And paid and paid. I’ve just done the ordeal of installing Adobe Creative Suite 2 on a Mac that was totally legal even though the Adobe installer wouldn’t do an install claiming “invalid install!” The idea is simple enough. Fork over 350 bucks (tax + shipping) for some shiny plastic discs and a series of 24 digits to be the latest greatest. You’d think it would be that simple but no.

The installer didn’t like or could not “find” the previously installed applications. For compatibility reasons a non-CS Illustrator was installed rather then the newer version. The “devil you know” in this case. As well as a back version of Acrobat. By using older versions forced compatibility with the printer and the clients. Except now, 18 months after CS2’s release it’s time to get with it.

In the last 6 months I’ve directed around $30K of money toward Adobe directly and indirectly getting the people around me both legal and latest greatest. This is no small amount of money. And it’s been a total pain-in-the. Moving forward on one machine has forced the whole entire workflow to move with it. This includes the designer, the product manager, the printer, the proof reader, the writer, and in some cases the client. Why? CS2 doesn’t back save to older versions of Adobe software. This means we’ve had to shell out so the proof reader can open, print and make changes to an InDesign document. Which is a task that hardly qualifies as “using the software” in my mind.

The biggest problem has been with “upgrade serial numbers.” For two reasons. Stolen serial numbers and over installed serial numbers. Because of the phone home nature of CS and CS2 suspicious activity goes punished. Leaving someone hanging on the phone begging for India to release a perfectly valid number one more time. This is a complete waste of time to me. Especially when this stuff costs what it costs.

Because of the problems with them I’ve recommended in most cases that people buy the FULL version installer instead of an UPGRADE. For one simple reason really. Reinstallation. Most of the time the old software gets deleted after an install (not InDesign because of the back save problem). The “where is it” just won’t work. And the real serial number is long gone. Meaning you have to plan ahead leaving the bread crumb of a screen shot somewhere that won’t get d-e-l-e-t-e-d. At least with the FULL version a catastrophic reinstallation won’t get hung up because part of the past is missing. Meaning pay now or pay later.

But I say, enough of this crap. Why do I have to pay and pay and pay only to be accused of stealing? Because if I was stealing the software it would be WAY easier to deal with serial numbers and installations. I’d just make a new one. Being legit means that I have to keep exact track of what is installed where. Lock up the original boxes (so the thieving bastard employees don’t walk with it). The router would divert phone-home traffic to Updates would come from a torrent, placed on the project server and handled manually once it was determined to be safe.

Sadly, the WordStar effect doesn’t apply to modern software. That was that people didn’t buy WordStar for the software, they bought it for the manual and the keyboard short cut card. Back in the day when a collating double sided auto sheet feeding copier didn’t exist it was a major effect to copy a 400 manual. The library copy machine was 25 cents a page. Making the “pirate” manual cost around $100 and half of your day. And you had to have access to said manual.

Today anyone (well not anyone because we’ve seen right here that people don’t know how to use a search engine) can look up any how-to-do by typing “photoshop mac grunge look how to” and click “I’m feeling lucky” for the steps to make the desired effect. Making the manual unneeded. And besides, the Photoshop Wow! book is so much prettier (and cheaper).

But I digress. Serial numbers is what I’m ranting about. So in this one case of having a perfectly legit older version and needing to install a just purchase newer version I have to resort to finding a serial number on the web to finish my installation task. And this pisses me off that I have to fall back to “like likes of thieves” to get a jorb done. It begs the question of being totally legit in the first place. Because if I’m treated like a pirate then I might as well be one.