Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign. If you believe the hype (and the masses), they’re all “industry-standard”. They also happen to be Adobe’s flagship products, and in my view, they don’t deserve to be industry-standard-anything. Here’s why:
- Pricing. Leaving aside the breathtaking cost of commercial licenses for Adobe software (which only ever creates a scenario where relatively few legitimate license-holders cover the cost of relatively many pirates), the difference between Adobe’s US pricing and Australian pricing – even for downloadable products with no domestic support options – can be massive. It’s less of a problem than it used to be (thanks to media attention and parliamentary inquiries, no doubt), but this price-gouging remains a blight on Adobe as a corporation.
- Hostile takeovers. Adobe buys its competitors and destroys their products, either by halting development or by butchering code. Heard of Macromedia? Flash? Pixmantec RawShooter? You know what I’m talking about, then. Adobe is a Big Bad Bully.
- (Lack of) innovation, bad software engineering. AIR was never fast enough for serious development. Flash didn’t evolve (e.g. by becoming an “open” platform) and was similarly inefficient (hence no mobile Flash on any platform in 2013). As these were used in frontline products (e.g. Photoshop), they became slower, hungrier and buggier. One can only assume that no-one at Adobe knows how to write good code! (Have you ever opened a Lightroom catalog in a SQLite browser? Least. Efficient. Data structures. Ever.)
- Good alternatives actually exist. No, I’m not talking about GIMP. There’s Pixelmator, iDraw, Acorn, Aperture and a bunch of other fast, affordable, serious alternatives to Adobe’s big-name products. And they’re rapidly getting better.
I own several licenses of Lightroom and Photoshop, and have passively endured each version’s decline in performance and stability. That’s over now. I’m moving to better products, from better-behaved corporations, and I intend to take my school with me.
“Industry-standard” is so last decade.