I read this morning on Slashdot that not long after Intuit gave up on activation codes for its software and took out a full-page ad apologizing to its fleeing customers, Adobe is going to try flexing its muscles and see if it can cram Photoshop activation down the throats of its customers. I think one newsgroup poster summed up the situation accurately:
> The important point is though that up until recent times a software
> license was good for as long as the consumer needed the software as long
> as he didn’t break the terms of the license. Activated licenses are
> basically turning software into rentalware. It’s only good for as long
> as the publishers want it to be or when they go under. Whichever comes
Microsoft may be strong enough to get away with forcing activation – though not with me, says the proud new Penguin rider – but Intuit wasn’t and I doubt Adobe will be. Christopher Warnock, if you’re reading this, tell your Dad to give it up. And give my best to the beautiful Barbara.
I really hate the notion of activation, as it is not only an invasion of computer privacy, but it is also an illustration of the basic dishonesty of software “products”. When I buy a t-shirt, I can wear it, I can give it to my friend or I can loan it to my brother. It’s mine – I paid for it. But activated software is tied to a single machine, and while it’s not too much of a hassle when it’s the operating system software, it would be an incredible pain if every manufacturer started trying to require activation for every program. Then again, maybe that would be a good thing as it would certainly speed up the mass Linux migration.
It seems software manufacturers want to have it both ways; they want to be paid as if it’s a product, but then control how the customer uses it. No wonder pirates take such overt pleasure in hacking copy protection and distributing it to the masses. In any case, Photoshop is no longer a concern of mine. I’m down with the Gimp.