back to article Adobe about to pull the plug on Creative Cloud freebie 'at-home' access for students

The clock is ticking for students that require Adobe software for their courses as campuses remain shut and the vendor's "at-home" access deal nears its end. It was a handy arrangement after students found themselves unable to visit computer rooms equipped with the company's Creative Cloud wares. The agreement gave at-home …

  1. b0llchit Silver badge

    Habit or addiction?

    Or those students will need to dip a little deeper into their student loans in order to fund an Adobe habit.

    Is this habit or addiction? How do you tell the difference? Most are using tools without thought. They know the tool but not the principle of the tool. When the tool becomes the target, regardless of cost, then you can establish an argument for the distinction between habit and addiction. If the principle is the target, alternative ways may be used. How do you tell an addict that she is addicted? How do you get an addict to stop their addiction. Good questions until you realize who profits from that addiction.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Are Adobe products the only ones ...

    that can be used to achieve what the students are learning ?

    If there are alternatives then should the universities not be teaching general principles which is illustrated by using Adobe & other products ?

    If they just teach Adobe products then they are delivering training, not education. The result will be graduates who can only work if they have Adobe products - this is not good. Adobe will achieve ever greater lock-in and the competition wither.

    If universities teach one product because it is easier - then they are being lazy.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

      "that can be used to achieve what the students are learning ?"

      I think it's one of these things that's mandated by industry. If you leave education to go in to a job, they're all using Adobe. So if you go in and say you learnt everything you know on GIMP, you won't get the job.

      Creative industries are lazy in this respect. They financially hurt themselves to kit themselves out in Mac's with Adobe because they either don't know any better, they don't want to do anything else, and most of the tutorials on the internet are really related to Adobe products.

      When they become cynical and get to the point of do they feed themselves that week or pay Adobe for a license, they'll learn that there are other tools available and that it isn't the tool that produces the work. It's the workman.

      FYI, I do film photography and I use a combination of darktable and GIMP for my photos. Adobe Photoshop offers absolutely nothing of value in this respect.

      1. Michael Habel

        Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

        Gimp =/= Photoshop... Hell Gimp =/= even Paintshop. So imagine my surprise when no one would hire you. I mean Darktable is a SOLID alternative to Adobes' Lightroom. BUT, ITS NOT LIGHTROOMNOW IS IT?!

        1. Kientha

          Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

          Serif's Affinity suite is an affordable non-subscription alternative to Photoshop. It offers most of the functionality you get out of Photoshop but you then don't have the extensive range of add-ons Photoshop gives you access to and there are a few more niche features not in Affinity Photo

          1. Michael Habel

            Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

            And, its really only of intrest to the Home Gamer. To cheap to shell out a mesly 120$(USD), a year for the Lightroom & Photoshop Plan. Ok your a Home-Gamer, and you just need a goof? Then Affinity will do you well. But, to confuse that crap with Adobes' stuff. Is like comparing BeOS* with Windows X.

            *About the only most usless non-M$ OS I could think of.. Yes you could use it... BUT WHY!?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

              "And, its really only of intrest to the Home Gamer"

              Adobe's software isn't all it's cracked up to be. Both darktable and Raw Therapee offer technically superior raw file conversion to Lightroom (I tried both and didn't keep Lightroom). Photoshop only really offers a better UX to GIMP (GIMP can actually do most things PS can do, it just might take more steps). One professional I know is using Coreal Aftershot.

              I know a fair few professional photographers, and there's a trend of them starting to move away from Adobe - as a profession, it's becoming less well-paid, and the realisation of having to pay whatever Adobe ask for every month for their software is causing a reaction from "meh, it's a business expense", to a consternated "hmm ...".

        2. Flywheel

          Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

          Why, if you as a prospective client for a photographer, would need to know what editing software a photographer would use? Surely if you commission a portfolio of your property, would it matter that the photographer did last-minute retouching using MS Paint if the finished product was what you wanted?

          1. a_yank_lurker

            Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

            From what I heard from the pros in various forums they really only care about being able to efficiently edit their photos. They prefer to use 1 package (not necessarily Abode) so they get real proficient with it.

          2. Snake Silver badge

            Re: @Flywheel

            And with that type of comment, everyone here misses the topic. You've got NON-CREATIVES trying to tell, to dictate, what tools should be good enough for them to use in their day to day profit-making operations!

            Why do [us] creatives, people who are responsible day after day for creating some type of art output (just one of the many hats I wear at my job) using, and sticking with, Adobe? If you have to ask, it is very apparent that you flatly do not understand the requirements of a "creative", by believing that you can dictate that they use an alternative.

            So, why do we use Adobe?

            1) POWER. The options everyone here says may be viable aren't, due to the fact that Adobe has spent years making systems that are either automated or frankly more powerful, or both, than the competition. Use MS Paint or GIMP to retouch a wedding shoot? Why, do the options have *automated* red eye retouching, batch RAW reprocessing and color grading, automatic subject object selection for editing, and dozens and dozens of other professionally oriented automaton tools?

            Or do you expect me to add dozens of hours to my workflow, with no commensurate increase in pay for the project?

            2) INTEGRATION. You stick with the Adobe suite because they work TOGETHER across a variety of creative art professions. Use Quark and Affinity together? Sure you can, one does layouts, the other images. But then what happens when you need to adjust an image after placing it in a layout?

            Quark/Affinity combo?? Oh, I guess i have to reopen Affinity, edit the image, save the image, go back to Quark and update the link with preview. Thanks, I did that way over a decade ago.

            Adobe? Some things on an image you can do right inside InDesign itself. Others are a right-click activation away from editing in Photoshop, and when saved are automatically updated in InDesign. Simple.

            So don't go speaking about what other people need to be doing unless you know what you are talking about.

            1. Michael Habel

              Re: @Flywheel

              I wonder what half of these fools would say if we took the heavy iron out of their server rooms, and replaced them with ca~ 2008 Mac Minis running X-Serve instead? I mean I get it I probably wouldn't buy a 1000$ Belgum Hilti either, if I just wanted to drill a few holes in the wall. When a Milwaukee down at the "Usual Scumbags", for a 10th of that would do me good, and plenty.

              Well this stupid argument over Adobe vs. Serif vs. FOSS is just that. Having used Adobes stuff, Affinity Photo, and both Gimp & Darktable / Rawtherapee there is a noticable decline of control. almost to the expence of convinance, Serif are probably most guilty of this. As most of the aforementioned FOSS stuff does a good job of paroting Adobes style. (Gimp, and Darktable), but never quite reaching the plateau.

              As a home gamer myself I find nothing inherrently worng with Affinity. (besides the lack of fine justing the tools, or the layout of the program to actually do so. (I must amit I only used the Demo version), and well the best thing One could say about it, is it does what it says on the Tin. But, if we are going to get into OS Wars for a second Affinity is the Macintosh OS7 with the happy clown on the ball pointing to the File you should "open", while Adobe (unironicly), is the Windows 7 level of perfection. The FOSS stuff as always falls somewhere in the middle. neither bad, nor good. About the worst thing I would say about it is the lack of a userbase, or indeed any userbase worth speakig off. I mean how maany books were just witten for Photoshop in the last 20 Years? Now how many Books are out there for gimp?

              The Proffesional industy cares little for your reasuringly expensive CMYK ink slingers. what they DO care about is colour accuracy, and that is 95% of Photoshops success right there. Probably where 99% of the home gamer just doesnt have a clue, let alone cares. Which probably goes some way as to explaning why Lightroom (If anything), has eaten Photoshops lunch. Not, that this is Adobes problem. as they still get your money. But. Adobe have built up trust, and a branded quality that will ensure that Pros will stick with Lightroom, and not bugger off to Darktable, even if it is 9x% of the way there. For 99% of all the home gamers. In the Pro space. Colour is king, and Adobe own this space. Hence why we have AdobeRGB which is better than plan old sRGB. Which covers a smaller gamut of the colour space.

    2. Michael Habel

      Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

      Wait, there are other Products which are not fruity-based (I'm looking at you Final Cut Pro), I'm personally at a loss for legitimate replacements for both Illustrator, and the venerable Photoshoop. Perhaps JASC Paintshop Pro spings to ones mind. But, its been more than donkies since I've head a peep from that lot.

      As good as the "Alternatives" to the Home-gamer. If your looking to go "Pro" then Adobe is the only league worth playing in. And, the FOSS alerrnitves? Well thats for the cheapskate who cant shell out a measly 50$ for Affinity Photo / Designer.

      Again I'm not saying they suck. Just that it isnt even close to the industy standard a.k.a. Adobe.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

        Industry standard means "> 50% are using this". This can change. Let's make it happen.

        1. Michael Habel

          Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

          I'm sure Willam H. Gates the Third... Is still expecting someone to just come along and, eat Windows, and by that proxy Office's lunch. and, that was what getting on (or indeed well over) 20 years old now. If Windows H8, and Windows X haven't killed them yet. I guess nothing much will.

          Again Home Gamers are cool, and all and, its great that Sirf are looking after them. But, I would not be doing up my Victorias' Secrets Shots with it. I think the word I've bee searching for the whole time was "scale", and well as with most things this "Scale" seems to be on a spectrum.

      2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

        PaintShop Pro got bought by Corel. The last time I looked at it it had become unrecognisable bloatware garbage.

        Inkscape, GIMP and satisfy literally all of the requirements I have on this score and more. I mean I just need to resize the odd photo and maybe convert an svg into another format every now and again and that's about it. I don't need Adobe for that. And I would be willing to bet that about 50% of their subscribed users don't do anything more complicated than I do, they just don't know any different.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

      Don't forget that a big use of Adobe in universities isn't necessarily its graphics packages, but Acrobat, to export or collate multiple documents together as PDFs.

      You know, the sort of thing that could easily be done with LibreOffice (saving lots of money on unnecessary licences for certain other software as well, if some people weren't so stuck to the "but we've always done it this way" mindset).

      There's also a lot of unnecessary use of Adobe products simply for occasional ad hoc creation of posters and the like for in-house use (because it's "free" to the end users, although the cost has to come out of some departmental budget), which, again, could equally be easily done with Scribus, Inkscape, etc. The number of people who "need" this so-called "professional" software to put together prospectuses and the like is very small in comparison.

      There may be a case for licensing (because you sure as hell don't own them any more) Adobe products for actual art and design students, but, if each university and college were instead to also donate £1/student (even 10p/student) to the equivalent open source projects, just think what what a development boost that would be, ultimately benefiting not only themselves, but all of humanity.

      1. Michael Habel

        Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

        Also its a small but, nontheless fun fact, that Adobe does cover more than just Lightroom, Photoshoop, and Acrobat. I'd imagine plenty of People on Youtube bow to Adobe every month, for Premeire as well. Well the ones who obvisly can not afford a Macbook that is... (See my crack on final Cut Pro).

      2. Michael Habel

        Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

        Again nobody cares Microsoft hit the market first, and hit it hard with Office, and the rest is history. You can either be in the Clque like everyone else. Or, you can be that guy whos document fails to load properly. Because Microsoft aint got time to support some hippy neckbeard format. When they would just rather you used their own product(s) instead.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

          Before Office there were no other spreadsheets or wordprocessors or card-style databases or what have you?

          1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

            Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

            I don't think there was, no. Before Word there was no WordStar, WordPro or Word Perfect. People say that VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3 and CalcStar existed before Excel, but this too is a tissue of lies. Symantec Q&A, FoxPro and dBase did not exist before Access was written, Harvard Graphics is a totally made up thing that never existed before PowerPoint and writing things on a piece of paper, sellotaping that piece of paper to a wild pig and then slapping the pig hard so it runs away, never to be seen again, also never existed before OneNote.

            1. J. Cook Silver badge

              Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

              You forgot to mention that the pig was wearing lipstick.

              I could never get a hang of OneNote, but then, I'm horrible at taking notes.

            2. Michael Habel

              Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

              Ohhhh Woo-Hoo... Oh smart boy, where are these "Products" today. I'm not some zoomer shump that fell off the Amazon Delivery Truck. I never bothered to mention these Products for the same reason why you never mention the Rand-Remington UNIVAC. Because its historicly irrelevant to the argument.

              They all failed to keep up with the times, switching from DOS to WfW way back in the 90s, and devlop a toolset that would allow you to take a Spreedsheet, cut it out, and paste it into your documentaion. You know. almost like how you can devlop a RAW image in Lightroom, further manipulate said "Image" in Photoshop. Possibly by adding a vector graphic that someone made in Illistrator, while exporting the rest inside Premiere so you can upload to the Wibbles?

              Yes we should all revert back to Wordstar with is cute wittle paper overlay over the F-Keys. Just like Grandpa used to have it.

      3. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

        Plus there are quite a few free/open source products that just install a "print to PDF" function, meaning you need absolutely no other software whatsoever, or that will scan to a PDF (naps2 for example). Adobe not required.

      4. Hugh McIntyre

        Re: collate multiple documents together as PDFs

        Mac uses can merge multiple PDFs with Preview, built into the OS for free. ("Free" after the cost of the Mac at least).

        Several commercial companies use non-Acrobat alternatives for PDF handing, in part because of wanting less bloat than Acrobat as well as the price.

      5. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

        The construction of illustrations for publication is a major use case. Adobe gives one much more control over multiple layering and colour merging, adjusting grayscale images to get a good illustration. Of course, one doesn't use Adobe products for the actual science bit, but they do come in handy... once in a blue moon, which is why I object to this paying through the nose every month, and you can't get access to the education pricing a month at a time, only in year-long blocks. There's a lot of administrative overhead in swapping Adobe identities around so you can transfer licensing to different people as they enter their writing up phase... it's honestly a massive PITA. Adobe were just money grabbing SOBs when they killed the box products and the concurrent licensing. Now if they had a more generalised network licensing key server like Autodesk it would REALLY help the scientists out. Just buy as many licenses as you need to run concurrently, using the reporting function of the on-prem or in-cloud license server, and there you have it!

    4. a_yank_lurker

      Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

      I do RAW photo processing and over the years I have used a number of photo processing wares. They all take a little time to learn the basics but if you have used a couple and understand what you are doing it is not a major problem to switch. Adobe is just another vendor to me and one I do not use because they have been too greedy. The only reason for a class to use brand X is it is easier on the instructor as they only need to be familiar with 1 program not 3 or 4.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are Adobe products the only ones ...

      "If there are alternatives then should the universities not be teaching general principles which is illustrated by using Adobe & other products ?"

      The problem is, when universities do that, "industry" complains that they are producing unskilled graduates who they then have to teach (I've seen employer surveys complaining British universities don't teach CS undergraduates to use Visual Studio).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remote desktop

    to the machines that they aren't able to use "in person"?

    1. whitepines

      Re: Remote desktop

      That's against the Windows 10 desktop EULA (no CALs, you see, it's user locked -- RDP only legal if you are the primary user of the machine) and almost certainly against the Adobe TOS too.

      Note Microsoft has (cunningly) chosen not to enforce this little limitation in software. Remember Windows NT and similar lax enforcement for market share gains? It won't last, but for now, there are probably millions of users and / or thousands of lucrative companies just waiting to be extorted gently pushed into a brand new paid subscription Azure/Windows-based infrastructure under threat of criminal prosecution for past misdeeds.

      1. Qumefox

        Re: Remote desktop

        I don't know of anyone in our company using RDP who isn't the primary user of the machine they're connecting to(over VPN). Doing anything else is just dumb, as allowing world + dog RDP access to a machine is just asking for trouble. But I guess a lot of people do it though, going by how often I read about companies getting infested with ransomware.

  4. karlkarl Silver badge

    Just say "no" kids.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      ... to Adobe's Creative Accounting.

      Affinity Photo awaits. The 50% offer is still running.

      1. Michael Habel

        Search the YouTube for a chap called "AvE" He does B oring O ld Tool R eviews. And, undrerstand why "Professionals" laugh at Home-Gamer Tools. Affinity may well be a player. But, its got another 50+ years to catch up to the big dog(s).

        1. CT

          Remember Quark?

          I wouldn't write Affinity off just yet. It took a lot less than 50+ years for the new upstart Adobe InDesign to replace Quark Xpress as the de facto standard page layout tool.

          1. Michael Habel

            Re: Remember Quark?

            Forgetting that Adobe are the preverbial 2 TON White Elephant in the room. Imagine my surprise that Quak Xpress died in a not so dissimular way as Kodak had.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Elephant

              Completely off topic, but 2 TON is a bit light for an elephant. And white elephants are not exactly extinct, but there aren’t too many left.

              That is all, carry on.

        2. J. Cook Silver badge

          Actually, the BOLTR (Bored Of Lame Tool Reviews) videos are pretty damn funny.

    2. Michael Habel

      You mean like the do in Seattle, or Portland? If so I agree! like a someone how depends on a fuctioning industy seeting bit of software to live off off, much less run a whole company. will let some zoomer dictate to me to move shop to Gimp & Darktable. Lets just be practical for a moment. and agree that there is no Pepsi / AMD to Adobes' Coke / Intel.

      Not going to say the world wouldn't be a better place if it had.... But, thats the world we live in.

      1. DCFusor

        Sound like you're just too lazy to learn any alternatives . No one who had learned a few would make such blanket statements.

      2. karlkarl Silver badge

        Just use an old non-cloud version until you have mastered a viable alternative XD

        Easier said than done I am sure but in the long run you know you will be better off.

  5. DrBobK


    Just a quick thanks to Autodesk who (in contrast to Adobe) are really good to users in education. I've had free Maya and Arnold licences from them when I needed them (for research purposes, not commercial ones). Good on them!

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: Autodesk

      I agree. Out of all my students who pirate Autodesk's software; not one of them has been fined.

      Good guy Autodesk :)

  6. poohbear

    "while on-campus activities depend on government guidance, which is wholly understandable."

    Surely you jest?....

  7. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Sir, Sir, ...

    Adobe Ate My Homework.

  8. Avatar of They

    Obligatory statement

    Adobe are Dicks!

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    On the good side

    This teaches kids why cloud "licenses" are a bad thing.

    1. Qumefox

      Re: On the good side

      Rent to own anything is a bad thing. It doesn't matter if it's software or furniture. Either way the 'product' could be taken away from you at any time and you have little to show for your expenditure.

  10. Long John Silver

    Transferable skills?

    To pick up a point arising several times elsewhere, I note the difference between training and education. These need not be wholly exclusive but the latter ought be directed towards understanding principles underlying tools enabling completion of practical tasks.

    For instance, academic disciplines (and associated vocational courses) with considerable reliance on using the optical microscope would be remiss if no basic grounding in optical principles, along with their realisation in practice, is provided. Not detailed account of optical theory but sufficient outline to enable efficient use of the instrument (e.g. Kohler illumination) and to recognise optical artefact (e.g. diffraction effects consequent upon excessive reduction of working aperture).

    For that purpose it matters not in the least whether the instrument was manufactured by Leica, Zeiss, or Olympus. Employers of people called upon to use optical microscopes would anticipate previous education/training in deploying the instrument but not demand experience in products from a particular maker; it should take little time to acquaint a new employee with instruments that happen to be at hand.

    Similarly, office software, design software, and image manipulation software, each entail understanding some fundamental principles before effective and reliable use is attainable. Employers demanding job applicants be signed up members of, say, the Microsoft and Adobe clans are short sighted. Thereby, they may be excluding consideration of superior candidates. After all, expectation is of graduates being quite bright, flexible of thought, generally adaptable, and able rapidly to become acquainted with variants of tools with which they are familiar; properly planned induction of newcomers takes care of this.

    Whilst most people would regard Microsoft products (apart from Windows) and Adobe software fit for purpose they are not exclusively so. Clever marketing has made these tools appear essential, this reinforced by near ubiquitous use in education. Instead of allowing themselves to be increasingly tied into particular software vendors, under false impression of being offered a 'good deal', public educational institutions should support a range of open source free software and enable students to grasp that it's a matter of 'horses for courses' regarding specific tasks.

    Nothing prevents Microsoft, Adobe, Wolfram, SPSS, etc. providing free of charge copies of their closed source proprietary software to compete alongside freely provided software from other sources; competition would be in terms of functionality, ease of use, adaptability for specified non-mainstream tasks: not on price per se.

    Staff and students would discover that price and worthiness for use correlate weakly. Moreover, diversity of tools within an organisation rather than conformity to, say, a particular office suite, encourages convergence of data transfer (e.g. document) protocols.


    1. Refugee from Windows

      Re: Transferable skills?

      Losing all those students isn't a good idea perhaps? Once you've got them used to using them your products that it's assumed they will move to employers that need to pay for licences, thus generating business. Works with Office software doesn't it?

      Are students going to pay up for their own copies at full rates? Perhaps not. Are they going to hold their previous work to ransom then? Maybe someone else can answer that one.

  11. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    Universities have incredible manpower. Get the art and UX students to design beautiful and fluid art applications. Get the CS students to write the application code. Have the math and statistics students work out the correct pixel operations.

    Building a good illustration and multimedia app is hard as hell. Participating in a real-world Adobe-killing product would look amazing on a recent grad's resume.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be fair...

    ...half of "education users" probably weren't entitled to use that SKU anyway. There's not a whole load of difference between pirating and clicking the "I am a student" checkbox from Adobe's perspective.

    Anyway, part of the learning process is to learn that Adobe screws you out of money.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: clicking the "I am a student" checkbox

      IIRC they do require proof, and as one wouldn't have access to Photoshop* to fudge the evidence they can be more confident that one is a genuine student.

      * Otherwise one wouldn't be bothering to go through the hoops, would one?

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