Adobe made waves earlier this week when they apparently offered an older version of their enormously popular Creative Suite software (including Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat Pro, Premiere, and more) absolutely FREE. Anyone with an Adobe ID (which is free to get at adobe.com) could log in and download full versions of the software, using the serial codes provided on the download page. As of the writing of this blog, anyone still can get an Adobe ID and download and install the Creative Suite 2 software using the supplied serial codes.
Is it really free? Technically yes. Legally….no. Here’s what happened: Adobe disabled its activation servers for this version of CS, meaning that anyone who tried to reinstall a legal copy of CS2 would run into problems during the software activation phase. To circumvent this issue Adobe decided to provide a downloadable version of the software suite (along with a serial code) that does not require activation. But in the words of Adobe Employee Dov Isaacs:
You are only legally entitled to download and install with that serial number if you have a valid license to the product!
So while this does mean you certainly can create an Adobe ID and download Photoshop, it’s still not quite legal. However, this “Free Creative Suite 2” giveaway has been generating a huge amount of buzz on the internet, and has even been featured on tech blog giants like Gizmodo. Now that Adobe has clarified their position that this is NOT a free giveaway, a number of bloggers have called this a massive PR blunder. I wouldn’t be surprised if Adobe caves to the pressure and does decide to make the downloads fully legal across the board.
So for those of you who have been curious to try Photoshop or other Adobe products, here is a big, fat opportunity. These older versions of Creative Suite don’t pack nearly the punch that the current version do, but they’re still a great way to start dipping your toes in the Photoshop waters. But given Adobe’s legal stance you may want to wait and see if they do release the software for public consumption, or you can always download fully functioning 30-day trials of the latest versions of Creative Suite.
For more information check out these forums on Adobe.com: