Creativeprose: To Upgrade Or Not to Upgrade; That Is the Question
These are your responses to a request in the May 10, 2005, Creativeprose newsletter for information regarding possible upgrades to Adobe Creative Suite 2. I’ve included responders’ names and job information when available.
We started with InDesign 1 and have gone with each upgrade. This one [CS2] we intend to skip. We feel that having reached a level of maturity and stability the product now meets most of our needs very well, and due to budget constraints, we will wait for CS3 before upgrading. There are some appealing features, and footnotes are a major one. If they become so pressing we need them, we’ll move, but only then. We do a lot of books in InDesign, and if we really needed this feature for a book then we would have to upgrade, but so far we’ve lived without it.
— Simon Warner, Publishing Supervisor, Spring Harvest
I have wasted more time on messing with copy protection than I ever gained in vaunted “increased productivity” from a new version. Now that Adobe is adding oppressive remote authentication to the Mac version of CS2, I will not be upgrading.
My firm has had a policy against copy-protected software since a disk crash and restore in the early 1990s permanently disabled an important application and we missed the deadline for an important contract.
I also firmly believe there are ulterior motives involved. Microsoft and Adobe want to move toward term-based licensing. In other words, if you don’t pay your annual tax, that remotely activated software stops running. The current moves are directed against their customer base, NOT against pirates and bootleggers! I’ll bet that Hotline already has cracks for CS2! The thieves will carry on, but the legit users will be subject to random disruption of work.
The software industry is consolidating and maturing. Whenever an industry does so, innovation stagnates, and the captive customer base is exploited. I’m content to stay in 2004 for many years.
I don’t steal software, and I refuse to deal with a company who assumes I’m a thief.
— Jan Steinman, https://www.Bytesmiths.com/Van
I had a dilemma presented to me a few months back now with the offer of some (occasional) overseas work from an old friend; this was to layout a small booklet with text provided, and was also presented with a choice of two templates to work with: one was in QuarkXPress version 4, while the other was in InDesign CS.
At that stage I owned only InDesign v.2. I found out that I could not open the InDesign CS template, predictable considering a software company’s policy of restricting backward compatibility, while the process of converting the Quark document into InDesign v.2 was less than satisfactory, giving me errors.
Thus to accept the job I felt urged to consider upgrading my InDesign to CS version. Deliberating with my friend, he assured me there would be more work in the pipeline to enable me to ‘absorb’ the cost of the upgrade. My next decision was whether to upgrade just the InDesign component or to upgrade the entire suite… undoubtedly the upgrade cost for the entire suite is a very keenly competitive rate, but since my turnover is still only small, I couldn’t justify the outlay on all the programs I owned, to what I saw as yet another big promise for a major overhaul in too short a time period from my previous expenditure. (I have to add that traditionally I have been a designer all too keen to accept the offer of “vital” upgrades to the programs I own, to the point where a good percentage of my income gets re-invested, that is aside from the hardware upgrades deemed ‘necessary’ to keep a graphic design business going… until my diligent wife/accountant advises me that perhaps I ought to really cut down on “unnecessary” expenses and keep outgoings in proportion to incomings!)
The outcome of all this is that I upgraded to InDesign CS and was a little disappointed at the lack of these promised extras, although I still haven’t really explored underneath the hood. It allowed me to open and work on the job for my friend, but as yet hasn’t been assured of the additional work he promised.
It seems much of the improved features of a program such as InDesign come as much from the array of possible third-party add-ons that one can get, but obviously at an additional cost, and one is left feeling slightly peeved at the ever-increasing prolificacy that the parent software company deems necessary at releasing these major upgrades. We play a catch-up game with the programs we use, while the essence of design remains the same, based squarely on our creative thought processes. We can often get sidetracked by issues such as these, and the promise that a certain program can “enhance the natural flow of our creative juices through a logically structured piece of software resulting in a seamless act of symbiosis from the brain to the medium” – or other such compelling arguments!
Sometimes the premise, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” can apply, even in this day and age of relentless modernism.
— Martyn Foote, Footeprint Design
I seldom, if ever, rush out to purchase the latest gizmo (whether hardware or software) upon release. When the present software I’m running is functioning adequately, and the system on which it runs is quite stable, I’m usually perfectly content to wait until the NEXT version (after the current “latest” release) is announced or shipping before I’ll switch to the now obsolete latest version. Why? I’ve got too much invested in time to relearn the “improved” features, re-arranged menu items (some of which are renamed as well, making it doubly difficult to figure out how to accomplish a function), not to mention the always-present “release 0 bugs”, for which first users become the beta testers.
Then there are the nonexistent printed manuals. I absolutely DETEST manuals in PDF format, since my preferred method of using a manual is to sit in bed reviewing new features, flipping pages to any place in the book — none of which one can do with the electronic versions.
No, I almost always wait until release v.3, .4, or .5 appears before shelling out my money and investing my time in software, no matter how glowing the initial reports.
As for the Adobe products that are the subject of this inquiry, it is a moot point for me until I can afford the money, and even more so the time, to get a new machine and learn a foreign operating system (OS X), one so radically different (and to me frustrating, based on my limited exposure to it at a client’s residence, OS X 10.3.9) from OS 9.1 or any earlier Mac OS. Printing problems are the biggest bugaboo I’ve encountered under OS X, so I intend to wait until OS XI comes out before even considering a new machine, and then I’ll get the latest version of OS X (NOT XI).
No apologies to those who want to be on the cutting edge with the latest and greatest. I simply do not have the time or patience to relearn everything.
— George Morten, Owner, Pandemonium Press
The expense of upgrading will keep me from jumping on the bandwagon for my home computer, but I’m hoping that the University will upgrade right away.
— Bonnie Elsensohn, Media Specialist, UAS Sitka Campus
A lot of my response applies to upgrades in general, not just CS2. The good news about upgrading is that I almost always get something better. I like to stay up-to-date for the reasons you cited (more efficient and/or creative features), plus I feel by staying updated, I get better technical support from the vendor, and I put my support behind the companies I believe are doing the best job.
This new Adobe upgrade has left me somewhat flummoxed. First, I have been a Photoshop and InDesign user since their inceptions. I have dutifully paid for upgrade after upgrade, finally culminating in a purchase of the CS Premium last summer. Now Adobe wants another $750 from me for CS2 premium without knowing how the Macromedia merger will affect any of these products. I’m afraid of being left out of the upgrade loop altogether, but I don’t want to upgrade to something that may change again in a year resulting in yet another upgrade, possibly new products, and another learning curve. I don’t have the luxury of getting all the latest and greatest technology whenever I want, as I am self-employed and don’t have corporate, educational, or any other big-dollar backing behind me. However, I also already have Tiger [the latest Macintosh operating system] in hand although not yet installed. If CS2 is better with Tiger, than I certainly want to take advantage of that.
This is the most complex set of upgrades I’ve had to work through ever. I still don’t know what I’m going to do. Hope that more information will become available that will swing my decision one way or the other.
— Gini Cornila
I’m on a G5/OSX using the Premium CS for designs that take me from print to the Web in a freelance capacity. My wife is working with the same set-up although her focus is more on the illustration side so she also uses Painter in her work. She also teaches Illustrator. I use Flash in a lot of my Web work and am quite anxious to see how Flash will become more Adobe-like (a positive move) in the upcoming months (probably in the next 12 to 18 at the earliest — CS3?).
Now to whether or not CS2 is coming to our desktop soon. This is going to be a tough one. Even though I’d love to dive in, I don’t see it happening right away. At a cost of around $550 (current bizrate.com cost) it is nearly half of what I paid for the first CS and that was back in November (when I upgraded from my G4 – another $2,000). The upgrade features always sound so cool in reviews (you guys aren’t much different), so who wouldn’t want them? On the other hand, when all the programs are lumped into a larger suite it is more difficult shelling out that kind of cash when you end up using only one to three of the programs. We’re starting to use InDesign (goodbye Quark) and GoLive is gathering dust since we use real programmers for the Web designs we do. Yet it was cheaper to go the Suite route than the individual program path. Now we’re stuck buying upgrades for the whole suite. $550 is not a cheap habit to maintain every 12 to 18 months but that’s what lies ahead for all of us. I’m sure once Flash becomes incorporated into the suite, the cost will rise again.
Ultimately, we’ll give in to the market monopolized by the 600-pound gorilla from Adobe. Once the Macromedia acquisition is complete, not much stands in their way to overtake Quark. In the long run this may turn out to be OK, but for the daily user, an 18-month $500 to $600 upgrade does not come as a welcome but more as a necessary cost of doing business. With graphic design salaries being relatively stagnant for the last 10 to 15 years, it won’t come easily.
My wife (who teaches Illustrator) is hesitant about getting CS2. The program has major shortcomings when it comes to going to press. I strongly agree. I just wish that some of these shortcomings would be brought to light by folks like Creativepro.com, MacAddict, and Macworld, rather than focus on the latest bells and whistles.
Don’t get me wrong — we love these programs, but to see shortcomings remain while new features are added makes me angry. There will always be new things to add, but make the expected features work solidly and intelligently and you’ll get a stronger following from us users. I’d like to see the basics become rock solid. It will help in teaching what the program does and insure a smoother path from concept to print.
— Zenon Slawinski, Zenarts Design Studio
To read comments from readers who will be upgrading, go to Page 3
I am a photographer working in Australia. I currently have Photoshop CS and will have to upgrade to CS2 even though I don’t actually want to do so at the present time.
The reason is that I am buying a new Nikon D2X 12MP camera. If I want to open my raw files in Adobe Photoshop Raw, I have to download the new plug-in. The new plug-in is not compatible with CS1. As far as I am concerned this is the usual upgrade-or-die approach that software developers seem to particularly aim at photographers.
— Stephen Hardacre, Stephen Hardacre Photography
I’ll be upgrading to CS2. Initially I was not. I read Dan Margulis’ review of the program and thought it not worthwhile, especially with the elimination of file browser and the reported slowness of its replacement, Bridge(?). File Browser is of use only for its automation feature to create Web pages of images. As a an image browser or contact sheet creator, Photoshop is so far behind ACDSee, that it is an embarrassment.
After reading Ben Long’s review, I will upgrade because of the Photoshop ability to merge three bracketed RAW files into one image.
I will likely check out other user upgrades before installation and will plan on installing CS2 as a separate unit, and keep CS if Bridge is as bad as anticipated.
Acrobat 7 is the second reason to upgrade to CS2.
— Raymond St. Arnaud, AV Services Interurban
After several long discussions on Adobe Forums and five phone calls to the Adobe Store, I finally gave in and ordered the CS2 Premium Upgrade for Mac OS X a couple weeks ago (which is still on backorder at Mac Zone).
The problem I was having was that I owned a retail version of CS1 Standard and separate retail versions of GoLive CS and Acrobat 6.0 Professional (which all put together represented ownership of all the CS1 Premium products at a slightly larger cash outlay than if I had originally purchased them as a package).
Last January I purchased a retail copy of Acrobat Pro 7.0 standalone when it was introduced. Since Adobe apparently likes to release Acrobat on a separate timetable and then try to reintroduce it a few months later as part of the Premium Suite, this creates a situation for people like myself who adopt new Adobe software the day it is released. My problem was that I was forced to pay the full price for the CS2 Premium upgrade ($549) which includes a copy of Acrobat Pro 7.0 (which I already own), and they give me no credit for the fact that I already have purchased that product. My complaint was not with Adobe’s pricing, but with their policy of being forced to buy the same product twice if you are upgrading to Creative Suite Premium.
The Adobe Store representatives all suggested the same thing: “Your best course would be to find a buyer for your Acrobat 7.0 Pro Upgrade CD.” That means first of all I now have to learn to sell Adobe software in order to buy it (at the same price as everyone else) and second, locate someone who already owns Acrobat Pro 6.0 on CD and wants to upgrade to 7.0, but never plans to purchase an Adobe Suite product in the future.
The only real solution I see to these problems in the future is for them to make Acrobat a “full” piece of the Creative Suite Package – giving it a CS designation and releasing it on the same date as all the other CS product upgrades.
As far as plans for installation, the plan is to install CS2 on my G5 Tower running OS 10.3.9 and on my 17″ PowerBook G4 running Tiger the day it comes in. I currently have nearly 40 applications that have now been identified as Tiger incompatible on my main workstation (G5), so it looks like it will be about 2 or 3 more months before most or all of those 3rd party patches and workarounds are in place which would allow me to move to Tiger on that machine – some such as Nikon Scanner drivers have not even announced any plans for support which would mean several hundred dollars in another 3dr party solution to regain my scanner access. In my case I am estimating than the move to Tiger on my G5 will only be about $1000, which is really cheap compared to the over $12,000 it initially cost me to adopt Jaguar initially on my main machine.
— John Dikmen, CEO/Choreographics, Inc.
We will upgrade to Photoshop CS2 as soon as we have enough time to learn and perfect the new tools. At the moment we are right in the middle of our wedding season in Australia. All of our time is in production and we can not spend enough time on learning the new upgrade. Even though we have been to a demonstration set up by Adobe through our local Apple store and we love the new tools and improved old tools. I would estimate July or August to be the month we will upgrade. We are currently using Photoshop CS.
— John King, John King Photography
There are certain programs I just must be the first on the block to have, and Adobe’s are included.
Got money? I’m there!
— Carey Handley, Page by Page Graphic Design
As with everything, in due time. I started with Photoshop 5 some years ago and decided, because I am a retired advanced amateur photographer, to upgrade every other upgrade. At the moment, I run Photoshop 7.1, I downloaded the free CS2 trial. When the trial period is over, I will buy the store copy upgrade because I want the hard copy of the manual. In the mean time, I get acquainted with CS2.
When you download and buy an upgrade version, Adobe should send the paper manual of that version. Printing out manuals is too much of a job and having the manual next to you while conquering a problem is much better then switching help screens.
— Herman J
I upgraded to CS2 the minute I could. I got my boss to buy it so I could be the guinea pig. Everyone else just got CS on their Macs in the past month or two. (I’ve been using CS for 16 months or so). CS2 makes me more efficient. I love the new Bridge, and some of the features in various applications in CS are going to be very useful. Glad I did it!
— Eric Welch, Photo Editor, Gemological Institute of America
I am the media coordinator for a large high school. Besides being a librarian, I have extensive responsibilities for networks, software, and computer problems. I have always used Macs (I had a 128K), and am currently using an iMac G5 20-inch with 1.5GB of memory. I have the 17-inch version at home with 1.25 GB memory.
I ordered CS2 Premium, Educational version, soon after it came out. I have been using CS since it came out, and InDesign 2 before that. It took me two days to successfully install CS2 on my work computer, with over three hours on the phone with Adobe going over just about every item on Adobe Tech Doc 329590. I was beyond frustrated, but I think it is finally, mostly, working. InDesign is the main program I use. I had already upgraded to Acrobat 7. I hardly ever use Illustrator, but I need it to open and sometimes edit files sent to me for desktop publishing work. I don’t install Version Cue; I am a one-man show and haven’t figured out a use for it. I use Photoshop more, but mostly for scanning/cropping/editing. I am not a Photoshop power user.
I still don’t entirely trust InDesign CS2 (it froze my computer today while I was typing a line of text; no warning, no errors; had to shut down and restart the whole thing). I tend to find out new things as I go along getting all the emergencies done, until summer comes and I can think more clearly. I stumbled on the new font menu, with examples, and liked it. I hope they have fixed the tab window problem I had several times in CS. I have ordered Total Training’s package on InDesign CS2, which I will look at when school gets out.
I don’t like the fact that every new version of InDesign requires updating the file formats. I have a lot of files!
I can see the need for the activation concept, but I don’t like it. I tend to have more than two computers I work off of at various times. I did try the install on my home computer and did not have one glitch. Either I have something of a lemon at school or all the programs I have on it for helping teachers is getting in the way of a clean install.
— Scott Hinckley, Media Coordinator, Alta High School
I purchased the CS2 Standard upgrade last week. Why? To get it over with. If you miss an upgrade you end up repurchasing the whole program.
Why Standard? I have Dreamweaver MX and Acrobat standalone already.
I have a whole other litany of issues with Adobe over the Acrobat 6.0 upgrade. Purchased Distiller at version 3. Upgraded to 4. Got version 5.0 with InDesign 1.0. Purchased 6.0 upgrade but can’t use it because that version 5.0 was not an upgradeable version. Adobe offered to let me purchase the whole new 6.0 for the difference between the upgrade version and the full version. Bogus deal.
I am in fear of what Adobe will do to Macromedia’s best products and what Adobe will do to us users once they’ve got the monopoly.
We will upgrade to InDesign CS2, but I’m waiting a little longer until we make a few hardware upgrades. I’ve been a PageMaker user since version 1.0 on a Mac 512K, and I know the program inside out. I’m still learning InDesign, though I see clearly its advantages and the reasons for upgrading. But we haven’t converted completely and will be slow to upgrade because InDesign is quite slow on our G3 and G4 Macs. Also, we need larger monitors or dual monitors to work effectively with all the palettes and windows the program requires.
— Randall Williams, Editor, NewSouth Books
I will upgrade in about three months. I prefer to see an update to the initial version before I do an upgrade.
I have already upgraded to the CS2 applications. Not the Creative Suite 2 as a whole, but rather some of the individual CS2 applications: Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, and InDesign CS2. Basically, when I decide that an upgrade is feasible and really worth it (in the sense that there are excellent new features that I need, tools that will really benefit me as an artist and designer), I usually jump on the bandwagon straightaway and order the upgrade as soon as it’s released.
I like to do this because it is usually the case that a boatload of tutorials for the new applications are published at the same time as the programs are released and I like to participate in these so that I can keep up with the pack and even stay ahead if I can.
I also like to go through all the troubleshooting at the same time as everyone else, so that I can thoroughly get to know the new programs, inside and out. Knowing how to work the applications so well that I don’t have to think about what I am doing and being able to explore the programs’ full potential allows me to reserve my concentration for my creative projects and easily make my concepts a reality.
— Christine Holzmann, Design editor and IT manager at The Citizen News
I have ordered the CS2 premium package without evaluation because I am also ordering a new 2GHz iMac with OS X Tiger at the same time. My current versions are InDesign 2.0, Illustrator 10, Photoshop 7, GoLive 6.0, and Acrobat 6.0. If I am going through with the pain of re-installing software and transferring documents, I might as well add any new software versions at the same time.
— Jim Bratek, Web Manager and Graphic Designer, Communications Department, The Pingry School
The Third Reason to Upgrade
In my newsletter, I mentioned two reasons to upgrade: improved efficiency, and expanded creativity. Two readers added another:
There is a third reason to upgrade. If your customer upgrades to the new versions, as a client, you have to be prepared.
— Eddie Wooten, Manager of Production and Technology,
The Ad Kitchen
The third reason to upgrade is because major clients and vendors have and you must in order to keep pace and share files with them. This is usually what gets the upgrade ball rolling and what the software developers plan on and hope for.
— Rick Prentice