How is it with W@R3Z?

loocas | opinions | Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

vista_photoshop_boxes.jpgDisclaimer: this article is in NO WAY intednded to guide anyone to using pirated software! It’s solely my own opinion based on my own experience.

So, what is all about that oh-so-prohibited word “warez”? Is it really that bad, evil and immoral using pirated software? It all depends on your point of view and other circumstances. On one hand, companies try very hard to avoid their software being pirated all over the web and even go as far as “hiring” legal force to do whatever it takes to stop you or anyone else from using their software without a “legally” obtained licence. On the other hand, there’re always hobbyists, students who can’t afford it or simply people who don’t like paying big bucks for software that they’re not sure they’ll be able to handle/use and the trials (that are often being crippled by the manufacturers) aren’t good enough for a full and thorough evaluation. Of course, there are also users who simply don’t give a damn and pirate even open source software ;)

One of the major features the companies scream about when it comes to software piracy is support. This, almost mythical, word should mean something like when you run into serious problems with your software, you’re, as a valued customer, eligible for some professional advice, help or simply a solution to the problem of yours. I say “should” as you’ll see it is not always true that you will get an answer to your question/problem, if any!

My personal, very recent, experience is quite different from all the anti-piracy banners and official propaganda. I’ve recently upgraded to a full x64 system based on a Windows Vista Business (64-bit) EN version, which is a different story. I, obviously as it is normal after a fresh install, collected all the software I legally own and started installing onto the clean system. To my surprise and quite a bit of a shock, I shall say, all my enthusiasm vaporised in anger when I installed my own copy of Adobe’s Photoshop CS2. I know it’s a 32-bit software, but that should run without any trouble on an 64-bit system with a 32-bit emulation (which Vista has). The problem wasn’t in that I couldn’t run Photoshop, I could, the treason came with keyboard input. I couldn’t use my navigation arrow keys, I couldn’t use delete, home or even function keys. They worked, however, the input in Photoshop was completely different from what I typed on my keyboard. For example, the delete key resulted in a “$” sign input, the home key was a “@” and so on. I couldn’t delete layers, move objects in the canvas, type anything in, nothing at all. This was a vital disfunction of Photoshop, and I blame Adobe for this nonsense, because all other applications, 32-bit and 64-bit alike, worked properly on the very system.

So, what does all this have to do with software piracy? Well, after a thorough re-install of the whole system on a freshly formatted partition, I came to the same result with my own, boxed, version of Photoshop. I should add that neither of the patches and updates from Adobe for PS CS2 worked. The second time I faced the same problem, which is vital to my work as I use Photoshop every day, I tried, just for the heck of it, a pirated version of Photoshop CS2. I didn’t use the keygen to obtain the serial number and the activation key for that, instead I used my own serial number. This installation of Photoshop, to my shock, worked absolutely fine without any trouble at all! All the keys on my keyboard worked as they should, all the updates downloaded and worked as they should, everything worked as it should! But the worst part of all is the “support” I got from Adobe. To this date: NONE! No answer, no phone call, no interest. I registered my product the first time I encountered the malfunction (even though I don’t usually register software if I don’t have to) and filed a bug report on Adobe’s web site. Twice. I didn’t call the support as I don’t live in the U.S. and I didn’t purchase the package from our local, Czech, reseller, so, I might have had a bit of a luck with that, however, not a single e-mail after little over a week? That’s ridiculous. I can’t imagine not being able to use Photoshop this long, it’s just unacceptable for a freelance artist, or anyone for that matter.

So, what do the companies actually offer for our money? If it was eye-for-an-eye, then if the companies offer nothing, why bother paying the extra? Especially considering the fact that Adobe charges over 100% MORE for their products here in Europe than they do in the U.S.! This really is ridiculous and upsetting, at least. Nevertheless, as I said, I don’t recommend anyone using pirated software, I don’t use it, I don’t like it, since I value the time and effort put into the development of the product, but this article clearly shows how things are when it comes down to the “real deal”. At least I have this, unpleasant, experience.

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