First off. Cloud is a misnomer. Adobe's Creative Cloud works like this. You subscribe to their service. While your subscription is active, you can use their software. You can subscribe to one app or the lot.

Subscription software is not new. Anybody who uses anti virus software will know this well. Norton went subscription a long time ago. With the retiring of the creative suite (CS) line, Adobe is also retiring the perpetual licence. This has caused quite a stir in the Adobe community. There is a petition circulating against the move which has garnered nearly 16,000 signatures.

The biggest problem with the subscription model is that when you stop paying, you no longer have the right to use the software. The files you work on in most cases are saved in some kind of Adobe format. This format is proprietary. The format is Adobe's intellectual property. This means you work can only be opened by Adobe applications. The upshot is that your work could be locked because you can no longer use the software to open it.

The advantage is that you will always have access to the latest version. Photoshop for example introduced content aware resizing in CS4. This means you can resize the background and keep your foreground intact. The new version promises some pretty amazing perspective correcting tools. There is promise of a camera shake correction feature in the upcoming release. All good stuff.

Gone is the discriminatory pricing arrangement that saw Adobe charge 30% more in Australia than the US for the same software. Hallelujah! That is indeed good news. I refused to upgrade from CS5.5 to CS6 because of it, especially since Adobe have successively cut off avenues to get around it.

Adobe will charge $50 per month for everything. There are discount prices for early adopters of $20/month for owners of CS6 & $30/month for owners of CS3 and above. Student pricing is $30 per month with a $19/month promotional offer. This gives you access to pretty much all of their apps. If you like the burger with the lot, then it's a good deal.

Another good feature is that the licence allows you to run your software on 2 computers. This has been the case for as long as I can remember. But the big new thing is that this is now independent of operating system. Your subscription now covers Windows and Mac. So, if you have a Mac and PC you'll be able run both versions.

Another part to Creative Cloud is cloud sync. This allows files and assets to be automatically synchronised between the desktop, cloud and mobile devices. This has the potential to be a very powerful feature. Being able to transfer settings automatically from my laptop to my desktop could be very handy, especially things like creating and editing colour swatches. The trouble is that it has failed.

Cloud sync had been flakey at the beginning of the week. Several days ago it stopped. Adobe has now suspended its operation for a couple of weeks before they “launch the fully integrated version of our new Creative Cloud desktop application”. This begs the question, why release something that is clearly not ready? Surely this should have been tested a bit more thoroughly before publicly releasing it.

The other problem is that it took nearly 2 days for Adobe to acknowledge publicly there was an issue at their end. Their help forum was full of people asking for help and getting advice from staff on how to reset their connection. Not much help when the problem was at their end. They have since put up a blog post explaining all. The blog seems to point to to the sync app being experimental and not quite ready for release. That's ok. I have no problem with that if you tell us first. Adobe, you need to get you act together. Communicate with your support staff. And communicate with us, your customers.