[scribus] Adobe ends perpetual licenses

"Christoph Schäfer" christoph-schaefer at gmx.de
Fri May 10 05:28:56 UTC 2013

> Gesendet: Freitag, 10. Mai 2013 um 04:48 Uhr
> Von: "John Jason Jordan" <johnxj at comcast.net>
> An: scribus at lists.scribus.net
> Betreff: Re: [scribus] Adobe ends perpetual licenses
> On Thu, 9 May 2013 22:43:10 +0100
> Antonio Roberts <antonio at hellocatfood.com> dijo:
> >> Maybe this is a bit off place, but: isn't this the perfect time to
> >> release a campaing like the one did by OpenShot
> >Hopefully those who care enough about "owning" software will start to
> >consider all the alternatives of which Scribus etc is one
> I have been subscribed to the InDesign listserve for many years. The
> average is four or five posts a day. In the past several days since this
> news broke there have been well over a hundred posts. And Scribus has
> been mentioned in 10-20% of them. 
> There are numerous problems to overcome if you want designers to switch
> from InDesign to Scribus:
> 1) Comfort zone: They don't want to have to learn where the buttons for
> things are in Scribus. 

Isn't that true for every software, even the same product line in different versions? For someone who learned DTP with PageMaker, XPress or PageStream, InDesign is a strange kind of beast. And those who regularly build 1.5svn already know that users of Scribus 1.6.0 will have to adjust their habits quite a bit.

> 2) Their clients use InDesign and expect native InDesign files.

As mentioned in another thread, every other DTP program would have to clone ID (feature-wise) AND it would be necessary for ID to add features that are available in other programs (like Scribus Render Frames). Not realistic IMHO. PDF is well-documented and, along with EPS (for single pages), something that can be used for file exchange. Scribus 1.6.0 will provide import filters for IDML and PUB files, which is more than most other DTP programs offer. Unless Adobe assigns IDML to a standard body like ISO or OASIS (as they did with PDF), there's little chance for seamless file exchange between DTP programs.

> 3) There is no one responsible for Scribus, no one to blame if
> something goes wrong.

Well, the Scribus Team IS responsible for Scribus, and while it is true that the GPL includes a waiver of warranty, I recommend you read a proprietary license from Adobe -- exactly the same. If something goes wrong with Scribus, you may blame the Scribus Team, and if the same happens with ID, you may blame Adobe, but not in a legal sense.

> 4) No formal tech support. You can't pick up your phone and call
> someone.

No, but did you ever try an XPress or Adobe "tech support" hotline? In the US you may end up with an inmate of a prison whose inmates are being forced to do IT support for a few cents/hour and have no clue about the software. Elsewhere you'll be redirected to a call-centre in India or Pakistan whose employees don't understand your questions and have hardly any clue etc. pp. And that's only for English-speaking customers. If you need support in another language, tough luck. "Formal tech support" is a myth unless you are a "premium customer" who buys thousands of licenses/subscription on a regular basis. Now that I think of it, "formal tech support" is an accurate description: Adobe's tech support exists "formally", even if it's completely useless. Open Source tech support is informal (mailing lists, IRC, direct e-mail, bugtracker) but it generally works. Heck, I have repaired damaged SLA files sent to me by users, and so did other Team members. Did we charge a dime? Of course not!

Let me add another support aspect here: I used to feel guilty because the German translation of the online documentation was and is lagging behind the English version, and also because the English documentation, to which I contribute as well, was (and still is) far from being reasonably complete. Guess what? It's the same with Adobe software, which is much more expensive outside the US. The English Online Help for current Adobe products is full of gaping holes and sometimes still based on older versions. As for German translations of the digital help files (e.g. PDF manuals), whole chapters are still in English. In other languages it may be even worse.

> 5) Many InDesign installations are on computers owned by large
> organizations, corporations, government agencies, universities. My own
> university has the Adobe suite on graduate student computer labs, but
> not on undergraduate computer labs. Even Openoffice was recently
> removed from undergraduate computer labs. Why? Lack of human
> resources to support it and lack of computer hardware - not enough disk
> space to handle the latest versions of Windows/MacOS and MS Office.
> Asking the IT department to install Scribus, of which they know zero,
> is not likely to be effective.

I don't understand how this is related to the issue of Adobe vs. alternatives (not necessarily FLOSS alternatives, but alternatives in general).

> I'm not saying we should not keep pushing. And right now is a good time
> to give a serious shove. But realistically we have an uphill battle
> against commercial software.

While true, it needs to be said that every alternative to Adobe CS/CC products faces an uphill battle, one reason being the tight integration of the CS/CC components and the overall high quality of Adobe's products.


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