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KipV

Just out of curiosity why is Affinity being cross platform important to some people?

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I have seen this topic come up a lot on these forums and in social media and I was just curious what kind of workflow people are using that would make working on multiple platforms beneficial. I first started using graphic apps like PageMaker, Freehand, and Photoshop in 1995 when the difference between Mac and PC probably hit it’s lowest point ever with the introduction of Windows 95. At the time it would have not been logical to develop for only one of those platforms given how little difference there was between the two of them. Being cross platform was helpful to me at the time since our graphics department at school was all Macs and the computers at my house were always PCs.

Today my set up is nothing like it was in 1995. Nearly all my workflow (outside of a few Adobe apps) are all Mac based. This has to do with the fact that programs that focus on platform specific features, I feel, generally end up being better then their cross platform competitors. Here is a quick scan through my application folder: the Omnigroup apps, Transmit, Sketch, iDraw, Bento, iBooks, iBook Author, Billings, Pixelmator, Automator, HoudahSpot, Tembo, iWork, iLife, etc. If someone were to give me a PC to work on I don’t know what I would do since 80% of my workflow is not available on Windows.

Adobe, on the other hand, appears to be attempting to be about as cross platform as possible. Just a couple of days ago I read an article that said they will be supporting Chrome OS in addition to Mac, Windows, iOS, (eventually) Android, and no doubt others. If you feel that being cross platform is “the right way to do things” then it seems like your ideal set up is already available today. Yes, Adobe costs more but if they are paying all their developers to support all these platforms then it needs to cost more. Since I don’t really use other platforms (meaning non Apple platforms) I don’t see why I need to have to pay for my software to be developed on those platforms any more.

Personally I don’t see the value in being cross platform at all these days. From my point of view it is a dated concept that once made sense but a sea change has occurred over the decades since then. I have been waiting for 6 or 7 years for someone to take full advantage of features on the Mac with pro apps and that is finally starting to happen over the last couple of years. A windows port (or Linux, Android, etc) would force the developers to strip out most of the greatness that makes Affinity Designer Affinity Designer. Their product line without the foundation that it is built on would end up being a totally different product, one that is crippled. This then begs the question why don’t they just make a product that is Windows only? This is exactly what Serif is already doing.

If any other platform makes logical sense to port Affinity to I think it would be iOS. Since Mac and iOS share so much of the same code base it seems most of the work would be in creating an interface for a touch screen which would seem manageable to me (ok, I’m not a developer so I probably shouldn’t say that with absolute certainty.) Also when you consider that as Affinity focuses on developing for the Mac iOS will at the same time continue to become more mature. Maybe all the Mac features are currently not available in iOS 8 but what about when it reaches iOS 10 or 11?

I don’t mean for this post to sound pro-apple and anti-windows. I am just stating that for this product line it makes more sense for it to be single platform. Even if Microsoft succeeds in remedying the problem that is Windows 8 and Windows 10 comes out and it is a wonderful release I still don’t think that gives justification to support it’s development necessarily. Windows has a different foundation so it makes more sense for someone to develop a product that tries to take full advantage of the technologies that it provides from scratch. Another issue to deal with is that MS is so hit and miss regarding their OS releases. If Windows 10 is a success but Windows 11 flops (like Vista and WIndows 8) that is going to make developing for this platform difficult. Apple has generally had a proven track record with OS releases so Serif is basing their product line on a platform that will continue to improve and not get worse. Again if you have rational for what a cross platform solution would offer that an Apple based platform does not I would like to know what the rational is. We have seen a lot of companies become very successful by staying limited in focus so the argument for adoption of broader platform support would have to go up against a long list of arguments against it.

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I think people are not interested in the cross-platform concept for its "flexibility" and interoperability. They simply want to have Affinity Designer in their platform of choice, so they can use it. It's a very promising software, doing a lot of stuff right, and probably the only real alternative to Adobe in years, so it's natural people are interested in it.

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I believe you mean Manga Studio. Anyway, it's not a pure vector illustration software and does not compete directly with Illustrator. It's just fills a specific niche.

CorelDraw is (although it's stagnated and don't offer nothing new or innovative nowadays). Since Macromedia was bought by Adobe nothing on the market could compete with Illustrator. Feature-wise it is extremely complete and precise, but it isn't very user-friendly and far from cheap. Without competition Adobe just did whatever they wanted and the result is their new much loved subscription model that alienates everybody except big studios/agencies.

 

Affinity Designer is the most ambitious software targeting Illustrator in terms of features, it's based on a modern architecture, and gives real-time feedback for basically everything what it does besides being more intuitive and accessible, which makes it very user friendly. However Illustrator is a standard in the industry and will be very difficult for Affinity to break in. It's not only Illustrator that matters here. It's his integration with the rest of the Creative Suite that makes it much stronger. You can use ai files basically anywhere: from Flash to After-Effects to Photoshop, InDesign you name it. So yeah there's no such promising option for Windows. There's very solid solutions as single apps, but nothing outstanding or that can change the state of things.

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Affinity seem to integrate pretty well with Adobe apps in my experience. An Affinity Suite would be nice but it's still possible to do your job alongside Adobe apps.

 

I think part of the reason for there not being a Windows option is that Windows hasn't been advancing as fast as Mac OS has from the 2000s on. At one point they even went 5 years without putting out an update so it just seems unrealistic to me when Windows users expect them to port to an OS that is moving that slowly. For that reason it seems like Adobe could own the Windows market for a very long time.

 

The Mac OS X updates provided many great technologies for creative apps that I am not sure Windows has. Maybe one of the reasons Adobe has been raising it's prices is that they foresaw losing much of their market on the Mac to smaller companies so they needed to make up the difference on the PC side. Last year I think I spent close to $1,500 on Adobe updates (including all the plugin updates) and I hardly even open their apps anymore!! If other Mac users are doing the same thing I can't see them continuing to pay these high prices for Adobe software as hot new graphics apps seem to keep coming out on Mac every few months. Just about the only thing I use regularly is LR and that can be replaced.

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I am quite surprised that this question comes up at all!

Here's my take: I can imagine freelancers or smalish offices which concentrate on text and graphics production staying purely
on the Mac platform and have no problem doing so. But any somewhat larger Studio I ever had to do with had people working with

quite a mix of Mac, Windows as well as Linux operators.

Studios which deal a lot with 3D-content such as architectural offices quite likely need Windows too. Sure, there's capable CAD programs

for Mac but one might badly miss graphical programming environments such as Grasshopper3D or Generative Components which simply

have no Mac equivalent. Also for information exchange with other offices one can hardly avoid Windows as Microsoft has dominated this

industry for decades.

Industrial Design Studios likely have milling machines in their workshops and need to generate CNC- Toolpaths or analyze parts with
Finite Elements Calculations. Again, these are areas where it makes no sense to try finding a suitable Mac product. There's none, the

whole tool category is practically nonexistent on the Mac side. Both offices might have a renderfarm, a bunch of beefy server computers

used for digital image calculations. It will likely run Linux.
These Studios all produce tons of graphics, still imagery as well as motion graphics. In such contexts it of course makes great sense to be able

to exchange psd files and being able to open and edit them both when sitting in front of a Mac and a PC.

I currently don't work in such a large office, but still profit from Adobe's multiplatformness on a daily basis. As a PC user I frequently get

sent  .psd's and .indd (Indesign) files created by Mac users. Its fantastic that I can simply open this content losslessly, may save my changes

and finally send the files back: Knowing that my coworker won't encounter any issues whatsoever.

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If not even Adobe invests seriously on Linux, do you really think that's important for Affinity to be cross-platform? How they do monetise the product on Linux? It would make more sense on Windows. But they already have a line of products there (although for consumers). Launching Affinity on Windows would probably kill their current business there, specially considering the price they are asking for it. Big studios will never leave Adobe and are out of this equation. Adobe basically "own" the standards and are already deeply integrated in the industry. People already know and use them, changing to competition (assuming someone could do it) would have tremendous costs, from licensing, learning time etc etc etc.

 

So it makes sense that Affinity tries to cover the rest of the spectrum (small studios, pro freelancers, prosumers, people willing to leave obsolete software (like Freehand ) etc, while playing the industry standards game, offering support for most standards (PSD, AI, SVG etc). It can have its place within big studios too but working with the existing toolset not replacing it. Mac seems the platform that fills all those considerations. At least for starting up.

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Let's leave Linux out of the equasion for now...
I only wanted to express that the os landscape in the graphics industry is no monoculture.

Also I'm not so sure the about the unwillingness of larger offices to change programs.
A decade ago the DTP  market was owned by Quark and they quickly lost it because someone
made a far more attractive offer.
Even large automotive companies change their CAD workbenches - which has an impact one can

hardly describe in just a few words, as thousands of employees in dozens of industries do "everything"

with that software-platform from the very first brush stroke to CAD-drawings, engineering, project documentation

and product lifecycle management.

If the pain is hard enough people actually do change.

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Also I'm not so sure the about the unwillingness of larger offices to change programs.

A decade ago the DTP  market was owned by Quark and they quickly lost it because someone

made a far more attractive offer.

...

If the pain is hard enough people actually do change.

 

 

True Quark had (and still has) a hard time competing with InDesign. But they weren't just competing with Indesign. They were competing with the interoperability of the whole Creative Suite. That's what makes Adobe harder to beat. For big studios this is a big advantage as they can take advantage of the whole thing. For smaller players and freelancers who use just a part of it, it's hard to justify the expense of the package.

 

Larger offices simply don't have choice. There's no company up to the challenge since Adobe Killed Macromedia. That integration has advantages in the same way Apple takes advantage of the integration between hardware, software and services.

The best competitors can do is to offer software that adds value and plays nice with Adobe standards/formats in specific areas. Replacing the whole suite is tremendously ambitious.

What we are seeing is a new generation of small startups/software houses offering specialised solutions for targeted areas where Adobe software shows their dated (and bloated) conception.

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Hifred the PCs developers making the products you talked about could easily bring their software over to the Mac. AutoCAD has returned to the Mac and many 3D products are now available for it. When Steve Jobs first introduced the original Mac OS X he really hyped up Maya being ported over to the platform when the OS just gained the underpinnings to run the software. There are no technical reasons that I am aware that would prevent those PC developers from bringing their software to Mac. There are however a ton of technical reasons why Affinity Designer can't be ported to Windows.

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MEB I actually don't think it's unrealistic to see a large number of Mac users move off Adobe. This will not happen over night but I can see a transition one app at a time over to better products. This change may occur over the course of a couple of years but there is a high level of probability for this. The question a lot of businesses will ask themselves is how long do you want to keep spending a premium for mediocre Adobe updates? Most people probably won't want to pay a premium for long if better options exist.

 

I also don't see why you need to have one company that makes all the software. I can use my Affinity, iDraw, Pixelmator, Sketch files that can interoperate with the Adobe apps. I have been running my business fine recently without hardly any Adobe apps and I think that will continue to be the case as Adobe's competition keeps advancing. I actually don't think retraining is that big of a time commitment. If you used Illustrator and Freehand you can grasp Affinity without major downtime. If you can't find time to learn the program on one of weekdays you could always learn it over the weekend.

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My post refers to large agencies/businesses, not small studios, freelancers etc . Those will be the first to make the change. This is what i posted in one of previous posts in this thread:

 

So it makes sense that Affinity tries to cover the rest of the spectrum (small studios, pro freelancers, prosumers, people willing to leave obsolete software (like Freehand ) etc, while playing the industry standards game, offering support for most standards (PSD, AI, SVG etc). It can have its place within big studios too but working with the existing toolset not replacing it. Mac seems the platform that fills all those considerations. At least for starting up.

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Hifred the PCs developers making the products you talked about could easily bring their software over to the Mac.

AutoCAD has returned to the Mac and many 3D products are now available for it.

 

 

KipV,

what you state here is far from true. Porting years old code which has originally been developed purely for Windows

and which heavily relies on technolgy which has no Mac equivalent is a tremendous task and equals rewriting major parts

of the program (the same is true for porting older Mac programs over to Windows)

 

 

There are however a ton of technical reasons why Affinity Designer can't be ported to Windows.

 

 

Incorrect. Affinity is written using more modern methods, which in its genes doesn't require any particular OS.

This was stated several times by staff members in this forum. Solely supporting the Mac was a strategic choice, it wasn't a

consequence of programming methods used.

 

You are correct that there's quite a few CAD applications for the Mac, but the huge majority of software tools dealing with

physical production of things (I'm talking of many thousands of different software programs and whole software categories

many people probably never heared about) are only available on PC. Volkswagen or BMW could by no means build their

cars based on the Macintosh platform and the cabinet maker couldn't operate his milling machine driven by an Imac.

Just visit a trade fair which focuses on consumer good production and count the Mac software you see here.

I bet it's only IOS on vendors telephones.

 

This all isn't supposed to say that the Windows OS is technically superior in any way!

All I want to point out is that there's a lot of software genres which can only get accessed from Windows as there's no Mac equivalent.

 

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I cannot think of moving away from Adobe as long as I don't have a DTP app with justification, kerning and overall typographic tools that match professional standards.. and if Affinity can do this with Publisher, and add things like "Smart Objects" in their Photo app, and the ability to place layered Photo files in their Publisher app in which one could turn on or off certain layers.. I'd already feel like some of my requests/hopes were being answered..

Also it takes some time working with an app/suite to actually realize "oh crap.. I cannot do this with this set of tools.." And then decide if it's a deal-breaker or if the workflow is somehow manageable approcaching things a bit differently. Also it's a bit scary diving ointo a new app, and creating all sorts of files that can be opend only by this very app. Of course one could export the file each time as part of a wroflow, in eps for examplemin the case of Designer.. but in real life.. that adds a step.

We know Adobe has been around for ages now (since I graduated from design school) and will more likely be around until I retire ;0) So it's a sure bet in terms of worry-free file management. I remember an interim period from when Macromedia was swallowed up and until Illustrator or even Flash (which did it quite well) were able to open Freehand files, during  this period I was stuck with an aging Freehand 11MX that started crashing over OS updates.. and the worry of not being able to open my old files (I even spent days jsut exporting them to eps whn I had free time but not all of them).. and I imagine many people like me repurpose old files, logo elements and so on.. So for me it's important to always be able to access one's old files.

Similar with XPress.. something Adobe addressed by allowing to open XPress files (with more or less success.. but still..) and that drew me to trust InDesign as an XPress replacement in the first place. (At one point I even tried replacing the whole thing with Canvas.. Antoher one bites the dust *sigh*. I loved the "all-in-one" idea).

 

_______________

In any case I think Affinity deserves to be helped in building this Trinity Suite ;0) As any professional competition to Adobe is welcome.. and so far the only DTP "competition" is far from professional.. Swift Publisher and such are toys.. And a suite approach is definitely a clever move.

_______________

PS: I wish there were a standard of sorts for DTP files, like we have say eps or to some extent svg for vectors and tiff or psd for raster. That'd make life much easier and more "democratic." At some point eons ago I thought pdf could become that.. but nope.

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Does Windows not have a strong modern competitor to Illustrator? What about Corel Draw or Magna Studio?

Manga Studio 5 (or Clip Studio Paint 1 -- same app different sellers. Don't ask.) may have vector drawing abilities, but they are limited to use only within the app. Export only as raster (PNG, JPG, TIFF, PSD, and so on). And having used the vectors in MS5, they are kludgy and hard to learn how to use well. MS5 is more of an replacement for Photoshop, Painter or any raster-based painting app and not an alternative in any way to Illustrator. Despite the name, Manga Studio, it is tailored to create comics with. Niche market, true, but it can also do stand-alone illustrations just fine with a brush engine that is better than anything Photoshop can do and easier (read less complex) than Painter. 

 

However, the text abilities of Manga Studio are very, very lacking. Hell it doesn't even have word wrap. Have to do a hard return after each line. It's like living in the '80s!

---

 

I think that the furor over "cross-platform"(IOS, Mac, Windows, etc) is a waste of time and effort. I would rather see cross-application support. I think that the days of Monolithic software may be ending. I can do everything that Photoshop and Illustrator does (or at least the parts of those apps that I use) with a few other apps. While I understand the "it's the craftsperson, not the tool" concept, it's also true that sometimes I need a philips screwdriver and not a flat head one. 

 

Sometimes the best part of any journey is just to let the driver drive, sit back and enjoy the ride.


2014 iMac, 3.5 Ghz Intel Core i7, Secondary Samsung SyncMaster B2430 display, 16GB RAM, MacOS10.12 || Magic keyboard w/numeric keypad, wireless trackpad, Kengsington Edge Trackball, Wacom Pro Large tablet || Flux Capacitor in a secure location

---

I encourage kids to go ahead and play on my lawn. I mean, how else can I make sure the death-traps work?

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@MEB Yeah, I agree that large business will take longer to move over non Adobe solutions.

 

 

@HiFred I never said that it would be easy for all Windows developers to write Mac apps and I am sure the task has become even harder with Apple’s move from Carbon to Cocoa programming. What I stated was that it wouldn’t be possible for Affinity Designer to move to Windows, at least not without having to cripple the product in the process.

Here is a fact regarding Windows. Over the last 13 years MS has put out exactly two good desktop operating systems (XP and 7.) Over the same time frame Apple put out 10 good operating system versions. Apple released a lot of great foundation technology that MS wasn’t able to copy. Mac developers can now reap the benefits of all that great technology released over that 13 year time frame.

If the Windows developers you brought up wanted to they could work hard to make a Mac product alongside their Windows products. The fact that they decided not to isn’t some short coming of the Mac platform. You should be complaining to the Windows developers that didn’t bring their products over not to the Mac developers that CAN’T bring their products over to Windows.

This is the reason Affinity is so much better then Illustrator in so many areas. Illustrator can’t rely on the Mac specific technology since if it did it would no longer be a cross platform product. Also there is no financial reason for Affinity to stay on one platform. If Affinity could be ported across to Windows fully in tact why wouldn’t they do that and grab all the extra money?

 

@Ianstudio Yes, we are in pretty bad need of an ID competitor these days. I think ID did a pretty good job during it’s first decade so competitors didn’t see a need to make a product that would go head to head with it. Now that the recent updates have gotten lackluster it’s a good time to introduce some competitive pro apps. The popularity of ebooks will likely lead to companies that specialize in that area such as iBooks Author.

 

 

@CartoonMike Thanks for the education on Manga Studio. I didn’t realize you could only export as raster. It’s good to know that someone else believes that having one large graphics company dominate is something that will die out some. People were able to get their job done when there wasn’t a single large distributor so I don’t see why we can’t go back to that.

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@HiFred I never said that it would be easy for all Windows developers to write Mac apps

I'm afraid you said this just a few hours ago...

 

Hifred the PCs developers making the products you talked about could easily bring their software over to the Mac.

 

Then you simply keep repeating that releasing Affinity to Windows was insanely difficult and would break everything while even developers say...

 

Our main Affinity libraries have been written to be completely platform independent, but this has multiple benefits even when dealing with just one OS since the bulk of the code isn't tied to any particular technology that the target OS owners might be pushing (or change outside of our control).  Our libraries are in efficient C++ and not closely coupled to specific OS features....

 

Also I do not think that I even implied weaknesses of the Mac platform. What I said is that there's large areas of computing where the Mac doesn't play a role as there's obviously not enough customer interest in having software for mold filling analysis or milling simulation or etching circuit boards on the Mac.

 

Sorry but discussions on that level are no joy. I'm out.

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@hifred  You are basically arguing over semantics at this point. I don't know how easy it is for a Windows developer to make a Mac product since I am not a developer. When I said "it was easy" what I really meant was it was easier then bringing a product based on Mac technologies over to Windows that doesn't have the equivalent technologies.

 

Of course bringing it to Windows wouldn't "break everything" I said it would cripple the product. Instead of having a great product you would have a watered down sorry port of Affinity Designer. One of the developers said another reason for not porting the product is they just aren't that impressed with Windows 8. Here is a post on their Facebook page on September 17:

 

" It's not out of the question at some point but we're focusing on finishing the mac suite over the next 12 months first. To be honest Win 8 wasn't a confidence booster to start ploughing loads of dev on this new suite into - hopefully Microsoft get a better grip on what Windows will become at some stage!"

 

So yes it's a limitation of Windows 8. I ask you the same question again, if Serif can make a good port of Affinity over to Windows why wouldn't they do that and get paid by all those Windows users? Financially speaking that would be the logical thing to do and ye they don't do it. Why do you think that is?

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So yes it's a limitation of Windows 8. I ask you the same question again, if Serif can make a good port of Affinity over to Windows why wouldn't they do that and get paid by all those Windows users? Financially speaking that would be the logical thing to do and ye they don't do it. Why do you think that is?

 

It all comes down to a few very simple things

  • We got bored of writing Windows software 
  • The Affinity team all wanted a shiny new Mac because they look cool
  • We all wanted to go to developer conferences in San Francisco instead of LA
  • We all wanted to hang out with cool designers and they would only talk to us if we had a Mac
  • We all wanted free iPads and MacBook Pros to play games on at home 

I'm sure there were other reasons but I'm not sure they were important.

 

 

In all seriousness the business plan for Affinity took me many months of planning and research so the decisions were not taken lightly. All the real reasons are business sensitive so please understand why we can't talk about them yet.

 

Tony Brightman (Head of SerifLabs and Serif shareholder)

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Yeah, if you go to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.  :D


Gregg

OS X Version 10.14.6 iMac 27" 3.2 GHz i5- 32 GB  Huion Kamvas Pro 20

iPad Pro 12.9" IOS 13

AD = OS IOS, AP = OS IOS

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If you guys do make it to SF, then check out the Exploratorium. It's worth the admission and the day you'll spend exploring (see what I did there? :P) all the sciencey goodness it has. Or go south to Half Moon Bay and see the part of the coast that inspired the name of Mac OS X 9.x  


2014 iMac, 3.5 Ghz Intel Core i7, Secondary Samsung SyncMaster B2430 display, 16GB RAM, MacOS10.12 || Magic keyboard w/numeric keypad, wireless trackpad, Kengsington Edge Trackball, Wacom Pro Large tablet || Flux Capacitor in a secure location

---

I encourage kids to go ahead and play on my lawn. I mean, how else can I make sure the death-traps work?

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I visited SF about 12 years ago on vacation and loved it. Driving into LA is scary if you come from a small rural village in the middle of England.

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Going over all the posts I have written in this thread I noticed there was a couple of big points I left out. One is that if Adobe is going to continue skipping nearly all the developer tools that Apple provides there gets to a point where you wonder why they even develop for the Mac. Yes, it might make sense to do so today but as all these Mac specific apps mature I can't see much reason for sticking with apps that are not optimized for the platform they are developing on.

 

I am also highly skeptical about third party companies like Adobe trying to take on cloud features. Cloud functionality needs to be provided by the operating system not by the third party in most cases. I think we will begin to see that as iCloud and Microsoft's cloud service mature. It's always been up to the operating system to organize your files I think it should mostly stay that way as we move into the cloud era.

 

Another benefit of OS manufactures being in charge instead of Adobe is that they have the option of providing private server options for people who need more security. I wonder if we will begin to see iCloud give you an option of using iCloud Drive on a private server especially now with that incident recently where a celebrity iCloud account got hacked into. Adobe has a lot of challenges in these areas and it doesn't seem likely to me that they can deliver the goods.

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I got 99 problems and as of Oct. 2nd, Adobe ain't one of them. :D


2014 iMac, 3.5 Ghz Intel Core i7, Secondary Samsung SyncMaster B2430 display, 16GB RAM, MacOS10.12 || Magic keyboard w/numeric keypad, wireless trackpad, Kengsington Edge Trackball, Wacom Pro Large tablet || Flux Capacitor in a secure location

---

I encourage kids to go ahead and play on my lawn. I mean, how else can I make sure the death-traps work?

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I just heard about Adobe's big push to support Windows 8 at Adobe MAX. For the proponents of maximum cross platform support they sure are leading the way in that area. I am not sure why we have cross platform people here complaining about Affinity's lack of support when Adobe is giving them support for nearly every OS including even Chrome OS. Personally I am tired of funding platforms I never use which is one reason why I have starting looking elsewhere.

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