I bought Photoshop a few years ago. I had been using a pirate copy like most other people who used Photoshop at home for non-business stuff. I think PS was the last piece of pirate software I used and that was because of the price. So I thought.
(I couldn't have used something cheaper because all the alternatives to Photoshop were garbage back then. Whether that's still true I don't know.)
One day I was out buying a new digital camera to take with me on holiday. At the time digital cameras were expensive -- about the same price as Photoshop -- but I wanted one and I bought one. It then occurred to me that I'd use the camera while on holiday and only occasionally afterwards but Photoshop was something I used almost every week, sometimes quite intensely.
Clearly Photoshop is more valuable to me than a digital camera, but why would I pay for one and not the other when the cost was (back then) about the same?
Was it because one was a physical device and that made it seem worth more then something that was "just software"? No, that wasn't there reason. As a programmer I knew that good, powerful software like Photoshop was as difficult and time consuming to make as digital camera.
The reason I hadn't bought Photoshop until then, but had bought things like digital cameras, was simple and wrong: Photoshop was easy to steal and digital cameras were difficult to steal.
Once I realised that I realised I had no excuse whatsoever. I went over the road from the camera shop to a software shop and I bought Photoshop 6.
Since then I've upgraded to Photoshop 7. I skipped CS1 as it didn't add much that interested me. I upgraded to CS2. Now CS3 is out and Adobe are charging UK customers 230% of the price they charge US customers. I've written them a note that that is ridiculous and that I refuse to support them any more until they treat their different customers fairly. (It's not clear if the US update will work on a UK version/licence or if they have to match. Either way, Adobe are now taking the piss out of their UK customers and I don't want to support that.)
Piracy isn't something I'm going to resort to if Adobe never equalise the UK price of CS3, though. I'll investigate the current alternatives, or just stick with CS2 and get on with it. Or I'll get drunk one night and think, "dammit, I want that new feature," and spend the money before I know what I've done. But it's a lot of money and I am insulted that I have to pay 230% of what someone in the US has to pay. That 230% is AFTER converting the GBP price to USD, too (I'm not being an idiot and complaining about the exchange rate):
An upgrade to Creative Suite 3 Design Premium from CS2.3 costs an American $471.90 with Californian sales tax. The exact same upgrade in the UK costs £546.38, equivalent to $1080.31 as of going to press. That's a markup of almost 130%, significantly beyond the usual price-doubling that Brits have reluctantly come to expect.http://www.theregist.../pay_twice_you_wish/
Will me not buying Photoshop influence Adobe? I seriously doubt it. They're not aiming the product at me. It's for businesses, where paying that much for some software is a non-issue and where they have to have not only the best software but the standard software that they know will be understood by everyone they hire. All the same, I bet some of the smaller companies will be just as annoyed as home users like myself when they realise how much the UK are getting screwed.
Due to the wife's career, I work in Missouri, but actually live in Chicago, a 7.5-hour drive. No train service. I'll go back and forth four times in the next 11 days.
I don't know how you can cope with that commute. (I've heard of worse commutes but that's definitely up there!) Anything over 45mins drives me crazy after six months.
If you have to live in Missouri and there are no other jobs out there, why not write software for a living? You can do that at home and try out the idea of giving away your life's work for free and earning a living purely from donations. You could be a pioneer of a new software model that, with any luck, changes the rest of the world, too. One day there won't be test-drives at car lots; people will simply go to the lot and drive off with one of the cars, perfectly legally, and a few months later when we think "yeah this car isn't bad!" some of them might drive by the lot and leave $100 for the owner. I say go for it! I'm as sick as capitalism as the next guy.
no matter how fast your system is, Photoshop is guaranteed to bring it to a crawl!
s/Photoshop/any graphics package/
Graphics are big. Especially when you have layers and so on to deal with. Editing them in memory takes a lot of memory. There doesn't exist a graphics program that lets you edit high-resolution images using layers (etc.) that doesn't use a lot of memory because it's physically impossible (unless the program is using a lot of temp files on disk, in which case it and the rest of your system will be even slower). Photoshop also doesn't use much CPU except when it's processing something which usually only takes a few seconds and is quite fast compared to other programs I've tried. Don't get me wrong, Photoshop is a big app, but it's doing a big job so I don't see what there is to complain about and I doubt you'll find anything that is significantly better. (Except, maybe, in terms of start-up time which Adobe seem not to care about improving with their products.)
Having said that, with Photoshop set to its default settings, where it will use at most half of your physical system memory, I haven't noticed PS slow down my PC for literally years. I can leave it running and it doesn't have much effect. Pre-Vista it might all get paged to disk if I don't use it for a while and then it takes a while to load back in when I go back to it, but even that seems fixed in Vista (which has greatly improved things in that area for all programs). Sure, I wouldn't leave PS running when I wanted to play a game since they both want a lot of memory to themselves, but generally I wouldn't think twice about leaving PS running in the background. It doesn't slow down your PC, unless you've got a 486 or something.
With the open-source/freeware explosion happening these guys are sooner or later going to have to start slashing their prices badly to stay afloat anyway, why not do it right away?
I'm not sure there will ever be a collision between free and commercial software. Free software tends to be very small, simple programs that don't get significantly updated often and only do one or two simple things. That isn't bad, I use and love a lot of those programs and I've written and given away several myself, but when someone wants to make something really good, polished and powerful it soon turns into a full-time job. There's only so much you can do in your spare time. At that point you've got to start earning money from your software or the harsh realities of our capitalist world will swallow you up and spit you out.
(What really does annoy me is when people do try to sell those small, simple, spare-time software products. It seems cheap to me and, even if it's more costly to me personally in terms of my time vs my money, I'd rather write my own version of a small tool than pay someone money for something that only took them a day to write. Usually there's some other tool that'll do the same job for free, and that's alright.)
There are some very good, polished and powerful free programs but they're exceptions, IMO. They're also often funded by large companies with an agenda of killing off other products in the market.
The only way free software can be good, polished and powerful, beyond lots of small utilities, is if lots of people donate their time to a project, but that often doesn't work because people work on only the stuff that interests them, not the stuff that needs to be done to make something work properly or polished for general users, and because it's difficult to manage so many people without the codebase becoming a mess. It's not impossible but I don't think it'll become the norm any time soon.
Personally, I hope that society doesn't stop at a 5-day week. It used to be 7, then 6 and now 5 and we seem to have lost momentum. If everyone wasn't made to waste so much of their lives working on stuff that is usually of no benefit to anyone except the rich megalomaniac on the golf course who owns the company then we'd have more time to create and give away things that make everyone's lives better. Things that people don't seem to value enough to pay enough for that you could write them for a living but that we still want to make and give away because they're cool and because it's fun to make things.
I'm about to take a sabbatical from work because I'm sick of it. My job's okay but I'm sick of having to do something 5 days a week that drains the life out of me and leaves so little energy to get anything done after work or at the weekends (and if I want to get things done I end up not seeing friends and missing out on other things I enjoy like films and games or trying to learn the two musical instruments I bought that are gathering dust). I'm very lucky to be in a position to not "work" for a few months. (I'll still be working, just on stuff that doesn't get me paid.) I think it should be normal, and the law, for everyone to do this regularly, to be honest. If I thought I could earn enough money making interesting/useful software full-time, as my day job, then I'd be doing that right now, but as it is I'd have to take a huge pay cut and I don't know if I could adjust to that. Plus I'd be at the mercy of people who seem to think that "continually" asking for money for full-time work is somehow wrong, as if buying an apple from someone one day entitles you to a pear the next.