Adobe CS6 Installer: Continuing a proud tradition of user hostility

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
May 9th, 2012 • 5:19 pm

It’s that time of the year again… Against my better judgment, I have opted, once again, to upgrade my current version of the Adobe Creative Suite (5.5) to the new version (6.0). I am not quite ready to embrace Adobe’s version of cloud-based computing, so I ordered the disk-based version, and it was delivered today.

Regular Betalogue readers know that I have had fun describing the installation process for previous versions of the software over the years, most notably Adobe CS4, in a blog post that attracted quite a bit of coverage and ended up prompting an Adobe representative to contact me and invite me to be part of the beta-testing team for the next version.

I got a free copy of the Adobe CS5 Master Suite for my troubles, so I am not complaining, but since most of my criticism remained unanswered and I continued to report on subsequent versions of the suite and their flaws on this blog, I haven’t been invited back, and so now I am just another paying customer interested in seeing what one gets from Adobe for a yearly splash of hard-earned cash. Since I got the Master Suite with CS5, I figured I should continue to purchase the upgrade for that particular version of the suite, and so what I am reporting on today is the installation process for the Adobe CS6 Master Suite upgrade disk.

Upon inserting the disk, you get this:


Adobe obviously still does not do long file names, and their taste in file icons is, let’s say, on the spartan side. But never mind. Here’s what you get when you open the disk:


My long-standing issue about what this first icon is supposed to look like and whether it indicates a file (an app) or a folder (containing other stuff) remains unanswered. The only way to find out is to double-click on it:


So it’s a folder… I still don’t understand why I, as a user, have to see folders called “deploy”, “packages”, and “payloads” in addition to the installer app icon, with all kinds of folders and subfolders inside them, but this is clearly something to which Adobe is very attached, and there is only so many times you can ask the same question before you start wondering whether anyone actually cares about such “details.”

So I double-click on the “” icon, and I get an application called… Adobe Installer, which of course has to go through a long process of setting itself up before I can even start the installation:


One day, maybe, an Adobe engineer will understand that, when the user has to go through a lengthy installation process, the best approach is to let him enter all the required information (password, serial number, etc.) right away, and then — and only then — go through all the lengthy processes that are of no interest to him without asking for any user input, so that he can switch to something else and, you know, actually make valuable use of his time.

Instead, the user has to wait for this installation setup process itself to complete, with no real idea of how long it will take. It’s especially fun when the process reaches a stage where it’s close enough to the finish line that it cannot go back and so, you know, you can’t cancel anymore because you shouldn’t:


Of course, we are all familiar with these progress bars that reach the “full” stage and then stay stuck there for an indeterminate amount of extra time. Yes, it’s one of those. Eventually, though, the process does complete, and then the user is asked for more input:


As far as I am aware, all UI specialists recommend that buttons in dialog boxes be in the bottom-right corner, but hey, bottom-left is only the extreme opposite in one direction. It could be worse: the “Quit” button could be in the top-left corner.

While this might not be entirely obvious, the big area around the “Install” text is one massive button. At this point, I am not even asking how mouse-less people who use OS X’s built-in Full Keyboard Access feature for accessibility can even get to the button… Oh, what the hell, let’s find out:


Yes! Miracles of miracles! The installer does have some kind of FKA feature. It’s not the standard OS X one, but pressing the Tab key does cycle through all three available controls and put some kind of blue frame around the one on which the focus is. There’s hope for disabled people after all.

After entering the serial number, I finally get to the installation per se. And here’s the first real snag:


What is this warning sign next to the first item in the list? Here’s the tip:


For the record, I have never, ever used Flash Builder in my life, and I have only ever installed what Adobe has provided me, which is Adobe CS5.5 Master Suite, which includes Flash Builder 4.5:


But, who knows, it could be my fault, somehow… So I figure I might as well try uninstalling Flash Builder 4.5 before going any further. Bad idea:


Quit the installer to uninstall the older Flash Builder and start all over again? No way. It’s hopeless. At this stage, I don’t care, and I just proceed with the installation without Flash Builder 4.6. Thankfully it’s the only thing the Adobe CS6 installer is complaining about.

(UPDATE: A Betalogue reader also reports that he tried to deselect some of the installation options for things he did not want, such Adobe Bridge or Media Encoder, and the Adobe Installer still installed them even though he had specifically unchecked them. I personally gave up long ago on trying to customize my Adobe CS installation, precisely because of this very reason. The only customization I choose is to put everything in a subfolder inside my “Applications” folder. That at least works as expected. If you want to save space on your startup volume by not installing certain modules — an especially valid goal if you have an SSD drive — I suggest you go through the installed stuff after the fact and trash whatever you don’t want. It’s not ideal, and it might not eliminate unnecessary stuff put by Adobe in other locations, such as the “Application Support” folder, but it’s apparently the only approach that Adobe really supports.)

Finally, the installer asks for my admin password:


Note the nice generic document icon and generic application name (“Setup”) which does not match any of the application names that I have seen so far for the installer. Apparently, including the application icon and name for the installer that is actually running in the UI (“Adobe Application Manager” at this point, according to the Dock) in the dialog box, like other OS X apps do, is too much to ask:


But never mind… At some point you just have to trust Adobe, right? So here comes the admin password, and half an hour later…


It wouldn’t be an Adobe installer if it didn’t force you to quit Safari, would it? One day, maybe, Microsoft and Adobe will grasp the concept of “install now, relaunch later” that other, smaller developers have had no problem adopting. But clearly that time has yet to come.

So finally, after quitting Safari, and a couple of registration steps:


Phew! And yes, these are the new, “Genuine Adobe” software application icons. (Click on the pic to see the normal size.) Getting slicker all the time, Adobe…

But wait until you actually launch one of these apps:


Holy mackerel! Talk about a “splash” screen! Goes beautifully with the mess of windows in the background, does it not? InDesign is not much better:


But hey, I suppose it’s all a matter of taste. And that’s it for the installation process anyway. I am sure we’ll have more fun with CS7 next year!

One Response to “Adobe CS6 Installer: Continuing a proud tradition of user hostility”

  1. Betalogue » Adobe: Now that you’ve upgraded, would you like to upgrade? says:

    […] week I wrote about my experience upgrading my Adobe CS5.5 Master Suite of applications to Adobe CS6. While I didn’t mention this […]