Adobe Creative Suite fails "catastrophically" thanks to DRM

Release 2.0 editor Jimmy Guterman was greeted by this helpful message after he upgraded to the latest version of Adobe Creative suite.
Adobe pushed out an upgrade of its Creative Suite. I installed it, as prompted. This is what happens when I try to run any element of the Suite after the install.

Click on the modal dialog box and the program closes. For extra redundancy, there's a second error message that reads "licensing for this product has stopped working." But I am impressed that I wasn't merely able to get the programs to fail, but that I got them to fail "catastrophically."



  1. I find DRM insulting because it always wastes my time, uncompensated, for something that rarely works and never deters pirates.

    That’s not to say I’m against Intellectual Property. I proudly support it. I don’t support the parasitic industries that rise up around it, nor do I support their insipid products, which is why I have not bought a CD from a major label since 1992.

  2. Will these problems become more frequent as Adobe and other developers move towards online software-as-a-service with client-server models?

  3. “…which is why I have not bought a CD from a major label since 1992.”

    Nobody cared about the RIAA or DRM in 1992!

    Also… what about DVDs? Don’t buy those either?

  4. But I am impressed that I wasn’t merely able to get the programs to fail, but that I got them to fail “catastrophically.”

    Developers usually get to write the error messages, at least in the language-of-origin for the software. The use of “catastrophically” suggests a developer who was required to install some junk DRM despite all kinds of sensible objections that management refused to listen to.

  5. Man… I’ve gotten “fatal” errors and “terminal” errors before, but never have I gotten a catastrophic failure that didn’t involve the words “I do.”

  6. Aw yeah, one of my favorite error messages. Back in 2003 PostGreSQL would throw out a ‘catastrophic failure’ message in some situations. They disappeared after an upgrade, but I still thought they were kind of cool.

  7. YIKES!!! I am glad that Adobe’s attempted update on my CS Suite failed… I couldn’t make it through one day without my applications, I depend on them. Not sure if my computer setup would be affected by this issue or not… not really too eager to take a chance.

    Saw a hysterical error message on an ATM the other day… it is a bad day < ahref="">when your security module is missing!!

  8. Adobe media products are known for this nonsense. I have a client who does digital media conversion – taking people’s film, stills, video, etc. and digitizing and converting it. They run most of the Adobe media products.

    Adobe has an incredibly stupid licensing manager that generates a “fake” Windows service with a random name as part of the process. It’s a Macromedia software, apparently. This results in Windows Firewall claiming that a whole bunch of services exist that actually don’t and that they’re listening on a bunch of ports.

    Periodically, we’ve had the thing fail due to some minor hardware change or something.

    Adobe software is about as reliable as Windows itself – that is, not.

    The amusing thing is that I put in the Adobe product name in Google one time to do a search for problem solving – and the site at the top of the results page was a crack site.

    So much for Adobe DRM.

  9. I find any situation where using cracked software is more expedient or usable than the paid-for equivalent incredibly funny.

  10. My boss at the health food store where I used to work called me in one day to show me a “security error” message he got after installing a Windows security upgrade on his computer. Apparently the program asked if he wanted to register it, and when he clicked “yes,” he was given a message to the effect of “Windows does not trust the security certificate from, will you accept it anyway?” It’s a sad, sad day when you can’t even trust your own megalopoly’s content.

  11. Since I work in a computer repair shop I’ve seen this message a couple of times for various issues with Adobe products. I will say for a company that makes such complex programs they at least seem to have a good tech support site (if you know what you are looking for).

    Now only if they could learn from Microsoft and start making a bigillon versions of everything. New Adobe Photoshop Home Turbo Platinum Pro Uber Mega Edition w/Nube Starter Add-on Deluxe Trainer….sheez. MS, you just don’t know how hard to it to explain Vista to someone. XP was bad enough, and for the love of god it doesn’t HAVE to be Windows 2000 Professional. LIKE THERE WAS ANY OTHER?! NO, NO, I have Windows 2000 Basic?!?!?!?

    I’m going to go hang my head and cry now.

  12. I was already raising a glass to the geek who inserted “catastrophically” into the code, in thanks for reminding me of the little bomb I’d see on my old Mac SE. (sniffle) Then I read Tom’s #6 comment: “The use of ‘catastrophically’ suggests a developer who was required to install some junk DRM despite all kinds of sensible objections that management refused to listen to.” Now I’m raising two glasses.

  13. In two or three years Inkscape and Gimp will be polished enough to ditch Adobe altogether, Octave will vanquish Matlab and OpenOffice will dispose of MS Office, and we’ll be in the position where most tasks will be as simple to accomplish with open source as with closed-source software.

    Bring on the day. Allegedly, IBM is toying with the idea of dropping Windows from its employees workstations in the next upgrade cycle.

  14. I bought a bunch of new computer parts this holday (yaaay!) which called for a format and re-install of Windows. I was frustrated but unsurprised when my online activation of my legal copy of WinXP failed and I had to call Microsoft to obtain a working activation number after explaining why I dared to use this product I bought.

    What was quite surprising and even more insulting was the fact that I had to do the same procedure for Microsoft Flight Simulator X!! Why on earth (or soaring slightly above) does Microsoft need to profile my PC and put a hold on my “account” if I’ve suspiciously upgraded my computer so that I can adequately run their very CPU-intensive game?

  15. I prefer the inclusion of the catch-all error handler if all else fails:

    Unimaginable Error (perhaps with some added flip comment)

    I could see some poor time-crunched user going ballistic (all over the poor tech support person) if he saw that out in the wild.

  16. Adobe’s CS3 installer was absolute fail. It took me hours and hours and hours to install the suite, after taking hours and hours to uninstall the 30 day trials.

  17. #25, the mistake you made was trying to install the real version of CS3 after installing the demo. Generally, once you’ve installed the demo of CS3, trying to get a real version to work on your PC is so much more difficult.

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