During all the talks I've had with people about Adobe, and their many issues, a recurring theme is "Don't they care? It seems like all they care about is that we use their products. The fact that the way they do things makes us hate them, that if there was any serious competition to them, we'd flock to them in a heartbeat doesn't seem to matter to them."
I don't know for sure, because Adobe is both a faceless conglomerate and a collection of people who do care, and some of those people are friends of mine. But I think that it's possible to get so caught up in a certain way of looking at things, that you stop caring about things that don't...that aren't a part of the things you think are important. That's dangerous, because the things you dismiss are really important to a lot of your customers.
A perfect example is this article by Duff Johnson, on Why Reader remains the standard for PDF viewing. Duff has some factual points. Reader is the best at dealing with truly mucked-up PDFs. I always keep a copy around, because every so often, maybe once a year, I get a PDF I can't read in Preview.
So, once a year, I need Reader. Obviously, I'm not a statistically valid sample, or even vaguely representative of any group of users. So this is, just me.
However, look at what Duff dismisses. He blithely dismisses the real speed issues in the Reader plugin, especially on Mac OS X. (It's not much better on Windows. Adobe plays some "load a bunch of Reader into RAM on login" games to make it seem faster on Windows. Disable that, and it slows down rather a lot. You still pay that piper, but most of the money changes hands unseen.) Reader is slow. BOG slow. When its loading, it eats Safari for lunch. God help you if you have to read and close multiple PDFs throughout the day. The UI load alone sucks. With Safari's built-in PDF viewing, my delay is PDF download time. That's it. Really, for 99% or possibly more of my PDF viewing needs, Preview and the Safari-native PDF features not only work just fine, but work smoothly, and seamlessly, with no pain whatsoever. In light of that, the fact that Reader has a more technically correct PDF engine doesn't really matter much.
Duff completely ignores the fact that when it comes to reading PDFs, which is still, (Hopefully) the main purpose of Reader, it's not as intuitive or fast as Preview. I still, on occasion, have to authenticate to launch Reader so it can "repair" its installation. Why? I don't know. I have no useful information from Reader on this. It's not installing the Safari plugin, I told it not to. But, it needs an administrator password, or it won't work.
EVER get that from Preview. But Reader handles malformed PDFs better, and so that's all Duff cares about.
Note that I say "Safari" plugin, not "Web Browser" plugin. The reason is that Acrobat, even today, even two versions after their initial Mac OS X release can ONLY talk to Safari. You use FireFox, or Opera? No Acrobat for you!
But Reader handles malformed PDFs better, so that's all that matters, right?
The truth is, using any Acrobat product, (ESPECIALLY on a Mac) and dealing with Adobe as an IT manager creates a low-level miasma of misery, not unlike this bit from "Good Omens" (MANY thanks to James Bennett for using this in his article on Python 3.0. I'd forgotten what an incredibly great description of so many things in the IT world it is.):
What could he tell them? That twenty thousand people got bloody furious? That you could hear the arteries clanging shut all across the city? And that then they went back and took it out on their secretaries or traffic wardens or whatever, and they took it out on other people? In all kinds of vindictive little ways which, and here was the good bit, they thought up themselves? For the rest of the day. The pass-along effects were incalculable. Thousands and thousands of souls all got a faint patina of tarnish, and you hardly had to lift a finger.
That, is what using Reader creates in so many people. Low-level misery and a slight tarnish on your soul.
To be fair, Duff is not an Adobe employee, so his opinions are not "official" in any way. But I have heard his point used to dismiss every.single.complaint about Reader by people who are on the Acrobat team and do work for Adobe. So his point isn't "official" but I have to say it is, at the very least, "representative".
This makes talking to Adobe about some issues incredibly frustrating, because you soon realize, (and trust me, the Acrobat team is FAR worse about such things than the installer team. I WISH the Acrobat team were as open as the Installer team), that nothing you say is getting through, because you're not talking about the one thing they care about. So in a sense, no, they really don't care that you hate them, only that you use their stuff, even if it is only grudgingly. It's frustrating as hell to deal with, but that's Adobe for you.
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