Adobe's DRM Fails "Catastrophically."

In a stunning bout of honesty, Adobe’s licensing subsystem would like you to know that it has managed to fail “catastrophically.”

The poor human who caused this error writes:

Adobe pushed out an upgrade of its Creative Suite. I installed it, as prompted. This is what happens when I try to run any element of the Suite after the install.

Click on the modal dialog box and the program closes. For extra redundancy, there’s a second error message that reads “licensing for this product has stopped working.” But I am impressed that I wasn’t merely able to get the programs to fail, but that I got them to fail “catastrophically.”

Adobe Creative Suite fails “catastrophically” thanks to DRM [BoingBoing]

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  1. Alex Brewer says:

    I’ve seen this error many times in CS3. Every one of the about half-dozen times this has happened to me I’ve had to reinstall. Adobe has an article about this specific error, but there help isn’t very helpful. [kb.adobe.com]

    If CS3 wasn’t such an amazing application suite when it’s working, and didn’t cost so freaking much, I would have given up on it long ago. Luckily since I installed XP over my Vista install I’ve had no issues with CS3, though it’s been little over a week.

  2. Alex Brewer says:

    @brewer:

    *their

    I feel inferior.

  3. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Way to screw your paying customers, Adobe.

  4. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Bad enough Adobe wants to enable embedded ads in PDF documents.

    Adobe=Full of Fail (*The catastrophic kind, even).

  5. This is why companies need good technical writers to vet error messages as well as user documentation.

    But, you know, it’s cheaper to farm it all out to India and address things when they come up….

  6. SuperJdynamite says:

    Also, DRM.

  7. Akamaru says:

    In other news, pirates enjoy software they didn’t pay for interruption free.

    I work near the Adobe building. You’d think that with all the money they have for such a showy building, they’d put some of it back into creating a hassle free and beneficial experience for paying customers.

    This is an absolute joke.

  8. goodkitty says:

    Adobe remains the only software company in my eyes that actually manages to make Microsoft look professional and concerned about its customers. Lets get a bunch of state attorney generals together and break up Adobe.

  9. junkmail says:

    Yet another reason I pay for software, and still use cracks/keygens/work-arounds. I can’t STAND this crap.

  10. bubbaprog says:

    Adobe’s software would work fine if they went along with established guidelines for installation, et cetera. The installer for OS X is hilariously bad, breaking pretty much every human interface rule, and making CS3 nearly impossible to remove completely.

  11. mgyqmb says:

    I installed CS3 for my Mac and now I can’t upgrade to the latest version of flash. Make any sense to you guys?

  12. denon says:

    @MGYQMB Nope, makes no sense at all. I can’t imagine any reason to use a Mac. ;)

  13. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Wow. Broken DRM, ad supported PDF, deceptive transmission of user data.. I think I’ll stick with my somewhat very old versions of Adobe software.

  14. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @denon: This begs for a Mac-hater joke, but you probably wouldn’t get it :)
    Maybe if Adobe’s software was more reasonably priced, they wouldn’t feel the need for such complicated copy-protection, although if PS Elements actually did include ‘all’ the useful parts of PS, I’d have it instead of the full blown version. But I’m sure everyone’s ‘useful’ parts of CSx vary.

  15. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Much like Microsoft, instead of beating everyone up over their semi-legal copies of XP, why not let us license it for less than $100 (XP Pro) instead of telling me the copy I BOUGHT is no longer any good, and could I please take it up with the people I bought it from as it’s not our problem.

  16. What The Geek says:

    @junkmail: LOL – I thought I was the only one who did that – I’m not at all against paying for things – if no one paid for good software, there would be no good software. However, the excessive DRMing of newer software makes it practically unusable in some cases. It’s finally to the point I’ve been scared of since the launch of the DMCA – We’ve gotten to the point where the antipiracy measures are only hurting paying customers, and those that chose to steal are getting a more enjoyable experience out of their products.

    The moral of the story is: Buy your software. After you’ve bought it, use third party software to remove any DRM it may have come with – then write a letter to the creators of said software enlightening them of the situation. I’d like to believe that if that happens enough times, something will change.

  17. Howie411 says:

    I keep getting these errors with Adobe Elements 6 and Adobe Premiere 4.0 (combo pack) Even after a format and a brand new install. Adobe has been useless and no help so far.

  18. MonkeyMonk says:

    Adobe’s “activation” DRM is one of the most egregious examples of DRM punishing the paying customer. It’s a huge headache for me (I go back and forth between a desktop and a laptop) and forces me to call them about once every 6 months to reset the activation.

    Surely they must know you can easily find and download a completely hacked version off the Internet in mere minutes. I’m almost tempted to download a pirated copy and leave my paid version uninstalled on the shelf.

  19. rhambus says:

    Adobe is in my opinion far more offensive than Microsoft when it comes to their anti-piracy measures. We own several copies of Adobe software for our non-profit and when they inevitably decide that our legal-for-years copy is now a pirated copy, it takes hours on the phone to sort it out and a lot of guessing as to what employee’s name was used 3 years ago to register the software. Add to that the insane price of their stuff and the fact that it is majorly slow and bloated, and Adobe is my least favorite company to deal with of all. I wish we didn’t have to use their crap at all but there is no way to avoid it. Frankly, MS looks like the most caring company ever compared to Adobe. Quark, BTW, is no picnic either. I wish there was some realistic competitor to those two…

  20. chili_dog says:

    Photoshop 4 and Illustrator 5 all the way baby.

  21. TWSS says:

    The only benefit to upgrading from CS2 to CS3 that I’ve seen is that the icons are more intuitively representative of the applications they launch. Using a periodic table-esque “Ps” to denote Photoshop makes tons more sense than a freakin feather. Other than that, I have no interest in upgrading my home machine(s). None at all.

  22. Andrew says:

    This is why I try to use only Free and Open Source software.

    Sure, I’m not a graphic artist or anything, but the Gimp has always been more than enough for my graphics needs.

    I encourage companies like Adobe and Microsoft to go DRM apeshit on everything and everyone. It only hastens their demise.

  23. Arthur says:

    @Andrew: Yeah, you beat me to it. I find Gimp to meet my needs fully. In fact I have CS3 on my XP box, but haven’t used it in a while. I deal with my images on my Linux box using Gimp most of the time.

  24. jwrose says:

    Yeah, Adobe really dropped the ball on CS3. Windows and Mac users have had problems. I have a Mac and had a ton of issues when installing because Adobe didn’t follow standard practices for software on a Mac. I had to use an Adobe uninstaller (which was hidden away)- i couldn’t just drag to the trash like every other program out there.
    I also had to download some script from their site to completely remove all components from the trial software I had used because their own installer couldn’t get rid of everything.
    Now that it’s working- I love CS3.. but Adobe’s installer team needs to read up on Mac installation.

  25. guevera says:

    This is a strong argument in favor of piracy

  26. SpaceCat85 says:

    I got that message too once, also after a borked update…it reminds me of how Mac OS 10.0′s kernel panics didn’t just shade the screen and ask you to restart, but spilled black-and-white terminal text all over the screen with stuff like “We are going under” in it. When your OS won’t boot, or your expensive software won’t run, the last thing you want to see is a message that makes you panic even more.

    I used Burn to make a disc image of the CS3 install DVD so I’m not stuck if I’m away from home with my laptop if I need to do a reinstall. I also keep a copy of the AdobeExtendScriptToolkit2.0.1 installer (from Adobe’s website), too, because sometimes the suite repair portion of the installer asks for it and ADOBE FORGOT TO PUT IT ON THE INSTALL DISC!

    Overall I do love a good number of the changes in CS3 (upgraded from CS1). I like where they’re going with the interface, and I haven’t had much crashing yet. It’s just that I periodically run into things that make me question how eager they were to rush this thing out. Beyond the problems mentioned above, there’s: the `90s-style utter stupidity of the updater program (still tries to find updates when you’re offline, etc.); the way pretty much any Adobe update installer won’t continue unless you close your browser (even if you kept it Acrobat plugin-free); useful options in the “unified” UI like large text or controlling the palette color that are only in Photoshop, or only in Illustrator; and, as touched upon briefly above, the Mac installers aren’t just InstallVise-based things that don’t leave behind regular OS X installer receipts (hello 2001!), but the slow and ugly Flash-based spawn of Macromedia.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Well, you get whatcha pay for. Or not. I do remember, however, reading for years and years how terrible Quark was for their terrible support for the Xpress software, and how very, very wonderful Adobe was, and wouldn’t it be sooo nice someday if only Adobe could get their gurus to gin up something to make nasty old Quark go away, taking their horrible old dongles and their atrocious software support with them. OK. Now you have got Adobe (the NEW PlunderBund) mangling the ancient and reliable (if a bit sluggish and feature-free) PageMaker into something new and completely different. Presto-changeo! Are you happy now? We used to use both Xpress and InDesign at work, well once Adobe finally got InDesign to work, that is. And then we dropped Xpress becuz the bosses told us to. Now we are back to buying plug-ins (just like with Xpress) because InDesign is such a style-deficient klutz that we can’t do our magazine’s ads without the plug-ins. O joy! Reinventing the wheel, what fun! Let’s all admire the emperor’s new clothes. Look, upgrades are a software developer’s wet dream, and DRM only makes it sweeter and last longer. Do as suggested and strip the DRM out and be satisfied that you have something that works most of the time, and when it doesn’t, cuss and whine and complain to the powers that be in Adobe and you will just maybe get some help. Or … Look, I’ll just shut up for now, I am even boring myself. But I will say I do love Photoshop 4eva.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Well, you get whatcha pay for. Or not. I do remember, however, reading for years and years how terrible Quark was for their terrible support for the Xpress software, and how very, very wonderful Adobe was, and wouldn’t it be sooo nice someday if only Adobe could get their gurus to gin up something to make nasty old Quark go away, taking their horrible old dongles and their atrocious software support with them. OK. Now you have got Adobe (the NEW PlunderBund) mangling the ancient and reliable (if a bit sluggish and feature-free) PageMaker into something new and completely different. Presto-changeo! Are you happy now? We used to use both Xpress and InDesign at work, well once Adobe finally got InDesign to work, that is. And then we dropped Xpress becuz the bosses told us to. Now we are back to buying plug-ins (just like with Xpress) because InDesign is such a style-deficient klutz that we can’t do our magazine’s ads without the plug-ins. O joy! Reinventing the wheel, what fun! Let’s all admire the emperor’s new clothes. Look, upgrades are a software developer’s wet dream, and DRM only makes it sweeter and last longer. Do as suggested and strip the DRM out and be satisfied that you have something that works most of the time, and when it doesn’t, cuss and whine and complain to the powers that be in Adobe and you will just maybe get some help. Or … Look, I’ll just shut up for now, I am even boring myself. But I will say I do love Photoshop 4eva.