Stop pirating Adobe software, use Free Software instead

I really don’t get it how people can continue pirating proprietary software like some Adobe products (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) when there are quality, Free Software alternatives like the Gimp or Inkscape.

Sure, Gimp currently lacks some features you need for professional printing like CMYK, but that doesn’t disqualify for the use in non- or semi-professional environments, at home. You can even use Photoshop brushes in Gimp, so you won’t miss those. Good resources for Photoshop brushes are Qbrushes and DeviantArt.

Working with the Gimp might be a little different, many complain about the interface but it’s not as bad a people say once, you got used to it and start using hot-keys. Try using <TAB> in one of the newer releases, and you won’t have to complain about multiple windows anymore. In most of Linux’ window managers you can set any window to stay in front, all the time which is another method to get those windows not to float around behind the main window when you need it. If you’re using windows, just get DM2 to get the same functionality. It’s a little app, that doesn’t even need installation.

To get started you should take a look at those numerous tutorials for Gimp available on the Internet. You can ask google for some, but those I found most helpful were and

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63 thoughts on “Stop pirating Adobe software, use Free Software instead

  1. People that are already on their comfort zone tends to stay there. But there are some that wants to shift. So lets just give it some time.

    By the way, GIMP 2.6 is already contained in one Window/Window task (Compiz turned off). :)

  2. @ajabogado: This is definitely true, people just tend to keep on using what they’re familiar with. As you said, we should just give it some time people already begin to realise that Free Software does not equate lack of quality, the next step is to get them to use it which more and more people already do by themselves.

    I really like the way GIMP 2.6 behaves, this is what I meant when I wrote “try using “. Unfortunately it’s only working well in Gnome/Metacity so far. It’s kind of working in Windows but it struggles with the window focus and all windows still got their own entry in the task bar.

    But still, I’m really fond of this new feature/behaviour.

  3. Well, unfortunately I ned to think about the fact that no matter how good free software packages are, Adobe is simply better. I can not shift away from Adobe and what it offers

  4. I stopped pirating PS when I discovered Krita. I never liked the user interface of GIMP, but in Krita I feel almost at home. It also already has CMYK support for quite some time. And the developers are preparing some very nice features for Krita 2. Definitely worth a look.

  5. @Gadget Reviews: What is it that it offers and that you really need? Are you using it in a professional environment? Let’s be clear, I’m aware that GIMP is inferior to Photoshop in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t cost a dime and it’s definitely better than pirating Adobe products.

    @AndrejN: Yes, Krita is a very nice application I’m was following it’s development closely some months ago, but forgot about it since then. unfortunately it currently lacks the community of GIMP which helps newbies quite a bit with hundred of thousands of tutorials. But thank you for reminding me of it, I think I should give it another try once it’s reaches 2.0 final.

  6. If you are a graphics professional you should stick with with PS. Right now as is GIMP may be unsuitable for some professional work, but that too is slowly changing as GEGL matures and gets integrated into GIMP. However, since you are earning your living with PS, you probably also bought it… so this article is not about you.

    For most casual tasks and semiprofessional work GIMP is definitely good enough. That applies for all uses outside direct graphics industry.

    People pirate because they are used to that way of doing things… Those that already have are hard to convert… But for a new user, both are equally alien. So important thing is to get them to try the legal/free alternatives first. On windows, if you don’t like GIMP, there is also for example…

    Ive seen Gimp as part of a default installation in a large industrial company, because people do need to edit images occasionally and buying Photoshop for 200+ computers just for a few uses per year is not cost effective. GIMP filled the need perfectly when coupled with an experienced user doing a total of 4 hour introduction course and helping others out now and then as support contact.

    P.S. anybody willing to help out with improving GIMP, specially on windows, is welcome :) It is a great benefit of open source that if you see a problem, you CAN fix it…

  7. Oh, a note about Krita. Its nice and all, but it lacks the stability and robustness of GIMP. It can be both benefit and a curse to not have a 10 year development history. On the upside new modern code all across the board and no legacy burdens, on downside less community, third-party plugins and maturity. It’s all up to the user to see what fits their needs.

    I think one of Krita’s weaknesses is a lack of stable, fully usable Windows port.

    I became GIMP user on Windows and when I moved to Linux I was so pleased that I had chosen a tool that I did not have to dump along with Windows. these days I work in Windows and at home use Linux. GIMP is my tool of choice for both, I see no reason to use different tools in both environments.

  8. Gimp stands for “God in my *peep*,” because god enters my *peep* when I use it, and I become an all-power master of the world.

  9. Sorry dude, your suggestion is actually kind of lame and doesn’t make much sense.

    A. Pirating vs. Free Software – they’re both free so you might as well use the better one.

    B. Pirates are not going to buy it no matter what – so Adobe isn’t even losing any “sales”.

    Either way, pirating wins.

  10. Gimp is ok. but if you want a free photoshop clone, ARTWEAVER is the only way to go. Its like a mini photoshop.

  11. Someone already posted that a pirated software you know is better then relearning. I ended up getting Adobe, and although I think its priced INSANELY! I already know it. I have never used gimp or krita but I will try it out, I doubt I will continue using it.

  12. I have been using GIMP for 3 years now, a friend told me about it and since I was new to computers and determined to learn how to use it for my artistic pursuits, he said it would be a good program to start with (in case I lost interest or was not able to figure it out)
    Long story short, I was hooked and continue to use and enjoy it.
    I use an older version 2.2.17. I have been able to change the look of the interface and have added many scripts and plugins.
    (some PS ones too)
    There is a terrific forum, it has helped me in the whole learning experience.
    I have not used Photoshop so I cannot make any meaningful comparison, I can say that as someone who entered the world of computers in my 40s, I found it east to learn and use.
    best regards

  13. Being a Mac user… GIMP unfortunately only works on OSX or higher, or so I have been informed, much like a LOT of the other free programs out there. Which sucks. Hard.

  14. What about Adobe After Effects? Where’s the free version of that? And don’t say Jahshaka, it’s rubbish.

    The truth is, free software cannot compete with such professional products that have so much money invested in them. You can argue what you want, but you cannot show the evidence. Maybe one day in the future when open source has become a religion and there are enough passionate developers to make it happen, but for now… nothing.

  15. I suggest you never used Photoshop. Gimp lacks so many features that makes it unusable in a semi-pro level. This tool works only for the guys using their little point and shoot cams who don’t know how to make good photos.
    The most important feature Gimp lacks is 16Bit mode for editing RAW files.
    Second most important feature would be the Adjustment Layers.
    The Window behavior sucks and most of all GTK sucks on Windows!

  16. Eric,

    pirating doesn’t win – if you pirate Adobe then you learn a package that your or your future company will need to buy eventually if you plan to use it professionally & don’t want to get busted by the BSA. Therefore Adobe DO gain sales from your piracy. Why do you think Microsoft almost give away student editions of Microsoft Office? To hook the students & also stop OpenOffice getting a foot-hold in the schools because students would then recommend it when they get into the work-force.

    Use & learn freeware Open Source products & Adobe losees out as you can legally use it in a business later on that COULD afford the Adobe product.

  17. Dave,

    In my experience, one of the biggest reasons a company doesn’t go open source is because of the lack of support. Certainly open source solutions are fine, until you absolutely need a critical question answered quickly. And while there are companies that offer paid support for open source products, there’s a perception that this isn’t true and a reality that open source tech support is inferior. Which makes sense, given that support for proprietary software is a cash cow.

  18. as others have said, people tend to stick with what they know and so because of piracy, adobe gets a lock on MINDSHARE because people will get a warez photoshop that’s familiar over a somewhat alien app that is free. gimp REALLY ISN’T HELPING the fight though by being so sanctimonious about its own identity. FAAAAAAAAAAR more people would turn to the gimp if there was a configuration that was EXACTLY like photoshop. doesn’t have to be default. but it should be instantly available to anyone who wants it. and everything about gimp should ALLOW THAT TO BE AN OPTION. like it or not, this IS ADOBE’S WORLD and everyone else just lives in it. to not recognize that is to marginalize yourself.

  19. @jin choung:
    forgot to add – even at my current job, i had an opportunity to introduce gimp into the workplace because we ran out of seats of photoshop. but it was DIFFERENT ENOUGH so that time was being wasted. eventually they had to buy more seats of photoshop and i have to bring my own copy of cs4 in. WASTED OPPORTUNITY.

  20. Canna,

    I buy about $1 million worth of hardware & software for my company every year.

    For both, I will not purchase if at all possible if there is not a peer-to-peer support network such as forums. I have found that support from software vendors is very patchy & often peer-to-peer is better & faster. Open Source quite often has the better forums.

    For example, we have about 20 licences of Trend Micro Internet Security in the office – 3 computer have not been able to update for the past 19 days & the support I pay for just isn’t there – almost impossible to get anyone to pay attention, from the local sales office to Asian support, to the head office.

  21. Maybe it comes down to this: Many people who pirate vocation focused software want to work in that industry and be skilled in the tools that professionals use.

    That and most people are sheep and do what the herd tell them to.

  22. Also, anyone who is a professional is going to use more than just 1 adobe Product at a time, and even students. They’re going to want to integrate 3ds Max, After Effects, Photoshop, etc as they progress and create more complex, but higher quality content and you just can’t do that with GIMP – as there are many plug-ins and scripts for 3ds Max to integrate Photoshop directly. Not only that, but most of CS4 has a really nice unified GUI, allowing for much easier use when switching from one app to the next. The GIMP GUI is still not appealing to me (My opinion of course, so bare it no mind). I’m not saying GIMP is bad as a less feature packed alternative if you need to do some more basic editing, but it still doesn’t compare to Photoshop.

  23. Its not all about CMYK when it comes to adobe products. Adobe products all somehow work with each other and can be used with other various programs that involve printing also just because a program is free and has good quality. The one thing they will never have that adobe will is brand recognition, once a consumer see’s the adobe logo or name they feel assured that they are getting what they paid for and the new adobe cs4 products are way better then gimp or anyother free product can be. Im sorry if i seem like a fan boy but its true.

  24. Gimp will waste your time. I used it until about 2 years ago. The user interface is completely unintuitive and many tasks are needlessly complicated. It does not compared to photoshop. I would not recommend it to anyone trying to do anything professional.

  25. I fully agree with you.
    For low budget projects is gimp a quite nice alternative. For bigger projects I used to outsource the design, so for my requirements it fits best.

  26. suggest you never used Photoshop. Gimp lacks so many features that makes it unusable in a semi-pro level. This tool works only for the guys using their little point and shoot cams who don’t know how to make good photos.

  27. Being a Mac user… GIMP unfortunately only works on OSX or higher, or so I have been informed, much like a LOT of the other free programs out there. Which sucks. Hard.

  28. You’re right, Windows users should start embracing Gimp.

    But in Mac OS X? Gimp is so utterly horrible on Macs people would sooner prefer to stab themselves in the eye. And a LOT of graphics people are Mac people. Until there’s a Mac port of Gimp that isn’t completely half-assed, it’ll never catch on with that crowd.

  29. Well, I’ve been using it for YEARS now I’m going to say what nobody else dares say. It is ALLOT BETTER than Photoshop in MANY ways once you get over the fact it isn’t what your use to. Many of the things people dislike are just different- sometimes for the better despite their bitterness toward change. People learn something and refuse to see the light of day when something better comes along-or already existed for that matter. Everybody points out CMYK issue yet you can enable rudimentary CMYK support in The GIMP using a Separate plug-in, and the use of GEGL addresses some fundamental design limitations of the previous version that prevented many enhancements such as native CMYK support.

    It took me some time to get use to it too.. and once you do you just don’t go back. Those who have claimed to have used it for many months and disparage it saying its not good enough generally haven’t really spent enough time with it. Having spent years with Photoshop (many years old version now) I can say it definitely takes some getting use to.

  30. The best online application that comes close to comparing itself can be found found:

    For those of you who don’t have the system resources it is great and also allows for direct uploads to many popular sites – enjoy

  31. I take offense to the original premise that I am pirating Photoshop. I own/paid for the license to use Photoshop because it is much better than Gimp. I have used both, am a supporter of free/open source software and am a graphic designer (20+ years) so I know what I am talking about. In my opinion Photoshop is still easier to use and more capable.

  32. Photoshop is expensive, but it’s still an industry standard which is why it makes all the more sense to buy it legally. But GIMP is really getting there, it’s quickly approaching and the turn over rate for updates and fixes as well as feature additions is phenomenal.

  33. Hmmm, I dunno about that. Pirated adobe software is like popcorn at a movie, its a must have.


  34. I know this is a crazy idea, but what about actually paying for photoshop cs4 or whatever. Im all for pirating, but sometimes what works is worth the money…

  35. @Marvin Martian: It is more capable, but that doesn’t mean people who won’t use Photoshop’s full potential need to pay a lot of money or pirate software they don’t need in the first place. Just take a look at 4chan, I seems every user gets a pirated version of Photoshop for every 10th post he makes but all they’re using it for is to make those motivational pictures, pretty funny pictures but still not really something you’d need Photoshop for.

  36. Have you ever used Gimp on OSX? The user interface really really sucks if you are used to nice looking and usable interfaces. At the moment I prefer the Adobe suite all over Gimp, Inkscape or Scribus. Gimp can’t be an alternative on the Mac without a Cocoa interface. (besides the missing features. I’m just thinking about my last time trying to draw a border around a released image. It was a mess with Gimp. In PS it was a 2 click action)

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  38. Gimp has been developing for almost a decade, and yet it is not on par with some on this list when it comes to usability and polish:

    I will concede I haven’t sat down to use Gimp lately, but the screenshots I just saw seems to cement my previous impression of not quite there (yet).

    One would believe that nearly ten years of complaint from professionals would turn the tide, but alas, Gimp still hasn’t gotten near PS (or Corel Draw, or other pro tools).

    If you can’t afford PS, you could always use the PS free edition, or one of the numerous other applications available for free.

    If the decision is pirating PS or using Gimp, then by all means use Gimp, but know there are other free alternatives available. Don’t be fooled by the “communtiy” surrounding Gimp, they have been around for years, and yet, they haven’t addressed any of the complaints which have even been rehashed in this thread.

    Sorry Gimp and Gimp-community, that is the harsh reality.

  39. BTW, I used Gimp long before I used Photoshop, as PS never was available for Linux, and I have only used windows for playing games. All serious work is done on Mac or Linux. And to be honest, even software on good old Amiga was more user friendly than Gimp the last time I tried it out.

  40. @Paul Egell-Johnsen: Gimp made some progress in terms of UI design in their last releases as there is only one window left, and is used to display or hide every sub-windows. They have finally acknowledged that the UI needs an overhaul and they promised to change it within the next 2 releases. Before they tend to say that it isn’t broken and they won’t fix it. So this is certainly a step forward and everything important is or can be bound to hotkeys.

    @DOOD: Ya, I read about that and it’s a great free raster gfx tool, and I heard thath Miguel de Icaza himself is working on a port to Linux called Mono Paint. Still in an early stage of development but apparently working to some extend.

    @really_gimp: I’ve never used it on OSX but I heard a lot of complaints and I sincerely hope that there will be something done about it, maybe a fork is the best way to do it. Like Gaim/Pidgin to Adium.

    @Chris: Why not buying? Why should I spend any more for software I don’t need or can’t use to its full extend? Pirating is obviously illegal, so I get whatever free application that fits my needs which is a working application for GNU/Linux and Free Software.

  41. I am of the opinion that you shouldn’t pirate software because it lets the current dominant supplier (i.e. Adobe) stay that and it ruins the market for other good alternatives, free as well with a price attached.

    Nonetheless, I have a girlfriend who is very sympathetic to my high-minded ideals and even uses Linux on her machine but even though she runs a Photoshop 7 installation of dubious origin in wine.

    The reason? While Gimp is getting better with every release it doesn’t come close in terms of what Photoshop can do. She has to chose between being able to turn her projects in on-time for school or not being able to pay rent for a month or two due to software costs.

  42. I use GIMP exclusively. For what I need it is perfectly suitable. If I had Photoshop I’d likely to continue to use GIMP for the same reason so many claim they need to stick with Photoshop – familiarity.

    I think these arguments that Adobe depends on people pirating their software are pretty ridiculous. They could easily make their software free to individuals for private use if it were in their best interests.

    Good post Julian.

  43. Autor doesn’t understand what he is talking about and it is clear that he never really worked with Photoshop.
    The main and fatal issue with GIMP that it DOES NOT handle PSD format correctly so people simply have no chances to migrate to it. Mainstream works with PSD. That’s market rules. So there is no alternatives because you have to be able to open any supplied PSD made at Mac or PC.
    And even more – GIMP DOES NOT support such simple things like layer groups !!! Sorry but there is no way to work without layer groups. I know PSD’s that contain hundreds of layers.
    So please stop telling us bullcrap because you simply not competent in subject.

  44. So many obnoxious, spoiled, proprietary software users are here complaining about free software.

    I started computer graphics with MacPaint. I was thrilled when I got SuperPaint and it had 16 colors. That’s 14 more colors than I started with.

    I started Photoshop with v2.5. I was thrilled with Photoshop 3 came out with layers.

    Now I’m hearing these computer-illiterate, spoiled people praising Adobe and attacking free software in general.

    Some day, people from Indonesia, Brazil, India, Africa will show you up with their free software skills, Your lazy attitudes and obsolete software will get you laid off. You’ll deserve it too!

  45. “The main and fatal issue with GIMP that it DOES NOT handle PSD format correctly so people simply have no chances to migrate to it.”
    I have exactly opposite problem. I have been using Gimp for nearly 3 years at work, and when I need to do something in PS I get frustrated. I just cannot migrate from Gimp to PS. Though PS has one useful future for me: bash processing. As far as I’m concerned I look forward for such an option in Gimp.

  46. please don’t use the term pirating or pirate in this case. That is very much a propaganda term used by proprietary software to blur the issues. If you are neutral on the subject please call it unauthorized copying. Other wise you are comparing people that share software to people that rape and pillage which is totally a skewed view of the situation. Other wise I totally agree that people that want to share their software should just use Free Software. That way you can do it without worries. If fact you are encouraged to share with others.

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  48. If you must use a PS like interface google ‘Gimpshop’. It’s a fork of Gimp with a PS like interface. Good enough for me as occasional non-pro user.

  49. if you have difficulties with GIMP ui then maybe you can consider to use GimPhoto for Linux (compatible with all Linux distro).

    actually GimPhoto is GIMP 2.4 modification using new PS menu layout and PS shortcuts, packed with many great plugins, such as: CMYK separation, save for web, batch process, noise removal and photography filters, and also improved with new brushset, new gradientset, every aspect is tweaked to improve user usability.

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  51. Having experience in GIMP won’t land you a professional design job, either. The people want designers with experience in ADOBE products. Think about that ;)

  52. I prefer Gimp. You always risk geting a virus or spyware when you download pirated software from some random site.

    Gimp is pretty easy to use.

    I think some employers would care more about your ability to make quality graphics instead care about what software you use.

    For example, if you design a website template for a company, the company will just care about how good it looks. I’m pretty sure the average Baker, locks smith, or auto mechanic who wants a website template for their website won’t care about what program you use as long as the template looks good, and is satisfying their expectations.

  53. The little windows are for when one has multiple screens or wants to place things however they want.