How long has OS X Snow Leopard been available for Mac users? Since late August, 2009. That’s about 150 days.
How long has Adobe Fireworks CS4 been crashing on Snow Leopard without a fix? About 150 days. If I’m going to be a crash test dummy for Adobe, I want to get paid. What’s going on? Adobe—maker of Photoshop, Acrobat, Flash and other tools—treats customers like corporate crash test dummies. I’m tired of it.
The Problem Is Real
Here’s the deal. I use Adobe Fireworks to create graphics on my Mac. I’ve used Fireworks since it was a Macromedia product.
I would use Adobe Photoshop but I don’t have time for the night classes at the local community college to learn the intricacies of their flagship behemoth.
I upgraded my Mac last summer to OS X Snow Leopard. Since then, Fireworks crashes on quit. If I quit Fireworks by selecting Quit from the menu, it crashes over half the time.
If I use the Command-Q keystroke combination, Fireworks crashes. Again, about half the time. It is annoying. And disconcerting. And I’m not alone. Many thousands of other Adobe Fireworks users have the same problem.
What is Adobe doing to fix it? So far, not much (which is a kind way of saying, “nothing”).
The Legion Of Adobe Crash Test Dummies
Interestingly, my Mac, running Snow Leopard, has never crashed. Safari? A few times, usually, it seems due to Adobe’s Flash plug-in. But Snowy? Nope.
Fireworks, amazingly, crashes more often than Flash in Safari. Is it any wonder I feel like an Adobe Crash Test Dummy? Why do I put up with this nonsense? Why does Adobe treat paying customers with such disdain?
Disdain? Well, 150 days ago Fireworks users started reporting the on quit crash to Adobe. What have they done? It took 53 days to acknowledge the problem. In the ensuing 97 days, uh, well, nothing. That’s disdain.
I am not alone. I am part of a legion of Adobe’s corporate crash test dummies.
The Unofficial Response To The Dummies
Software is complex. Adobe is a huge company with many products and more layers of bureaucracy and even more customers who rely on their products. Unofficially, this is what they say about the Fireworks crash.
There’s only one issue that we’re seeing reported broadly and consistently, and that is that Fireworks CS4 may crash when you select File > Quit or Command-Q. Thanks to crash reports submitted by users, we have an idea of how common this is, and also, what the problem is. This crash only happens on some Snow Leopard installations where Fireworks CS4 is running.
That was last summer. When it happens, Fireworks hangs for a few moments (spinning beach ball of death, but without the death), then seems to close down. Moments later, an Adobe pop up message says the application has crashed, and offers to send a report to Adobe.
Do not ask me how many times I—and my crash test dummy Fireworks compatriots—have clicked the Send button.
If you are one of the people experiencing this issue, then we want to reassure you that it is not a harmful crash. Our engineers have found the offending code, and determined that all unsaved documents can be safely saved before the code that causes the crash executes.
So far, no lost documents on my side, but something else has begun to occur. Upon restart, after a crash, Fireworks inexplicably states that it has been moved and that files need to be repaired (though Fireworks has not, in actuality, moved). I click the Repair button, enter a password, and Fireworks goes on it’s merry way. Again.
Adobe’s unofficial response?
We’ll continue to monitor these crash reports to determine if we can find a workaround, and to understand how common the crash is for our customers [edit: as Snow Leopard continues to proliferate]. At this time, we have no planned update release to fix this since it is harmless and causes no data loss. We regret any inconvenience this causes.
What do other Adobe Crash Test Dummies have to say about this little mess? The comments here are revealing:
This is a significant issue affecting a significant number of users, you know what’s causing it, you’ve stated that CS4 is fully supported in Snow Leopard – FIX IT AND STOP AVOIDING THE ISSUE. End of story.
But wait! There’s more.
Quality products are products that make people feel good. People that feel good are in turn productive. Shame on you, Adobe, for not knowing and putting into practice this essential fact. You’re treating this whole software development business like an assembly line, and your paying customers are starting to see that Adobe is cutting corners instead of building fine quality into their products. We’ve paid up the nose for Adobe products because they give us the creative options we need. We don’t need the razz at the end.
From the Adobe Crash Test Dummy chapter in the UK:
Seriously?! With all due respect, this is a very lazy response to the problem. You claim to produce the best, most word class software in the market – and yet glaring bugs in the software are not addressed, or even road mapped to be fixed. The software is NOT fit for purpose to run on snow leopard, period. Just because I can save my work before the crash does not mean its ‘ok’ and to be swept under the carpet.
Those comments are juicy, but there are many, many more, including this blog from a member of the Adobe Fireworks Engineering team, with choice comments from summer of 2009 to January 2010.
Adobe: The UBS Of Mac Software
I once saw an old movie called Network, where a fictional television network, Union Broadcasting System (UBS) struggled with poor ratings. The film is a classic and won four Academy Awards.
Howard Beale, the UBS Evening News anchor, learned that declining ratings would cost him his job. He announces that he’ll commit suicide on the air. UBS fires him, but hires him back and he goes sufficiently bonkers that he gets his own television show on UBS to rant and rave.
Beale’s line, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” is a classic among movie buffs.
This is my TV show. I’m not going to shoot anyone, but I might go so far as to strangle all my Adobe products and look for alternatives. I’ve dumped all Microsoft products from my Mac. What is to prevent me from doing the same to Adobe products?
I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.