Pfeiffer on Quark's ALAP Aquisition

Influential tech prognosticator weighs in on what the ALAP annexation means to the war

Quark’s recent assim­i­la­tion of plug-in and XTension stal­wart A Lowly Apprentice Production, Inc (ALAP) has design and tech watch­ers won­der­ing what’s up next. In a short and insight­ful arti­cle at Publish​.com, tech trend pun­dit Andreas Pfeiffer offers his take.

The heart of the mat­ter seems to be that, with the addi­tion of ALAP’s XTensions tech­nol­o­gy, Quark can enhance XPress core func­tion­al­i­ty with some tools that are sim­i­lar to what InDesign offers now. Regardless of what any indi­vid­ual design­er (or pun­dit) sees in Denver-based Quark, the addi­tion of ALAP sig­ni­fies Quark’s catch-up posi­tion, but in a pos­i­tive way; it indi­cates that Quark is seri­ous about stay­ing in the fight, and the last turn of this strug­gle between the lay­out titans is not quite yet.

Pariah Burke

Author, consultant, trainer, guru: Digital Publishing, ePub, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark. Empowering, Informing, Connecting Creative Professionals™

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10 Responses

  1. Ralph says:


    Ralph Sharma - 01:16am Dec 31, 2005 Pacific

    BREAKING NEWS FOR QUARK USERS :::::: Quark traps IP address­es for all users of XPRess . Thinly dis­guised as acti­va­tion , Quark has been secret­ly trap­ping and stor­ing IP address­es of all users world­wide. Their web­site frad­u­lent­ly claims that “Activation is anony­mous ” and no where in their doc­u­men­ta­tion or licence agree­ment does it state users are sub­mit­ting IP address­es to Quark for stor­age and use for track­ing user activ­i­ties.

    This has been con­firmed by Quark who sheep­ish­ly admit that this has been going on since 2003 and it was harm­less . Talk about Big Brother !!!!!!!

    I am glad that I switched to ID who is atleast hon­est about it does.
    I won­der if there is a legal recourse to the XPRess users who walked into this trap laid by Quark …

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    Guy Smiley - 6:24am Jan 1, 06 PST (#3 of 4)

    > Is IP address pri­va­cy real­ly an issue if even your IP address was
    > record­ed on this forum or when­ev­er you send an email?

    No. I real­ly don’t know where peo­ple get the idea that an IP address is
    “per­son­al infor­ma­tion”. It is no more “per­son­al infor­ma­tion” than a
    phone num­ber.

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    Ralph Sharma - 3:16pm Jan 1, 06 PST (#4 of 4)

    Why did Quark not tell me ?

    I don’t real­ly care what Quark does with my IP address , as long as
    a) They told me first and asked my con­sent.
    b) They did not lie about it.
    c) They under­stand the legal repur­cus­sions of doing it with me and all the users still left.

    The issue at hand is about busi­ness ethics and Quark is any­ways noto­ri­ous for pass­ing off shab­by soft­ware as paid updates and to top it all ,

    they have com­plete­ly vio­lat­ed my trust as a cus­tomer.

    Quark did NOT ask me via their licence agree­ment (I checked).
    Quark did NOT dis­close this in their doc­u­men­ta­tion or web­site ( They will change it now , after years of doing it secret­ly)
    What gives ?

  2. AGupta says:

    I think this is all sham.
    I have been using Quark since last 7 years and do u think a proffe­sion­al com­pa­ny like Quark will be doing this with­out Customers know­ing that. This is all Shit !!

  3. Skyline says:

    Regarding Quark’s acqui­si­tion of ALAP, since ALAP also pro­duces plug-ins for InDesign--won’t this pro­vide Quark a bet­ter look at the code for InDesign?

    Not that a cor­po­ra­tion as sneaky as Quark has­n’t already tried to get that code through more covert indus­tri­al espionage--but this would give it access to the real deal.

    ALAP would have need­ed that code, and would have been giv­en access to that code by Adobe along with a con­fi­den­tial­i­ty agree­ment, so it could devel­op ID plug-ins.

  4. It might give Quark a look at the way InDesign does things. I don’t know if it will give away the store to them though. I will admit to a severe degree of igno­rance on the sub­ject, though I note it’s not exact­ly a secret how InD is dif­fer­ent than Quark.

    I think the biggest poten­tial neg­a­tive effect for InD, though, is what may (or may not) hap­pen to ALAP’s pop­u­lar InD plu­g­ins such as Imposer, ProTools, and such as that. Now that Quark owns them, they could be hived off to oth­er interests…or they might quit pub­lish­ing them entire­ly. That, to me, is the biggest con­cern right now.

  5. Don’t for­get that InD CS2 (and CS with the PageMaker Plug-in Pack) includes ALAP’s InBooklet SE to han­dle basic InD impo­si­tion. Without InBooklet SE, Adobe will either have to come up with their own impo­si­tion func­tion, or make a deal with the dev­il (as it were). The lat­ter is unlike­ly from both sides of the equa­tion, and los­ing impo­si­tion entire­ly is not an option for InDesign users.

  6. Thanks for bring­ing that one up. InBooklet was on my mind while I was writ­ing that com­ment but did­n’t fight its way to the front.

    That might not be a pret­ty pic­ture. But, on the oth­er hand, I bet Adobe has a trick or two up its sleeve.

  7. Jim Oblak says:

    Is there a forum that Ralph Sharma has not hit with sil­ly tales of ‘big broth­er’? :)

    Quark may not have a bet­ter look at the code for InDesign than any oth­er devel­op­er that uses the eas­i­ly obtain­able SDK for InDesign. ALAP was not look­ing at the source for InDesign: they sim­ply used the SDK like any oth­er third par­ty devel­op­er.

    Likewise, if Adobe does not include native impo­si­tion fea­tures in InDesign 5, some­one can still use the SDK and pick up where ALAP may be leav­ing off.

  8. cmlucky says:

    There is no con­spir­a­cy - Quark does not track user activ­i­ties. peri­od. this is the most ima­ture gath­er­ing of thoughts and talk i have ever seen on the web - this blog clear­ly shows the lim­i­ta­tion of knowl­edge by the very aver­age users in the indus­try.

    Adobe’s acti­va­tion also tracks IP - what they do with though, is entire­ly anoth­er sto­ry, as it is with Quark and XPress…

    When Quark start­ed activi­a­tion you fools com­plained that this was the rea­son you switched - and then adobe did the same thing… and now its some­thign else…

    fiirst, learn how to design, then take a busi­ness class and learn about ROI.

    There is no coor­po­rate spy pro­gram, noth­ing hid­den in their game plan - stop by the booth and ask them your­selve… - i did - and real­ized and ID peo­ple are sim­ply put - bark­ing up the wriong tree…

    oh, and as you bleed your prof­its through your nose because ID is not suit­ed for real pro­duc­tion work­flow (not ref­fer­ing to one page greet­ing card shi­ite) - ID has a hor­ri­ble ROI (you prob­a­bly do not know wht this means any­how); ask Quark about the com­pet­i­tive pric­ing for when you come back…

    v7 blows away ID, and chal­lenges the entire CS suite . Bridge is a joke, ver­sion Que is a Joke, K4 is a waste of time - lit­er­al­ly,

    I hope Quark culls all of the ID stuff from the mar­ket…

  9. In addi­tion to the pub­lic com­ments here, I have received sev­er­al tips (with ardent request for anonymi­ty) via direct e-mail about Quark pos­si­bly stor­ing IP address­es dur­ing acti­va­tion.

    Normally I would reply pri­vate­ly, but I’m going to do this pub­licly because there is so much dis­cus­sion about it.

    While I can appre­ci­ate your con­cerns about pri­va­cy, whether Quark retains the IP address­es of those who acti­vate QuarkXPress is not, in my hum­ble opin­ion, a gen­uine cause for con­cern. I have not asked Quark whether they do or do not retain cus­tomers’ IP address­es, but, assum­ing they do, what could be done with that infor­ma­tion?

    I have your IP address; it’s record­ed with your com­ments on this site (as not­ed in the QuarkVSInDesign​.com pri­va­cy pol­i­cy). While it is pos­si­ble that Quark could find some oth­er use for it, an IP address is, to the best of my knowl­edge, only use­ful in iden­ti­fy­ing when and from where a user vis­its or uses something--in this case, who acti­vates QuarkXPress, and from where in the world. To a soft­ware com­pa­ny like Quark, that infor­ma­tion is valu­able but rel­a­tive­ly innocu­ous. Again, assum­ing Quark does obtain and retain acti­vat­ing cus­tomers’ IP address­es, it is prob­a­bly used to give Quark a clear under­stand­ing of its reach into dif­fer­ent coun­tries and local­i­ties. Knowing how many peo­ple acti­vate the soft­ware from, say, France, is a more accu­rate count­ing of the num­ber of installed seats than sales fig­ures to French dis­trib­u­tors and stores.

    On a relat­ed note, Quark​.com, like any oth­er site, logs your IP address. Undoubtedly the staff that man­ages var­i­ous parts of Quark​.com access­es your IP address and uses it to track where on the site you vis­it, for how long, and where in the world you are locat­ed.

    Honestly, I don’t see the cause for alarm regard­ing the rela­tion­ship between XPress acti­va­tion and whether Quark obtains and stores IP address­es. Perhaps I’m being naïve, but I frankly don’t think it’s a big deal.

    Thank you for send­ing the tip, but I don’t believe the mat­ter is newsworthy--it has already been giv­en too much cov­er­age in com­ments here.

  10. Reba Stein says: