I will be honest, I am not a fan of Adobe as a company. I never liked their business model: their practice of gobbling up competition (sometimes out of fear), their Creative Cloud extortion and their sleazy management that only cares about their next quarter revenues. But most of all, I never liked Adobe’s poor software development practices. In my past tech life, Adobe products were always a big pain due to numerous security holes and huge, frequent updates. In fact, Adobe has been notoriously bad with releasing poorly tested software with too many security holes. In 2011, Adobe dominated Kaspersky Lab’s top ten PC vulnerabilities list, with “extremely critical” security vulnerabilities that allowed attackers to gain access to computer systems and execute arbitrary code. These security vulnerabilities spanned several Adobe products, which most PCs had at the time and even today: Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash Player. No wonder Apple did not want to support flash in its iOS (which thankfully resulted in the slow demise of the Adobe Flash), since Flash was a very badly written, resource intensive platform to begin with. Although Steve Jobs mostly blamed Adobe Flash for being a PC-era platform, two of the biggest reasons why Flash support was excluded from iOS were in fact related to security and stability concerns.
Why am talking about all this? Because it is the end of 2014 and Adobe is still using the same, terrible software practices. I have just downloaded and installed the new Lightroom 5.7, the “latest and greatest” version of Lightroom. What did I get? 1 gigabyte of bloated software that is running slower than ever. In fact, in the first 30 minutes of running the darn thing, Lightroom has crashed twice and all I did was – view images. Yes, that’s right, I was simply going through my software catalog, comparing image crops from the Nikon D750. I thought perhaps something was wrong with my computer, so I rebooted, re-launched the new Lightroom 5.7 and did the same thing, only to find Lightroom crash again:
I cannot believe that Lightroom still has the oldest and the most annoying Lightroom bug, with Lightroom’s menus getting completely messed up and random presets getting applied when keyboard buttons are pressed or menu items are accessed. This problem has been reported ages ago and Adobe engineers still cannot figure out how to fix the darn problem. Just have a look at this thread on Adobe forums that was created over two years ago and the latest update was posted about 5 months ago, with an Adobe employee saying “This has been fixed in 5.5 (sort of – see below)”. Yes, “sort of”. Apparently, fixing this particular bug requires far-reaching changes to the way that Lightroom handles menus on Windows. And since these changes were “too extensive” and “potentially destabilizing”, Adobe only provided a temporary fix. Well guess what, I have seen the same problem in Lightroom 5.6, so the problem has not been “sort of” addressed. What a joke!
And I am not thrilled about the speed of Lightroom either – on my custom built machine that sports the latest technology (4th Gen Intel i7 4770K, 32 GB of RAM, Fastest SSD Hard Disks and NVIDIA Quadro Video Card), everything is supposed to fly. And yet Adobe manages to make my machine look like it is an obsolete piece of junk. How did we come down to this? Let’s have a quick look at how Adobe has been bloating Lightroom, since version 2 (I have been keeping different versions of Lightroom on my computer for a while). Take a look at the below table of Lightroom releases, along with their sizes:
- Lightroom 2.7: 156.4 MB
- Lightroom 3.6: 248.8 MB
- Lightroom 4.4: 826.2 MB
- Lightroom 5.0: 849.7 MB
- Lightroom 5.2: 858.7 MB
- Lightroom 5.6: 976.2 MB
- Lightroom 5.7: 999.5 MB
Whoa, that’s a pretty big change in size, going from 156 megabytes to a gigabyte in 4 years of development. OK, it is probably not fair to say this, as there have been many changes in Lightroom since version 2. After-all, new modules and Lens Corrections were introduced and more cameras are now supported, which did increase Lightroom’s size. But over six times the size?
What baffles me still, is that Adobe chooses to deliver software in its entirety every time an update is released. During the cycle of updates, we are dealing with beta, release candidate and final versions of Lightroom, each weighing more than the predecessors. By now since Lightroom 5 debuted, I must have downloaded at least 10 Gigabytes worth of Lightroom updates. That is just ridiculous. Instead of giving one major install and providing incremental updates, Adobe’s software team just repackages and re-releases the whole thing. We are not dealing with small files anymore – each update is now one gigabyte in size. What’s next? A two gigabyte Lightroom 6 that won’t run on my machine?
Next up is memory consumption and memory leaks. Lightroom is by far the worst in this regard. Launch Lightroom and work with it for a few days on different files without closing – see what happens. A few years back, I saw Lightroom once eat up all of my RAM, yes all 16 GB of it (either Lightroom 3 or 4, can’t remember for sure). Those memory leaks were only partially addressed. If you work in Lightroom long enough, you might still get to the point when it becomes a memory hog. The same is with Photoshop. Try to stitch a panorama with a few dozen images and see how quickly you can crash Photoshop. It will eat up your RAM, then come to a slow death, requiring you to terminate the process and start over.
Lastly, let’s talk about the Creative Cloud updates. OK, whether I liked it or not, I was forced to move up to the cloud. With Adobe CS6 death, I needed to be on the edge, so when Adobe finally made the $9.99 per month Photography plan permanent, I switched. Since then, Adobe has delivered many more gigabytes of installs and updates, bloating up my system more than ever. The latest update? Adobe Photoshop CC 2014, the “latest and greatest” Photoshop. I was at first happy to see this update, but upon closer look, I discovered that Adobe installed the new version of Photoshop in parallel to my Photoshop CC. Now I have two versions of Photoshop on my computer, yay! Take a look at this beautiful screenshot:
It turns out that the new 2014 version had so many amazing features, that Adobe folks decided it is best to keep both just in case things don’t work as they should in the new version. If I am happy with Photoshop CC 2014, I am supposed to uninstall the old version myself. Hmm…I see where Adobe is going with this. In 2015, when Photoshop CC 2015 comes out, I will have three versions of Photoshop on my computer! This smells so much like Java Runtime. I remember once uninstalling about 10 versions of Java on a PC at work, wondering how one could even manage to do that. Seems like Adobe is heading towards the same direction with its Creative Cloud.
Adobe’s practice of releasing badly tested software that is full of bugs and security vulnerabilities, along with developing a cloud platform that was not initially protected against account theft is unacceptable by today’s standards. With such bad press surrounding Adobe in the past few years, one has to wonder if Adobe will ever do anything to clean up its mess and try to be a better software company before more people in the industry start turning their backs and switching to other platforms. Sadly, Adobe executives know that there are no direct alternatives for its Photoshop software, so they just do not seem to care. Personally, I strongly dislike supporting companies like Adobe that are focusing on satisfying their board of directors and meeting their year-end sales quotas, rather than delivering good service to their customers.
With the death of Apple Aperture (which Adobe clearly capitalized on by quickly releasing a plugin for Lightroom), choices for post-processing and file management software are even more limited. Aside from a few tools like Capture One, ACDSee, DxO OpticsPro and Corel Suite that only provide limited functionality for managing and editing images, there is not much competition to Lightroom that provides an “all in one” workflow solution. My next project will be to explore DxO and Capture One software in more detail to see if the two or the combination of different software tools can accommodate my workflow needs. I want to see how practical it is for a working pro to switch to another software platform, so my plan is to provide detailed coverage of the process, along with listing pros and cons of different software tools when compared to Adobe.
I paid for the whole lot for a year. That year just frustrated me. What frustrates me the most is the lag of the UI. Whenever I open PS I have to wait for it to respond. I cannot stand that! And the way it shows down on your internet connection constantly and fills up your hard drive with versions you “might” need because they release it with so many bugs. Why can’t they just release a goddamn great piece of software and then build on that instead of adding crap I do not need or want introducing more UI problems, tabs and windows moving to different places on updates. It is horrid software!
What annoys me most is having to google how to do something that I used to know how to do. I stopped paying and started using portables to try and save my frustration from paying. But it doesn’t matter if you pay for something or you get it for free, if it sucks it will annoy you.
I see Adobe stock has fallen since mid september 2018 more than it ever has in the last 5 years. Fingers crossed more developers will gain more sales allowing them to add some of the features I wish adobe could execute with a bit more flare and talent.
Right there with you, Doug. I have an insane machine with top notch CPU and graphics card, and SSDs for scratch and working disks to try and keep things moving buttery-smooth, but LR continues to find ways to lag out.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Adobe is intentionally slowing down their software… for their is no way they can be this incompetent.
I bit the bullet and paid for a years worth of Ps and Lr LAG crap. I can’t believe how slow and the shitty responsiveness this garbage is. I’m afraid that if I uninstall it my older versions are screwed. Forget trying to use a Wacom tablet. How did I get sucked into believing this was going to be good. Obviously this post is seeing light because all you have to do is type in Adobe Ps lag or bloat or slow and this post pops up at the top of the search. And yes I have a machine that can do cartwheels and flips without issue.
I feel you man. The whole “CreativeCloud” is one big pile of dung when it comes to performance in any way. Even with the latest [email protected], 64GB Ram, two m.2 for files/caching etc. the UI-Performance is just the shitty. I dont know if it’s global problem in the industry to get good programmers because I can see this memory consumption UI-Fucks everywhere (chrome, firefox, autodesk) and I’m sure that’s also caused by shitty frameworks instead of optimizing the machine code. Bad times for people who rely on these tools – BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY HAVE TO WORK WITH THIS BLOATWARE! Who the hell needs 3D functions in Photoshop? There are millions of tools out there which render faster, look better, and even are cheaper and it slows down the whole Software for all of us because of these absolutely non-professional addons!!!
I bite the bullet and jumped into GNU/Linux (Ubuntu with Unity) + Darktable + GIMP few months back and I am extremely happy with it. Although Darktable is a beast and require quite a learning curve (probably about a month or 50 photos).
I’m reading this in 2017 and I don’t even know how this is a debate, then or now. Adobe has been synonymous with bloat for literally 20 years now and the only reason they get away with it is because the viable alternatives are all written by folks in the open source community who’ve never heard of usability.
I came across this article because I did a google search on Adobe Photoshops bloat? I am researching the different views people have of Adobe software. I see this is a dated article and I am wondering if you still use Photoshop and Lightroom? I am currently using the 2017 creative cloud and work with most of the software provided therein. While I agree that is quite large I just have not found and used anything better. Have you used it since? I feel a lot of the issues you were complaining about have been addressed to a major degree and the platform from my experience is nothing like it was 3-4 years ago.
2017 CC is as horrible as the 2014 one. I recently dumped Adobe completely and took the brave step (Ubuntu + Darktable + GIMP) and I am happy with it.
This RDW clown just never got the memo. He clearly lacks knowledge and is one of the typical closed-minded jerks that hamper progress in the workplace.
So, RDW, you think Adobe doesn’t owe anyone better code? Well, if the automotive industry wasn’t regulated by the government and forced to adhere to good practices, you would be driving a clunky piece of sh*t with no airbag. You need to back down from your argument and confess that you are wrong-headed.
People like you, RDW, are what is wrong with the business world and consumerist mindset. Tolerating businesses that abuse their customers just because you’re too ignorant and unaffected by the problem is a crime and an indicator of sociopathy at worst, or being a sheeple, at best.
I have a brand new iMac 4K retina with 8Gb of memory, which is not upgradeable, but according to both Apple and Adobe should be enough to run PS cc and Lightroom CC. Well it is not! Both these companies help lines Don’t. I think it is a disgrace that neither admit that there is a problem. You don’t buy a car and afterward be told to avoid certain hills because the engine and brakes are not powerful enough.
I am reading this a year later and wow! A lot of conversation about nothing. Must be the need to vent about bad software is great. I just updated to LR6/CC and it totally sucks… they released an apology and another crappy update… it just freezes on my computer. If the trial is this sucky, why do they think I would update from Lightroom 3? I am totally happy with my basic software. I can use Photoshop for HDR and have a slower workflow but much more control per picture.
It might be your hardware/computer rather than the software.
The freezing you describe is not a universal finding.
LR6 (CC) works fine for me.
LR now uses graphics card processor – maybe your graphics card is insufficiently powerful and/or is incompatible, in which case you should turn off the graphics processor in LR Preferences.