Adobe software breaks down on Mac OS X Lion

Apple's newest OS surfaces compatibility issues with popular Adobe apps like Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Flash Builder, and Photoshop

More than a dozen Adobe products are not working properly on Mac OS X Lion, Apple's new desktop operating system, continuing Adobe's struggles to make its software compatible with Apple products.

The issues -- listed by Adobe on its website -- aren't as cut and dried as the problem with Flash on iOS, which is that Apple blocks use of Flash on iPhones and iPads.

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But Adobe says many of its products are missing functionality under Lion, which was released earlier this week. In addition to the fact that Lion drops support for older PowerPC applications, the Adobe issues may be enough for some users to delay upgrading.

Software often has to be rewritten to continue working properly on new versions of operating systems, or to take advantage of an OS's new features. But Adobe and Apple have a contentious history, with Apple refusing to support Adobe's widespread Flash technology on mobile devices due to concerns about battery life, security, and performance.

Adobe doesn't suggest any deliberate attempt by Apple to cripple Adobe products on Lion, but Adobe Senior Product Manager Jody Rodgers blogs, "The cat is out of the bag! Mac OS X 10.7 aka Lion is roaming the streets and you brave Mac IT admins have been deemed Lion Tamers by the public at large. Or at least by me. I've managed a few OS compatibility assessments in my past and it is no easy task to gather up all the necessary info from the software publishers that are used in your environment, run/coordinate testing, etc."

Known issues in Lion affect Adobe software such as Acrobat, Adobe Drive, Contribute, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash Builder, Flash Catalyst, Flash Player, Lightroom, LiveCycle, Photoshop and Premiere Pro.

Adobe initially said, "Flash Player may cause higher CPU activity when playing a YouTube video [on Lion.] Possibly related to disabled hardware acceleration," but later retracted this issue, saying, "Lion provides the same support for Flash hardware video acceleration as Mac OS X Snow Leopard."

Still, other Flash problems remain. For example, some users may find the "Flash Player settings dialog does not respond to mouse clicks," and "custom native mouse cursors are not animating properly on Mac 10.7."

Other problems:

  • Flash Catalyst CS5 does not work on Lion and Adobe does not intend to update the product for the new OS. Catalyst CS5.5, the current version, is "generally compatible" with Lion but issues that degrade user experience caused Adobe to say, "We do not recommend that [Catalyst CS5.5] customers upgrade to Mac OS X 10.7."
  • In LiveCycle, "workflows that are dependent on Adobe Reader plug-in will not function."
  • "Adobe Reader plug-in and Acrobat plug-in are not compatible with the Safari 5.1 browser, which will ship with Mac OS X 10.7 and for 10.6 in July 2011. Adobe Reader and Acrobat will continue to work as standalone applications on Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.6, and will render PDF documents outside of the browser."

Adobe also updated an FAQ on its Creative Suite to discuss compatibility with Lion.

Lion was unveiled to generally good reviews, with users praising the OS for trackpad gestures that allow iPad-like manipulation of applications, and new Launchpad and Mission Control features that provide more convenient views of applications.

However, some users complain that Lion has slowed their Macs down. The problem is apparently caused by the Spotlight search function re-indexing the contents of the computer, which slows down the computer for a few hours after installation. In general, Lion will perform better on newer Macs, particularly those with at least 4GB of RAM and solid state disks.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin
Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

This story, "Adobe software breaks down on Mac OS X Lion" was originally published by NetworkWorld.

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