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posted by martyb on Sunday December 06 2015, @01:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the rethinking-closed-source-software dept.

Akkana reports via the Shallow Thoughts blog

I went to a night sky photography talk on Tuesday. The presenter talked a bit about tips on camera lenses, exposures; then showed a raw image and prepared to demonstrate how to process it to bring out the details.

His slides disappeared, the screen went blank, and then ... nothing. He wrestled with his laptop for a while. Finally he said "Looks like I'm going to need a network connection", left the podium, and headed out the door to find someone to help him with that.

I'm not sure what the networking issue was: the nature center has open wi-fi, but you know how it is during talks: if anything can possibly go wrong with networking, it will, which is why a good speaker tries not to rely on it. And I'm not blaming this speaker, who had clearly done plenty of preparation and thought he had everything lined up.

Eventually they got the network connection, and he connected to Adobe. It turns out the problem was that Adobe Photoshop is now cloud-based. Even if you have a local copy of the software, it insists on checking in with Adobe at least every 30 days. At least, that's the theory. But he had used the software on that laptop earlier that same day, and thought he was safe. But that wasn't good enough, and Photoshop picked the worst possible time--a talk in front of a large audience--to decide it needed to check in before letting him do anything.

Someone sitting near me muttered "I'd been thinking about buying that, but now I don't think I will." Someone else told me afterward that all Photoshop is now cloud-based; older versions still work, but if you buy Photoshop now, your only option is this cloud version that may decide ... at the least opportune moment ... that you can't use your software any more.

[...] I talked to the club president afterward and offered to give a GIMP talk to the club some time soon, when their schedule allows.

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  • (Score: 2) by melikamp on Sunday December 06 2015, @04:07AM

    by melikamp (1886) on Sunday December 06 2015, @04:07AM (#272365) Journal

    Photoshop is one of the most pirated software around. This is clearly a ploy to get more people to pay for it, Seems odd that punishing those who do pay is some how part of this scheme. Does it also upload all your images? Or is it merely checking for a license?

    I think you are answering your own questions right here. I think it's not even as much of a ploy to get people to pay, but to spy on them, in which case everything they do makes total sense. The so-called "cloud" here is Adobe, and things are not being sent to the cloud, but to Adobe. We can't see any code, but we can make very safe assumptions based on the past behavior of proprietary software vendors, including Adobe itself. If any image processing is done on Adobe's servers, then they probably get everything users work on, at least as thumbnails. Do they look at other files on the same computer? Why not, if somehow it can be justified by "convenience". Making this software technically unable to perform its primary functions without an umbilical cord connecting it to the mothership is as inefficient as one could come up with, and a usability nightmare, but if the primary purpose is to spy on the users, then it's hard to conceive of a better solution.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by jmoschner on Sunday December 06 2015, @04:51AM

    by jmoschner (3296) on Sunday December 06 2015, @04:51AM (#272383)

    The problem (for adobe) wasn't piracy or the need to spy on users. It was that businesses were skipping upgrade cycles. By making the software a service it is actually easier to get upgrades as it becomes a yearly expense instead of trying to get money for an upgrade. It may sound dumb, but really is easier in a company to pay 100/yr per machine than 500/machine every 5 years. In a corporate setting what adobe is doing makes sense for both them and the users. Everywhere else it is a shitty setup.

    • (Score: 2) by melikamp on Sunday December 06 2015, @08:41AM

      by melikamp (1886) on Sunday December 06 2015, @08:41AM (#272431) Journal
      I agree, this is a huge factor too. It's malware, and it abuses the user in every way it can.
    • (Score: 2) by Nuke on Sunday December 06 2015, @10:50AM

      by Nuke (3162) on Sunday December 06 2015, @10:50AM (#272450)

      ..... Or pay 500 ever. I'm still using a copy of WordPerfect that's 22 years old

      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Sunday December 06 2015, @05:07PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday December 06 2015, @05:07PM (#272515) Journal

        That's great if you only need to edit your own files. But good luck editing a .doc file another person sends you.

        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 08 2015, @09:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 08 2015, @09:13PM (#273627)

      It is easier in *some* companies to pay 100/yr/machine than 500/5 yr / machine.

      It is *always* more profitable for Adobe to be collecting rent from you every month for continued use of their software, than it is for them to sell you a product you can use for however long you need it for and then walk away from it or upgrade to the newest version at that time. I'm still running Adobe 9 Professional and will until this machine dies - a very good long run and certainly less money than they'dve gotten off me in rent.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Sunday December 06 2015, @05:15AM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 06 2015, @05:15AM (#272393) Journal

    Well I doubt they are going to gain anything by uploading any Other Files. They could never use these without admitting to a computer crime. They would have to hope there never came a day when an employee decided to spill the beans. The risk would be way too high.

    Now they might upload the photo being worked on, as part of the service. They may even offer to keep the files in your image vault on their servers.

    Lots of Companies are in a photo-grab these days. There doesn't seem to be any money making motive, so I really wonder why Microsoft, Google Photobucket, Dropbox, Flicker, iCloud and even Amazon are all in a rush to collect your photos, usually for free, usually with your permission, and always with vague promises of keeping them safe for you. Why? What's in it for them?

    I don't get it, but my tinfoil hat is starting to buzz. With enough photos containing geocoding from cell phones, showing faces, you might be able to facially recognize the world without ever taking a picture yourself. Oh, ah, time to take my meds.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by HiThere on Sunday December 06 2015, @05:36AM

      by HiThere (866) on Sunday December 06 2015, @05:36AM (#272395) Journal

      Quite likely their EULA gives them permission. When I switched off MS it was because they added something to the EULA giveing them the right to (from memory) "Add, modify, create, or delete any filen on this computer". A year or so later Apple added the same language (in a security update) so I switched to Linux...but how many people read those?

      This probably isn't enough to allow them to force you to let them modify your computer, but it probably *is* enough that they can use it as a defense no matter WHAT they do.

      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by SDRefugee on Sunday December 06 2015, @06:43PM

        by SDRefugee (4477) on Sunday December 06 2015, @06:43PM (#272544)

        I used/supported MS products as a sysadmin since WFW311, when I retired in 2010, I decided I was DONE with MS and other proprietary software, and switched to Linux. And after seeing the privacy nightmare that *is* Windows 10, I couldn't be happier. I did convert one of my Windows 7 licenses over to Windows 10 and played with 10 on my laptop for a while, after installing it with all of the privacy-destroying switches turned off, and everything possible to
        turn off via gpedit.msc.. With a rpcapd running on my router, and a copy of Wireshark running on another machine under Linux, I found that the Windows 10 system had NOT disabled all of the bullshit.. It was still blabbing away to all of the many publicized urls that others have uncovered.. So, as for me, MS is dead to me, and I feel great sadness for anybody who either *has* to run MS products or simply *thinks* they have to....

        America should be proud of Edward Snowden, the hero, whether they know it or not..
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @08:31AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @08:31AM (#272429)

      Why do they want to get all your photos? So they can train their algorithms to recognize people, things, etc. Why? So they can sell their algorithms to companies who want to identify you when you walk past a camera. You can imagine who those customers will be (are already).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @02:15PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @02:15PM (#272477)

        You can imagine who those customers will be (are already).

        The corporate sector by far. Targeted ads. This is the next natural evolution of targeted ads, the Minority Report style advertising.