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First post, by vetz

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I own a copy of Adobe Acrobat 8 Standard which I purchased many years ago. Even though new versions have arrived on the marked, it has covered my need when it comes to PDF authoring up untill now.

I wanted to install it on my Thinkpad T61p laptop and I noticed two things:
1. Adobe had discontinued the activation servers and telephone activation back in 2017.
2. The backup solution had been taken down in December 2019 with no replacement and with no explanation given beside "Adobe Acrobat 8 is old software and not supported, buy a new version to continue using Adobe Acrobat".

In the interim period between 2017 and 2019 you could login to your Adobe account, add the product key and you'd get a new serial which worked with a version of Adobe Acrobat 8 which did not require activation. I unfortunately didn't do this within the timeframe and I'm now stuck with a physical copy that cannot be used in any form.

I've searched the internet trying to figure out how to get around the activation issue, but apparently nobody cared to make a crack for the standard version I own, only the professional version. I did manage to find the version of Adobe Acrobat 8 Standard which do not include activation (released later by Adobe), but with no possibility to acquire a new product key I'm stuck. Only option is for me to illegally get the Professional version.

That brings me back to the topic I want to discuss. I believe we'll see more of this in the future, especially for software released from 2005 and onwards which required internet activation. We have similar issues with activating 2000s Microsoft products like Windows XP, Office XP and Office 2003 (here phone activation still works as of 2021). I personally have no moral qualms about using pirated tools to continue using software I have acquired legally/purchased, but how do you view it? What can the community do to preserve the usability of software with these kinds of copyprotections?

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Reply 1 of 46, by cyclone3d

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Crack is the only real way I would guess.

Since you legally own that version it is super lame that Adobe doesn't have a way to activate it any more.

That being said, there are some bad security bugs in the older versions that Adobe is of course never going to fix.

Even Acrobat X is EOL and there are some known security holes in it.

If you want to continue to use an older version, I would highly recommend only using it on a system that is never going to be hooked up to the internet.

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Reply 2 of 46, by fgenesis

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Time to sail the high seas. Publishers don't care, why should customers?
I personally have the viewpoint that each software should have a drm-free alternative. That includes games. So if it's available on gog or some other way to get it, cool, take my money.
But if it's only available with gags attached (steam/origin/adobe CC/you name it)? Arrr matey.

If you don't support it any more, make it free.
Or even better, opensource it.
But closing it down on purpose? I wouldn't bother ever buying anything from such a company again. One crack lasts a lifetime and is much less hassle.

It's like forcing people to throw their retro hardware into the trash because "it's not supported anymore". Yeah no.

Reply 3 of 46, by vetz

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cyclone3d wrote on 2021-05-17, 16:24:

Crack is the only real way I would guess.

Since you legally own that version it is super lame that Adobe doesn't have a way to activate it any more.

It is superlame and with no really good explanation beside them being greedy. They apparently spent time and money to implement a workaround for their customers after the servers were taken down, but axed it all less than two years later. It affected the whole CS3 software suite, not just Acrobat.

cyclone3d wrote on 2021-05-17, 16:24:

If you want to continue to use an older version, I would highly recommend only using it on a system that is never going to be hooked up to the internet.

I do not use that version to view PDFs and as far as I know the issues with it is when opening up PDF's. I'm not worried just having it installed on my computer and use it to combine/rearrange content I've made myself. I know there are other software to do just that, but I like using the software I paid money for, especially on a Thinkpad from 2007.

3D Accelerated Games List (Proprietary APIs - No 3DFX/Direct3D)
3D Acceleration Comparison Episodes

Reply 4 of 46, by vetz

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fgenesis wrote on 2021-05-17, 16:30:

So if it's available on gog or some other way to get it, cool, take my money.
But if it's only available with gags attached (steam/origin/adobe CC/you name it)? Arrr matey.

After Steam axed Windows XP support I've stopped purchasing any older games on that platform. I only buy from GOG as I know their offline installers will continue to work on older operating systems even if their launcher do not. I also try to purchase as many new games on GOG as well since I know that will make them more "future proof"

3D Accelerated Games List (Proprietary APIs - No 3DFX/Direct3D)
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Reply 5 of 46, by dr_st

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Didn't Adobe just recently break flash, completely, on all platforms? And this is not even a matter of cracking/activation (as the product has always been free). It simply phones home (I assume) and refuses to run. Is there a workaround?

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Reply 6 of 46, by retrogamerguy1997

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dr_st wrote on 2021-05-17, 16:46:

Didn't Adobe just recently break flash, completely, on all platforms? And this is not even a matter of cracking/activation (as the product has always been free). It simply phones home (I assume) and refuses to run. Is there a workaround?

hmmm, flashpoint has flash player and plays flash games just fine. Other than that, there is an on-going attempt to make an open source replacement made with javascript.

Reply 7 of 46, by cyclone3d

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dr_st wrote on 2021-05-17, 16:46:

Didn't Adobe just recently break flash, completely, on all platforms? And this is not even a matter of cracking/activation (as the product has always been free). It simply phones home (I assume) and refuses to run. Is there a workaround?

There used to be a standalone flash player program. Haven't used it in years but it worked without being connected to the internet.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 8 of 46, by fgenesis

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cyclone3d wrote on 2021-05-17, 17:35:

There used to be a standalone flash player program. Haven't used it in years but it worked without being connected to the internet.

Flashplayer 9 for plain win98 and up, Flashplayer 10.3 for win98+KernelEx, and pretty much any of the later versions for XP and up. All standalones, 10.3 plays most things i care about, and can even produce stand-alone exe files from a .swf file (aka "create Projector").

Some of the latest versions when it was clear that flash was going to be killed off have a timebomb, but there are already hacks to remove those (forgot the link. cue Dos-Freak 😁). Alternatively just use one without the timebomb.

EDIT: Since when did this derail into a discussion about flash? pretty sure this already exists elsewhere on the forum =)

Reply 9 of 46, by DosFreak

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Re: Browser with built in Flash player
Never looked into it again after that post. Never liked flash. DIAF flash!

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Reply 10 of 46, by yawetaG

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vetz wrote on 2021-05-17, 16:06:
I own a copy of Adobe Acrobat 8 Standard which I purchased many years ago. Even though new versions have arrived on the marked, […]
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I own a copy of Adobe Acrobat 8 Standard which I purchased many years ago. Even though new versions have arrived on the marked, it has covered my need when it comes to PDF authoring up untill now.

I wanted to install it on my Thinkpad T61p laptop and I noticed two things:
1. Adobe had discontinued the activation servers and telephone activation back in 2017.
2. The backup solution had been taken down in December 2019 with no replacement and with no explanation given beside "Adobe Acrobat 8 is old software and not supported, buy a new version to continue using Adobe Acrobat".

In the interim period between 2017 and 2019 you could login to your Adobe account, add the product key and you'd get a new serial which worked with a version of Adobe Acrobat 8 which did not require activation. I unfortunately didn't do this within the timeframe and I'm now stuck with a physical copy that cannot be used in any form.

I've searched the internet trying to figure out how to get around the activation issue, but apparently nobody cared to make a crack for the standard version I own, only the professional version. I did manage to find the version of Adobe Acrobat 8 Standard which do not include activation (released later by Adobe), but with no possibility to acquire a new product key I'm stuck. Only option is for me to illegally get the Professional version.

That brings me back to the topic I want to discuss. I believe we'll see more of this in the future, especially for software released from 2005 and onwards which required internet activation. We have similar issues with activating 2000s Microsoft products like Windows XP, Office XP and Office 2003 (here phone activation still works as of 2021). I personally have no moral qualms about using pirated tools to continue using software I have acquired legally/purchased, but how do you view it? What can the community do to preserve the usability of software with these kinds of copyprotections?

At a certain point they "accidentally" released the whole CS suite (CS2) for free on their website, including special serials that did not require activation. I put "accidental" between quotes because Adobe only claimed it was by accident after the downloads were discovered by some user and got a lot of media attention, while the page where the software was originally available for free claimed Adobe was releasing the software for free for the benefit of users who could not upgrade...
I think the page was taken down after that, but IIRC I downloaded the whole lot and saved the serials too. I'll see if I can find that.

Reply 11 of 46, by yawetaG

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dr_st wrote on 2021-05-17, 16:46:

Didn't Adobe just recently break flash, completely, on all platforms? And this is not even a matter of cracking/activation (as the product has always been free). It simply phones home (I assume) and refuses to run. Is there a workaround?

Some browsers block Flash by default because it is a huge security risk...it's more hole than anything else.

Reply 12 of 46, by chinny22

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The whole activation thing makes me nervous as well.

From the company's point of view I don't blame them for turning off activation servers after some point in time. It still costs time and money to support them whenever they upgrade their internal systems. Time and money on a product that no longer generates any income.

But I do think they should be under some obligation to give out a key/patch or whatever removing the activation requirement when they decide to pull the plug.
The whole thing has a I own something which still works but artificially broken "right to repair" feel about it, one battle at a time I guess.

Personally I've no guilt finding cracks or activation free volume licensed copes once this is the case.
If I get dragged off to court I'll say here is my EULA for the copy I own, where does it say the software has a expiry date? I should be suing for not honouring your side of the purchase
... and then most likely living tax free for the next 5-10 at one of the queens "guest houses" with a roommate named "Big John" who doesn't understand the meaning of no.

Reply 13 of 46, by gerry

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I'd thought that various EULA type things meant that even though you think you are buying software to own it you have always been doing what is now technically possible - being licensed at the discretion of the licenser, although their terminating of your use by just quitting support for activation always seems fuzzy and ambiguous to me

now you may have 'software as a service' explicitly - it resides on a 'cloud' and you can only use it at the behest of the licenser

in the past it wasn't possible so a company *had* to create and sell media for you to install, but you were still subject to the same kinds of agreements

irrespective of that I also wouldn't feel bound by that contract if support was just dropped, even if that was in law covered in some small print manner by the EULA

Reply 14 of 46, by Pierre32

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I use AutoCAD at work, and it's gone in the same direction. A few years back they stopped offering perpetual licenses, and moving everyone onto subscriptions. If you've still got your AutoCAD 2013 perpetual license, you can keep using that software forever of course. But their other trick is to update their save format with 'improved' features with every version. Client sent you an AutoCAD 2018 .dwg? You need to ask them to save in the old format. This becomes more troublesome each year as other people stay up to date.

I was pushed onto their cloud licensing just this month. I'm torn... I hate it in concept, but the convenience of the whole Autodesk suite being a click away, and being able to install on multiple workstations, is admittedly a massively improved experience over the local network licensing we were using before. And I know exactly where I stand with future activations. Just keep paying the $4300 per year and no one needs to get hurt 😒

yawetaG wrote on 2021-05-18, 05:40:

At a certain point they "accidentally" released the whole CS suite (CS2) for free on their website, including special serials that did not require activation. I put "accidental" between quotes because Adobe only claimed it was by accident after the downloads were discovered by some user and got a lot of media attention, while the page where the software was originally available for free claimed Adobe was releasing the software for free for the benefit of users who could not upgrade...
I think the page was taken down after that, but IIRC I downloaded the whole lot and saved the serials too. I'll see if I can find that.

I'm still rocking Photoshop CS2 from that page 😁 It's a bit glitchy on modern systems, but still meets my humble needs.

Reply 15 of 46, by Cyberdyne

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You now there are good alternatives for opening and using DWG files. So AutoCAD is like MS Office, yo really do not have to use it, hey even our multinational company uses DraftSight.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 16 of 46, by Pierre32

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I've dabbled in DraftSight and would evaluate it further if I went out contracting on my own. As it stands, the organisation I work for (and the client base) are all deeply rooted in the Autodesk ecosystem and there's no changing that. Luckily they're the ones paying for it!

Reply 18 of 46, by shamino

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The activation scheme only exists for the benefit of the publisher, who does it to protect their copyright and ability to generate income from it. As such I don't categorize it as "product support". It's not a feature of the product itself, it's a padlock they chose to put on the outside of the door. They can drop "support" meaning no more updates to the product, but in my opinion that doesn't mean they can discontinue letting you use the product as it already existed prior to dropping support.

The publisher decides to spend money maintaining an activation system because they've calculated it makes them more money than it costs. Fine. But they have to be willing to accept the flipside that comes with that decision a few years down the road. When they decide it's no longer profitable to have activation for an old product, then in my opinion they should unlock the product for it's legal purchasers. It doesn't have to be unlocked for everybody, but there has to be a permanent fallback in place for the people who paid for it.
Yes those keys/patches will inevitably leak out, and if the publisher is concerned about that then they can keep maintaining activation. They can choose one or the other, but locking everybody out is not an honorable option IMO.

Legally maybe they *can* lock the purchasers out, but such a publisher loses my respect and I won't promise to obey them if it's a product I paid for.

Software companies have learned to exploit people's security paranoia, but that can't be an excuse for revoking a legally purchased license. They can lecture all they want but there better be an unlock patch/key at the end of it. I object to being nannied by anybody, whether it's commercial or government.

I bought retail Windows XP Pro shortly after Vista was released. I wanted to have a solid legal claim to it forevermore, so I even saved the receipt.
But when I last reinstalled my WinXP system with my final WinXP Steam library, for the purpose of making a disk image of it, I didn't use my WinXP key because I was worried about the activation nonsense. Even though I legally own it, I used the "other" method of installation just to be sure it never breaks. I'm only lucky that it's easy to do that with XP.
When I need to do this with Windows 7, I guess I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope Microsoft never decides to remotely break it.

Reply 19 of 46, by dr_st

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shamino wrote on 2021-05-18, 15:45:

I bought retail Windows XP Pro shortly after Vista was released. I wanted to have a solid legal claim to it forevermore, so I even saved the receipt.
But when I last reinstalled my WinXP system with my final WinXP Steam library, for the purpose of making a disk image of it, I didn't use my WinXP key because I was worried about the activation nonsense. Even though I legally own it, I used the "other" method of installation just to be sure it never breaks. I'm only lucky that it's easy to do that with XP.
When I need to do this with Windows 7, I guess I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope Microsoft never decides to remotely break it.

Can they even break it remotely? Vista/Win7 auto-activate if there is a SLIC in the BIOS. Most activators work by rewriting part of the boot sector to present to the OS a SLIC, even if it is not embedded in the BIOS. As far as I know, it is completely offline and does not rely on external communication.

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