Adobe creative suite

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    Dennis Wade Corry

    My employer runs over 600 PCs off a central server. About 4 branches use the Adobe creative suite with total users of about 15 employees. Over the last couple of upgrades the application, particularly Indesign, has become so unstable to the point of being useless. Our Information Services branch recommend linking our branch operators to an off site server/provider using Citrix to access corporate files. A trial is under way with another branch. The consultant is recommending using Macs for better efficiency with Indesign. However our branch uses AutoCAD in conjunction with Indesign to achieve accruate calculations when preparing cost estimates which must be ready with the concepts as they are produced on Indesign. 


    Two questions – is this a common issue with Indesign? and does AutoCAD run effectively on a Mac.

    Brian J Wethington

    My 2 cents, however YMMV (your mileage may vary). Indesign is a publishing program, much like PageMaker was back in the day. You may have more success with Illustrator as a tool for vector based rendering (I am assuming that is what your using it for, then exporting to an eps or some other file that can be imported into AutoCAD). Illustrator may be the better tool.

    As far as efficiency, I don’t see any particular gain in MAC vs. PC in regards to Adobe products, although each has thier fans and detractors. If there is any difference, I think it comes down to preference and workflow rather than hard and fast number crunching. Using the right program would probably have a much more profound effect.

    AutoCAD is native only to a windows (PC) environment. To run it on an Mac you need a virtual machine running a Windows OS of some sort with AutoCAD on that. I’ve had several friends and colleagues work in that environment for some time and without exception there seems to bugs and often lags and crashes even on the faster machines.

    I’d say look at getting a decent desktop machine running a current version of Windows 7 (or XP), Adobe CS5, and try using Illustrator with AutoCAD to achieve your workflow. There may be a learning curve to Illustrator (although many tools and vector-based art should transfer without issue), but it was created to handle the larger, vector rendering that it sounds like your trying to do with a publication layout program (InDesign).

    Good luck!

    Jason T. Radice

    Macs are a no-no wit AutoCAD, and a huge waste of money (time to get a new consultant, too). If your central system uses PC, stick with PC. Besides, you should not be having trouble with InDesign for PC. Adobe actually develops for PC first nowandays. Sounds like you need to do fresh installs (not upgrades) on all the PCs. A total fresh install (OS, AutoCAD, CS5, and other software) might also be in order depending on how long the machines have been in operation. Also check that your machines can actually run CS5 like its supposed to run, if not, upgrade the machine or get new PCs. There are also serious issues with central-server based computing. If it is just for file sharing and stroage, fine, but if your applications and licenses are centralized, well, I’ve never seen that work well. Much better to work off of local machine and local storage. Download the file locally and then save it back to the server. Also, be sure you set up CS5 correctly that the scratch disc is the LOCAL disc, not the server. Same for AutoCAD. If you don’t the programs will lag writing to the remote storage.

    Dave Toms

    I am still a student, but I have used all the software hardware configurations discussed here either at the University, on my personal machine, and at offices where I’ve interned. There is little difference to me for Adobe on mac or pc. I get a few more crashes when running AutoCAD in a Parallels simultaneously with CS4 on the Mac side. But that suits my work flow best so I tolerate the occasional hang. I have even had AutoCAD, ArcGIS, and CS4 running at the same time with satisfactory performance.

    Based on my nonscientific analysis, it is the network/antivirus/spyware/autobackup configuration that commonly produces the most instability – not the platform or the design software. Antivirus from all vendors run their tentacles into every corner of our operating systems and can unleash havoc in the background. My worst experiences came with a transition to Trend Micro. Working with the IT people to make sure any automatic tasks performed by the antivirus/spyware has had much better results than platform switching.

    Travis Flohr

    Just a quick question. Are you running Indesign off of the server? If so Adobe does not support this type of environment. The software needs to be natively installed on each machine and access the server for your license key only. I would check with your vendor and if he says otherwise then he does not have a clue. I have run Adobe CS on Mac and Windows (even on a virtualized Windows environment) with no issues. However, the only thing on the server for Adobe is the license key.

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