Adobe offering Creative Suite 2 for free, but they didn't mean to

By on January 11, 2013, 6:00 PM

Earlier this week Adobe made a surprise move by putting its Creative Suite 2 software, as well as individual programs like Photoshop CS2 and Illustrator CS2, up for download on its website along the corresponding serial numbers. Initially it was believed the company got tired of keeping the activation servers running to support legitimate installs of ~8 year-old software and decided to give it away. But that's only partly true.

Turns out Adobe did retire the activation servers used by CS2 back in December, but when legitimate owners of the suite started complaining that without these servers they'd be unable to reinstall their copies if needed, the company began offering versions of CS2 that didn't need activation.

Adobe later clarified that in order to legally use CS2 users still require a purchased license, and that the move was just meant to assist its existing customers. Yet the download page and serials are still live.

Considering the software is being offered directly from Adobe's servers, we'd say most people probably won't lose sleep at night for grabbing a copy. If anything, having access to an old but still serviceable copy of Photoshop might deter some from pirating the latest CS6 release. Perhaps Adobe feels the same? Curiously after the news broke a new CS2 download page went live without the requirement to provide an Adobe ID.




User Comments: 33

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misor misor said:

So the cs2 of yesteryears is "free" but the most recent cs6 cloud is still priced 49.99$/month?

Guest said:

Sry you pako, you get free fully functional version of high quality soft, but not satisfied? What are you? Super graphic hero? If so, BUY the newest version.

Really like people like you...

Timonius Timonius said:

Very nice. If this is truly intentional I do see it as a way to try the CS series software (even if it is older) legitimately without any strings attached.

misor misor said:

I think it's a promotional gimmick just like ea which offered free download of ra and ra2 (which run fine on windows 95/98/2k/xp on lower resolutions)

Guest said:

Sweet, bye Paint.net.

Guest said:

Its still up because existing customers still need it to be up, and since many customers don't register then Adobe can't do this 'behind the scene'.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Are we sure they haven't put a "30 day crap out" trial shut down script in this puppy? OK, so I'm paranoid and I look gift horses in the mouth. Other than that I'm a nice guy!

In any event, CS-2 is 32 bit. All their current offerings run under x64, even "Photoshop Elements 11" (I think they're on version 11).

This move on Adobe's isn't entirely unprecedented. Photoshop Elements, in its very early stages was a two part program. What became the PSE "Organizer" section of Elements, was "Adobe Photoshop Album" (Last offered in conjunction with PSE-2). Photoshop Album became a free offering, albeit loaded with ads for PSE. When they discontinued support for it, they made the organizer section of PSE-8 a freebie. You needed to download the trial version of PSE-8 and allow it to expire. The editor section no longer functioned after 30 days, but the organizer did.

In any event, it's highly doubtful if CS-2 will now be provided with update packages for RAW camera files. If you want to work in RAW, you might need an older DSLR. Every generation and brand of camera has a different RAW file format, all the way down to model specific.

In any event, Photoshop CS-2 is far superior to any of its contemporaries, along with perhaps many of today's programs as well. It includes "Adobe Bridge", a top notch, but memory hungry, file manager. If you have an old XP 32 bit box for it laying around, this is the best deal in imaging software I've ever seen.

I am curious though, if a version of PS this old, will light up more than one CPU core. I guess we'll see.

avoidz avoidz said:

No such thing as a free lunch.

MilwaukeeMike said:

No such thing as a free lunch.

Normally I'd agree with you, but what if the lunch was 8 years old?

You can get CS6 for basically half-price off ebay, legit, unopened boxes of the software, meaning there's no reason to buy one from Adobe. I'd guess they just stopped caring about CS2. The version they're allowing you to download is the standard version, not the premium version. I don't know where the idea came from that they didn't mean to do this.

Guest said:

Good move by Adobe. Why use one of those half-baked open source programs like Gimp or Inkscape when you can have the real deal? After ppl learn their software they'll be addicted for life.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

So the cs2 of yesteryears is "free" but the most recent cs6 cloud is still priced 49.99$/month?
I think you missed the point of the "CS-6 Cloud". It's every CS-6 application, not just CS-6 Photoshop.

Granted the individual app rental prices suck, and many, (most), people don't need the whole suite.

There are other factors to consider. For most people, it is a conceit to have Photoshop itself. The PSE editor is very robust, and based in PS anyway. Adobe cripples the PS editor somewhat, they surely don't reinvent the wheel for it. So, version by version, PSE receives PS editor's "hand me downs", as they expand the features in thier flagship image editor.The editor section of today's version of Photoshop Elements, is approaching the capability of PS CS2. anyway. What it lacks primarily, is the ability to edit in lab color and CMYK . So, unless you're sending your work to a lithographer, you have no need for those features.

p51d007 said:

I think this is a GOOD move by Adobe. There are probably a lot of people, who would love to learn photoshop, but do not want to take the multi-thousand dollar plunge. This way, they could learn on an older version (which has many of the standard features of even CS6), and then after learning, could purchase a more current version. Also, instead of buying a new version, then figuring it isn't worth the learning curve and being out hundreds of dollars, they would find less of a reason to pirate it.

Renrew Renrew said:

I Like it NFM

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Well I still run the CS2 package at work to design signs, and it works just fine. Even will use the 2nd core on my aging Athlon 64 x2 4200+ CPU.

Now on my wish list to the boss is a computer upgrade, 64bit Win7, and newer version of CS, but for now CS2 gets the job done fairly well.

Guest said:

"Adobe later clarified that in order to legally use CS2 users still require a purchased license"

Maybe y'all missed this part.

2 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

"Adobe later clarified that in order to legally use CS2 users still require a purchased license"

Maybe y'all missed this part.

And then again, maybe we didn't.

Guest said:

So if you're going to use it for commercial purposes you should buy a license. If you're a hobbyist or student it looks like they don't care. Like M$ has a non-commercial version of Office.

George V George V said:

I really think it's a marketing ploy because if everyone can get adobe products running in their machines they will be less inclined to use the competition then once they are addicted they will invest into the cloud or save up for the big investment!

I installed them and with already using cs4 and cs5 before cs2 is pretty behind the times but with people who have nothing it?s really better than what most of the open source programs offer.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I installed them and with already using cs4 and cs5 before cs2 is pretty behind the times but with people who have nothing it?s really better than what most of the open source programs offer.
Indeed they are. Photoshop and Photoshop Elements both offer "adjustment layers". I haven't seen freebies that offered anything like them. I'm not sure how to edit an image without them.

Anyway, "assuming" you can get the correct, "Camera RAW" plug in for your cameras, then PSCS-2 or PSE-5 are all you need.

Adobe only coughed these up because they don't want to rework them for Win 7 +8, nor are they willing to update them to run correctly under x64. That's the "marketing ploy". But, I'd call it, "customer herding, willfully, and with malice aforethought".

That said, there are plenty of XP rigs out there, just dying to get their grubby old hard drives on these programs.

In any event PSE-5 runs fast, and offers plenty of editing power for the average bloke, (or blokette, if you will). So, that's the gem everybody seems to be missing. It offers organization and tagging also.

Once upon a time, these early PSE versions were offered as value added software with photo hardware, such as printers and scanners. (Perhaps the newer PSE versions are as well. I just haven't been in the market for hardware for a while).

Digital Jedi Digital Jedi said:

No such thing as a free lunch.

Interestingly, an expression invented at a time when words like "open source" and "software" didn't exist yet. When it comes to software, there's lots of free lunches, dinners and sometimes brunch.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Interestingly, an expression invented at a time when words like "open source" and "software" didn't exist yet. When it comes to software, there's lots of free lunches, dinners and sometimes brunch.
In this case, the lunch is free. However, the "Camera RAW" update plug in files for PSCS-2 end at "3.7". That allows you to import RAW files from a Nikon D-80 DSLR, but not from the slightly newer D-90. PSE-5 has a later RAW plug in update, which will import D-90 RAW files. Adobe has no intention of any further updates to PSCS-2, and hasn't for years. So, if you have older cameras, these programs will work for you, if not, you gotta pay, big time. It's planned obsolescence.

As far as your concept of "free breakfast, lunch, & dinner. You're at least partly right, until you see all those "donate" buttons. No calories maybe, but "guilt free", not hardly.

Besides, Adobe still says, "you still need a license to use PSCS-2 (and the others)". So again, not "guilt free", and they're trying to step you up to a subscription software model in the process.

Digital Jedi Digital Jedi said:

In this case, the lunch is free. However, the "Camera RAW" update plug in files for PSCS-2 end at "3.7". That allows you to import RAW files from a Nikon D-80 DSLR, but not from the slightly newer D-90. PSE-5 has a later RAW plug in update, which will import D-90 RAW files. Adobe has no intention of any further updates to PSCS-2, and hasn't for years. So, if you have older cameras, these programs will work for you, if not, you gotta pay, big time. It's planned obsolescence.

As far as your concept of "free breakfast, lunch, & dinner. You're at least partly right, until you see all those "donate" buttons. No calories maybe, but "guilt free", not hardly.

Besides, Adobe still says, "you still need a license to use PSCS-2 (and the others)". So again, not "guilt free", and they're trying to step you up to a subscription software model in the process.

Well, that's really only consequential if your a photographer, and as you know, Photoshop is the standard for far more industries than photography. Hey, even a free porterhouse dinner isn't going to get the vegans excited. Whereas I'll be in line with my own custom steak knife set.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well, that's really only consequential if your a photographer, and as you know, Photoshop is the standard for far more industries than photography. Hey, even a free porterhouse dinner isn't going to get the vegans excited. Whereas I'll be in line with my own custom steak knife set.
Actually, if you feel up to it, you can get the entire "Creative Suite 2" for free! Which includes the programs more commonly used in other parts of the imaging industry, no just still photography. The only thing Adobe isn't coughing up is "CS-2 Extended", only the standard version.

In any event, another consideration is that CS-2, in its entirety is 32 bit only. Granted, not a big deal for the average person, only an issue for photographers working on huge panoramas, or digital files from medium format studio digital cameras.

As I said before, "Photoshop Elements 5.0" is all 90+% of us need. Having Photoshop itself is partly ego trip.

I have PSCS-4, which is 64 bit. Adobe allows two concurrent installs. So, I'm thinking of pulling it from a 32 bit XP machine, and putting it in another 64 bit box, for which I have the parts ready to assemble. PSCS-2 will go back into the 32 bit box. Once you convert camera RAW files to .tiff or .psd, you can edit them in the earlier program, losslessly.

PSE 5.0 never required activation, just input a serial number, whereas PSCS-2 did.

Guest said:

Adobe seem to have changed the listing a bit since the download frenzy,

Photoshop Elements is gone, Acrobat Pro 8 has been replaced with Pro 7 (I didn't imagine that because I downloaded it along with it's serial, which is now different) and After Effects has been added

Seems as though there are now certain things they want you to have but not others.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Photoshop Elements is gone,
Well, that makes a bunch of sense, since it never did require the activation server anyway. PSE does not require activation until Ver. 8.0. So, if a friend has a copy of PSE-5, let your conscience be your guide.

Acrobat Pro 8 has been replaced with Pro 7 (I didn't imagine that because I downloaded it along with it's serial, which is now different) and After Effects has been added

Did you try installing Acrobat Pro 8 with the serial number they supplied? It would be handy to know if they put that back on another activation server.

PSE-5 won't run that well under Win 7. PSE-7 will, but it's a bit quirky. (It won't initialize the file system on a HDD without changing the get file parameters to, "all files", instead of the default, "media files". It won't read past the letter "G"....:oops .

Guest said:

Well, I downloaded Acrobat Pro 8 for someone else with an XP laptop and they haven't said anything to me, so I'm guessing it worked.

The ones I downloaded for myself were Premiere and Illustrator for my Win7 machine and they work fine. The only issue there seems to be is with a dialogue box that appears when Illustrator boots up asking me to register with Adobe for updates, but that's always easily clicked past.

I could download Photoshop as well, but I still use PS7 which I'm very comfortable with, which does make me laugh at the warning they have at the top of the download page saying that CS2 may not work on a later OS. PS7 works absolutely fine on Win7 64bit, but then, I always did think that PS7 was one of the best versions of Photoshop they ever produced :)

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well, I downloaded Acrobat Pro 8 for someone else with an XP laptop and they haven't said anything to me, so I'm guessing it worked.

The ones I downloaded for myself were Premiere and Illustrator for my Win7 machine and they work fine. The only issue there seems to be is with a dialogue box that appears when Illustrator boots up asking me to register with Adobe for updates, but that's always easily clicked past.
Unless Photoshop is already present on this computer, you could alternatively download the entire CS-2, and you'd have Premier, as well as all the others.

OK, the registration warnings may time out after 30 days. We'll have to wait and see.

Assuming you have the install disc for your PS-7, and are fairly fearless, you could uninstall PS-7, and replace it with CS-2 as a test.

Drivers are more responsible for compatibility problems than are programs.

Oddly, "DVD Shrink 3.2", runs impeccably under Win 7 64 bit, in spite of the fact it hasn't been updated since maybe July 2004.

Guest said:

Smart move........its putting a CS product on every computer on the planet if they want it. Then you like it but want modern features........so you purchase to latest version sat some point possibly.

Ask yourself an old CS2 or 3.9 Picassa.........well there you go!

Nicole P Nicole P said:

So will this work at all on a 64 bit? Because that's what I have. Windows 7, 64 bit. Is it that it will work, but just not correctly or it won't work at all??

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

So will this work at all on a 64 bit? Because that's what I have. Windows 7, 64 bit. Is it that it will work, but just not correctly or it won't work at all??
It's sort of a crap shoot. If you have Win 7 Pro (or better), you can download "XP Mode" and a virtual machine program directly from M$, free of charge. A majority of 32/64 bit issues are caused by drivers, not by program incompatibility. (Mind you, I'm not saying it doesn't exist). Windows does install 32 bit programs to an "x86" folder, then runs "Windows (32 bit) on Windows (64)bit.

You should probably just opt for only the Premier and/ or Photoshop offerings, and not try the entire creative suite.

The problem with an early version of PS is not so much the problem with the program running under a later OS, but rather the"Camera RAW" plug in. The latest camera RAW plug in for PSCS-2 will handle files from my Nikon D-80, but not my D-90.

If you shoot JPEG, this isn't an issue. But, if you're using a late model DSLR, or any late digicam, you won't be able to import RAW files, which does limit the quality you can get from your work.

Adobe knows this well, and it's one of the prime reasons they don't update camera RAW plug ins, thereby forcing you to newer and newer versions of ANY of their products which involve direct importing of image files.

I run Photoshop Elements 7.0 (*) under Win 7 Pro, and the only glitch I run into is the program won't initialize the file system on any hard drive, unless you change the import file type to "all files". IMO, a small price to pay, you just need to be aware of it.

Most people don't need PS anyway, and can live in bliss with PSE, or possibly the newer "LIghtroom". < That's definitely not a freebie though.

(*) I also have a copy of PSE-3.0 installed on a Vista laptop. Windows lectured me about "how much the OS had advanced since that program was created", and somewhat reluctantly installed it anyway. And yeah, it runs pretty OK under 32 bit Vista.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The title needs to be renamed, it is misleading to readers.

Adobe made a statement the downloads were for those who have previously purchased the software. They needed to release a free of activation version, because they were taking down their activation servers and no longer monitoring who activates. The software is still under license agreement to the original owners. The download is not offered for free.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The title needs to be renamed, it is misleading to readers.

Adobe made a statement the downloads were for those who have previously purchased the software. They needed to release a free of activation version, because they were taking down their activation servers and no longer monitoring who activates. The software is still under license agreement to the original owners. The download is not offered for free.

Po-tay-toe...., poh-tah-toe.

With that said, I do think your sense of decency is commendable....

I would say, if it isn't worth their time and effort to maintain their activation servers, they are probably acutely aware of the repercussions from that decision.

Did you sign up for your 50 dollar a month subscription to Adobe CS yet?

Did you ever read the disclaimer attached to music "tabs" on the web? It goes something like, "this is a interpretation of an original work, and may only be used for for private study, and in no way be utilized commercially". While that isn't a direct analog of this situation, it seems to have a similar, , innuendo.

The title needs to be renamed, it is misleading to readers.
Besides, the article title and content say exactly this. And any information or suggestions I may offer, have been obtained through my personal experiences with duly purchased, licensed, and registered copies of Adobe software, of which I have many.

Guest said:

Just downloaded CS2 8/28/13.....here's how. Go to this link (hint won't work yet)

[link]

It will say "Error processing your request" BUT... Select sign-in and make an Adobe user ID and password.

Then open new window and try again at

[link]

Then select I agree and it should work....at least it did for me.

Good luck!

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