Free Adobe Photoshop CS2 on Linux

There has been quite a lot of dust around Adobe's so-called 'accidental' free release of 7-years-old Creative Suite 2. Is it really true? Can you actually download and use it? For example, an article on Forbes.com says this:

You are only legally entitled to download and install with that serial number if you have a valid license to the product!

I wasn't quite satisfied with the explanation, and decided to investigate further.


First, let me get this crystal clear. I am not a lawyer. Also, English is not my native language. Opinions presented here are merely my personal opinions, and instructions given here are for informational purposes. If you follow them, you follow them under your own responsibility.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about the fun part.


All documentation looks like it's good. So, before Adobe changes its mind, go to the download page now and grab a copy of Photoshop and Acrobat (two platinum-certified wine-compatible apps). Oh, and make sure you are downloading the Windows version (not the Mac version), and make sure you copy and save the serial numbers. Do not pay attention to the installers for the whole Creative Suite, because it doesn't work on Linux.

Why I believe it's legit

First, here is a couple of screenshots of the download page:

It's January 14, 1:53 GMT right now, and, as you can see, there is no notice about any previous license you have to own, or any hint about anything else than what meets the eye that you have to be aware of.

curling the page also suggest that page is freely available to the public, so it's not like you have to hack it to get to the downloads:

02:54:12 branko ~ -> curl -I http://www.adobe.com/... (too long)
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 01:54:18 GMT
Server: Apache
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Cache-Control: max-age=900
Expires: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 02:09:18 GMT
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

The actual URL is snipped, but you have it at the beginning of the article.

So, let's take a look at the license agreement. The first thing it says is:

If you obtained the Software from Adobe or one of its authorized licensees and as long as you comply with the terms of this agreement, Adobe grants you a non-exclusive license to use the Software in the manner and for the purposes described in the Documentation, as further set forth below.

Technically, I did obtain the software from Adobe, and I intend to comply with the agreement, so technically they've granted me the license (for now).

So most of other clauses are the usual (if you've ever read a license agreement before, which you probably should at least once in your lifetime).

The only part that can possibly be used by Adobe to invalidate my license is this one:

5. Updates. If the Software is an upgrade or update to a previous version of Adobe software, you must possess a valid license to such previous version in order to use such upgrade or update.

I can confirm that not even once, on the download page, during install, or anywhere else (e.g., README file), is it stated that this is an upgrade version. But, since this clause doesn't say precisely that the update must be marked as such, Adobe can probably reasonably claim that it was its intention, etc etc. I'm not really sure about this bit.

Does it work anyway?

Yes it does. Both Photoshop CS2 and Acrobat CS2 work on Linux Mint 14 Nadia (and, I suppose on Ubuntu 12.10 by extension).

As you can see from the screenshot, it's alive and kickin'. I am using wine 1.4.1 right now.

Of course, all of what I said in the previous section applies to Windows users as well, so if you own a copy of Windows, go grab the whole thing.

Thanks Adobe

I sort of know you guys at Adobe didn't intend me to use this, but since your documentation says otherwise, I will use the opportunity to take your software for a ride. So, thanks. Let me know if I need to uninstall it after all.