and learn.
    [What is the lesson? That because there’s one Mac OS & thus a simpler upgrade matrix, anyone who offers more options is a moron? –J.]

  • Ralph Megna — 4:09 PM on August 12, 2009

    Honestly, this announcement doesn’t come as a surprise and makes perfect sense.
    One commenter asked if just Photoshop was affected by this announcement, or whether other CS software like Illustrator would follow suit. Is there an answer for this?
    [As stated in the FAQ, all next-gen Creative Suite apps will be Intel-only on Mac. (On Windows they’ll of course continue to run on Intel & AMD systems.) Cocoa/64-bit is another matter, and I don’t believe apps besides PS have discussed their plans. –J.]
    Finally, I appreciate your frustration with readers who make a negative comment regarding an Adobe product without any specifics. That said, as someone who first bought Photoshop in the 1980s and has used (and paid for) virtually every version since then, I have two frustrations with Adobe: 1) Over the years, as a Mac user, I have felt increasingly marginalized, and the fact that CS4 runs in 64-bit on Windows (where less than 10% of the installed base has a 64-bit OS), but is only 32-bit on Mac (where 100% of all shipping systems are 64-bit running a 64-bit capable OS) just grates on me.
    [You know what grates on me? The fact that Adobe has been shipping 64-bit Lightroom for more than a year while Apple hasn’t managed to ship a single 64-bit application–including (amazingly) *anything* in the new Final Cut Studio–and yet we get made out to be the bad guys.
    Long-time Mac users of which I’m obviously one *always* feel defensive and marginalized; there were just too many years of trauma for those tendencies to disappear completely. –J.]
    I know all the Carbon 64 history, but that doesn’t help me process complex astronomical images on my Mac in a memory space greater than 4 gigs.
    [Yeah, well, no one was more disappointed than we were that our 64-bit Mac CS4 plans got scrapped. I spent nearly a year dreading having to break that news. I don’t know what else to tell you. –J.]
    2) Photoshop is way overdue for a UI overall – not just some tabs and dark colors, but a serious rethink of the menu structure and its underlying dialog boxes. The current organization has lost any meaningful relationship to workflow. For those who don’t deal well with change, maybe there could be “classic menus” that are invoked through Preferences.
    [I’ve written at great length many times about the need to overhaul the PS UI. Trust me, we think about this constantly, and I look forward to sharing more concrete details soon. –J.]
    That’s my 2-cents. And if you don’t think I have offered enough specifics, contact me at my email address; I’d be happy to give you more.
    [Cool, thanks. –J.]

  • Joe Roback — 4:24 PM on August 12, 2009

    Hello John. I feel like I need to comment on this:
    “Why do you want Fireworks to go 64-bit? Do you really want to assign it more than 4GB of RAM? If not, do you suppose there’s some other advantage to 64-bitness?”
    Addressing more than 4GB of memory is only one advantage to 64-bit x86 processors.
    The biggest advantage I see in my daily research (PHD student in parallel computing) is that 32-bit x86 CPUs have 8 general purpose registers and 8 floating point registers, whereas 64-bit x86 CPUs have 16 general purpose registers and 16 floating point registers. In general, an application compiled for 64-bit x86 compared with the same application compiled for 32-bit run faster because of the doubling of general purpose registers available to the compiler.
    [Photoshop is a highly tuned application, and just getting more access to registers doesn’t mean much. Across the board, CS4 x64 is only 8-12% faster than CS4 x32 in cases where you’re not using tons of RAM. (In those cases it can be 10x faster or more by virtue of not having to go to VM.)
    Photoshop architect Scott Byer says, “Older code that has lived through many years of nearly no registers tends to get rather well tuned for that situation; the extra registers and register based calling are where that 8-12% come from. Code written without the assumption of nearly no registers would see a bigger boost.”
    PS senior engineer Jon Clauson writes, “Most of the code we’ve identified as performance bottlenecks was long ago optimized, and in some cases hand optimized. Such code really doesn’t get any faster because the processor/compiler has more registers to play with. We were happy we saw a general 8-12%.”
    Additionally, Scott’s co-architect Russell Williams writes, “There’s also the fact that much of the performance-critical code is tuned not just for few general-purpose registers, but to use SSE, and those registers don’t change size with the move to 64 bits: SSE registers are still 128 bits.” For further reading he points out this article. –J.]
    How’s that for a full-service blog-comment reply? :-) You certainly raise a good question, so time-permitting I’ll try to turn these answers into a proper blog post. –J.]
    (Now I am sure you can find some scenario where 64-bit longs and pointers might cause a slowdown due the increased sizes, 8 bytes to 4 bytes, and cache issues, but not in general case)
    [In our testing of many hundreds of operations in Photoshop, most get a little faster, some get a little slower, and the net win is on the order of 10%. Unfortunately most non-developers don’t *really* know what the hell a “bit” is; they just figure that twice as many must = twice as good. –J.]
    Registers are a valued resource to compilers and x86 has always lacked in this department.

  • Erik K Veland — 4:36 PM on August 12, 2009

    Disconcerting that Adobe UI team is going for more custom UI-tomfoolery, not less.
    [Is it? Note that many customers (esp. video pros & photographers) would like a darker UI for the sake of color perception. Now take a look at this image. Which version looks better & would be less jarring while you work? We don’t enable a variable-darkness slider for panels in Photoshop because OS widgets look like crap against a dark background. You need custom widgets that can change appearance based on background color, and unfortunately we haven’t yet gotten to implement a set in PS.
    Having said all that, and as I’ve noted earlier, I hate willfully/arbitrarily different UIs. I stayed away from Firefox for a long time in part because of its crappy-looking Windows NT-esque widgets (now updated, thankfully). Therefore I push back hard when the UI guys try to blaze a new trial just to be different (er, to establish a visual “brand”; get over yourselves).
    For me it’s all about finding a balance, and functionality & usability are the key considerations. –J.]
    In practice we have seen that custom widget’s quirks and bugs cause a death of a thousand cuts, overshadowing the supposed value they are bringing. (See and for plenty of examples).
    And yes, CS4 homespun-tabs have zero value to me. This is why Apple developed Exposé after all.
    [What, exactly, are you talking about? Exposé can’t handle tabs in Safari or anything else. I don’t know whether the tabs Apple uses there are “standard” or available to developers, but in any case, how are they superior (besides, of course, coming from Apple)? –J.]
    To see that Not Invented Here-syndrome is alive and well at Adobe in 2009 is disheartening.
    [Actually, I think it’s you who may be suffering from a “NIAA” (Not Invented At Apple) syndrome–a very common affliction. –J.]
    That all said, as always I appreciate your blog and transparency with responding to user feedback.
    [Thanks, and I appreciate your feedback & the chance to discuss some of these issues. –J.]

  • Niles Mitchell — 5:08 PM on August 12, 2009

    Seems like making CS5 require 10.6 is a no-brainer, considering the low upgrade price. Of course, if you really wanted to only deal with 64-bit like you mentioned earlier, you could make the minimum requirements 10.6 and a 64-bit Intel chip. That would cleaner, but I’m sure ruffle some feathers!!!
    [Ruffling feathers = losing sales, and the cost of mandating a paid upgrade to 10.6 (with all the cost and risk any such transition entails for big organizations) isn’t currently warranted by the dev/testing benefits it would provide. –J.]

  • Thomas Worrall — 5:25 PM on August 12, 2009

    Regarding the custom widgets, I think the majority of people who complain about them haven’t quite put their finger on what is wrong.
    Things looking different is not a big issue. It helps apps look internally consistent, and helps users differentiate between apps. The two big problems on MacOS are:
    1. Things that should behave the same, in fact behave differently. Take the popup menus in Firefox: on the Mac, a popup menu opens over its widget, with the currently selected item appearing directly under the mouse. Firefox had menus that opened below the menu, and marked the selected item with a tick. The look didn’t really matter, but that behavioural difference was really bad.
    2. Widget spacing and layout. Cross platform interfaces on the Mac often don’t leave enough space between the widgets, and don’t tend to align them correctly for a Mac-like UI. Of course, Adobe is rather better than some in this area.
    The reason people don’t complain about iMovie’s UI (aside from the fact that its functionality is a much easier target!) is because all the custom stuff works and is laid out exactly like normal Mac UI.
    Widgets that look different are not wrong. Widgets that behave differently are bad.

  • Niles Mitchell — 6:05 PM on August 12, 2009

    So, if Adobe is worried about forcing Intel Mac users into a paid upgrade, then we can safely assume CS5 will run on 10.4? We wouldn’t want users to have to pay $129 to go to Leopard!
    [These questions always come down to bang:buck. * What percentage of customers have switched already? * How much does the platform differ from predecessors/successors (as that translates to branched code, more testing, etc.)? * What’s in it for customers vs. the cost?
    Leopard was a much more different from Tiger than Snow Leopard appears to be from Leopard. The attraction for customers is much smaller, and that’s reflected in the far lower price. (Fewer features = less perceived value = lower willingness to pay. That’s just how it is.)
    If Snow Leopard were radically different from Leopard in ways that impacted Photoshop (for example, if it made getting to Cocoa/64-bit far easier), we’d give serious thought to requiring it–but it doesn’t. Similarly, if it were a free update, that would be a different story–but it isn’t. –J.]

  • Joe O'Reilly — 7:28 PM on August 12, 2009

    With regards to the fact that Adobe’s design team think more custom elements in their interfaces is a good idea.
    I would agree that a custom UI is called for on an application such as Photoshop (or any CS app), however when I have to pay £615 for Photoshop I would expect some damned effort to have gone into the UI.
    Good User Interface design in Adobe applications has stopped in my opinion. Why is it I can go online and buy Pixelmator, a worthy competitor to Photoshop that wins in my books for one reason. It’s user interface, it’s gorgeous, lickable if you will. And for how much! £38, that gives me £577 to spend on coffee, cameras and a new Mac.
    It’s lacking a few of Photoshops better features but I hope that they will add some these features in the future.
    I understand that you will say Photoshop a gigantic application, however I’m sure that a properly designed custom UI can make use of controls that at least fit with the rest of Apple’s software.

  • Edward Caruso — 7:31 PM on August 12, 2009

    Regarding UI (Mac) changes- I vote darker is not always better. I forsee vision problems after trying to find the thin orange outline in the dark dialogue box. Another software used by professional photographers – Capture One Pro – when moving from version 3 to version 4 changed the UI drastically to something very dark to mimic lightroom. For that and many other reasons it is widely hated by its long time users. I just hope that the software we use for most of the day becomes easier to see and use and not more difficult than it needs to be.

  • Erik K Veland — 7:38 PM on August 12, 2009

    Thanks for responding so quickly John.
    As a video pro and photographer myself I’m a bit puzzled as to why I would want a darker interface for colour perception.
    [I guess I’d have to defer to video customers in particular; they bring this up all the time, and that’s one reason the Adobe DVA apps have led with support for variable-darkness backgrounds. –J.]
    What I want is a neutral interface for colour perception and the standard Apple UI set to Graphite offers me just that.
    [Funny you should mention it: Graphite exists, as I recall, largely because the Adobe design team raised a bunch of flags about Aqua early on. –J.]
    And no, I don’t have the NIAA syndrome. You bring up Safari tabs as a perfect example of this. Tabs are a terrible UI solution for organising information for several reasons, most of which relate to their concealment of information.
    This is compounded by the fact that every app spins their own (including Safari!) and none of them are compatible with Exposé of course.
    [Isn’t that Exposé’s fault? –J.]
    Apple did hint at the quite brilliant solution to this in the Safari betas: Title-bar tabs.
    If this could be implemented at a system level, windows could simply stack on top of each other and combine their title bars into tabs. These could then “explode” back when invoked by Exposé. An elegant and logical solution to the whole issue, that was sadly hobbled by putting it as yet-another-homespun solution in Safari betas, where people rightly disliked them due to their half-arsed implementation.
    [I didn’t like the new tabs at first, but I resolved to try them for a week or so, and soon enough I was brought around. I don’t remember them working with Exposé, but I’ll take your word for it. In any case, it was funny/sad to see how reactionary a lot of Mac users can be. “Think Different”? Not on their watch. –J.]
    I understand the limitation that Adobe is up against when trying to work within the UI framework of two separate Operating Systems each with their own conventions. But my argument would be that more often than not the inconsistencies created by custom widgets and UIs are a detriment to users more than they are an advantage. The fact that they look almost the same and work almost the same is even worse than if they had been completely new and invented widgets.
    [That can certainly be true. Interestingly enough, Daring Fireball just linked to an article that praised Lightroom’s wholly custom widget set. (And yes, now is the part where Mark Alan Thomas pops out of the woodwork to complain about LR scrollbars being on the “wrong” side…) –J.]
    It also doesn’t help that there are so many inconsistencies between Adobe apps themselves that I really don’t trust you to build system-like widgets from scratch. Sorry.
    [Things are inconsistent largely *because* the apps haven’t all migrated to a consistent, best-of-breed widget set. Customers shouldn’t have to wonder why they get scrubby text in Photoshop but not in Illustrator, for example.
    Listen: we’re not just going to sit around for years hoping that Apple provides an OS-standard widget set that can give our apps the same things Apple gives their own pro apps with their custom widgets (e.g. scrubby text). We have to build on the OS foundation to address customers’ requests. –J.]
    PS. Another UI blunder is the captcha here.
    [You’re trying to indict Adobe app UIs by pointing out your dissatisfaction with the Movable Type CAPTCHA? You’re reaching. (FWIW, we previously used one I liked better, but apparently it’s incompatible with MT 4.2x.) –J.]
    Frequently unreadable, and even gives me “text is wrong” when I know it’s right. And if you click the ensuing “Return to original” all your text is lost. Good thing I’ve learnt to copy my text before I post ;)
    [Okay, thanks for the heads-up. I’ll investigate. –J.]

  • Jordan Breeding — 8:36 PM on August 12, 2009

    When Creative Suite goes Cocoa, 64-bit, Intel-only, will it also be fixed to work on case-sensitive file systems?
    [Sorry, no. –J.]

  • iwod — 9:59 PM on August 12, 2009

    On the notes of Flash, previously i would have only urge adobe to speed up Flash on the Mac. But now Flash is Slow on both PC and Mac compare to Microsoft Silverlight. I understand compatibility concern. But at this rate, Flash will quickly lost all its fans.
    I hope there is something big coming in Flash 11.

  • Phil Brown — 11:36 PM on August 12, 2009

    John – judging by the overwhelming support for this move, it’s clear that you’ve made a terrible mistake! ;p

  • Jens — 12:01 AM on August 13, 2009

    The Adobe Flash Player is one of the worst piece of software i know.
    I work on a late 2009 MBPro 15″ with 4GB of RAM. And i can’t watch HD Youtube Movies Smooth. First you have to set some good software engineers on this big problem.

  • KJ — 12:01 AM on August 13, 2009

    I know it’s not particularly nice to just drop a critical comment without anything actionable in it, but it’s death by a thousand cuts using Dreamweaver/Fireworks. I used to be able to select colors out-of-app with the eyedropper in Fireworks. Now it switches to which ever app I click in AND it doesn’t capture the color. Save and export are always adventures. Export for a file doesn’t default to the last export location for that specific file, but to whatever the last export location was. If I had enough time I could probably come up with about a dozen more little things that frustrate me regularly, none of which is a killer by itself but taken together make work less pleasant than it could be. That said, I’m still using DW/FW. I’m just not anxious to upgrade into something I’m not confident will be better.

  • Max Howell — 2:14 AM on August 13, 2009

    >By the way, what do you think about all the custom UI that’s made its way into apps like iMovie? Does it make Apple apps un-Mac-like?
    To be absolutely honest, Apple make custom UI that doesn’t feel custom. Adobe don’t. And this isn’t because we give Apple extra wiggle room.

  • Alex Mchugh — 3:47 AM on August 13, 2009

    On the topic of darker interfaces, I have yet to meet a graphics professional who did not prefer an overall neutral mid-level grey interface which did not distract from their work or colour perception. I’m inclined to agree with Erik on this point. I do not find the screenshots of the new darker CS5 interface more aesthetically pleasing or consistent, in fact especially the windows version looks abominable against the XP default blue window title bar.
    The only good argument I can think of for dark interfaces is that it seems to align with the future trend of a shift towards OLED screens. As per a recent article on ars technica, such screens exhibit measurable power saving when the screen is displaying higher average grey levels. So potentially OS vendors will also be researching a long term shift towards dark interfaces.

  • Dude — 5:44 AM on August 13, 2009

    This move means that Carbon finally goes by the way side, I’m all for that. In essence this is a 10 year process finally winding down from Apple’s initial plans to migrate to OS X.
    If the InDesign teams and the rest follow suite, then awesome.
    And John, as I have stated before when we have discussed this: Don’t feel bad, its not that people don’t like Adobe (for the most part) its simply that when compared to Apple, Mac users are going to side with Apple every time. Rightly or wrongly as you acknowledge old habits do not die hard nor does the hyper-defensive nature of being a Mac user.
    Anyways looking forward to CS5. My PhotoShop guy will be very happy when I crank up his Mac Pro to 10 gigs of RAM or more. :)

  • ValkyrieStudio — 7:09 AM on August 13, 2009

    Pixelmator is very pretty, I agree, and they’ve added quite a bit of nice features. In fact, their on-canvas filter controls are fantastic (makes a Zoom Blur infinitely easier to position than in Photoshop, for one).
    The biggest problem, at least for me, is the disjointed feel with all the floating palettes (panels?). I’ve always appreciated being able to group them in Photoshop, which is why I’ve been a big supporter of the UI changes in CS3 and CS4. I guess it just feels cleaner; I don’t like having things overlap each other or get in the way.
    Otherwise though, a nice app. And to an extent, a good argument for a darker UI (whether or not it uses standard window widgets or not – and really, it’s not hard to figure it out either way).

  • Nick Collingridge — 8:25 AM on August 13, 2009

    No problem at all with the switch to Intel-only – anything that streamlines your process must be good and it’s great to see that there is tons of support here for the decision.
    My biggest gripe with CS4 is not the lack of 64 bits, but the glaring inconsistencies across the applications. Don’t you guys ever speak to each other? It sure doesn’t seem like you do.
    The two most glaring examples for me are saving as PDF (why can’t there be a Save as PDF menu item in all the apps) and printing. Why can’t the UI for printing at least look the same across all the apps?
    And in this day and age, the vast length of time it takes for the print dialog to appear is ridiculous. This doesn’t happen in any other apps and I can’t imagine what your apps are doing for such a length of time. There must be literally a gazillion of calculations going on in the CPUs to take so long!
    I wouldn’t be without the Adobe apps, but sometimes I must admit to getting somewhat frustrated by them!

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 10:43 AM on August 13, 2009

    I would use this opportunity to go Intel and 64-bit only. Kill two birds with one stone. My mother has a 32-bit Intel iMac. She won’t know or care.
    [As I say, lopping off 32-bit and/or 10.5 support doesn’t buy us that much. Lopping off support for 32-bit versions of Windows would be a much bigger win, but that’s impossible for the foreseeable future. –J.]

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 11:04 AM on August 13, 2009

    And yes, now is the part where Mark Alan Thomas pops out of the woodwork to complain about LR scrollbars being on the “wrong” side
    Only some of the scrollbars are on the wrong side. That’s even worse than all of them being on the wrong side because it’s not only wrong but inconsistent.
    [What’s “wrong” about it? Is it actually functionally problematic, or is anything new/unique “wrong”? FWIW, you’re the only person whom I’ve heard complain. –J.]

  • Jp Cooper — 11:07 AM on August 13, 2009

    @Brian –
    Are you serious?
    First – you’re link to FakeSteve should not be taken seriously as it is an opinion site and tends to mock much in the world.
    Second – as for Freehand to Illustrator? I am someone who started out on Freehand when it was produced by Aldus in the early 90s. No offense to John and the rest of Adobe but Freehand for years was far superior to Illustrator i many ways. And I didn’t touch Illustrator until about CS2.
    CS2 came out – Freehand development at Macromedia had been stagnant – probably because of the pending multi-year merger with Adobe. As several features of Freehand began showing themselves in Illustrator.
    – Live Trace
    – Multiple PasteBoards within the same Doc
    – Different sized PasteBoards
    – Embedded Print Settings
    – Eraser Tool
    – Text Capabilities
    – Transparency
    – Freehand has almost always had integration with Flash since Flash came along – but we can’t hold this against Adobe as it was previously competing software. But thank god for Flash to illustrator compatibility. Couldn’t have gotten thru last fall without it.
    The list goes on. Many of these features have been available in Freehand for years as you should know – Brian – but if you go read the feature list for CS – CS2 – CS3 – CS4 – the above features and more are being implemented as new features for Illustrator in each successive version a little at a time.
    I do have to laugh at that – whenever I read the new features list on the new versions.
    But options like Live Trace go way above and beyond anything that Freehand ever had. Adobe is managing to add massive value to their current line of offerings while advancing older features for modern times. Not to say that if Macromedia had stuck around that it wouldn’t have continued to give Adobe a run for it’s money – but times change.
    And a large chunk of what I loved about Freehand for years is now available in the current 2 versions – CS3 and CS4. I don’t have a problem with any of it and neither should you. I suggest oyu go back and learn about the current version of Illustrator and try it out and use it before you pass judgement. This is coming from a diehard Freehand fan.

  • Marek — 12:52 PM on August 13, 2009

    I wish someone could explain to me why a flash video clip on Internet played on Mac machine (PPC) gets choppy (even with processor humming like crazy) while it runs fine on a less or equally powerful Windows machine. Is there a significant difference how these OSs treat flash video or how flash player treats them?
    What’s the problem?

  • Stacy Rosenstock — 2:10 PM on August 13, 2009

    Gee. I just upgraded my 2005 G5, which I purchased four years ago yesterday, with a couple megabytes ram, a 1 tb internal hard drive, and a brand new copy of CS4. Which do you think was my biggest mistake?
    [Um–the “megabytes”? –J.]

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 3:11 PM on August 13, 2009

    [What’s “wrong” about it? Is it actually functionally problematic, or is anything new/unique “wrong”? FWIW, you’re the only person whom I’ve heard complain. –J.
    What’s wrong with putting the scroll bars on the opposite side of the content is that it breaks 30 years of standardization. It’s not terribly problematic to use like this — humans are, after all, able to adapt to almost anything — but there is nothing particularly right about it either. It’s simply wrong for no good reason. Studying it a little more closely I can sort of see what the Lightroom team might have been thinking: if the scroll bar had been on the right where it belongs, that would have placed it between two ports full of scrollable content, e.g. (if you’re in the Library module) between the Folders list and the thumbnails, which might have confused some people about which port the scrollbar belonged to. So instead of figuring out the correct way to handle this situation, they simply broke consistency and moved the scroll bar to the opposite side of the Folders list and called it (innovation) good. Many minds working together as none.
    Most users wouldn’t consciously notice what’s wrong with this, and if you asked them they’d say “nothing.” It would just quietly, occasionally cause them to stumble now and then (or maybe not), and they’d never realize that the reason they keep reaching in the wrong direction for the scrollbar isn’t because they’re lame, but because it’s in the wrong place to begin with.
    Doesn’t really matter, but it is wrong and there is a better way. Consistency is key.

  • Nick — 3:55 PM on August 13, 2009

    it’s not an issue for me as my G5 died a very early death..i hear the failure rate for G5 towers was about 28% which is pathetic for a company like apple, how they got away with that is still beyond me…

  • Stacy Rosenstock — 5:32 PM on August 13, 2009

    Got me there J – Yeah that should’ve been gigabytes. I had some trouble posting and, somehow, the uncorrected version got through instead. That Captcha: code is a real &!@#!
    So I guess the bottom line in all this is whatever money I have for computers/software/hardware is the future will get earmarked for an Intel based Mac rather than further Adobe upgrades.

  • Jeff — 5:34 PM on August 13, 2009

    Full support for the 64-bit kernel in Snow Leopard is only available for Macs made in 2008 and after. Sadly, just having a 64-bit CPU isn’t enough when you have to factor in 64-bit chipsets and a 64-bit EFI requirement. Plus, jettisoning perfectly working, useful 32-bit code doesn’t make much sense, especially when there will be a 32-bit Windows version for a VERY long time.

  • Eric — 7:08 PM on August 13, 2009

    Thanks to the current economic crisis, our PowerPC users at work will be looking forward to their next upgrade of the Creative Suite in 2010 – to CS4. I certainly hope you keep CS4 around for PowerPC users, and not cut them off just because CS5 has arrived.
    I know that means more complexity for your upgrade policies, but that really must be a challenge Adobe has to accept, no? Not only cutting off PPC from CS5 but leaving them high and dry without the option of going to CS4 would be inexcusable. (Not that I’m assuming that’s what will happen.)
    BTW, I’m really glad the reaction to the Intel-only issue is so overwhelmingly positive. Some people will complain if you hung ’em with a new rope. Guess they’re out to lunch today.

  • PECourtejoie — 12:34 AM on August 14, 2009

    By putting the scroll bars there, they are more reachable thanks to Fitts’ law.
    (I got hurt by the Captcha, thrice)

  • Sal — 1:15 AM on August 14, 2009

    Dropping PPC sounds reasonable. I can understand the need to support it for a time ut at some point it probably has to be dropped.
    The chat about the interface is an interesting one. I work in post production and mainly 3D animation now (done editing, compositing, and color correction work in the past). For 3D, i prefer a neutral interface (I use Softimage). Editing, again a neutral UI but don’t mind it being a bit on te dark side. Compositing, color correction, I much prefer a dark interface (Inferno, combustion, etc).
    So, it’s a kinda mixed bag for me and I like the Adobe option of being able to have some control over the UI.
    Photoshop, however, kinda covers a lot of those grounds for non-moving images) and appreciate you guys actually talking about, trynig out new UI ideas. Personally, I thought the look of CS3 was the best yet. It looked the same on Mac and Windows. CS4, while looking good, kinda has a bit too much contrast between the lighter background color and the darker titlebars for panes. I really liked the CS3 semi-transparent ones. Still, in saying that, it’s a minor thing and all the best for CS5!

  • Joshua Ochs — 1:15 AM on August 14, 2009

    Custom UI’s by definition break with existing OS conventions and layouts. At worst, they make applications difficult or confusing to use; at best they may give a slight advantage.
    Adobe has been consistently reinventing the wheel for little appreciable benefit. The interface is darker, yes – it’s also ugly and poorly inefficiently laid out. Regarding the tabbed document interface, there’s a reason MDI is dying out even on Windows – it makes window management extraordinarily painful. It’s impossible to jump directly to the window you want from another application, or fluidly deal with overlapping windows between applications. And for what benefit?
    Tabs work in browsers because people commonly have dozens or hundreds of pages open – this quickly overwhelms the traditional windowing system, and very little switching between tabs occurs. In the CS suite, I would wager it’s much more common to have a limited number of documents open in each application, and be switching back and forth between them. This is EXACTLY what Expose excels at, and what MDI breaks completely.
    Regarding NIH syndrome. You are an application vendor – it is your job to fit in with the host OS. If you decide to extend it, it should be in ways that are consistent with the themes, metaphors, and design of that OS. I wouldn’t expect to see Ribbon interfaces on OS X and I also don’t expect to see floating inspector palettes on Windows. Apple’s Pro interfaces are typically darker, yes – but everything else about their design, layout, and operation is fully consistent with their non-Pro brethren. Nothing I’ve seen in the Creative Suite fits with the OS, and rather breaks it at every turn.
    Continue on this path, and look to Word 6.0 for a glimpse of your future. You may well survive as Microsoft did, but you’re courting a huge amount of anger, backlash, and creating opportunities for competitors – and all for such miniscule “benefit” that it baffles me as to why Adobe is so steadfast. The most positive reaction I’ve yet seen outside Adobe is “well, it’s not that bad”. You have MANY others waving pitchforks and torches.
    People are giving you their feedback on the CS interface, which you’re not only ignoring, but being willfully deaf to. Meanwhile, competitors are appearing. They’re small now, but you’ve created a vacuum for them to fill – one that had no right to exist with the pedigree of Creative Suite.
    People are giving you their feedback on installation and patch management, yet there are no signs of change. Even Microsoft has gotten into shape in this regard. *Microsoft*. Apple can install an operating system and patches with this framework. Microsoft can maintain their Office suite. Yet Adobe can’t manage their application installations.
    People are giving you their feedback on Flash performance. You can ignore it all you want, but when the same site/browser/hardware uses vastly more CPU on the Mac than on Windows, something is wrong. When the most popular web browser extensions are designed specifically to block your product, that’s a problem. You already lost the iPhone, and you’re now going to be ceding ground to H.264 (sans Flash).
    People are giving you their feedback on Adobe Reader, and have been for some time. And once upon a time, everyone had Acrobat Reader installed. Now – on the Mac at least – very few do. Do stop and consider that.
    In a nutshell, you’re doing a lot to upset a lot of your customers, and almost none of this has any value-add for Adobe. You’ve invested huge resources in a custom interface that has few fans and many who vehemently dislike. You’ve invested huge resources in an installation system that is both fragile, user unfriendly, and especially network admin unfriendly. You’ve refused to admit any flaws in Flash, which has driven away early partners like YouTube and Apple, created momentum for alternatives like H.264 and the video tag, and blunted acceptance of further Adobe platforms like Air and Flex. And you’ve rested on your laurels with Acrobat, which most users would be hard pressed to find any difference from version 5 other than sluggishness and bloat.
    None of this would be particularly hard – in the grand scheme of things – to fix. Indeed, utilizing more native OS code means less code you have to write, QA, debug, etc. Steady improvement in core products like Flash and Acrobat would keep competitors at bay – take a look at the iPod for a shining example. Apple has been willing to take huge risks and reinvent a very successful product several times – the Mini to Nano change was one, the iPod Touch is another. And as a result, they’re thriving.
    As a final remark, Office on the Mac resurged with Office 98 – when they returned to native interface conventions and focused on the platform. As a result, Wordperfect, WriteNow, and numerous other contenders perished. They have continued to support the native interface and platform well, and when they’ve had shortcomings, they’ve been rectified. Long filenames weren’t in Office v.X, but in 2004. Native toolbars weren’t in 2004, but were in 2008. Visual Basic and Outlook weren’t in 2008, but will be in 2010.
    Where’s that kind of platform support from Adobe?

  • Joshua Ochs — 1:25 AM on August 14, 2009

    And yes, now is the part where Mark Alan Thomas pops out of the woodwork to complain about LR scrollbars being on the “wrong” side
    Except he’s RIGHT. When every other application on every other system puts them on the right, and you put them on the left, that does indeed make you wrong. Do you really not understand the entire concept of interface consistency? Really? If you don’t understand something that basic, well, then I really don’t know where to start. It’s like trying to explain math to someone who doesn’t believe in numbers or even counting.
    Human Computer Interaction.
    The Design of Everyday Things.
    The Human Interface Guidelines.

    These are clearly things that mean nothing to you.
    And meanwhile, the way you belittle your users who take time to offer feedback is stunning in its arrogance. Truly amazing.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 7:56 AM on August 14, 2009

    By putting the scroll bars there, they are more reachable thanks to Fitts’ law.
    They’re not! This would only be true if the scroll bars were flush against the sides of the screen, but they’re actually offset from the edge by the padding that’s there to allow the left and right panels to be shown and hidden with a screen edge click. The panel’s use Fitts’s Law, but the scroll bars absolutely betray it.
    If you’ve ever struggled to get at the module selector while in full screen mode, you’ll know what a mess Lightroom makes of Fitts’s Law most of the time.
    Seriously, I love Lightroom’s functionality, but the GUI is a equal parts brilliance and disaster.

  • Werbeagentur — 12:29 PM on August 14, 2009

    Adobe should start optimizing their stuff instead releasing every new year a new creative suit! I’m very angry about them. Just today i tried calling adobe support because my BRIDGE has become so damn slow that there is no way working with it anymore. I tried everything, deleting caches etc. but nothing helped.

  • Dan — 5:43 PM on August 14, 2009

    Geez, M.A.T., enough about the scrollbars in Lightroom. It should be clear to even casual readers of this blog that you don’t care for them, so there’s no need to belabor the point at each potential opportunity

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 8:35 AM on August 15, 2009

    Geez, M.A.T., enough about the scrollbars in Lightroom.
    Hey, this time John was literally asking for it. ;P
    But you’re right. The scrollbars are basically meaningless in the grander scheme of things. There is the far more important problem of modality. The scrollbars don’t actively interfere with the way I use Lightroom — I have adapted, and so they annoy only insomuch as I know they are wrong and indicative of a hastily conceived GUI. Modality, on the other hand, actually gets in my way many times a day, like tripping over a lamp cord going across the living-room floor. I’ll be adjusting a photo, and then I’ll decide to add a keyword, and I have to stop what I’m doing, switch modes — which is not instantaneous even on a multi-core beast — add the keyword, switch back. It’s a totally needless and artificial limitation. The Library module has “quick develop” tools which I’ve never once used. Why doesn’t the freaking Develop module have a simple keyword entry field? And if either can exist, why enforce modes at all? I’m all for innovation and doing something new, but lame is lame. The Lightroom team needs to swallow its pride and admit that modality is a classic GUI blunder. I’m frankly astonished that they can even tolerate it, but when it’s your own baby, even the ugliest creature is beautiful, I guess.

  • anonymous — 5:25 PM on August 15, 2009

    Bridge Troubleshooting docs available here:
    Mac OS X
    Windows XP
    Windows Vista

  • H. Huntzinger — 7:12 PM on August 15, 2009

    I see you ripping posters on vague complaints … so I’ll remind you that you have one from me (from my work address) that’s been in your INBOX for a year that you’ve never had the courtesy to answer.
    [H., I see that you posted a comment here last year.
    I don’t know what to tell you. I get roughly 400 emails a day. I’ve received & published more than 12,600 comments here. I’m sorry I can’t back to everyone, despite working at all hours and on Saturday nights (as I am now). If that’s discourteous, well, I’m sorry. I’m not a superhero or a robot or a martyr. I do, however, do my best. –J.]
    Specifically, it was how longtime faithful Adobe owners who have ALL the individual licenses of one of the Suites aren’t eligible for a better upgrade price than anyone who has just one legacy license.
    [I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t set pricing. I’m sure, though, that if we made the pricing upgrade table more complicated, tongue-wagging JAFO wingnuts would draw more derisive comparisons to Windows SKUs. There’s simply no way to make everyone happy. –J.]
    I await your witty response.
    [Sorry to disappoint. –J.]

  • Phil Brown — 8:17 PM on August 16, 2009

    I have to laugh – someone complaining about John not responding? I had to dare him not to respond to an email I sent while he was on paternity leave! (and I’m no one important in the scheme of things, yet you always feel like John’s paying personal attention when you communicate with him).
    I hardly think any lack of response would have been the result of discourtesy. How many product managers do you know who are as accessible as John (or Bryan or any number of the folks at Adobe, for that matter) even in smaller companies let alone one the size of Adobe?
    If the matter was so important, why wasn’t it followed up in less than a year? Really, hh, get a grip :-)
    Maybe it’s ’cause it’s Monday here?

  • Nigel Moore — 1:00 PM on August 17, 2009

    “if you haven’t upgraded your workstation in four years, you’re probably not in a rush to upgrade your software, either”
    Ummmm, no, not really. Yet another generalisation that doesn’t stand too much scrutiny. Just because we haven’t upgraded our hardware doesn’t mean that the same is true for software (that matters).
    [If you’re going to poke at what you consider unsupported generalizations, you might consider supplying actual data (beyond saying “Na-*aah*”). If I had enough time today, I could dig up customer hardware/software surveys that bear out my point, but I don’t. –J.]
    Nor does it mean that we can’t upgrade our hardware for compelling new software (not that CS5 is likely to count, for me at least, in that regard.)
    [Nice blind prejudgment. In any case I hope you’re mistaken. –J.]

  • Jeffrey Bernstein — 2:09 AM on August 20, 2009

    Your guys would benefit from having over 10GBs of RAM today with either CS3 or CS4!

  • Stephen — 6:12 PM on August 23, 2009

    [Why do you want Fireworks to go 64-bit? Do you really want to assign it more than 4GB of RAM? If not, do you suppose there’s some other advantage to 64-bitness? And as for Cocoa, what advantages do you imagine it confers, besides opening the door to 64-bit? –J.]
    64bit was was more of a question than a request. I don’t use PS at all, and I don’t use FW that much these days either, I was just wondering if the next version is going to have been purely a conversion to 64bit or if it will have anything else done to it. I’ll assume your “answer a question with more questions” means no.
    Cocoa was not a request, it was plea, in the hopes you would abandon that abortion of a UI you have now. I know you all (Adobe) seem to think that you’re making it better with the custom UI stuff, but you really aren’t. People argue that we should care about functionality rather than the “style” of the app. I say we should care about both.
    [No. On the contrary, the Adobe UI design team wants to go with more custom widgetry. I support that direction only when there’s a strong functional reason for doing so (e.g. enabling dark backgrounds, scalable UI, useful input mechanisms like scrubby text, etc.). I’ve spoken about this at some length.]
    Seriously, the “Application Bar”? Is there REALLY that much functionality gained by moving the “zoom:” selector from the bottom of the window, where it’s always been, to the top of the screen, and adding two tools (which are ALSO in the tools pallet) alongside a Fireworks icon?
    Did they get half way through implementing it and realise it was useless, and add the FW icon to try and distract people with the pretty colours?
    [By the way, what do you think about all the custom UI that’s made its way into apps like iMovie? Does it make Apple apps un-Mac-like? –J.]
    As for Apple. Yes, Apple do have their own custom UI for several apps. The big difference is, with theirs, even though we know its there, we don’t notice it, because it feels right. The Adobe UI, doesn’t. When Apple do a custom UI, it doesn’t mean Spaces or Exposé won’t work. Everything still just works as expected.
    If I didn’t already know Adobe’s history writing apps for Macs, I would think CS4 was the first version of a Windows-to-Mac port.
    I guess what I’m saying is, if CS4 is any indication of Adobe’s UI abilities, you should just give up now.
    [So, you find that things like tabbed documents have no value? –J.]
    It doesn’t have 0 value, but it’s not like you said “Here, our software now produces Macadamia/White Choc cookies on demand, but FYI you have to have crappy custom window chrome to go with it”.
    It’s not even as though its some ground breaking feature. You don’t need to roll your own entire, half-baked Window chrome just to get tabbed documents. There are many examples of apps for OS X using tabbed document interfaces that don’t completely f*ck the window chrome just to do it.
    I thank you for your responses though (particularly about the direction of the Adobe UI team). I no longer need to waste any time wondering whether CS5 will be any good, and instead I can dedicate that time to getting acquainted with a different app.

  • Ilya Birman — 8:15 AM on August 24, 2009

    Are you planning to fix CS apps to work with Spaces? That’s a showstopper for me and many others, which prevents us from even considering a switch from CS3.
    Also, in Photoshop CS4 Layer — Change layer Content menu item is missing. What’s up with it?
    Thanks :-)

  • Phil Schiller — 4:03 PM on August 24, 2009

    I think you mean “Is Apple planning to fix Spaces to work with applications written by anyone other than Apple?” And the answer is “of course not”.
    [Spaces does have bugs, and I haven’t heard of any plans to fix them. (Of course people assume that the bugs must be Adobe’s.) –J.]

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 10:41 PM on August 24, 2009

    Spaces does have bugs, and I haven’t heard of any plans to fix them. (Of course people assume that the bugs must be Adobe’s.) –J.
    It’s a perception thing.
    [Perception, bias, religiosity, whatever. It’s not something I’m going to spend time debating. –J.]

  • Ilya Birman — 10:33 AM on August 25, 2009

    It’s funny how Adobe blame Apple for bugs in Spaces, whereas Spaces work fine for everything else,
    [No, they don’t. –J.]
    including Abode’s own CS3.
    Guys, you must do some work designing for web. Maybe then you’ll understand, that users doesn’t care if site is buggy because broswer is buggy. It’s webmaster’s fault eighter way.
    Work around the bugs of your host platform! _Your_ software is buggy in Apple’s cool environment, so even if it’s Apple’s fault, _you_ should go fix it.
    [You don’t suppose we work around bugs in OSes, GPU drivers, etc.? And you suppose we have unlimited latitude to make things work, regardless of platform problems? –J.]
    It’s so childish to find the guilty instead of making things work. Shame on you Adobe :-(

  • Stephen — 5:55 PM on August 26, 2009

    [No, they don’t. –J.]
    Showing one other example (and MS Office to boot!) of apps not playing well with Exposé doesn’t help your case much there John.
    [Really? And if I showed you ten examples, wouldn’t you say, “That’s just 10 POS applications”? But I know, Apple must never be thought responsible for anything unfortunate or negative. –J.]

  • bettie mcclary — 12:11 PM on August 28, 2009

    Good for you, I agree.

  • Stephen — 8:54 AM on September 03, 2009

    [Really? And if I showed you ten examples, wouldn’t you say, “That’s just 10 POS applications”? But I know, Apple must never be thought responsible for anything unfortunate or negative.]
    You didn’t show me 10 examples. You showed one other app/suite that has issues with Spaces, and it’s from Microsoft, who a) couldn’t design a usable UI to save their lives on any OS, and b) have a history of crappy, second-rate software (take this as mac specific or in general however you like)
    It’s not about Apple never being responsible for things, it’s about companies (read: you) reinventing the fucking wheel for no good reason, with detrimental effects to the end user. Everywhere I look, Adobe is fast becoming the new Microsoft.

  • Armin Rosu — 1:01 AM on September 04, 2009

    Joe, you can’t properly compare Photoshop to Pixelmator, though I agree with you. As (I think) John once said (paraphrasing) “people don’t think Photoshop has to few features, it’s the way they are organized”.
    I think this is true for all Adobe apps. Incremental development is great, but it blocks you out from being truly innovative (e.g. Coda vs Dreamweaver).
    There are loads of things I’d wish Adobe would implement tyrannically (coherent cross-suite tools & shortcuts, like a color selector, text formatter etc.). Thing is, that might just kill Adobe (I myself am so accustomed to the Photoshop UI, a new interface would have to kick a**).
    John, I’m trying not to be ignorant here, please don’t be offended. I understand the whole CS suite is made up of apps coming from plenty of sources (soo many mergers, purchases), but isn’t it feasible to develop components all these apps share (i.e. color selector)?
    Similarly, have you considered offering software subscriptions with perpetual updates instead of (or along with) version upgrades?
    Again, asking politely. Adobe has loads of competent employees, but I can’t understand while progress is so slow (c’mon, no code AutoFormat in Flex 3?!!!!!). Could you clarify this please (disregarding the move to 64bit, MacIntel)?
    Sidenote, which was the adobe ui design teams website?

  • Michael Barrett — 6:20 PM on October 06, 2009

    We use After Effects CS3 using watch folder render on our XServe intel render farm. We are planning on upgrading to Snow Leopard server and CS4/5, but worry that Quicktime X will screw up our render output modules. Any thoughts on Quicktime X and After Effects?

  • Calvin Ma — 1:17 AM on October 22, 2009

    I cannot believe but the Adobe CS4 UI is very poor and ugly, why don’t just use the windows ui, but waste time on develop the strange adobe gray ui?
    Please use more time on improving software performance.

  • tombie — 5:49 AM on November 10, 2009

    I’m in need of both a hardware and software upgrade – sounds like it’s worth me waiting until CS5 comes out and doing it all in one go. (I’m still running CS1 on an eMac!).
    I need to be able to back-save Illustrator files to EPS8 – would this still work in CS5 or would it be completely incompatible with other people’s older software?

  • Scarpa Sciolta — 12:01 PM on December 21, 2009

    They say Adobe will never support CS suite on case sensitive filesystems.
    This is a big opportunity for competitors to create a good alternative suite that works on case sensitive filesystem, that is the STANDARD on every Unix worth that name.
    Isn’t it?
    Maybe they will fix this issue when it will be too late.

  • dgatwood — 12:04 PM on February 17, 2010

    Adobe’s engineers should read:
    It’s remarkably easy to fix case sensitivity bugs. It should take Adobe’s engineers no more than two or three hours to find and fix them all.

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