Adobe Creative Cloud: goodbye almost affordable K-12 media suite

UPDATE: sign the petition!

My school has a site license for Adobe Creative Suite 6 (CS6), the smallest one they offer. We have to cover our computer center and media labs, some offices, student computers used for publications and our design/communications team – the  delta between the number of installs we actually have/need vs. the number we are allowed with the smallest site licensing pacage is yawning. And it sure cost a bundle, but it was still far more cost effective than buying the software a la carte, particular since we had software assurance to get us future CS versions at a few dollars per year.

Then Adobe decided to finally throw the lever this week, launching their new Creative Cloud (CC) product, which replaces Creative Suite, and eliminates the need for version numbers altogether. They also made sweeping changes to their pricing model, which includes new options for licensing to schools, and in short, totally screws us and most other Independent secondary schools.

While the idea behind the CC is a great one (subscribe instead of purchase, and you can always download and install the newest version of any app at any time), their pricing model (see linked PDF above) now use FTE (full time staff) counts to license the whole site. Which is fine if you have 20,000 students and 1,000 staff, or are purchasing for an entire district, or have a 1:1 laptop program and roll out Adobe products to every student in many grades (I don’t know of any school that does this, do you?). But for a typical K-12 Independent school, even if you were using all ~250 licenses their old smallest-tier site license, you’d now be paying approximately three times annually what you previously paid once for the same number of users/seats. Annually. Triple the cost. Every year. Forever. The exact numbers are omitted on purpose, but are based on our real enrollment and staffing; the 3:1 ratio is real.

Adobe has, whether they realize it or not, completely left every non-district, Independent secondary educational institution with ~1,000 students or fewer in a serious lurch. Looks like we’re going to be working with CS6 for quite a while. There is basically no option to do a single-version purchase of CC apps a la carte – you need to subscribe there too, and the rates are similarly prohibitive compared to our old per-seat price.

Time to start teaching GIMP. Why the blazes did Aviary close?

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