Update: Looks like the information was incorrect after all – Adobe is NOT giving away CS2 for free. According to Dov Isaacs of Adobe, “On behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated, You have heard wrong! Adobe is absolutely not providing free copies of CS2! What is true is that Adobe is terminating the activation servers for CS2 and that for existing licensed users of CS2 who need to reinstall their software, copies of CS2 that don’t require activation but do require valid serial numbers are available (Special serial numbers are provided on the page for each product download). Apparently there still is no such thing as a free lunch… ;)
In a rather interesting move, Adobe has made the decision to allow users to download its 2005 Creative Suite Premium (CS2), which includes Photoshop, for free. One can speculate regarding the reasons behind the strategy. On one hand, it is hard to imagine that Adobe was counting on any revenue from this older version, since software firms normally only license the current version of their products. On the other hand, Adobe may be looking to entice some fence sitters to consider easing their way into Photoshop.
How does this benefit you? The Channel Mixer! My main purpose for originally purchasing Photoshop vs. Elements or other program was this one feature. As I demonstrated in my infrared photography article, the Channel Mixer allows you to extract the portions of visible and invisible infrared light in a way no other feature currently provides. This feature may not be exploited as much by others, but it is a prerequisite for those that are serious about infrared photography. I am now hopelessly addicted to the full blown version of Photoshop CS6, but if this feature had been available in other programs, I don’t know how quickly I would have jumped on the Photoshop bandwagon. By allowing users to download Photoshop CS2 for free, Adobe has lowered the costs and challenges for those considering entering the world of infrared photography. And this is just one of the features of Photoshop – there are many more great tools available in Photoshop CS2 that you can utilize for your photography needs.
How does this benefit Adobe? Well, if you have been using other competitors’ products, free software like Gimp or have been reluctant to dip your toe in the Photoshop waters, you may be tempted to download a copy of Photoshop CS2 and try it out for a spin. Photoshop – in all its versions – is an extremely powerful tool that rarely gets exercised to its full potential except perhaps by the most demanding users. I suspect the more casual photo processing crowd could get value from Photoshop CS2 and still not utilize all of its capabilities. As such, Adobe might be seeking to tempt some people to explore Photoshop in more depth for free, albeit an older version.
Here is the link to Adobe.com, from which you can download the free CS2 suite, along with valid license keys.
It will be interesting to see how this announcement is received and how many take advantage of it. What about you? If you are not a Photoshop user, would you be tempted to download CS2 and explore its many features?