Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Adobe trap

My objection to Adobe going subscription-only isn’t the price. It’s the fact that my files have future value to me.

I learned something from my old PageMaker files back in the day. I learned that the only thing that will open old PageMaker files is an old copy of PageMaker. So if I want to keep accessing old PageMaker files, I’d better keep an old copy of PageMaker around. And since I publish academic books, not ephemera, I do sometimes need to access those old PageMaker files.

These days I use InDesign CS5. At some point my lovely new InDesign CS5 files will be old InDesign CS5 files. And when that time comes, I’ll still have InDesign CS5 around to open them with, even though I’m sure I’ll have moved on to something new for creating new files.

Adobe has taken that assurance of future accessibility away with subscription-only software. If I use InDesign CC to create a file and I ever want to open it in the future, I’ll have to pay whatever amount Adobe decides to charge at that point in order to run InDesign CC to open it, because I won’t have any way to keep InDesign CC working on my computer on my own. And if Adobe decides to stop licensing InDesign CC at any price? I won’t have any way to open the file at all.

I do core workflow processes using several different versions of Acrobat because Adobe has added, removed, and changed important features with different versions of Acrobat. If I always had to use the latest version of Acrobat, some steps in my workflow would be much harder and some steps would be impossible. Subscription-only software is a disaster for anyone trying to set up a consistent complex workflow, because that workflow is vulnerable to whatever changes Adobe decides to push out in their software. Why invest resources in creating a workflow that could literally become wasted effort at any moment?

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