back to article Adobe offers free trip to PowerPC era

Creative types tired of forking out wads of cash to Adobe can now get their hands on its flagship Creative Suite for free. The catch? It's only version 2.0 of the suite almost certainly won't run on a modern Mac. News of the 'free' download for those with an account came to light yesterday, producing frenzied …


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  1. P. Lee Silver badge


    Is it time to re-install Tiger on my G5?

    No actually, I think not. Carry-on Debian!

    1. LarsG

      Lets be honest

      It's like buying into a reasonably good condition classic car, but it won't have seatbelts, heated screens, central locking, fuel injection, alloy wheels, MP3 player, air con etc

      What you get is a piece of history in all it's idiosyncratic glory.

      1. PhilipJ

        Re: Lets be honest

        ..and it's a shame that it's still way better than a free alternative car fresh from the assembly line...

      2. Anonymous Coward 15

        Re: Lets be honest

        A reasonably good condition classic car that doesn't need an EE degree to fix.

  2. Rampant Spaniel

    Given they have effectively released it to the wilds, why not just give it away and get the good pr? I guess there is probably a royalty issue over codecs etc (especially in premier pro) but maybe they could be stripped out? Unless this is basically them getting as close to giving it away as they legally can without stumping up money for the patents.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Codec issues

      Premiere CS2 was one of the first versions to support HDV editing, hence has MPEG2 encoding/decoding built in. So yes, there would be a licensing issue.

  3. dodge

    Gimp Schmimp

    The Gimp? The Gimp??????!!!!! The Gimp is awful. Nasty. Horrible. Terrible. The yuckiest, most unintuitive interface, obscure ways of doing things (anchor layer? Just to do a paste? Save as JPEG? Oh no, you have to EXPORT as JPEG! Change pen size? Oh, let's not make that easy).

    It makes me want to drive red hot brass nails through the joint of my big toe, just because that would cause me less pain.

    I'd rather downgrade my machine to get Rosetta and run CS2. At least it doesn't suck^H^H^H^H cause intense emotional pain.

    1. t.est

      Re: Gimp Schmimp

      I really don't like Adobe, especially after they acquired Macromedia.

      But mentioning GIMP in the same article you mention Photoshop is an insult to all professionals. Unfortunately there is no software that works as an alternative to Photoshop.

      As one other in the industry said.

      Gimp is an insult.

      Pixelmator a child.

      As I'm not in the industry any-more, I'm quite happy with Pixelmator, it has some refreshing elements versus Photoshop who haven't updated their old tools since the -80's. But by no means can it be compared to Photoshop. And yet nothing beats Adobe Illustrator. Even though not much new have been introduced since version 5.

      Adobe is an dinosaur, but yet the extinction have not happened.

      So just stop mentioning GIMP together with any Adobe product. Gimp is just crap even for the home user.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Gimp Schmimp


        1. RAMChYLD

          Re: Gimp Schmimp

          I'm laughing at how the page pitches GIMP as better than Photoshop. Granted, I primarily use GIMP nowadays, but I'm extremely irritated by how hard it is to add a glow, or just create circular text, compared to using Photoshop. The former only took two clicks of a mouse to do in PS5, while in the GIMP, it took almost half a dozen clicks and moves, and almost two hours of trial and error!

          I'm not saying that GIMP is bad. Just that it needs to catch up with modern times.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Gimp Schmimp

            GimpShop is supposedly not as painful to use as Gimp, it's got a UI very similar to Photoshop's hacked onto it. That said I haven't tried it.

            I believe the web page is selling snakeoil because it's also adware.

            1. Captain Underpants

              Re: Gimp Schmimp

              @Dan 55

              If you've used Photoshop, GimpShop is actually pretty good. Most of the work is in recontextualising GIMP's UI so that it's more familiar to those who know their way around PS. It's also about not having a single application run in half a dozen windows (each of which is recognized as its own executable) which is what I found last time I tried to use GIMP. (You can imagine how much fun it is trying to use alt-tab in that context).

              I am grateful for the hard work that has been put in by those who create tools like GIMP, or Paint.NET, or Inkscape and subsequently distribute them with no usage charge attached, but to suggest that any of them are drop-in replacements for a professional-standard tool like Photoshop is to be both ignorant of the capacities of the tool in question and dismissive of the knowledge and skills of those working in the field.

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: Gimp Schmimp

                To give GIMP the benefit of the doubt, people say it works better in a Linux GUI than it does it Windows. In Windows, GIMP's tool palettes obscure each other. GIMPshop used to crash on me.

                The GIMP won't work with *.HDR or *.EXR files - for that you need a GIMP fork called CinePaint, but that hasn't been compiled for Windows. HDRShop might get you out of jam, but is 'interesting' to use to say the least.

                My main issue with the GIMP is that I have never found the equivalent of 'free transform' + hold Ctrl, in order to reposition the corners of the selection rectangle... this is essential if, say, you wish to mock up a 2D design for a cardboard box.

              2. Annihilator
                Thumb Up

                Re: Gimp Schmimp

                @Captain Underpants "It's also about not having a single application run in half a dozen windows (each of which is recognized as its own executable) which is what I found last time I tried to use GIMP. (You can imagine how much fun it is trying to use alt-tab in that context)"

                ^ That. A thousand times that.

                1. DrXym Silver badge

                  Re: Gimp Schmimp

                  "^ That. A thousand times that."

                  Everything runs in a single window mode now in 2.8. You can revert to the old style or make some bars float and others docked, but by default there is one window which is at the front or its not at the front with tabs for every image.

                  As for why it sucked so badly, that probably has to do with X windows more than anything else. Photoshop originated on the Mac where hilighting one app's window brought all the rest to the front. It doesn't work that way on X and there are all kinds of weird and wonderful behaviours that meant Gimp never got it right. Windows had pretty crap behaviour too in apps with multiple windows which is why MDI was the vogue for a long time - with frames inside frames to keep everything together.

                  Anyway the new behaviour in Gimp is fairly sane but it might not suit people with 20 images open at once.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Gimp Schmimp

      Gimp has traditionally had an awful user experience but it's gotten somewhat better in the 2.x series, especially 2.8. The new SDI style UI is a step up and some of the dialogs are better designed and have saner default behaviours. Hopefully as GEGL settles down as their new engine they'll keep the focus on usability, not just for Photoshop style users but people who want something quick and easy to use.

    3. Jamie Kitson

      Re: Gimp Schmimp

      > Save as JPEG? Oh no, you have to EXPORT as JPEG! Change pen size? Oh, let's not make that easy).

      I'm glad I'm not the only one, I was starting to think it was just me. Plus it doesn't remember where you exported to last time, so I'm *always* changing from Documents to Pictures.

      1. Ian 55

        Re: Gimp Schmimp

        To be fair, pretending that you can save to JPEG repeatedly without crapping all over the quality of your image is a silly thing to do. Hence insisting you 'export' what you've created to the lossy format is reasonable.

        Anyway, anyone who does a lot of saving, erm exporting, to JPEG has a plugin installed which adds a 'save to web' line to the file menu, and gives you a chance to see what the various quality level / file size trade offs are.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. stizzleswick

    This reminds me of...

    ...the time just after Adobe had taken over the leftovers of Aldus (selling off Freehand to Macromedia, and trying to push PageMaker), when Adobe gave the World + Dog the chance to register any pirated copy of the previous versions of their then-current portfolio for the equivalent of $50 (well, they did put up that offer in most of Europe, anyway). Got them a lot more registered customers, got most of those customers out of the "illegal" branch of software users. Certainly worked out well for a lot of businesses which at the time were largely functioning on pirated software. I should know; I was admin at one of those places at the time. And no, I did not advocate using illegitimate software.

    My point being that a huge amount of businesses are currently still using Pre-CS1 versions of Adobe's applications due to the rather steep cost for the updates. Letting those companies upgrade even to CS2 is, IMHO, a nice turn. Let's see how that holds up.

    As for those scoffing at the GIMP: get to know it. It is a different concept from the one Adobe applies to Photoshop, but it also offers a lot of things Photoshop does not. Don't knock it until you know what it can do.

    Me, I'll knock back another pint and then go home for a quick lie-down before having to use both PS *and* GIMP to make my customer's website look good.


    What about...

    Wine + Windows version of CS2? If speed is not of importance to you, that would work....

    1. stizzleswick

      Re: What about...

      Er... in my experience, the Windows version of the CS2 ran noticeably faster, on the same hardware, on Linux with WINE than on XP. So if speed is the issue, maybe that would be the path to choose if you don't want to upgrade the hardware.

      Of course, if you are using older versions of WINE, then the inevitable crashes would also happen faster... guess it's a matter of balancing one against the other.

      Anyway, the download page at Adobe's offers both the Mac and Windows versions.

    2. Tim Bates

      Re: What about...

      Well CS2 was the version targeted when Google paid people to make Photoshop work in WINE nearly 5 years ago. So I would hope it works quite well by now.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Cock up

    Adobe appear to be back peddling fast. Last night they had withdrawn the webpage and were warning that it was only for registered CS2 users. Now they are saying they won't go after people who download it. Either way I think they never intended to give it away free to all and sundry.

    As for the age of the package, some bits will be of more use than others. For example until recently I was using a far older version of Audition daily for professional work. So old it was still called Cooledit 2.1 in fact! The latest Audition in CS6 hasn't changed that much and the lack of modern audio codecs is no great problem as files can easily be converted using third party applications.

    In Premiere CS2 they'd only just got to grips with HDV so forget anything fancy like native AVCHD/H264/MP4. You'll have to transcode all your footage to something more 2005 friendly before you'll be able to use it.

    Photoshop? Well again providing convert your modern DSLR files before you use it, you may not have that much of an issue. Again its will be file formats and modern luxuries it will lack.

    Mac users can forget it if they have anything newer than Snow Leopard though. And its still PPC code so won't run as fast as native Intel code.

    Gonna be interesting to see how Adobe save face on this. Putting CS2 out for free for everyone almost certainly isn't what they intended.

  8. P Saunders

    if nothing else

    it will make a great learning tool for those unable to afford the up to date version.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: if nothing else

      This is almost certainly in Adobe's mind. Let the kids/students/amateurs learn on the free version (or 'pirated' version: loads of people have a pirated copy and Adobe probably views this as a good thing), then later when a small percentage grow into pros, they're hooked on Adobe's products, not because they're necessarily the best tool available when the user turns pro, but because it was the best the user could get hold of while learning. End result: de facto industry standard, lots of money to Adobe.

  9. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    Obligatory car analogy!

    You can drive to the shops in a 4x4 or just go on the bike. You still get there but one method is free.

    You can also invade a country using bikes, Singapore for example.

    For those who are willing to try there are some nice Gimp filters here:

    No cracked software was used in making this post :)

    1. Phil E Succour
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Obligatory car analogy!

      Where do I get the free bike?

      Or is it a free 4x4?

      1. Tim Bates

        Re: Obligatory car analogy!

        There's a group of teenagers getting around here that always take the free 4WD when they need to go places. Sometimes they use it to get into the shops too.

  10. vmistery

    Even if they just say its free for non-commercial use that would give them a real boost in say 5 years time when all the kids currently in education have learnt how to use it. A bit like Microsoft do for schools with MS 360 now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >Even if they just say its free for non-commercial use that would give them a real boost in say 5 years time when all the kids currently in education have learnt how to use it.

      That's kind of the situation at the moment, but the college kids use dodgy copies instead of educational licenses. Obviously they will pirate what they expect to be working with once they graduate, so its self-reinforcing. I can't see Adobe losing much sleep over that level of piracy- few students could afford the asking price anyway, and what does it matter if they use it for free for a few years if they then spend a decade working at a paid seat?

      For those who use Photoshop to make money, the chances are that it is tax-deductible.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I seem to remember CS2 was one of the most widely distributed items of software that had a crack engine that wasn't full of malware. I'm guessing anyone who really wanted it for free has it already (for the record, I don't, not my line of business).

    As someone else commented, why didn't they release it for free to anyone now - this was previously the model for one of their competitors, releasing an old version for free then bombarding the registered user with offers to upgrade (Serif I think it was - don't know if they still do it, as I say, not my line of business).

    On second thoughts, why would you want to install an Adobe product, even a free one. There are far more secure options out there as an alternative to almost every Adobe product.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      > There are far more secure options out there as an alternative to almost every Adobe product.

      Names please!

  12. jai

    Better alternatives these days

    While I'm sure the above posters are correct, the likes of Pixelmator and Acorn and so on aren't a patch on the current version of Photoshop, I don't think there is a lot that the CS2 version of Photoshop has to offer that an alternative from the AppStore couldn't also provide.

    And as has been said, for the home user, those advanced features of Photoshop just aren't necessary.

  13. Captain Underpants

    On a general note:

    If you do something as heinous as access Adobe's publicly-accessible FTP site, you can download almost every version of their software installers. See for example, for install media for all the Windows versions of Photoshop.

    You still need a serial number, of course, and from memory the usual stance is that installing without a serial number gets you a 30-day trial.

    So I'm not sure that download access to the install media is the big smoking gun it's being presented as; however, removing the post-install activation requirement does mean that anyone who can find a serial number generator can get the software at no financial cost, though quite why someone willing to go to those lengths wouldn't just go one step further and pirate the current version is beyond me. You're already going to be at risk of all kinds of dodgy infections etc by seeking out the serial number generators, so it's not like pirating the current release would be a greater risk, and both options are equally naughty from a licensing perspective.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They've removed the requirement for activation *and* supplied serial numbers to all and sundry. Hence the attention.

      1. Captain Underpants

        I suspect they've cocked that aspect up, though: according to the update at CNET here, Adobe "has cancelled its CS2 license management servers, so for those with existing licenses it is now offering downloads that do not require contact with the licensing servers. This service is only going to be available for those with existing Adobe CS2 licenses, which will be verified when creating the Adobe account to download the software."

        Which means that the version of the software available was different and effectively matched what you'd get with a cracked copy ie no activation built-in. It also means that the serial numbers weren't intended for mass distribution and that grabbing a copy of the installer and the serial number without already having a valid licence still makes you a filthy pirate, as far as Adobe are concerned. Which is pretty much what I thought would be the case.

        It would've been nice to think of them suddenly being smart enough to see their older software releases as a good tool that, released as a free-of-charge download, might start people using their generally-good-but-also-expensive software. I'm guessing that the team trying to push the Adobe Cloud stuff is unhappy at the idea though, for obvious reasons...

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Why not pirate the current version?!"

      > quite why someone willing to go to those lengths wouldn't just go one step further and pirate the current version is beyond me.

      Because they have old Mac hardware, still working just fine.

      1. Captain Underpants

        Re: "Why not pirate the current version?!"

        So they're running an ancient Mac and were waiting for CS2 to be available "legitimately" (except not) for free before grabbing it? Seems unlikely they'd have waited for this to happen rather than just pirating it to begin with.

  14. 404 Silver badge

    In Consideration

    Of the fact I still cruise around using Photoshop 7, it behooves me to upgrade to CS2... lol


  15. Anonymous Coward

    Files online again and no login required

    First Adobe stuck the download page behind a login, then they removed the page, now the download page is online again and seemingly doesn't require a login.

    For the curious. Exe's and serials.

    Of course you should not download these unless you are already a licence holder.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simon Sharwood

    Happy New Year, "Editor".

    I am disappointed to see that you have not made it one of your new year's resolutions to actually read your work before publishing it.

    You have a bit of a misleading title, really - since I have not seen any evidence that you ever do any editing.

    Hell, if you really are so lazy why don't you just get someone else to do it for you?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No problem until all our marketing dept started begging...

    The word went round our marketing department very quickly and had 4 or 5 requests wanting it installed. Unfortunate to them, I believe this version should only be only for licensees (as confirmed on various other tech sites who got confirmation from Adobe) as they've turned off their CS2 license servers. So no marketing dept.

    I do however believe software developers should be accountable for making their software free/easily available after a certain amount of years after initial release (e.g. 10 years) to ensure people can still edit and export old projects/files.

    1. Ian 55
      Thumb Up

      Re: No problem until all our marketing dept started begging...

      Public bodies should insist on this, including insisting that the relevant escrow copies are DRM free.

  18. TheCraigE

    Smoke and mirrors maybe?

    Well - I decided to take Adobe up on their accidental offer, downloaded CS2 and took a copy of the serial.

    I've installed it twice now, with the same error on launch "Invalid Serial..."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Smoke and mirrors maybe?

      All products downloaded yesterday and installed and run on two W7-64s, with serial numbers per slickdeals links. Minor glitches also addressed by comments on slickdeals first page. All this "just in case" Adobe eventually explicitly or implicitly legitimise the leak, accepting that world+dog will use it.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Smoke and mirrors maybe?

      Odd because someone I know tried it earlier and said it worked fine for them.

      Can't test it myself being on an Intel Mac + having no need (legit CS6 user).

  19. alan buxey

    wife needed it


    a month or so ago....

    Old WinXP laptop died and replaced with little Windows netbook - she had CS2 and still needs it - so I went through the whole debacle of trying to install from CD/DVD package.... which couldnt activate. went to adobe site with her adobe account and found the info about CS2 licence and download. et voila. after many hundred MB of downloads a working CS2 on Windows Vista.... which turned into a working CS2 on Windows 7. After reading about the Adobe update tool and error codes found the clock/date fix which means it understands the update for eg photoshop so you get some patches.... funny, their licence servers are pulled and their X509 certs have expired too for update tool.

    one thing I am cautious of though - these are old old products and if there are any vulnerabilities they are very unlikely to be fixed/patched now.. thats why CS3 et al came out after all. Am looking at free or cheaper alternatives for why CS2 had to be installed but not happy with any of the packages so far (I'm a big Linux fan so am aware of all the usual GPL tools ...but I am also realistic about their user friendliness ;-) )

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