Angry Adobe users rant about Snow Leopard support

Adobe says Photoshop 'works fine' on new Apple OS, but won't officially support CS3 suite

After users fumed over news that Adobe Systems Inc. wouldn't support its Creative Suite 3 (CS3) applications on Apple Inc.'s new Snow Leopard operating system, the company backtracked a step yesterday.

"It turns out that the Photoshop team has tested Photoshop CS3 on Snow Leopard, and to the best of our knowledge, Photoshop CS3 works fine on Snow Leopard," said John Nack, principal product manager of Adobe Photoshop, in a blog post late Wednesday.

"The Photoshop team reported a couple of dozen problems to Apple, and I'm happy to say that Apple has fixed all the significant issues we found."

The brouhaha began Tuesday, when Adobe published an FAQ ( download PDF ) about Creative Suite 4 (CS4) compatibility with Snow Leopard, also known as Mac OS 10.6. In the FAQ, Adobe said it had not tested old versions, such as CS3, under Snow Leopard, and more to the point, didn't intend to.

"While older Adobe applications may install and run on Mac OS X Snow Leopard (v10.6), they were designed, tested, and released to the public several years before this new operating system became available," said Adobe.

"You may therefore experience a variety of installation, stability, and reliability issues for which there is no resolution. Older versions of our creative software will not be updated to support Mac OS X Snow Leopard."

Nack explained that the decision came down to a matter of resources.

"It has always been Adobe's policy not to go backwards and do 'dot' releases on software that is no longer shipping," he said. "This isn't some kind of ploy to force people to upgrade; rather, it's a recognition that resources are not infinite, and we need to focus our efforts on current and future technology."

That didn't sit well with users running the suite, which debuted in 2007 and was only supplanted by CS4 last October.

"That Adobe would drop support for a 2.5-year-old software suite -- which cost far more than $US600 -- leaves me frustrated and angry," said Gerry Manacsa in a comment to Nack's post Tuesday highlighting the FAQ.

"Adobe is sending a terrible message with this decision -- especially in this economy," added a user identified only as "Benton" in another comment to Nack's post.

"Many people spent a lot of money on CS3 little more than a year ago."

"When Adobe is not willing to take a little time and effort to check compatibility of products which customers see as new (2.5 years is not that long to us), it smells of corporate greed," said Shawn Wright.

Nack wasn't the only Adobe manager who stepped in to try to calm down angry users. David Howe, who said he was the quality assurance manager in charge of testing Photoshop and Adobe Bridge, acknowledged that the FAQ wasn't perfect.

"I can certainly understand the frustration that's been unleashed here over the past day," Howe said. "The FAQ in my opinion did not do a good job representing what the Photoshop team did, nor our stance on Snow Leopard compatibility."

Howe went on to corroborate Nack's claim that Adobe has tested Photoshop CS3. "If we found issues, we worked directly with Apple to get them fixed," Howe said. "Having a new OS come on the scene that breaks existing applications is not something I want to see, nor does Apple. At this point, I am not aware of any significant issues."

Even so, officially Adobe is sticking to its position: CS3 isn't supported when running on Snow Leopard. "We have reason to expect that all meaningful issues of running Photoshop CS3 under Snow Leopard have been resolved," Nack said.

"However, because we have not done the level of testing that true certification demands, we need to stand by our statement that we don't officially support CS3 on Snow Leopard."

That prompted some users to continue the rain of rants. "Adobe comes out of this looking arrogant to me," said a user identified as "disappointed" in a comment to Nack's Wednesday blog.

"It's as if Adobe is trying not to retain the loyalty of a customer like me. I urge Adobe to rethink its policy for supporting recent versions of its software. Premium prices should be accompanied by premium respect for the customer."

Others were more blunt. "OS updates are a fact of life. Software makers need to keep up. Especially those that charge an arm and a leg for their products," said a user named Andre.

"Unless Adobe properly supports this one-version-old, super-duper-expensive software, I seriously will not give Adobe another dime. How about get your &*^% together and treat your well-paying customers as you should?"

Adobe's CS3 included a variety of software, depending on the edition, but "Design Standard" bundled Photoshop with Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat.

Apple's Snow Leopard goes on sale Friday.

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