So it’s come to pass that after nearly 20 years of installing Photoshop from diskettes on a Macintosh II I’ve had the rather dubious pleasure of installing Adobe Creative Suite 5 on a brand new 2010 Mac Mini, and let me tell you right away that Adobe’s installers suck.

Seriously. I can’t even begin to describe how bad the installer is, nor what it was like to have a fontworker process tying up my CPU during most of the installation and turning the Mini (revised airflow and all) into a sort of heating pad for my tea mug.

I can tell you that the thing managed to install broken stubs for the whole suite even though I only asked for Photoshop, Illustrator and Fireworks (the latter due to long-standing loyalty to Macromedia’s former excellence in UI design and workflow), and that on the whole, despite having 4GB of RAM and only moderate need to open and review .ai and .psd files (my new job, in an interesting push back to my origins doing multimedia work outside college, involves managing a design team), the experience leaves a lot to be desired.

So it hardly comes as a surprise that I dug out my license for Pixelmator and bought Vector Designer with my own money to have halfway decent tools to do quick edits and drafts.

But mind you, Illustrator is impossible to match now that Freehand’s gone out to pasture, so Vector Designer ought to be considered as a nicely polished toy rather than a really useful tool - and before you mention Inkscape, please don’t, even talking about running it on a Mac is a joke until someone does native GTK properly and revamps the whole UI. 

On the other hand, I had another look at Seashore and it is amazing how far it’s gotten, even considering how slowly it’s progressed over the years. Maybe there’s a lesson there regarding doing proper Mac ports.

And that’s my main point here - I just wanted to share my pain with Adobe’s pathetic installer and overwhelmingly interdependent suite of schizophrenic applications that are designed with a navel-gazing philosophy so as to squirrel themselves away in every little corner of your hard disk without rhyme nor reason for the sole purpose of locking you in to their ecosystem up to your eyeballs.

That and to comment upon the recent rumors of their acquisition by Microsoft with a single sentence:

Adobe deserves it after what they did to Macromedia all those years back.

I nearly cried when I fired up Fireworks and realized how much more usable it still is even despite the Adobe monkey wrenches they tossed in.

That said, if that acquisition ever happens (which I honestly don’t care much about), at least the MacBU knows how to do installers properly and respects the Mac aesthetic as much as possible (although given my experiences with Office 2011, there are a few strays in that herd…).

And it would be one heck of an upgrade for Paintbrush on Windows, too.