People love a good deal and even more so when it is free. The Internet, as a collection of connected people, jumps on the bandwagon even more so when word of something valuable becoming free gets out there.
That situation is exactly what happened for Adobe when word that their CS2 products (Acrobat 7 and 8, Audition, GoLive, Illustrator, InCopy, InDesign, Photoshop CS2, Photoshop Elements 4.0/5.0, and Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0) seemed to be hitting the fire sale and were being given away for free. The name Photoshop is a big one and many people would be happy to have a copy, even if it is four versions behind.
The truth of the matter is a little different. Despite hitting the tech blogs last night after appearing on a few deal sites, Adobe has stated clearly that the software is not being given away for free and has not become freeware.
The CS2 downloads page is very up front with the needed information. There are download links per product or for the whole Creative Suite 2 bundle and within the table, the serial numbers are simply available for the taking with only registering a (free) Adobe ID as the only requirement but even that has been circumvented with direct links being posted.
The actual reason that Adobe has posted the installers and the serial numbers to Creative Suite 2, which came out in 2005, comes down to DRM. Adobe is decommissioning their activation servers. In the case that somebody would need to reinstall their rightfully-purchased CS2 product, they won’t be able to activate it. The provided installers and serial numbers get around that. When somebody on the Internet saw the page, they passed it along as a free copy of Adobe’s CS2 products.
The forum thread that originated when supporting users trying to license their products after December 13th is quick to clarify that the downloads are only meant to help those customers that previously purchased the programs and might need to reinstall them.
In another thread, an Adobe account stated the intention after the freebie madness started to take root.
Effective December 13, Adobe disabled the activation server for CS2 products and Acrobat 7 because of a technical glitch. These products were released over 7 years ago and do not run on many modern operating systems. But to ensure that any customers activating those old versions can continue to use their software, we issued a serial number directly to those customers. While this might be interpreted as Adobe giving away software for free, we did it to help our customers.
It seems Adobe is not to concerned about the release because CS2 is more suited to run on Windows XP than Windows 7. Adobe does not offer support to non-customers trying to get the software to work on newer operating systems. Instead, they list the requirements as:
- Mac OS X v.10.2.8–v.10.3.8. PowerPC® G4 or G5 processor
- Microsoft® Windows® 2000/Windows XP. Intel® Pentium® III or 4 processor
Hypothetically, would a campaign like this work out well for Adobe? An older version of software that people can get accustomed to for free and might find the upgrade worth the money for new features and modern operating systems support could hook new customers just as they used to give out software for free before charging for it. It could backfire, however, and leave paying customers disgruntled. Either way, that’s not the case. CS2 is not being given away for free and Adobe is doing so to support their customers, not devalue their investment.