Affordable non-subscription options for Adobe CS?
August 19, 2015 5:43 PM   Subscribe

I am looking to purchase the Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, Photoshop, and Indesign) for some professional work, but I'm opposed on principle to buying a subscription because I don't need the latest features and don't want my software access held hostage to a monthly payment. Is there an affordable way to purchase the suite (perhaps an older edition) that doesn't require a student ID or a nonprofit status? I am aware of open source alternatives like Inkscape but am hoping there is a way to get the Adobe versions at a reasonable price.
posted by philosophygeek to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
An old version is pretty much your only option if you want Creative Suite. CS6 appears to be the last version released under the old non-subscription model. Unfortunately for you, that also means that old versions are typically priced comparably to what they were priced at new, especially anything with the shrinkwrap still intact, so unless $1,000+ fits in your definition of affordable, this may not work for you.

There is also a quasi-legal way to download CS2 for free from Adobe (intended to support customers with older versions of Creative Suite that no longer activate because they took the old activation servers down), but I'll let you search for that on your own.
posted by Aleyn at 6:00 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

hoping there is a way to get the Adobe versions at a reasonable price

Adobe and reasonable, in the same sentence? I called our account rep at a big reseller the other day to get set up as an Adobe license administrator in my academic unit, and she sounded just completely ground down by having to deal with Adobe since they went subscription-only. Like, ready to quit. I assume her customers are taking their frustration with Adobe out on her, since there's no way to get ahold of someone in Adobe to yell at. There's an Adobe office not too far from campus, and I'm honestly a little surprised all the academic tech support staff haven't banded together with pitchforks and torches and stormed the place yet.

Your best bet is probably to look for CS6 or CS5 on eBay. Will the software be usable? Probably. Will the license be legal? ... probably? Unless they're selling the student/teacher edition and not telling you that's what it is.
posted by hades at 7:18 PM on August 19, 2015

CS6. That's really it. eBay or Craigslist. They're not going to ever let this cloud thing go - they've weathered the storm and they're willing to let you walk away.
posted by filmgeek at 8:02 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Be aware that there have always been a ton of pirated and counterfeit versions of Adobe CS on eBay and Craigslist. Super high risk that it won't work. (I hate the subscriptions too!)
posted by cnc at 8:33 PM on August 19, 2015

I'm in the same boat because: new computer and no disks from old one. I'm hoping that one of the edu orgs I work with will be willing to cover it or at least some of it, but do you know anyone with an .edu address? Because if so, you should be able to use that address to sign up with, and then it's $20/month rather than $50
posted by FlyByDay at 9:37 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Creative Suite 6 is still available, although they're really more interested in having you buy Creative Cloud.

I don't know if there is a cheaper option, other than taking a class at your local community college and qualifying for a student ID.
posted by phoebus at 12:21 AM on August 20, 2015

Last spring I won an eBay auction for a shrink wrapped copy Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium but it took 2 tries. The 1st arrived with a DVD jacket that looked made with a inkjet printer short on ink so I returned it unopened. For the 2nd I found Adobe's chat tech support very helpful with verifying the s/n where legit and virgin. I did have to break the shrink wrap to get to the numbers that Adobe could verify.

Some eBay seller's offer to transfer ownership thru Adobe... I think Adobe supports that.
posted by tinker at 7:28 AM on August 20, 2015

Someday someone will write some software to compete with Adobe...

Edit: someday someone will write some software to compete with Adobe and not lose.
posted by nosila at 1:43 PM on August 20, 2015

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