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Ask Slashdot: What Is Your View On Forced Subscription-Only Software? 660

dryriver writes: All used to be well in the world of Digital Content Creation (DCC) until two very major DCC software makers -- Adobe and Autodesk -- decided to force a monthly subscription model on pretty much every software package they make to please Wall Street investors. Important 2D and 3D DCC software like Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere, InDesign, 3DMax, Maya, and Mudbox is now only available to "rent" from these companies. You simply cannot buy a perpetual license or boxed copy for this software at all anymore, and what makes matters worse is that if you stop paying your subscription, the software locks itself down, leaving you unable to open even old files you created with the software for later review. Also annoying is that subscription software constantly performs "license validity" checks over the internet (subscription software cannot be run offline for any great length of time, or on an air-gapped PC) and the software is increasingly tied into various cloud services these companies have set up. The DCC companies want you to save your -- potentially confidential -- project files on their servers, not on your own hard disk.

There are millions of DCC professionals around the world who'd love to be able to buy a normal, perpetual, offline-use capable license for these software tools. That is no longer possible. Adobe and Autodesk no longer provide that. What is your view on this "forced subscription" model? What would happen if all the major commercial software developers forced this model on everyone simultaneously? What if the whole idea of being able to "purchase" a perpetual license for ANY commercial software went away completely, and it was subscription only from that point on?
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Ask Slashdot: What Is Your View On Forced Subscription-Only Software?

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  • In Favor (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:07AM (#55984691)

    I can guess how this is going to go ./ Pretty much everyone will be fully supportive.

    • Re:In Favor (Score:5, Interesting)

      by UPZ ( 947916 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:40AM (#55984939)
      While benefits of owning software are self evident, there are benefits to a subscription too, it depends on your needs. For example, I could not afford to shell out $600 ($150 x 4 PCs) for MS Office, followed by upgrades every 4-5 years. However, I can easily afford an Office 365 subscription for $100/yr that includes 5 accounts each with 1TB storage for cloud/backup/whatever use. Also, I get to always have the latest copy with security patches and bug fixes. And if money becomes tight, I can switch to LibreOffice (whom I regularly donate a small penny to).

      On other note, we do need more competition and the need to continue to strengthen free alternatives like GNU/Linux, LibreOffice, NextCloud, GIMP, VLC, etc. So please send a small penny to your favorite free software each year if you can. It will keep your commercial proprietary software in check if possible, and save you more money in the long run.
      • Re:In Favor (Score:5, Insightful)

        by loonycyborg ( 1262242 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:54AM (#55985039)
        I think the advantage here is mostly for the developers. They want to make a predictable, dependable stream of income. Previously they had to make new versions of software to make people pay again but that resulted in bad updates and lot of redoing things from scratch, just for sake of making a new version so people would pay again. With subscription model they can stop making major updates every 2-5 years and enjoy their steady rent without doing much beside maintenance.
        • Re:In Favor (Score:4, Interesting)

          by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @11:18AM (#55986235) Journal

          While this may be true, I have not upgraded any of my adobe creative suite tools past the last perpetual licensed version I own. Ever since then I've been learning the open source replacements for everything I do. Not as easy, or as integrated, but I refuse to be hostage to a sub that prevents me from accessing prior work without current payment.
          If they had a "reader" version of all their tools that allowed the basic functionality then *maybe* but as it is now? No.

      • ... And if money becomes tight, I can switch to LibreOffice (whom I regularly donate a small penny to).

        If you could use LibreOffice "if money becomes tight", why not use it now?

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          That would at least require some workaround for lack of support for macros in third-party XLSM workbooks. For example, Amazon's "Listing Loader", a product offer feed prevalidator provided by Amazon to third-party sellers on its platform, is an Excel workbook with macros. Without the prevalidator, the only way to validate your product offer information against Amazon's schema is to try uploading it, and a failed upload counts against your seller account's upload quota.

        • That ellipsis you used? It removed the sentence immediately preceding the one you quoted which is the answer to your query:

          I get to always have the latest copy with security patches and bug fixes.

          This is something LO simply does not do. I use OO and every time LO issues an upgrade I download it and look for the bugs I hate the most in the both. There are blatant bugs that haven't been fixed since the split. Same bugs in both OO and LO.

  • by UnixUnix ( 1149659 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:08AM (#55984699) Homepage
    "Is Autodesk on the right course?" "Is Autodesk acting like a leader of an industry, seeking to create new markets and broaden the use of its products?" Ah John Walker, you asked questions, but not about this. https://www.fourmilab.ch/autof... [fourmilab.ch]
  • I think it sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SWPadnos ( 191329 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:09AM (#55984703)

    SolidWorks is close to that model now as well.
    Sage accounting has a perpetual / offline license available, but you can't buy it from them - you have to go through a reseller.

    It brings up a question I always ask: Who owns your data?

    If you have to keep paying someone in order to access your designs, then you don't really own your data, they do.

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:31AM (#55984861)

      It brings up a question I always ask: Who owns your data?

      THAT is exactly the key question. It's the reason I refuse to use Lightroom to manage my photos. I'm not about to tie myself in perpetuity to another company and effectively hand over control of my data to them. While I'm not saying it's always wrong to make that choice it's a choice one should make with extreme caution. It would be one thing if the software continued to work if you stopped paying the subscription and you just stopped getting upgrades. But to disable the software and effectively deny you access to your data if you stop paying for the subscription is just shady as it gets to my mind.

  • Hate the Sub Model (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jvp ( 27996 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:10AM (#55984713)

    I'm not a fan of the sub model; I use several of the Adobe apps, so the $50/month seems like a steal when you consider the Suite used to cost in the thousands of dollars. But I'd still rather pay up once and be able to keep using the software as much as I wanted.

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:23AM (#55984799)

      If you could actually do arithmetic, Creative Cloud still didn't work out cost effective at the pricing in a lot of markets, and much less so if you didn't upgrade Creative Suite every time, which many users didn't.

      We've run away from both Adobe and Autodesk as a direct result of these decisions. Most of our new graphics and UI work is done with tools like the Affinity suite. For occasional 3D modelling work we keep a pre-subscription licence around for compatibility but we're migrating to open tools like Blender for future-proofing. Only a brave person or fool lets their business depend on this sort of uncertain yet locked in arrangement for anything critical to their business, and whether they are a brave person or a fool is probably only a matter of perspective. There are good, realistic alternatives for most casual to moderately serious users these days.

      • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

        For my personal work I also dumped PhotoShop for Affinity Photo. I cold not justify the Adobe cost.

        What is missing at the moment (IMHO) is a good Lightroom replacement.

        • by deathguppie ( 768263 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @09:09AM (#55985155)

          I'm not a pro photo guy, but I have used darktable [darktable.org] and found it useful. Whether or not it is useful to you is obviously your call. I invested time into learning open source equivalents years ago knowing that software and licenses change to much for the average consumer to find proprietary software financially worthwhile.

          • by hispeedzintarwebz ( 5028341 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @09:44AM (#55985457)
            Darktable is fantastic. Adobe's model is why I switched to it. Autodesk did the same, which is why I'm learning Librecad and QCad for my (generally simple) furniture design. I switched to Linux completely (after dabbling for years) a year or so ago when it started to look like Windows was becoming a rental/portal for advertisement. It takes some work up front, but even with a slightly (and the gap is constantly narrowing) inferior application, knowing that I own the data and that it is free is worth it to me. Perhaps it would be different if I were a professional photographer or a CAD professional, but the subscription model is, I think, alarming either way.
  • I can see why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:11AM (#55984723)

    I personally don't like it but it's one of the more surefire ways of reducing piracy whilst kicking your actual customers in the wallet to make up for any perceived piracy losses.

    • Not my problem (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:34AM (#55984901)

      I personally don't like it but it's one of the more surefire ways of reducing piracy whilst kicking your actual customers in the wallet to make up for any perceived piracy losses.

      In my case it reduces piracy by keeping me from using their products at all. I'm not about to hand over control of my data to a company just so they can pad their bottom line to Wall Street. Sadly I'd actually pay for some of their products but they refuse to license them to me under terms I'm willing to accept.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As soon as they announced the newest release (2018) was subscription based, I went looking for alternatives (OSS and perpetual license). Already thought the last version was slow and full of feature bloat, but the move to require annual payment for said pleasure was the last straw.

    • by SirDrinksAlot ( 226001 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:40AM (#55984941) Journal
      The Quicken change is garbage, once you upgrade to 2018 all of your data gets held hostage going forward. If you don't renew for the low low price of full price next year you only have read-access. Before at least they just disabled downloading financial statements which sure that's no problem. It just made the old versions a pain but I understand that limitation, importing external data could require ongoing support.

      If a user doesn't need to download statements or new features, forced upgrades are no benefit so long as everything is working fine.

      I setup a new PC for the gf's family that I got for them, I had to dig up a copy of Quicken 2015 to reinstall since they're poor farmers. Their old PC was a Pentium 4 with Windows XP running Quicken 2011.... They were happy with 2011 and don't need anything new or fancy, unfortunately they lost the CD and it probably wouldn't work on Windows 10 anyways. Forcing them to pay $35-50/yr to be able to manage not going into debt is counter-intuitive. This sounds like it's thick with exaggeration but unfortunately this is the case. People trying to make ends meet responsibly trying to be forced to shell out more out of what they have, Quicken isn't used just by rich people with money burning holes in their pockets.
  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:17AM (#55984751)

    Adobe has a stranglehold on that market, and they can pretty much do whatever they want. They realized that people weren't bothering to buy new versions, and as such their revenue was threatened, so they changed course to a subscription, to guarantee future revenue, unless a competitor came in. No competitors in sight and given the state of software today, it is highly unlikely that another vendor would choose a non-subscription path. I get everything I want out of GIMP personally, so I'm not too personally invested in that per se, but it does serve as an inspiration to all sorts of software vendors as a 'I can't make customers pay for new function, and I can't branch into new markets competently, so I can make them rent the same old software to get revenue and as a bonus, I don't have to work as hard to innovate'.

  • The rented software model is why I'm still using Creative Suite CS3. I'll bite the bullet eventually, and maybe this has worked out just fine for Adobe, but it kept me from doing any upgrades so there's at a couple of lost sales. Adobe's position is pretty locked right now with so much infrastructure and workflow built around their products, but had anyone made a serious move into the space, I think they would have been given a hard look as a replacement.

    So that's my take. It's easy to build a business usin

    • maybe this has worked out just fine for Adobe

      It would be fascinating to know whether it really is working now that competition is starting to appear and the ongoing costs are starting to bite. However, if you look at Adobe's official statements, it's remarkably difficult to determine what's really going on. The ones I've seen from time to time lack just enough detail that you can't tell whether, for example, expansion into foreign markets in the first few years of Creative Cloud was compensating for reduced subscriptions in the early markets, or wheth

  • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:19AM (#55984769)

    This is just an extreme case of vendor lock-in, which has been a known risk of using proprietary software for decades. Vendor lock-in was one of the primary motivators for the free software movement.

    Frankly, I do think proprietary software such as MS Office, PhotoShop, AutoCAD, etc. often offers a better user experience than free and open-source (FOSS) alternatives. I have been willing to bottle my FOSS sympathies and shell out cash for productivity software for a long time for that reason. When the UX is better, that's worth paying for.

    Once the vendor starts blocking me from access to my own intellectual property, that's a deal-breaker. First it's a moral outrage. Second, for people who won't factor morals into their business decisions, it's an extreme and unacceptable business risk. Now that we have a word for "ransomware," we can call this subscription model what it is.

    I know people will say "Adobe will never kill PhotoShop." Never is very long time. People used to say General Motors would never go bankrupt, or Lotus would never kill Lotus 1-2-3.

    No deal. Even if the subscription were "free." I'm looking at you, Google.

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

      A free subscription is arguably worse, as you have less legal comeback in the event they choose to discontinue service.

      At least in the case of photoshop, you have the option to export your data in open (jpeg, png etc) formats for use in other tools. I'd not subscribe to a service without at least some provision to get the data out in the event of cancellation.

    • Frankly, I do think proprietary software such as MS Office, PhotoShop, AutoCAD, etc. often offers a better user experience than free and open-source (FOSS) alternatives

      While this is often true, I'm surprised MS Office is on that list - OpenOffice/LibreOffice haven't always been ideal, but as the MS Office UI has deteriorated, the ribbon being the big killer, OO/LO has vastly improved.

      When I use OO/LO, I don't generally have sixteen tabs open in my web browser along the lines of "remove section break off

  • Good and bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColonelClaw ( 744934 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:20AM (#55984783) Homepage
    My company is in the architectural visualisation sector, so that means we are utterly dependant on Autodesk AND Adobe software. Lucky us! The subscription system has it's pros and cons. Pros are that you get the latest and greatest technologies as soon as they become available (and bugs ofc). Cons is you are totally at their mercy, and in certain cases we pay much more than we used to. To be honest, I'm not so bothered about Adobe, their software is still cheap, as far as I'm concerned, and Photoshop is one of the most refined and evolved tools I've ever used (been using it professionally since v2.0). As for Autodesk, they are total price-gouging bastards. The money we have to spend - and make no bones about it, we HAVE to spend - on 3DS Max is outrageous. If there was a realistic alternative, we'd move in a flash. Except that would probably be owned by Autodesk too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StormReaver ( 59959 )

      ...and make no bones about it, we HAVE to spend....

      No, you don't. You CHOOSE to spend it, which is your prerogative. You CHOOSE to remain in your vendor-owned workflow, probably out of fear, but you're actually in a great position. You have the resources to absorb the additional hit to your business while you play with options for migrating away from it.

      Major software vendors are still in the early phases of owning your business, and you still have options. If you stay with them, though, you willingly throw away your options and surrender yourself to t

      • No, you don't. You CHOOSE to spend it, which is your prerogative. You CHOOSE to remain in your vendor-owned workflow, probably out of fear, but you're actually in a great position. .

        You should stick to discussing industries that you actually know about. I am no architect, but have quite a few friends who are. My understanding is that they're constantly sending these files around to 3rd parties and everyone has to be on the same page. More sophisticated clients sometimes use the same tools for viewing the work you provide, too. Abandoning 3DS Max would likely mean you would be unable to deliver on your existing obligations and would also be unable to acquire new work. End of busine

      • There is no realistic alternative to Autodesk when it comes to architecture. Back in ye olden days Versacad and Autocad were fighting it out, but Autocad won that battle.

        There are people out there who make software that claims to do architectural design. Their products are not that much better than using MS Paint or Visio to try and design a building.

        There really is only one player in this space. And they know it.

  • by substance2003 ( 665358 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:22AM (#55984795)
    As a user of Blender, I am fine with Autodesk's destructive attitudes. I've noticed that some animation studios are now providing both money to the Blender Institute and software coders to help it's development. It may still feel like a drop in the bucket but Blender is capable to do many of the tasks needed out there already.
    Now I know that won't cover all aspects but maybe other programs such as FreeCAD will get a boost from these vendor lock in tactics.
    If Gimp could speed up their development, people might see a benefit to replace Photoshop in businesses too but I might be asking too much here.
    • Personally I've found Blender to be a more than capable 3d graphics sweet if you know how to use it. There are things that are better about 3DS and there are things that Blender can do that 3DS cannot.

      FreeCAD is somewhat usable but early enough in it's development that the interface is a total mess. The workbenches seem thrown together and sometimes have identical tools that work just slightly differently. I've successfully used it personally and professionally so I can tell you that it is capable, but I

      • FreeCAD is somewhat usable but early enough in it's development that the interface is a total mess. The workbenches seem thrown together and sometimes have identical tools that work just slightly differently. I've successfully used it personally and professionally so I can tell you that it is capable, but I would never recommend it to someone with years of time into Solidworks. (not if they want to retain their hair).

        I've barely touched FreeCad and agree with what you are saying as I felt so lost in the interface. What I feel is that with AutoCAD in a subscription model, if FreeCAD was able to speed up their development to the point where more people can make use of it, it could see a rise in investment the same as Blender is seeing at the moment. Remember, Blender may be open source but people can donate to it or use the Blender Cloud service (which is purely optional unlike a subscription model) to fund it and compani

  • by mfh ( 56 )

    A lot more than that.

  • Just say no... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:24AM (#55984815)

    One of my friends is a top level graphic designer. He has simply stayed with a bought-and-paid-for version of PhotoShop...CS5, I believe. There is literally nothing he can't do with it.

    His comment about Adobe's attempt to force him to rent the new version and effectively put his business under their control was simple and direct. He said (and yes, this is a quote), "Adobe can go fuck itself."

    I've done photography at the professional level and use Lightroom (mostly) and CS2 (for occasions when I have to do serious retouching). This was never an issue for me, because I don't need the newest bells and whistles for what is now more a hobby than a profession.

    I echo my friend's sentiments, though. I will never put myself into a situation where Adobe might be able to forbid me from having access to my own work. I can't imagine what kind of idiot would do so.

  • All used to be well in the world of Digital Content Creation (DCC) until two very major DCC software makers -- Adobe and Autodesk -- decided to force a monthly subscription model on pretty much every software package they make to please Wall Street investors

    Which is why I don't use any of their software that requires subscriptions for the software to work. I'd like to use Lightroom and Photoshop but there isn't a way in hell I'm paying for a subscription to use them. I have zero interest in software that stops working if I don't pay every month. If it were just a maintenance fee where I get updates but can stop anytime with the software continuing to work that would be different. I'm certainly not going to needlessly tie myself in perpetuity to their reven

  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:25AM (#55984825) Homepage Journal

    When they saw that they were going to be forced into extortionware like this, they essentially told Adobe to fuck the hell off.

    Sure, very well-to-do companies can afford perpetual payments.

    But smaller creators who still need access scrimp and save and simply buy a copy of CS5 or CS6 when they can find it.

    Sure, up front it's more. But ammortize it out over time.

    CS6 was released in mid-2011. Coming up on 7 years here.
    It was discontinued in late 2013.

    Even if it was $1000 (which it wasn't) at inception, that's basically be just under $12/month ownership cost at this point.
    Or you could have been spending $20/month for Photoshop CC since mid 2013 (about $1200).
    Hell, the bastards don't even cut you any kind of financial break for prepaying for a year!
    And god help you if you want to pay month-to-month instead of an annual contract that's paid monthly. Tack an extra $10/month on!

    Fuck extortionware.

  • Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:27AM (#55984837)

    It's very simple, really. Richard Stallman was right, and saw this coming over 30 years ago. It's better to use inferior Free software than it is to use the world's best non-Free software. In some cases, it's even better to resort to pencil and paper than to rely upon non-Free software. I fought against this notion for years, but it finally clicked for me about 20 years ago when all the proprietary software I relied upon was pulled out from under me.

    I could write a very long treatise as to why Free software is always a better choice than non-Free software. One major point is that you will learn how to make Free software work for you, even when it has missing features, and will then be free of the near absolute power wielded against you by large corporate interests which do not dovetail with your own.

    • I fought against this notion for years, but it finally used an Oracle product.

      That was the last straw. There is no way I would ever use proprietary software for anything mission critical again.

  • by fuzzyf ( 1129635 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:29AM (#55984845)
    I'm much more restrictive about spending money on a monthly basis compared to one-time purchases. So for me personally they lose sales. I would have no problem purchasing a license at irregular intervals for Adobe Lightroom and maybe also Photoshop, but I will not pay for a subscription
    The thought of it costing money every month just bugs me. And it's easy to calculate exactly how much it will end up costing
    Take 25 years of Lightroom and Photoshop as an example.
    $10 * 12 months * 25 years = $3000


    But Isuspect this works quite well for those who have to use their products.
  • by Bongo ( 13261 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:30AM (#55984857)

    If at all possible, avoid it.
    But if as a professional you rely on these tools, well that's just another overhead.
    And fair enough, if these companies have run out of good features and now they just want rent.
    I suppose they could take it a step further and start demanding a percentage of your profits...

  • Since there is no real limit on what might be required to get access to your data in the future, you're really writing a blank cheque for the future entrusting your data in such a contract.

    It's foolish but so many do it. Try to point it out and you're labelled a conspiracy theorist.

    Times may have changed but how short our memories? I remember getting shafted by this so many times in previous decades.

    Own your data in a format you have control of or be prepared to lose it.

    Things I've lost in the past:

    - all my

  • In 2006 I decided I was fed up with the paying upgrades, and decided to move to linux and OS alternatives.
    I run a boardgame publishing business, and need software to edit bitmap and vector images, video, and to make 3D modelling for 3D animated videos as well as for parts design. I also need desktop publishing.
    Had I continued to use proprietary softwrae, i'd be using photoshop, illustrator, indesign, maya, solidworks and adobe premiere.
    Instead I took the time to learn different tools, and use Inkscape, Krit

  • Software companies should not be allowed to hold your creative work at ransom.

    A subscription model in itself is not a problem. But companies that want to use this model should be forced to provide full specifications of their data model, so that you are able to take your business elsewhere whenever you want to.

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:38AM (#55984921)

    Back in the day Word Perfect* used to be *the* office software. But then another program came along along and supplanted it. The same thing can happen again to things like Photoshop and Autocad. But in fact there are already non-subscription based programs that do the majority of what most users need in a package. I used to have an old copy of Photoshop .. but I couldn't get it running properly on the latest macOS. So instead I switched to Affinity Photo (I prefer it over the Gimp). A lot cheaper than Photoshop and does all that I need plus more.

    *I was amazed to see that Word Perfect is still lumbering along. I had no idea. Also Word Perfect supplanted things like Wordstar (of which I also have fond memories of running under CP/M)

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      The same thing can happen again to things like Photoshop and Autocad. But in fact there are already non-subscription based programs that do the majority of what most users need in a package.

      Can someone here remind this person how long slashdot has been saying GIMP is a suitable replacement for Photoshop, yet it's never happened. Has it already been 20 years? Wow... some things never change.

    • by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529.yahoo@com> on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @12:35PM (#55986995)

      *I was amazed to see that Word Perfect is still lumbering along. I had no idea. Also Word Perfect supplanted things like Wordstar (of which I also have fond memories of running under CP/M)

      WordPerfect is still in existence because they got bought out a few times and ultimately ended up at Corel, a company I affectionately call "the software retirement home". With titles like WinZip, WinDVD, CorelDraw, Paint Shop Pro, and WordPerfect (which itself contains Paradox), it seems as though the company's plan is to play law-of-large-numbers on acquisitions of software titles which were de facto standards in their day. But I digress.

      WordPerfect survives primarily because they have a solid niche in law firms. Legal documents depend heavily on the "Reveal Codes" functionality, which is kinda-sorta like a middle-of-the-road between WYSIWYG editing and LaTeX, which allows for consistent document formatting without either the weirdness of Word rearranging everything when you move an image one pixel to the left, or the learning curve of LaTeX for those who "only know Word". Reveal Codes begat document libraries (keeping in mind that law firms also notoriously keep everything forever), and templates, and plugins, and enough of a cottage industry around a highly profitable sector that has enabled it to avoid utter irrelevance.

      All of that being said, I completely agree with your assessment that no program is beyond being dethroned. Oracle used to be the platform for databases (unless you were using IBM or small enough to use Access or Paradox), but newer databases commonly end up being designed in MariaDB or Postgres; even MS SQL Server has more favorable licensing. MS Office is still the standard, but GDocs is making inroads, especially in the education market. Good ol' Internet Explorer was the standard until Firefox chipped away at a solid clip, themselves supplanted by Chrome for many. Adobe themselves supplanted Quark with Indesign, and didn't take long to do so. Software comes and software goes, and while Adobe's decline will be incredibly gradual, it's far from impossible.

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:42AM (#55984951)

    It doesn't matter if you wanted a smart TV or not, you'll take what maximizes profits and like it.

    It doesn't matter if you wanted a headphone jack or not, you'll take what maximizes profits and like it.

    It doesn't matter if you wanted to pay a one-time cost, you'll take what maximizes profits and like it.

    It doesn't matter if you wanted a removable battery, you'll take what maximizes profits and like it.

    It doesn't matter if you wanted A la carte, you'll take what maximizes profits and like it.

    Bottom line is consumer opinion no longer matters. And don't give me that Vote with your Wallet crap. That's as dead as the concept of competition. The mega-corps could care less about the 5% of you that would actually stand up and "vote". The other 95% of mindless consumers just stand in line and beg for more product regardless of price. And Greed is infectious, which is exactly why we are seeing more SaaS mandates, not less. Shareholders and investors demand it.

    And it's been this way for a long time now, so you might as well get used to it. Your entire life will be subscription-based 30 years from now.

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )
      It's not about maximizing profits necessarily. Investors prefer to see subscription based revenue rather than one time purchases or contracts with optional renewal. They are more likely to invest in your stock if you are publicly traded. This has to do with how financials are reported in SEC filings using GAP. You see after the Enron scandal, the government stepped in and changed how financials should be reported in SEC filings because Enron "cooked their books". Sometimes the ripple effects of regulat
  • I don't use it unless I need it for my job. Then I let my employer pay for it.
  • The Parallels virtualization software for OS X is moving in this direction, though you can buy a perpetual license, at least for now.

    There's a reason I still use Photoshop CS 6 Extended: as a hobbyist user, I can't justify $50 a month for software I only use once a month or so.

    And no, don't tell me The GIMP is an acceptable substitute. It's just too different to allow my Photoshop knowledge and workflows to transfer.

  • Taking Photoshop for example, a very mature application. What are the killer features beyond CS6 which would compel users to go for this subscription model instead of just keeping the old paid-for licenses and using those versions?

    In the audio world there are similar examples like what Avid has done with Pro Tools 12. While there are certain features which are really lovely, it doesn't seem to be enough for a lot of people to want to switch over to this new model.

    At the very least, and like Steam does
  • When taking deep sky pictures of the sky, you are often taking an image that, to the camera, is just barely brighter than the background. Almost like taking a picture of something dark gray on black. Photoshop is the most common tool to bring out the data so you can actually see the object. Emission nebula are also very monochrome. Not white on black, but mostly just red from hydrogen emission. Photoshop is critical to bring out the details. The problem with Adobe license is that this work is often done in
  • Corel Suite X8 and CorelCAD... Not only do they replace pretty much everything that Autodesk and Adobe make, but they even work together.

    CorelCAD is pretty good too. Getting on towards being a Solidworks alternative since the 2018 version.

    And both, while they do have license checks and online activation, work quite happily without a connection, and you can even get a license file from Corel for offline activation if you want....

    And there's a really cost-effective home/student version available too....

    I know

  • I've been in IT for 21 years. One of the very first things I learned was "FUCK ADOBE". Over the years I've learned similar lessons such as "FUCK APPLE," and "FUCK QUICKBOOKS."
  • I'm on Creative Suite 3. What I usually do is an every other update. But it was working well, so I planned on updating to 6. Then they went subscription before i did. I tried Creative Cloud trial and it was good but even at my academic discount, it wasn't worth going from a functioning product that is paid for to a rental only solution. It is great software and no doubt, but I can do 99 percent of what it does on CS3

    I'll keep using CS3 until they pull some stunt on an update that disables it. Even then, I

  • Hacky workarounds (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @08:59AM (#55985075) Journal

    The worst part is none of this will stop piracy. The software can be cracked to disable/fool the periodic authentication and proxy servers can be set up to emulate the cloud services for saving files.

    Only businesses that need to stay legit will be affected by this. If there is a network outage or bottleneck they will be shut down. If they let their subscription lapse they will be shut down. If they refuse to upgrade for too long, they will eventually lose the ability to collaborate with other groups as new features are added that are not backwards compatible.

    It's tantamount to extortion for anyone who wants or needs to stay legit, but really only an annoyance for people who are willing and able to pirate.
    =Smidge=

  • I think that subscriptions, like micropayments, are evil and ruining the industry by blatant money grabbing and extortion. That said it is easy to see why the companies inflicting this are doing it, it makes them lots of cash.

    So my question to all of you who dislike this state of affairs, what are you doing about it? Have you contributed time or money to open source alternatives? Have you purchased a commercial alternative? Are you sitting on your ass bemoaning the state of affairs while enabling it?

              -Charlie

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @09:15AM (#55985197) Homepage

    For decades, software companies have been treating our permanent purchases of software as if they were rentals. The conditions of 'purchase' were frankly more like rentals than anything else.

    Which was unfair, as they were priced as purchases.

    Now at least, they are being honest about it. They want to rent, then they can't charge a purchase price for it.

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @09:15AM (#55985203)

    There is no "forced".

    Between the Affinity Suite, Corel Draw, FOSS alternatives and roughly 10 bazillion 3D toolkits including Houdini, Lightwave, Cinema and Blender, there is absolutely nothing forcing anyone to use the big crappy two, Adobe and Autodesk.

    Don't use Adobe or Autodesk. It's that simple. ... Experts have known this for years.

    Glad I could help.

    • by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @09:38AM (#55985399) Journal

      Don't use Adobe or Autodesk.

      Not using AutoDesk is basically impossible if you hope to work with anyone else in the fields of architecture and engineering. Some municipalities even explicitly require AutoCAD/Revit files as part of the deliverables.

      But yes, I suppose "Not using AutoDesk" is just as much an option as "Not having a job."
      =Smidge=

  • Pros and Cons (Score:4, Interesting)

    by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @09:30AM (#55985333) Homepage

    Mmmm, subscriptions to software. They're definitely the future. Look for this to become more of a thing as time goes on. I personally don't like it, but I do see the benefits of this model. We have to admit there are some boons to the subscription model we might not readily see.

    The biggest one is going to be support. If a company is making you pay every month to use their stuff, they better be supporting it. The entire model sustains a decent support team assuming the company is willing to shovel some of their profits into it. Also, the support part includes continuous updates. See Microsoft Windows 10 for an example of how this looks.

    Also updates, yep, you never have to pay a large one-time licensing fee, and your subscription includes updates, for as long as you keep paying. Never have to worry about buying the next version at a large one-time licensing fee.

    But then the cons: You're married to this company, dependent on them to make a living. Not sure I'm comfortable with that. Offline usage. I imagine a lot of subscription models are going to have to provide for more security conscious customers, like DoD or three-letter-agencies whom can't have stuff always connected. So there will definitely be stipulations for that, but it's still annoying. Hopefully they'll give a fairly decent amount of 'offline usage' before the license gets angry with you. Access to your files after subscription ends.. yeah, that's not good, companies definitely need to provide a read-only mode of their software so you can still get at your stuff, just can't modify it anymore until you resubscribe.

    Final thoughts: It definitely has a place. It's not all evil. It's not ideal for all situations and I do wish companies would offer both options. If I want to buy a perpetual today's latest and greatest version of doffusofficecadauto, I should be able to do that, and never get updates ever, until I buy a new version or subscribe. For some situations it's really ideal and actually a boon. It does sort of force companies to stand behind their product for as long as you're subscribed to it.

    Long term I worry, computer companies of all shapes, sizes and flavors come and go at a breakneck speed. I do worry about people losing work trapped in defunct subscription software. At the end of the day, you have to decide which works for you. For those of us who are bitching we can't get perpetual licenses anymore.. well, there's a market opening for someone ambitious. Fill that niche?

  • by Rambo Tribble ( 1273454 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @10:35AM (#55985897) Homepage
    ... should ask, "What have I done for Open Source Software, lately?"
  • by fish_in_the_c ( 577259 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @10:41AM (#55985933)

    I'm a little surprised this is even an article on /.
    It was exactly this kind of scenario and thought processed that caused the creation of the GNU foundation and FOSS licensing model. Doesn't most everyone here know that?

    https://www.gnu.org/gnu/manife... [gnu.org]

  • by CAOgdin ( 984672 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @11:57AM (#55986633)

    1. When companies make a good, useful product, customers will buy it.
    2. When investors dictate that they must have a particular financial product, quality and features go to hell.
    3. I weaned myself off Adobe several years ago, when it was clear they were MORE interested in income than in CUSTOMER satisfaction. When they stopped providing any meaningful "Customer Service."
    4. I have, so far, been steadfast in my decision to only buy from companies who are focused on CUSTOMER satisfaction, rather than short-term greed.

    Adobe is dead to me. Ghostscript has so many useful front-ends that make it viable in many environments (e.g., producing a PDF from a webpage, which most products do by making "snapshots" of the text). Tools like Bullzip (the browser add-in relying on Ghostscript) produces near-perfect PDF files that can be imported into good text editors for annotation, amendment and incremental improvement.

  • by jwdb ( 526327 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @02:00PM (#55987745)

    Same problem with Autodesk's acquisition of the PCB tool Eagle. I'm remaining on an older version because I use the software irregularly and am not willing to lose access to all my past projects just because I missed a license payment. Subscription tools are fine for at the office (within reason), not so much for personal use.

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