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Macromedia Sues Adobe, Claims Photoshop Infringes Patent 190

Posted by michael
from the patent-cannons-armed-and-ready dept.
jmorse writes: "According to this article at sfgate.com, Macromedia is suing Adobe for patent infringement, claiming that Adobe's Photoshop and GoLive products violate a patent they filed in 1998. The article is a little short on details, so I'm wondering if there are other sources with more on this patent." Adobe and Macromedia have been skirmishing and counter-skirmishing over patents for some time now. The AP article doesn't say which patent Adobe is supposed to be violating this time, so just pick any random thing that Photoshop does that Macromedia might have patented and express outrage about it. :)
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Macromedia Sues Adobe, Claims Photoshop Infringes Patent

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  • charging excessive prices for software that I really appreciate and would like to pay for, except they're just out of my price range by leaps and bounds...
    • Unfortunately, most of their products are priced for large corporations, and NOT for independent designers/artists. Large companies can afford $600+ for Photoshop, I don't know any freelancers who really can.
      Yes, they give student copies of the software, but you aren't allowed to upgrade those copies the same way you can with a retail version.
      • by FFFish (7567) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @06:56AM (#2454285) Homepage
        Pshaw!

        If you are using the product professionally -- that is, you plan to make money by using it as a tool -- you damn well should be ponying up the bucks for it.

        You wouldn't steal a wrench set from Snap-On, you wouldn't steal a laser printer from Staples, and your sure as hell wouldn't be stealing your delivery van from the GM dealership.

        So get some morals, and *DON'T* steal your professional software, either.

        If you can't pay like the big boys, don't play like the big boys.
    • by Sase (311326)
      I agree that if you use a product professionaly you should pay for it.

      In retrospect, the money really isn't all that much.. actually its not much in comparison.

      However, I do agree that to pay those prices as a student.. even with the discounts are horrible. Unfortunatly that's how the world works... with anything. A student who studies Graphic Design *has access* to photoshop just like a sound engineer who has access to a mixing console... it's the same thing.

      That's why I support this philosophy, however illegal. If I am trying out a product, I will get it as Warez and use it. But if I ever make money for it, I will buy it. Those poor guys who sat there for hours and wrote it deserve some $ back :)
    • by King_TJ (85913)
      Personally, I don't see the reason to stick with Photoshop at all if you're a Windows user who just wants to use some plug-ins, touch-up some photos, design things for web pages, and so forth.

      For about 1/4th. the price, you can buy Paint Shop Pro 7 and do anything you'll probably ever need - sometimes more easily than in Photoshop.

      (EG. Have you ever tried to load in 2 different JPG photos and merge them so they're the left side/right side of one JPG photo? Comes in real handy for things like eBay photos, where you get charged for photos beyond the 1st. free one you post with an advertisement. Anyway, in Photoshop, it's a pretty complex process. I sure couldn't figure it out intuitively. In Paint Shop Pro, you just drag the photos into a new window, and voila!)
  • to go around and randomly patent things then randomly sue people.

    these companies make it seem almost fun.

    every time I see companies do crap like this, and then I see the same kind of crap happen at work with our competitors, it makes me want to quit, but yet I don't, because I hope that in the greater scheme of things, this stupid litigation will be moot.

    the hell.

    its late, I'm going to bed.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They all suck compared to GIMP!!!
    • Yeah, but can you do CMYK seps for your film output?

      Get a professional tool, chum.
      • Well they would if Adobe had not patented it, but if they had not patented it then where would Adobe be now? Its the only "proffessional" tool used because no-one can make anything too similer out of fear of being sued.

        Adobe suck just for what they started with Dmitry, I'll never ever forgive them for that and can go broke for all I care.

        Matt
        • Well they would if Adobe had not patented it, but if they had not patented it then where would Adobe be now? Its the only "proffessional" tool used because no-one can make anything too similer out of fear of being sued

          There are plenty of other programs that do CMYK seps. Quark and macromedia easily come to mind, as well as the slew of programs that are nothign but software RIPSs, as well as pretty much every postscript print driver for every laser printer on earth.

          Its not in the GIMP because its hard to do and the programmers don't care about it. It isn't just a simple color space conversion -- Adobe has been tweaking the LUTs for over a decade now, and its getting better every time.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      GIMP? Pfft!

      Back in my day, we had to write raw RGB in a hex editor, and compress it, by hand, with no calculators!

      And we liked it!!

  • by bstrahm (241685) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @01:01AM (#2453954) Homepage
    I know that good/great patents are extremely important. There are probabally under 100 of these filled a year. Now I know that I personally filed about 12 last year, not a single one was what I would call a good ground breaking patent, they were all defensive patents...
    I gained a friend in a the large company that I worked for legal dept... Basically the story went like this, when we are sued we look at their portfolio of patents, then look at our portfolio of patents that we have that might cause their products to infringe... Which ever pile is taller gets paid royalties by the other company. That is a defensive patent

    Now lawyers have to be VERY careful not to use what are really defensive patents and go out looking for royalties, it makes everyone look bad.
    • by Platinum Dragon (34829) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @02:52AM (#2454099) Journal
      Basically the story went like this, when we are sued we look at their portfolio of patents, then look at our portfolio of patents that we have that might cause their products to infringe... Which ever pile is taller gets paid royalties by the other company. That is a defensive patent.

      That is one of the stupidest things I've ever read, and makes me all the more happy I purchased the Alan Cox software patents shirt. When a measure meant to protect inventors becomes a way for two companies to hold silly legal dicksize contests, it's a sign the system is broken and needs fixing, or scrapping, or something. Anything to halt the flood of crap that flows through the USPTO... and the Slashdot front page.
  • Such detail! (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Beowulfto (169354)
    This certaintly deserves to be a front-page story, since it will foster intense discussion among all readers.
  • Hrmm, so Macromedia is just NOW saying Photoshop infringes on a patent of theirs? This is probably one of three things then:

    1) This patent just became official, and now they are looking to cash in over it.
    2) They have been looking for anything to sue Adobe over, and recently found this.
    3) This is part of what will become a strategic, mushrooming legal attack by Macromedia.

    (Aside: Personally, I think Macromedia can f*ck off, they write terrible software with horrible interfaces that produce terrible results 99.9% of the time!)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 20, 2001 @01:07AM (#2453963)
      Personally, I think Macromedia can f*ck off, they write terrible software with horrible interfaces that produce terrible results 99.9% of the time!

      Maybe that's what their patent is. Too bad for them that Windows will be used as prior art in the trial.
    • The two groups are competitors. That's their sole motivation. Adobe sued Macromedia a while back for their widgeting. Macromedia's going to sue them for this, whatever it may be. The two can't win in the classical, Capitalist method by improving their product and surpassing their enemy so they just sue.

      As to your hatred of Macromedia products, I'd have to agree slightly. I dislike the growing trend of using widgets. The problem: Adobe started it! As it is, I use Adobe for Photoshop and Macromedia for everything else.

    • (Aside: Personally, I think Macromedia can f*ck off, they write terrible software with horrible interfaces that produce terrible results 99.9% of the time!

      So poor craftsmanship removes Constitutional protections...novel idea...
    • Most likely 1). It takes about 3 years for a patent to get through the patent process. This is part of the reason the USPTO recently changed the rules regarding patents--20 years from the initial filing date, instead of 17 years from the patent's grant date. Three years from 1998 means that the patent was likely granted this year.
  • by Jailbrekr (73837)
    Eventually, they will both lose. When this happens, then we win.
    • Eventually, they will both lose. When this happens, then we win.

      Unless the winner eats the looser and then uses the money and court precedents to kill free software projects. This nonsense matters as all bad law matters.

  • While i'm actually fond of both companies (well, recently very much less so with adobe over Dmitry/eBooks and the KIllustrator deal) i feel that this is just another patent squabble that will affect nothing in any future products, nothing in anyone's lives and will not be over anything ground breaking. It's all about the bottom line for two pretty wealthy companies and as such isn't much to talk about, especially with the sparse details.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      KIllustrator wasn't Adobe. It was a German law firm acting on behalf of Adobe without their consent.

      Don't hate Adobe for what they didn't do (KIllustrator), hate them for what they did do (Dmitry)

      - The universe is held together with duct tape and karma. What goes around, comes around, and gets taped to your forehead
  • I've read on a Macromedia Newsgroup recently that Macromedia bought some patents the NetObjects owned. I wonder if the timeing of the two events has anything to do with each other.

    Heres a little info from NetObjects site:
    http://www.netobjects.com/transition/ [netobjects.com]
  • by Chasing Amy (450778) <asdfijoaisdf@askdfjpasodf.com> on Saturday October 20, 2001 @01:13AM (#2453978) Homepage
    All I can say is that this is yet more proof that software patents are just a bad idea. Let's see; Photoshop has been around since the Dawn of Time by computer standards, and somehow it violates a Macromedia patent filed just 3 years ago. I'm using Photoshop 6 now, and as far as I can see, it does the same thing every other version has done, only with a few more mostly-useless bells and whistles. I bet the patent is either about some tiny little insignificant nitpicking function I'd never even notice, or is about something big and obvious that's been in editing utils since the Amiga or C64 days and should have never been awarded a patent.

    Either way, every software patent I've ever seen covers something silly and obvious that shouldn't be patentable based on the fact that it's so obvious and isn't a real advancement at all. The real-world equivalent to most such patents would be like trying to patent a new Lego brick because you made it two rows longer. Uh-huh. Ingenious.

    Take the infamous 1-click patent for example. All it is is a fairly obvious way to make shopping on line just like shopping in real life at a store where you have an account or tab. Hand the clerk at the store your stuff with your ID or account number, order is rung up, store already has billing information, customer leaves with product. Amazon's 1-click patent does the same thing, only on-line. Patentable my ass. Anything simple and obvious shouldn't be patentable.

    I bet whatever this new Adobe/Macromedia fight is about, it's over something that should never have been patentable in the first place.
    • cotton gin (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BlueboyX (322884) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @01:23AM (#2453989)
      My luck I spelled 'cotton gin' wrong. ;>

      While I mostly agree with what you said, sometimes really obvious ideas are important (and not quite so obvious). The cotton gin is a great example- a simple device with a very basic purpose that should be very obvious, yet it didnt pop in anyone's head as early as we think it could have in hindsight. This bad boy invention ultimately helped bring some pretty big changes in the US.

      But the cotton gin made it's inventer jack. The guy who make the first tv also made jack from his invention. Kind of makes you wonder.

      Both inventions were made after patents were made available in the US, but the inventers both made zip. That also kind of makes you wonder.

      • But the cotton gin made it's inventer jack. The guy who make the first tv also made jack from his invention. Kind of makes you wonder. Both inventions were made after patents were made available in the US, but the inventers both made zip. That also kind of makes you wonder.
        This poster is dead wrong on the facts. Firstly, IP was recognized in the US Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 [nara.gov], long before the invention of the cotton gin. Secondly, Eli Whitney did in fact file for a patent and recieved one. While it is true that he didn't make _much_ money for his idea , this needs to be clarified. The main reason he failed to make a fortune with his invention was because he charged too much and forced the farmers to bring their cotton to HIS machines. To compound his problems there were also some technical problems with patent law at that time that allowed the farmers to duplicate his invention and escape on technicalities. However, Whitney did make a fair amount of money for his time, just not enough for him to be considered fabulously wealthy. Furthermore, and this is an important distinction, Whitney DID in fact PLAN and have every INTENTION of making a FORTUNE off his invention (this can be found in his writing).

        Even if we accept that a small handful of individuals were willing to innovate (accepting all the costs that come with it) without IP, this does not make IP any less necessary. Besides the fact that they can STILL invent even with the existence of IP, they are a minority. Most individuals need IP if they are to quit their jobs, spend their savings, and years of their life towards such pursuits. This is especially true of companies. There is no comparison between the amount of time/resources spent on innovation today versus that of before reasonably-strong IP protections.
        • This poster is dead wrong on the facts. Firstly, IP was recognized in the US Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 [nara.gov], long before the invention of the cotton gin.

          Uh huh. And the guy you're replying to said "both inventions were made AFTER patents were made available in the US."

          So how is that fact in dispute?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Perhaps photoshop hasn't changed to the kiddy using a pirated copy of it, but to the actual artists that use it it has improved significantly. People do not want giant overhalls in the way the program works. This reduces productivity. What they do want is minor tweaks that inprove the productivity. Things like colour managment and UI tweaks are inprotant for this.

      Just because something is obvious or trivial in your fourteen year old casual opinion, does not mean that is in the real world.

      I guess the old "open source closed minds", applies here.
      • Let's see, I've been using Photoshop since version 2.somethingoranother on the Mac. back then I was just fooling around with it in the college computer lab. Today I use it professionally. If you must know, I use it to create boxcover art for my line of pro-am commercial adult videos, and for some non-adult Web graphics work I do.

        I'm a lot closer to 30 than to 14, and I actually use Photoshop in a professional capacity. That qualifies me to speak about it a lot more than an AC who sounds himself like a 14 year old with a chip on his shoulder.

        But I never denigrated Photoshop at all. If you reread my post, you'll see that I said either the patent has to be on something Photoshop has been doing for many many years now, or on something minor. To an experienced digital artist, yes, the changes made to Photoshop in the last 3 years since Macromedia filed their patent are pretty minor. And I'd know because I've been using Photoshop a lot since 1995. The biggest changes were made between 95 and 98, rather than between 98 and 01.

        As for UI tweaks, they fall into the category of minor changes--I doubt Macromedia is suing Adobe over a UI change. But I wouldn't put it past them. And BTW, the UI tweaks tend to be a distraction for *real* users who've been with the software for a long time, not usually an improvement. The only reason I bother to keep upgrading every once in a while is better performance--one of the drawbacks of closed source software is not being able to recompile it when you get to be a couple of processor generations ahead of what your software was compiled for. But I digress.

        Now get back under your rock, trollboy.
        • by NMerriam (15122)
          To an experienced digital artist, yes, the changes made to Photoshop in the last 3 years since Macromedia filed their patent are pretty minor.

          I would disagree -- i think the implementation of non-linear history and transformation layers count as pretty big deals, along with "automate" and 16-bit image channel improvements.

          The vastly improved type handling in the past few years is a night and day change from the 4.x era. Channel mixing is a great tool that simplified a frequently used CHOP technique. The lasso/pen tools have gone through serious supercharging. And thats forgetting about the history brush, or the significant improvements to color handling (spot colors for example). The vector tools in general have seen a big improvement, though I can tell they're nervous about incorporating too much of AI in there.

          And while the web features may not be ones you use, that's where a lot of the development is taking place -- dynamic slicing, non-uniform image compression, etc.
    • All I can say is that this is yet more proof that software patents are just a bad idea.

      I don't think proof is the appropropriate word - evidence perhaps. Yes you can site a hundred examples of large companies taking unfair advantage of patents. Probably more than a hundred.

      But that's what large companies do. They take advantage of the law when ever possible; part of the reason they are large corporations is because they do this. If there were no software patents large corporations would use that to their advantage as well. The biggest guy out there would simply systimatically wedge all his oponents out of existence by selling there product at a lower price. Even if the product is just a concept. Even if they take a loss in the process if they have more capital they will survive. Just like a poker player who raises his opponents until they can no longer afford to play.

      Ultimatly patents aren't about rightousness or equality. They are about (a) giving companies and individuals motivation to invest into research and (b) to lessen the gap between the haves and the have nots.

      If you want to prove that patent law helps large corporations more than they hurt them you would have to run two parallel societies: one with patent law, one without. Until then we can only gather evidence. And try to continually weight that evidence against the invisible contrary evidence from the invisible alternative society.
      • If there were no software patents large corporations would use that to their advantage as well. The biggest guy out there would simply systimatically wedge all his oponents out of existence by selling there product at a lower price. Even if the product is just a concept. Even if they take a loss in the process if they have more capital they will survive. Just like a poker player who raises his opponents until they can no longer afford to play.
        No, raising against the little guy is what happens with patents. Without patents existing, what use would the company get out of selling the product near a loss anyway? There wouldn't be anywhere near as much 'company lock-in' going on you'd think.

    • I'm using Photoshop 6 now, and as far as I can see, it does the same thing every other version has done, only with a few more mostly-useless bells and whistles.

      If you can't see a difference between Photoshop 3 or 4 and Photoshop 6 you must be blind, or extremely near-sighted as your post cleverly suggests. For people like me who deal with images, web page layouts, and "real designers" on a daily basis, Photoshop 6 is a basic requirement.

      The AP article doesn't say which patent Adobe is supposed to be violating this time, so just pick any random thing that Photoshop does that Macromedia might have patented and express outrage about it.

      Why is this news? I am supposed to pick a patent lawsuit and express outrage about it? What?

      The quality of the news on /. sucks lately.

    • Anything simple and obvious shouldn't be patentable.

      "It is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto non-existent blindingly obvious. The cry 'I could have thought of that' is a very popular and misleading one, for the fact is that they didn't, and a very significant and revealing fact it is too."

      Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
  • I am certainly getting tired our funky patent process in general. It takes too long. You can patent the wheel. You can sue people for using wheels. What next?

    As a patent owner (well, I dont have direct rights to the patent but I get a hefty % of all profits) I feel all of these frustrations. These patent wars of patenting things seemingly with the sole purpose of using them to sue others is downright silly. However, that brings me to the point of this post.

    As a patent owner, I have to think about this question. If you had a patent that someone was violating (be it a sane patent or otherwise) would you sit back and watch? Or would you jump at the chance of getting a few $million? One more suit wont make the problem that much worse, right? I think that may be a large part of the problem.

    "One more won't hurt..."
    "One more won't make a difference..."

  • What do you want me to say? Live by the sword, die by the sword.
  • by RoninM (105723) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @01:18AM (#2453984) Journal
    This is [ridiculous|stupid|ludicrous|lame]! How can Macromedia patent ______? I was doing _____ on my [Z80|8086|Altair] in the [1970s|1980s]. It's really [easy|trivial|fast] to implement. I could write it right now in [Perl|C|Python|Java|INTERCAL]! The USPTO needs to gain some [sense|accountability|knowledgeable employees (like me)]. Still, Adobe [deserves|asked for|needs] a taste of their own medicine! I can't be too upset about them getting sued. It's [kharma|fate|divine intervention].
    • Its pretty easy to explain ... most lawyers are of the same calibre as the support people who say "just reformat the hard disk, and reinstall windows" when the problem is that the mouse needs cleaning.

      And the people who employ them respect them because they wear expensive clothes.

      With a culture like that, we are all doomed.
  • by Bonker (243350) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @01:20AM (#2453986)
    ...this is why software patents are bad juju.

    Don't even get me started on Adobe's 'Rights Management' crap.

    My company has spent a little over $1300 on Adobe products. Of course, I could never justify spending this much personally for what many consider to be 'essential' tools for web design and publishing. A great deal of this. I imagine that a great deal of this goes to fund Adobe's legal departement and executive management layer. We know for a fact that that all three of these flagship products could be replicated by OSS programmers with not a lot of difficulty. It would be a large project, but most of that art functionality is already in GIMP. The rest is spread around a few other art and publishing tools.

    That's right. Adobe's hideously inflated prices go to support their vast corporate empire, and *not* to better their products. They could be doing better, but they're not.

    Macromedia is no better, having done their best to replace Adobe in the position of being an unofficial 'industry standard' when it comes to web design. If they did this with quality products, it would be one thing, but they try to do it with lawsuits, legal gimmicks, and customer abuse. Flash could be so much bigger than it is now if it were an open standard. Most of the web developers I know would vastly prefer to work with Flash rather than crank out lameo HTML and CSS.

    For shame!
    • Adobe not only has to pay for engineer time (which may or may not be equal to the open source efforts), but management, marketing, support/IT, legal, and equipment(including buildings)

      On top of that, they have ~40 products and ~5 technologies to support.

      Not only that, for the most part, they aren't *imitating* another product; they have to design, test, and distribute their products that Open Source guys don't have to worry about.
    • We know for a fact that that all three of these flagship products could be replicated by OSS programmers with not a lot of difficulty.

      Then why aren't they?

    • i can't believe this has to be mentioned again..

      http://openswf.org/

      a flash evengelist. screw dhtml.
    • We know for a fact that that all three of these flagship products could be replicated by OSS programmers with not a lot of difficulty.

      Oh really? Would you care to put your code where your mouth is? Here's a nickel, kid, go whip up a working Pantone color-matching scheme for XFree86. (Note to audience: this is funny because it is impossible.)

      I'm sorry, but this is just idiotic. The Gimp is a cute toy, and it's certainly replaced Photoshop as the tool of choice among a few hundred people who would never have paid money for Photoshop to begin with. But don't kid yourself that this has anything at all to do with the professional prepress graphics market.

      Adobe's hideously inflated prices

      Back here on planet earth, we call those "what the market will bear." Looking at Adobe's P/E ratios over the past 5 years, I'd say they've gauged it pretty well.

      ...go to support their vast corporate empire

      You know, horrible things like paying the salaries of the (hundreds) of programmers they employ and increasing the value of their (millions) of shareholders.

      ...and *not* to better their products.

      Yup. He's right. Photoshop has been completely stagnant since version 3.0. That's why the company went bankrupt in 95, and most graphics professionals are using either LivePicture, CorelPaint or The Gimp.

      Oh wait, that's bullshit: Adobe has actually consistantly improved the product, and has crushed every major competitor in the market as a result.

      Flash could be so much bigger than it is now if it were an open standard.

      Current estimates are that over 95% of all web browsers have a flash plugin installed. Most Windows OEMs bundle it, Apple bundles it with MacOS 9 and X, and there's even a linux version available. What, exactly, do you mean by "bigger?" I don't think Macromedia is losing any sleep over the lack of support for the all-important IRIX market.

      For shame!

      Quite. Do you usually post while in a vegetative state, or was this a one-time-only thing?
    • by solios (53048) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @04:09AM (#2454163) Homepage
      Read this completely before you mod it as flamebait.

      Most of the web developers I know consider Flash to be a standards-breaking, improperly used piece of ass. But then, most of the web devs I know are rabid about making damned good and sure that the lowest common denominator can use their site. On a modem.

      I'm a professional graphics designer. I live in photoshop. The GIMP - the closest thing that OSS has to a graphics app - is a huge steaming pile of poo compared to the ease of use, power, stability (on a Mac, no less!), and most importantly, USEABILITY of Photoshop (version 5, don't get me started on 6). The GIMP is "almost photoshop", everyone says. We (the graphics community) can NOT use "almost". What we NEED is "Better Than Photoshop".

      I've seen a lot of GIMP art. I've seen a lot of Photoshop art. The capacity and useability of GIMP - particularly with regards to fonts, anti-aliasing, color control (emphasis), et. al., is severly lacking. I've seen some mindblowing graphics produced with photoshop.... I have yet to see anything comprable with the GIMP.

      A *PROFESSIONAL* graphic design app is a good deal more difficult to execute than a window manager, an office suite, or an IRC client. OSS is almost worthy with Nautilus, barely palatable with word processing, stinks horribly at fonts, has produced a number of excellent IRC clients, and a stable as well as surprisingly portable codebase.

      The functionality that graphics people demand isn't there because graphics people don't code and coders don't do graphics (some think they can in both cases, but the evidence supports my statement). Hence, a graphics person that depends on Photoshop has about a 99.9% chance of not knowing a single line of code, and hence, not knowing how to build what he wants to use for free. The issue with OSS is that the "by geeks, for geeks" mentality is simply incapable of producing an application of the quality and caliber of Photoshop- it takes a corporation like Adobe with the money and management to ram the coders and the artists together to get the results necessary to produce a useable application.

      If Adobe and Macromedia's killer apps could be "easily replicated" by OSS, then why haven't they been? I don't know a SINGLE graphic designer that works in Linux. I know two that work in Windows. The rest use MacOS- and of the MacOS users, ONE uses OS X , and she runs her apps in Classic. NONE use or recommed the GIMP. Point of fact, it is a common conclusion within the Pittsburgh professional graphics community that the GIMP is very good at making very bad art. Likely due to the fact that "configue / make / make install" and "Orator 24 point/ Soft Light / desaturate/ color balance / variations (blue, two iterations)" involve two completely different sides of the brain.

      Photoshop is worth the price tag. It is the ONLY graphics app out there that can do what professionals demand- easily, smoothly, and in a stable fashion (on a Mac- hasn't crashed on me once, minus poorly coded third party plugins). Compared to the price points of comprable video compositing and editing software, Photoshop is CHEAP.

      When the GIMP (or comprable app) can use the photshop 5 keyboard shortcuts (and actually DO with equal effectiveness what those shortcuts key to), get color right, support a gazillion fonts, do alpha channels and selections on the flip of a click, read PSD files, launch in under ten seconds, dynamically allocate swap disks (something photoshop doesn't do), AND competently handle a 11x17 @ 600 DPI image with 45 pixel layers and 30 type layers... AND manage five gigs of swap disk without dumping core.... then I'll think about actually seriously using it to do some work.

      The day that OSS can produce a useable graphics app - that can be installed in less than five clicks without resorting to a terminal - is the day I cease dual booting.

      That day is nowhere near. We'll see another thousand or so IRC clients on sourceforge before we see a Better Than Windows WM, let alone a Better Than Photoshop graphics app.
      • I've seen some mindblowing graphics produced with photoshop.... I have yet to see anything comprable with the GIMP.

        You know what? I have seen some mindblowing graphics done in image editor coming with Windows 3.11. Moreover, I have seen some mindblowing graphics produced without any help of Photoshop or computer at all. Actually, some of it is hanging on my walls right now.

        Saying "tool X sucks because I have seen better graphics made with tool Y" is basically saying "guitar sucks because my brother plays good on violin". That's plain stupid argument.

        When the GIMP (or comprable app) can use the photshop 5 keyboard shortcuts

        Well, here is another stupid argument coming. Judging professional application by keyboard shortcut compatibility with other application. Is it trained monkey who is going to use it? So that once imprinted with some basic keyboard accords it cannot do anything else effectively? Oh my...
        • Saying "tool X sucks because I have seen better graphics made with tool Y" is basically saying "guitar sucks because my brother plays good on violin". That's plain stupid argument

          But that's not the argument he's making. Hes saying that perhaps the GIMP is so substandard it isn't possible to make good art with it without fighting the program itself, therefore noone talented enough has ever been able to fight it and succeed in creating good art.

          This is NOT in any way a bad argument -- you may not like the fact that a program has to prove itself, but if you're trying to sell to professionals, thats what it has to do. Someone with the GIMP has to create some work that people will say "hmm, the GIMP can do that? that's really nice, I want to find out how it was done". Until someone with an interest in proving the GIMP's capabilities does this (and of course GIMP itself is capable of doing it!) then we as professionals have to assume that the real problem is that GIMP is inadequate as a professional tool.

          From my time in GIMP I can definitely say i wouldn't choose it over many other options short of Windows Paint. It has few high-quality features, but lots and lots of time-wasting and idiotic programmer crap that is targetted at people who couldn't come up with a workable color scheme if you put a gun to their head.

          Which is fine -- there's nothing wrong with an "image editor for programmers". But don't try to sell it as "Photoshop, but better!" because there is no evidence (final work) to support that.

          (as a side tangent to show that this really does apply in real life -- "real artists" stayed away from acrylic paints for decades because they didn't believe they were up to the challenge. It wasn't until a few talented folks actually got around to figuring out how to take advatage of the unique characteristics (and the paints themselves had evolved a lot!) that professionals accepted the medium -- so we're not just picking on the GIMP)

      • I've seen a lot of GIMP art. I've seen a lot of Photoshop art. The capacity and useability of GIMP - particularly with regards to fonts, anti-aliasing, color control (emphasis), et. al., is severly lacking. I've seen some mindblowing graphics produced with photoshop.... I have yet to see anything comprable with the GIMP

        You know, I much prefer Photoshop to the GIMP myself. But this statement is just crap. Has it occurred to you that there might be so much more "mindblowing" photoshop art because over 90% of art colleges are TEACHING PHOTOSHOP!? And the students of these places are already artistically talented people. So there is simply a far greater number of Photoshop users out there, and the percentage of Photoshop users that are artistically talented is much higher than of GIMP users. Most GIMP users probably have technical, not artistic backgrounds. So OBVIOUSLY there is going to be a lot more great photoshop art out there than GIMP art.

        If you really want to be scientific about it, do a study of 100 artworks done by randomly selected real artists using GIMP, and compare them to 100 artworks done by randomly selected real artists using Photoshop.

        The GIMP is powerful, and I don't think there is any basis for your statements about fonts, of all things. If you're going to criticise GIMP, there are things that are much more worthy of criticism - which is why I'm guessing that you haven't really used GIMP very much.

        As I said though, I prefer Photoshop, the main reasons being: (1) the interface, its just so much more usable, (2) I already know Photoshop well, there is not enough incentive for me to head off on a new learning curve. But at least I have used GIMP fairly extensively at times in the past, back in the days of Photoshop 4, where feature-wise it still compared well to Photoshop.

        How can you say the GIMP doesn't support "a gazillion fonts"? The GIMP supports all the fonts you have installed on your system, if you don't know how to install new fonts its your problem, my Linux box has hundreds of fonts installed. And complaining about keyboard shortcuts and PSD files is like complaining that Photoshop doesn't use GIMPs keyboard shortcuts and that it doesn't read XCF files - thats just lame. And why should GIMP allocate swap disks when the OS has a decent disk swapping mechanism? GIMP scripting is about 1000 times more powerful than Photoshops "actions".

        Come on - I'm sure if you knew GIMP better you could have come up with FAR more valid criticisms against it. You come across as someone who tried GIMP for a couple of days at most and felt frustrated because it "wasn't like Photoshop", which you already knew. I'm not saying you are, but thats how you sound.

      • The capacity and useability of GIMP - particularly with regards to fonts, anti-aliasing

        Apple has patented the hinting mechanisms in TrueType.

        color control (emphasis), et. al., is severly lacking.

        Probably because Apple, Adobe, and Pantone own broad patents in many jurisdictions on all known feasible methods of color correction that produce acceptable results (i.e. better than C,M,Y = 1.0 - R,G,B; K = min(C,M,Y); C,M,Y -= K).

        Hence, a graphics person that depends on Photoshop has about a 99.9% chance of not knowing a single line of code, and hence, not knowing how to build what he wants to use for free.

        Which explains the lack of a scripting language in Photoshop. GIMP, on the other hand, supports Scheme and Perl scripting and C and C++ filters.

        it takes a corporation like Adobe with the money and management to ram the coders and the artists together to get the results necessary to produce a useable application.

        If you consider "results" to include "broad patents on color correction that keep everybody else from competing in the prepress market," I agree.

        If Adobe and Macromedia's killer apps could be "easily replicated" by OSS, then why haven't they been?

        Because developers want users in the United States to be able to use their software legally.

        Point of fact, it is a common conclusion within the Pittsburgh professional graphics community that the GIMP is very good at making very bad art.

        Programs don't make bad art; bad artists make bad art. A license saying that "bad artists may not use this program and thereby tarnish the image of the program" would look ridiculous to me.

        "Orator 24 point/ Soft Light / desaturate/ color balance / variations (blue, two iterations)"

        Nearly the same steps in GIMP. I have used Gaussian Blur then Curves to do some nice neon effects.

        Photoshop is worth the price tag.

        Perhaps for you. I don't use the prepress features (I do mostly game and web graphics), so I see a stripped-down version of Photoshop called Photoshop Elements as more worth the price tag.

        When the GIMP (or comprable app) can use the photshop 5 keyboard shortcuts

        You can change any GIMP shortcut by right-clicking an image to open the menu, hovering over a menu item, and pressing the key you want to use to activate the menu item. Most GTK+ apps work the same way.

        get color right

        Again, if this were implemented, GIMP would not be available in the United States of America or any other jurisdiction where somebody has a patent on using LUT-interpolated vector transformation for color correction.

        support a gazillion fonts

        GIMP supports as many fonts as you have installed on your system. I can see all my TrueType fonts from my copy of GIMP 1.2 for Windows.

        read PSD files

        Do you also expect Photoshop to read XCF files? Find me the spec for PSD files, and I'll send it to the GIMP people to implement.

        launch in under ten seconds

        On what kind of computer? Photoshop 5 takes over a minute to launch on my old 75 MHz Mac.

        The day that OSS can produce a useable graphics app - that can be installed in less than five clicks without resorting to a terminal

        Depends on how you have your window manager and desktop environment set up. I'll use Windows 98 Explorer for example, as that's what most popular *n?x desktops try to emulate, adding one step whenever the state of a mouse button changes from UP to DOWN. I'll also assume you turned the annoying CD-ROM Autorun feature off.

        1. Click on 'My Computer'.
        2. Quickly click again on 'My Computer'.
        3. Click on 'CD-ROM'.
        4. Quickly click again on 'CD-ROM'.
          Note that instead of steps 1-4, I simply type F:\ into any open Explorer window.
        5. Click on 'Install'.
        6. Quickly click again on 'Install'.
        7. Drag the license agreement scrollbar to the bottom. Many new packages' installers require you to do this in order to sidestep some technicality in contract law.
        8. Click 'I Agree'.
        9. Click 'Next' to accept the default location.
        10. Click 'Next' to accept the Typical installation.
        11. Click the 'Use this program for BMP files' checkbox.
        12. Click the 'Use this program for PCX files' checkbox.
        13. Click the 'Use this program for PNG files' checkbox.
          Look for a GIF checkbox. Fail to find it because of Unisys's discriminatory licensing policies. Give up.
        14. Click the 'Use this program for JPG files' checkbox.
        15. Click OK to finish.

        And you still haven't calibrated your display resolution. Because many poorly-written but popular Windows applications will not run correctly if the display resolution is set to anything but 96 dpi, many graphics applications (including GIMP) include their own settings for resolution.

        • Please somebody mod this guy up. His point about the patents should be heard.
      • You are 100% correct regarding the GIMP vs. Photoshop. The GIMP _MAY_ be a replacement for Paintshop Pro (ok, not quite). The GIMP is "cool" and "neat" (I like having access to the libs from Perl, for example), but it's nowhere near a professional graphics package.
      • Somebody else said it and I'll say it again in case it gets lost in the noise.

        Why don't you rail against adobe to open up their file formats so that GIMP can open them. Why don't you complain to these companies to release their patents on color correction and font manipulation so that GIMP can implement them. One of the main reasons why GIMP can't do these things is that it's actually ILLEGAL for them to do it. It's one thing to expect open source developers to implement some feature it's another to expect them to go to jail of face bankrupcy from a lawsuit.
  • GO MACROMEDIA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sourcehunter (233036) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @01:33AM (#2454007) Homepage
    Mod me down as a troll if you wish, but quite frankly, I'm glad to see this...

    Since tech details are a bit sparse, I'm not quite sure which patent this is or whether it is frivilous, but quite frankly, I like seeing someone (try to) take a bite out of the big guy... And Adobe is the Microsoft of the digital image world.

    • Not only you, but many others, are cheering on Macromedia as they bring this legal action against Adobe. In some respects, yeah, cool. But you have to remember one thing: corporations who use patents to secure a foothold on a technology/idea/whatever, are not champions of open source ideals. Macromedia is just as evil as Adobe when it comes to corporate principles, so don't look at them as taking justice for what Adobe has done in the past. They'd just as soon slap the little guy around with the DMCA as Adobe would.
      • When you see two evil entitites fighting each other it's a good thing. It weakens both of them. The good side in this case is too weak to fight either one. This is best outcome that can be expected under the circumstances. It's not as good as good triumphing over evil but you gotta take what you can. Two weaker evil companies is better then two stronger evil companies.
    • M$ got where it is through marketing and a couple of BAD decisions on the part of IBM.

      Adobe got where it is by making QUALITY products that do what professional graphic artists NEED to do. Nothing compares to Photoshop in terms of functionality, flexibility, and stability. N O T H I N G.

      I suppose that Adobe technically has a monopoly, but in this case, they have earned it through right of coding a product that is FAR and above superior to everything else. It's the Industry Standard for image manipulation and creation for a reason - it's GOOD. Nobody that uses Photoshop bitches about it (generally- a few people prefer 5 to 6, but it's semantics- nobody that likes 5 and hates 6 is going to jump ship to another app).

      From a graphics standpoint, Macromedia makes the better HTML editor (dreamweaver) and image optimizer (fireworks) - but Fireworks sucks in many areas... and on the other side of the fence, Adobe Illustrator is a BITCH to print form at weird sizes, and Macromedia Freehand does color seperation for print (shirts, cloth, hats, etc.) in its sleep, whereas Illustrator doesn't even bother.
      • Adobe got where it is by making QUALITY products that do what professional graphic artists NEED to do.

        Actually I'd say they got there by being lucky enough to be accepted by Apple to implement the LaserWriter. If Apple had chosen any of the dozens of other competing page layout languages available at the time, then Adobe would have disappeared into the ether.

    • This analogy you propose is really off the mark. Adobe is king of the commercial digital graphics world, I agree, but the most significant reasons to hate Microsoft don't apply to Adobe at all.

      They create standards, document them well, and encourage other people to use them. They do not change the standards to encourage migration to their products. For instance: PostScript, PDF. PhotoShop plugins are supported by third party apps as well.

      They release new versions of their products (not counting free patches (eg, ps 6.0 -> 6.01)) when they have significantly and notably improved them. I never used photoshop before 3, but each and every version since (4,5,5.5,6) have been much improved.

      They dominate the market through producing what is widely regarded by those in the industry as a superior product. As far as I know they don't have to resort to anti-competitive exclusivity contracts with anyone in particular, for instance.

  • Of course, patents suck. But, after Adobe's actions against Dmitry, and I don't care if Adobe repealled its call to the FBI, I will cheer for any activity leading to the demise of Adobe. Patent suits, with expensive attorney's fees, can only eat away at a company's financial chest, particularly during the current economic downtrend.
    Adobe can go to hell.
  • by Lawst (242846) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @02:02AM (#2454044)
    My guess is that this is a continuation of last year's suit(s) where Macromedia is claiming they own the "tabbed palette" technology that Adobe has incorporated into Photoshop.

    Here are some links from Aug 2000:

    http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/0008/10.adob e. shtml

    http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressr el eases/200008/20000810macro.html

    In any case, it looks like Macromedia isn't going to let up too easily on trying to drive Adobe under.
  • by kingdon (220100) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @02:11AM (#2454054) Homepage

    There is also an article [washingtonpost.com] in the Washington Post which mostly gives the same information we have already but also cites the case more specifically as "Macromedia v. Adobe, C01-3940". So the next step is Findlaw [findlaw.com] which can get us to the web site of, say, the district court for Northern California [uscourts.gov] (disclaimer: I'm not sure that is the right district but it is a decent guess). That web site seems to say there is lots of fascinating information on PACER [uscourts.gov] but that's a pay service. So I think I'm more or less at a dead end (although I didn't try, say, searching the patent databases looking for macromedia owned patents which look plausible).

    As for why PACER costs $$$, they answer that on the PACER site as follows:

    Why are there user fees for PACER?

    In 1988, the Judiciary sought funding through the appropriation process to establish the capability to provide electronic public access services. Rather than appropriating additional funds for this purpose, Congress specifically directed the Judiciary to fund that initiative through the collection of user fees. As a result, the program relies exclusively on fee revenue.

  • by marm (144733) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @02:14AM (#2454060)
    I find just one patent on Delphion [delphion.com] that was issued to Macromedia in 1998:

    Isn't that almost exactly what Adobe were suing Macromedia over? Has the US Patent Office granted both of them almost exactly the same patent?

    This could get interesting...

    • >US05808610 09/15/1998 Method and system of docking panels

      When I followed that link and viewed Macromedia's patent, it opened up Adobe Acrobat...

      Shaun
    • "The panels can be docked by dragging a first panel and dropping it in proximity with a second panel while holding down a modifier key. When the panels are docked, a docking wedge is created between the panels. Docked panels can be moved as if the panels were a single panel."

      This is silly.

      It is just like dragging one icon or filename from one list to another, except that the "icons" are fat and complicated.
    • It depresses me to read patents like this. This sort of thing really shouldn't be allowed to be patented. Its just so fscking simple. I swear, if people can patent this, I can patent a system called "parking", which describes a technique whereby a person manouvres a "vehicle" into a "parking bay" by a specific sequence of steps involving a "clutch", a "gearbox" and a "steering wheel". This sort of thing (the macromedia patent describes) really does equate to such horribly simple everyday things - any dumbass 8 year old could come up with it. I can almost understand people patenting things like sophisticated and mathematically intensive compression algorithms for, say, compression and transmission of real-time character animation information by inverse kinematics. That involves putting together things in a NEW, ORIGINAL, COMPLEX way. But this macromedia patent is just depressingly trivial.

      On a side note, what is it with this slashdot "invalid form key" crap?

  • by killthiskid (197397) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @02:39AM (#2454088) Homepage Journal

    This is old news for these two companies...


    They have been sueing and counter-sueing for quite a while, i.e.:


    Macromedia filed a countersuit against Adobe in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware that alleged the invalidity of Adobe's '528 patent, and claimed that several of Adobe's software products infringed upon Macromedia patents.


    Macromedia's countersuit alleged that Adobe infringed three Macromedia patents:

    5,467,443: "System and method for automatically generating derived graphic elements"

    5,151,998: "Sound editing system using control line for altering specified characteristic of adjacent segment of the stored waveform"

    5,204,969: "Sound editing system using visually displayed control line for altering specified characteristic of adjacent segment of stored waveform"


    And so on...


    Some good info:


    www.cptech.com [cptech.org] has some good info and links on the two sueing and counter-sueing.


    macweek.com [macworld.com] seems to indicate the the whole thing is over the fact that 'that Adobe Premiere violates two patents related to visual display and editing of soundforms. Macromedia also contended that Adobe's patents in the case are invalid and thus unenforceable.'


    This seems to be a defense patent battle, in that both sides are trying to invalidate the other sides patents...


    A few more links...


    www.creativemac.com [creativemac.com] says 'Macromedia Fires Back at Adobe'


    And an editorial by WebDeveloper.com [webdeveloper.com]... and I quote:


    Adobe and Macromedia have been fighting for Web designers' patronage for years. Now that battle will be entering the court system, as Adobe accuses its rival of patent infringement.

    Ultimately, I would say this a standard battle of patents. Such things have taken place many a time, this time it just happens to involve software patents, and thus happens upon the radar of geeks and slashdot...


    • It all comes down to: People living in glass houses should not throw stones.

      If you are going to sue a company over patent infringement, you better be sure your own technology is really your own.

      In this industry that as of late is run more by politics and lawyers than technology, this is one of the only things that may prevent a complete downward spiral.

      On the other hand, I hope Adobe goes DOWN. They deserve it right now.

      -----Kermit
      (Now off to finish recording a spoken mp3 version of some ebook I decrypted so I can upload it to napster)
  • they all sux0rz (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FFON (266696)
    i had grips of their software titles NEW IN BOX that i was selling on ebay. i got the gear from my dot com that had went under, it was the lot they purchased just before they sunk, and i got to sell it on ebay. both macromedia and adobe tried to sue me! Lawyers decended, auctions were canceled, everyone was surley, i drank heavily.... they wanted me to open the boxes, send the liscense key and wait for their "OKAY." i was like, fuck you pay me. i sold the software for a little less than i wanted to the poor saps that had the auctions canceled on them...
    in the end i wish both companies a fist full of nothing and pint urine.
  • Companies are suing each other with stupid claims of patent infringement. Ok, ok, ok. Okay! OKAY!!! I guess it's possible that the people who make patent rulings are going to listen to our opinions about how stupid these claims are. Maybe the word "representative" in the phrase "congressional representative" refers to representing the public interest. Maybe professional wrestling is real too. I'll have to give these possibilities some thought. Meanwhile, somewhere in the world, other things are happening.
    • It will continue to be interesting because we will continue to pay. We pay with money, freedom (i.e., reduction thereof), and hassle. The money flows from our pocket to the pockets of lawyers; the freedom flows away as government mismanages its intrusion into creative fields; the hassle of using buggy software remains high as long as software companies squander resources on legal wrangling, resources that could be redirected into better design, tigher quality control, etc.

      You can choose to ignore the impacts, or you can choose to complain about their negative influence while ignoring the root cause, but you can't choose to make it irrelevant, any more than you can choose to make professional wrestling "real."

  • Copyright Violation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chazR (41002) on Saturday October 20, 2001 @04:31AM (#2454177) Homepage
    To: Litigating Patent Holders
    From: B.Franklin, Geo. Read, Jaco. Broom et. al.

    Dear Sir,

    We understand that you are planning to embark on certain legislation that will require the invocation of section eight of the document known as "The Constitution of the United States" [nara.gov], specifically the clause that reads:

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

    We wish to remind you that this text is covered by modern copyright law. Should you find it necessary to refer to this clause, or any clause of the document, in your pleadings to the court we will require that you pay a reasonable and non-discriminatory fee. This fee will reflect the value of the document to the United States.

    We trust that you will contact us before use or publication of our copyrighted material.

    Kind Regards,

    The Founding Fathers
    • We wish to remind you that this [United States Constitution] is covered by modern copyright law.

      Ignoring that works of the U.S. government immediately go to public domain, recent retroactive copyright term extensions [everything2.com] may eventually make jokes similar to this a reality by exploiting a loophole in the "for limited Times" language. Yes, the courts consider one billion years and two days to count as a "limited time" under the letter of the Constitution.

  • Well... Macromedia might have done pretty well with Flash etc. but Adobe will always be the graphics champ, been around a little bit longer and have, some may argue, the best graphics suite going.. Who wants to write a flash plug-in for photoshop? :)
    • Adobe is the print graphics champ.

      Macromedia is the web graphics champ.

      The users win, because they're both fighting tooth and nail!
  • ... actually made any *real* money from licencing software patents?

    For the same vendors, what has been the actual combined cost in payments to and employment of patient lawyers and costs of legal disputes?

    Also

    A patient is effectively a monopoly on an intellectual property granted by a govenment -- BUT if an intellectual property is being abused to create a monopoly then it breaches the antitrust act? ( See http://www.ftc.gov/speeches/other/aipla.htm )

    Would selective or even negotiable licencing put groups of licence holders into effectively being a cartel?

    Also

    If Europe and other nations deny that a patient on software is valid, what is to stop the whole USA software industry emigrating?

    Would this not put the US back into the 1950s, technology wise?

    Also

    Did not Henry Ford at first ignore and then go to court to break patients which would have held back the Model A?

  • this time by Macromedia, when they have time to do so?
  • This is getting ridiculous.

    Maybe there is hope in the future. Perhaps all corporations will merge into one single gigantic corporation that controls everything. Then this corporation will infringe its own patents and compete with itself. Maybe it will then sue itself out of existance.
  • That the first sign of the impending death of any tehnology company is when they start paying lawyers rather then engineers.

    Something to think about.
  • For those trashing Adobe as a greedy company with a $600 program, don't forget something very rare in the software industry: Adobe's license lets you install one copy at work and one at home as long as both aren't used at the same time. Okay, they're just making legal what most people do anyway, but it's a good idea.

    Photoshop is a professional tool and is priced appropriately: if you make money off of it, you should pay for it. If you're a student, Adobe has educational discounts at a fraction of retail.

    Add that to their distaste for dongles, the general quality of the software, interoperability, Windows-Mac cross platform operation, lower-cost bundling, and reasonable/timely upgrades (a couple minor incidents aside), and I'd say Adobe's pricing and licensing is pretty good.

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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