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Adobe Releases Full Creative Suite Online Completely Free (But Not Quite, and Not the Newest Version)

01.8.13 @ 11:35AM Tags : , ,

Adobe Releases Creative Suite 2 Online for FreeWhat could be better than free software? Well, a lot of things I guess, but I’ve never known anyone that would turn down an offer for free software (even when the legality of said free software is questionable). Some of you may have been following the news on the internet yesterday, but the Adobe site had been down for quite some time, so I’ve been waiting for the dust to settle a bit. The situation is not actually as obvious as it may seem at first glance, and it’s taken a little investigation to get to the bottom of why Adobe would release an older version of Creative Suite for free online.

Here is the situation and the official response from Adobe in their forum:

Effective December 13, Adobe disabled the activation server for CS2 products and Acrobat 7 because of a technical glitch. These products were released over 7 years ago and do not run on many modern operating systems. But to ensure that any customers activating those old versions can continue to use their software, we issued a serial number directly to those customers.  While this might be interpreted as Adobe giving away software for free, we did it to help our customers.

A response from Dov Issacs in that same forum:

On behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated …

You have heard wrong! Adobe is absolutely not providing free copies of CS2!

What is true is that Adobe is terminating the activation servers for CS2 and that for existing licensed users of CS2 who need to reinstall their software, copies of CS2 that don’t require activation but do require valid serial numbers are available. (Special serial numbers are provided on the page for each product download.) See <>.

You are only legally entitled to download and install with that serial number if you have a valid license to the product!

So Adobe isn’t quite being Santa Claus during this holiday season after all. The official response from the company is pretty clear, though it could have been a perfect opportunity to gain some free goodwill among consumers. Their reasoning for releasing CS2 free online – a program that was released in 2005 — makes perfect sense, as keeping up activations for a piece of software that they no longer sell and is 4 versions old seems like a waste of time. It would be like Apple still supporting Final Cut 5, when we’re already three versions past that.

Some had reported that an Adobe ID was necessary, but right now the software for both Windows and OSX is available to download with serials right on their website. In recent memory I don’t know that I’ve seen any company of this size put an older piece of software online with serials and tell consumers they should only be downloading if they actually own the software (but that they’re not going to stop you even if you don’t). It could very well be that as a company policy they would never admit to giving away free software, but there are very easy solutions to protect the programs so that only actual users of the software could obtain it directly from their website.

There is another big catch though, especially if you’re a Mac user: it’s made to run on Mac OSX 10.2.8 — 10.3.8 with a PowerPC G4 or G5 processor, and Windows 2000 or Windows XP. People have reported that they’ve been running it fine on newer versions of Windows, but if you’re on a Mac, it’s not going to run natively unless you’re on a PowerPC, and Apple no longer supports their Rosetta PowerPC emulation software in OSX 10.7 (Lion) or later. If you are running an earlier version of OSX, you should be in luck, even if you’re on Intel, but I can’t confirm which versions it will run on or how well it will work. You should also keep in mind that even though every program in the Creative Suite is included (including Premiere and Photoshop), this software is very old, and it may not work with every codec or file format you need it to.

So there you have it, you can download the software from Adobe completely free and legal assuming you already own it, but if you don’t, they’re not exactly stopping you from using it.


[via Forbes]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 32 COMMENTS

  • Anyone who hasn’t bought CS6 and needs it would have ripped it off already.

    It makes me laugh when I peruse filmmaking and 3D forums and see people talking about using CS6, MAYA and Renderman, then putting it together in NUKE etc.
    Plus all the grading in Resolve, After Effects etc.

    Sometimes I think I am the last person left on the internet who actually pays for Creative Suite.

    • Paul Barrett on 01.8.13 @ 1:22PM

      I paid for all my software too. *fist bump*

    • I paid for mine as well. Just rather my stuff be legit.

    • We’re the few. The proud.

    • Linuxdanish on 01.8.13 @ 2:06PM

      hooray I am not alone in paying for it! :)

    • john jeffreys on 01.8.13 @ 2:23PM

      I honestly don’t know anybody, aside from i guess clueless rich people and large “professional” big budget post houses, that pay for their software. Everything is pirated.

      • Fresno Bob on 01.8.13 @ 2:41PM

        “Clueless rich”?

        I’m a freelance multimedia designer. I pay for it.
        Why would I not? It’s how I earn my money.

        • john jeffreys on 01.8.13 @ 3:02PM

          Well I guess my views are totally biased because the community that I base my observations from are individuals that are not freelance or commercial at all, they work on movies and multimedia and installations and stuff for the love of it- they usually have a side job or something.

      • Jeff Akwante on 01.8.13 @ 4:38PM

        I hate when people have a outlook like this on stealing software.. no morals. I buy and legally own everything I use.

        • When I was in school, I would use pirated software because “I was just learning” and it didn’t feel wrong, “but when I graduate, I will pay for everything” I told myself.

          Now I use free open source software wherever I can, and only pay for a few critical pieces of software that I feel are really worth it. Darktable, audacidy, Gimp, blender, and virtualdub can do quite a lot, but they can’t do everything, and they can’t always do it fast or reliably, but they are excellent stop gap programs as you save up, so you don’t have to go “all in” right from the start, you can build and flex and move with your clients as you go off in all sorts of unpredictable direction in the early days.

      • How would you feel if we all stole your work and used it to earn income and didn’t give any of it to you?



    • I won’t deny having pirated things ever in life, but I do own Creative Suite legally and I absolutely never use pirated software for paid projects or indeed any projects that leave my own computer. Pirating software ostensibly makes some sense for learning or testing software, but fortunately now almost all expensive software has trial versions or student versions so that’s getting to be a less convincing excuse too.

      The truth is that a lot of work went into making software, even software that doesn’t work as well as it seems like it should, so there’s really not much justification for feeling entitled to have it for free. That said, there’s a lot of legitimately free software that actually works very well. Blender, for instance, comes to mind.

    • Jeff Akwante on 01.8.13 @ 4:37PM

      Uh, I bought a license of NUKE for $4900, I don’t pirate anything. I bought CS5 Production set for $500 a year and a half ago off some guy on ebay who didn’t need it. I have a legit copy of C4D, and a legit copy of PFMatchit, I don’t pirate anything.

      • john jeffreys on 01.9.13 @ 3:09PM

        Being elitist about paying for software that has fat profit margins doesn’t make you better than me, it just makes you a lot poorer lolol

        • Jeff Akwante on 01.9.13 @ 3:57PM

          I’m not rich, and yes I’m not the richest, but at least I’m honest unlike you.

        • I hope you don’t intend to make films (or any creative work) you want anyone to pay for? What you sow its what you reap. Respecting other people’s creative work is what I would expect all creatives to do

    • Diddo, paid for them too.

      It’s how I make my living as well and if I were to be audited (which is sometimes automatically triggered by certain funders) I know I don’t have anything to worry about.

  • Chris Lambert on 01.8.13 @ 12:49PM

    So what if you downloaded it and then upgraded?

  • On behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated …

    You have heard wrong! Adobe is absolutely not providing free copies of CS2!

    What is true is that Adobe is terminating the activation servers for CS2 and that for existing licensed users of CS2 who need to reinstall their software, copies of CS2 that don’t require activation but do require valid serial numbers are available. (Special serial numbers are provided on the page for each product download.) See .

  • I think side effects software have a pretty good policy with the way they release their software. They have Houdini Apprentice available for free (basically a PLE), then they have Apprentice HD for $99 (fully working license for non commercial work). A pretty good deal for the most powerful 3D program on the planet. I’d like to see more companies issue both non commercial and commercial licenses.

  • I’ve been offered pirated CS5/6 but I refuse to use it because I can’t afford to have it crash or do something crazy right in the middle of a project.

    • Well, the paid version isn’t entirely stable either. I’ve had After Effects start saving corrupted (un-openable) files with no indication that there was a problem until I tried to open my files later. The end result was that, despite having saved regularly, I was unable to use several hours worth of files. Wasn’t a big deal as I was way ahead of schedule but it was certainly a wake-up call that even when engaging in (what I thought were) best practices it’s possible to have that kind of problem. Now when I am working on a project for many hours I save, quit, and restart every so often just to be sure.

      I don’t know for sure but the problem seems to have been something to do with the shadow/highlight filter in an adjustment layer, possibly in conjunction with the 3D camera tracker. I haven’t tried too hard to reproduce it after the fact in a new project so I’m not sure whether there were other factors.

      • Had the same thing, again with a legit version. Prompted me to start making regular backups! Live and learn. Anyway, point is, there’s no particular reason to think a pirated version is any less stable than legit (unless such instabilities are implemented as an anti-piracy measure, which I don’t think Adobe does), especially with such phenomenally complex applications as these.

  • Matthijs Liethof on 01.10.13 @ 5:23AM

    Seems like an affordable alternative to the creative suit? :-)

  • I used to use pirated stuff myself for private stuff…. but always had this bad feeling about it. And made it so that I would never use it for paid jobs… it’s not right. And hardly a defence… So when I heard about the Creative Cloud I just pounced on it. 420 SEK per month is a steal for what is essentially a fully legal version of Master Suite. And I get continual upgrades. So yes, I do know the draw of pirating. But just know, that the legal copies aren’t that hard to get.

  • Taylor Zalus on 01.10.13 @ 4:09PM

    saving for cs6 currently ( and a MacBook Pro) :)

  • Sady Berlioz on 01.10.13 @ 4:35PM

    Adobe should give away this software. Nobody buys it anyway, lets hope they reconsider.

  • DAVID JONES on 01.12.13 @ 12:20PM

    Judging from the comments, we are all a honest bunch of rich guys. I’m glad to be amongst your ranks. Lets buy a Red, smash it and buy another one….just for kicks. How about it?