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There's Something To Learn For Everyone From This Week's Lightroom Disaster

Published: 17/10/2015
By: larry

LRCC2015.2.1There are some lessons to be learned from this last week's Lightroom disaster:

  1. Lesson 1 for Adobe: If you have a widely used software product that professionals use for their business never, ever release a poorly tested update the disrupts customers business. It's going to take a long time for Adobe to regain my trust after demonstrating such software testing incompetence! I doubt that I'm the only one that has this feeling!
  2. Lesson 2 for Adobe: When you make large functionality changes have a public Beta program to get users input. Many users are upset with the new Import process.
  3. Lesson for users: When you use software that is critical for operating your business don't install operating system or critical software updates right when they are released. Better yet, have a backup computer where you install updates first to see if they affect your particular workflow.

For me, even though I managed to avoid any disruption from these updates, I think #1 above is the most serious. Massive numbers of users were affected in a big way. My guess is that Adobe lost a few customers over this.

Today Adobe announced that, "in our next dot release, we will restore the previous import experience." This is encouraging but it's difficult to repair the trust damage that #1 above has caused with users.

17 comments on “There's Something To Learn For Everyone From This Week's Lightroom Disaster”

  1. @jim - Yes, I didn't find the import process to be that big a deal either but that's because I don't use any of the automatic features that were changed. I always create the new folder move the files to the folder and eject the card before I do an import. If you use any of those automatic features things changed.

  2. Was a giant eye opener for me in the unconditional trust department. Assuming, as I always have, that the really big names in tech represent complete safety... To the point of rolling my eyes at the not so trusting folks and dismissing them as tech illiterate. I've been learned. Rough week.

  3. It's a depressing tale : while I have not yet made the jump to version 6 due to my OS needing to be updated first, it's clear this was developed without the proper advance beta testing/ collaboration with pro users : many may already have seen this apology by Adobe's Tom Hogarty: proof from the horse's mouth, as it were, that this was not their greatest hour:

    Trouble is (and I am supposed to be a Lightroom zealot) I remembering similar issues happening with Lightroom 4 : it was clearly introduced way too early , almost as though they were getting early adopters of the system to do the beta testing for them. The adage "If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it" does come to mind! Thanks Larry for raising this. In the same way that Apple can't afford to be complacent about some of their less successful refinements to what were initially well conceived and designed products, Adobe needs to know it cannot take the professional community for granted. I am still a great believer in the core qualities of Lightroom: a database system which enables very refined RAW processing and despatch options. But I wish they would stop trying to give it mass appeal by adding supposedly "easier" functionality.

  4. So what other alternative is there? I have never liked this scenario but we are all at the mercy of Adobe. Now they've proven they can't be trusted and that it's all about the money. Time for another photo software company to see an opportunity here and create quality competition for Lightroom. If anyone has a good alternative that really works, I'd like to know.

  5. All you have to do is look at the video editing world to see what can happen when you upset the professional user. Final Cut Pro lost a lot of people years ago with an 'upgrade'. Adobe in that case came out the winner. Many people changed over and never changed back for various reasons.

  6. Real Estate is my second career. My first was software engineering. I was an OS developer on the Multics project. I was a telecomuter with a "computer" in my home, working daily with people in remote sites via email and shared files on a cloud-base files system IN 1971. My career evolved to management and a focus on software quality and testing. I published Software Quality magazine and did training and consulting for a dozen years (Fidelity, HP, New York Stock Exchange, etc.) During those years a log of technology changed but NOT the attitude of most senior managers. Testing was AND is today NOT a priority for software vendors. None is worse than Microsoft, especially PowerPoint. It takes a major problem to wake them up, then they start a crash testing improvement program, then things go OK for a while, and then they are back to business as usual. Larry's comments about don't adopt early, backup, etc. are exactly what you should do to protect yourself. BOTTOM LINE: USER BEWARE THEY DON'T CARE.

  7. @Larry-
    Ah, now after playing around with the import feature, I see what you mean (and it sucks). I also do the same as you- dump the images from the card to a folder first. Then, all it takes is a drag of the folder to the desktop icon to open LR and start the import process.

  8. First off, as a stand alone user I want to thank you CC guys for beta testing updates for us....just kidding...sort of. I guess that's the downside of "instant updates" so to speak.

    @ Larry Fields, there are alternatives out there, Google is your friend.

    Now whether or not they will meet your needs only you can make that decision.

    Range Finder demoed a PP MAC alternative from Serif software (Serif Afinity Photo) that's only $50 with guaranteed updates for 2 years. It's only on version 1.3.4 so there are going to be some shortcomings obviously.

  9. One of the benefits of being a daily PFRE follower is getting the warning that Larry published about this latest LR version. From that warning I held back from loading it in. Thanks Larry for connecting the RE photography community. Sorry to all of the people that 'upgraded' and found the problems early. But you saved many people like me from all the grief.

  10. When I first opened the new import page I got a little frantic when I couldn't find the import destination location. But then I saw it had chosen the main folder I had used previously all I had to do was name the sub folder and all went well. I usually have more than one house on a card and was glad to see that it was easy to tell what had been previously imported. Ever since I discovered I could let LR create the folder and import at the same time I never create the folder myself. It saves a step.

    What did annoy me was I had a nasty crash in the middle of a three photo HDR Merge. I had to restart the computer to finally get LR to open. The plug in I used to use for photo merging before LR added the feature is much more reliable and is easier for my computer to digest.

    I also lost my quick selection tool functionality in PS and has to get an Adobe tech rep to fixit. Took about 30 minutes. Corrupted preference file I think.

  11. Having spent 25+ years in the software industry, there's one thing I noticed relative to this debacle. Companies tend to repeat the learning process about once every 10 years.

    The reason is that, as they have employee turn-over, the company 'forgets' what happens when crappy software is shipped. Revenue crashes, user base decries foul, and they scramble to fix declaring they'll never do it again.

    5-10 years later, the senior leadership changes, as do most of the team, and the rush to push product out the door--ready or not--takes place again.

    So, this week was Adobe's turn. I expect the Lightroom team learned a lesson that will stick for a while. But not permanently.

  12. I'm running LR4 which I purchased and own now free and clear for $150. I have no problems with it. Is it worth it for me to upgrade to CC and pay $10 a month for the rest of my life? Are the newer features worth it? Thank you.

  13. #3 is the key. I, as a user and customer, have no control over #1 and #2. I have a firm rule that I never install a software or OS update (unless not doing so would cause security issues) for at least 30 days after release. I'll let everyone else work out the kinks and bugs. "The pioneers get the arrows; the settlers get the land." 🙂

  14. LR2 and Photoshop CS5 do everything I ever need - thank you for reminding me why I will never pay a ransom for software that is automatically "updated". Windows 10 has already had an embarrassing upgrade push.

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