I needed a copy of Illustrator for a small job involving vector images. I normally use Photoshop but there are some things Photoshop cannot do. I tried to use my usual alternative vector editor, Inkscape but it would not do what I wanted.
The only answer was to get my hands on a copy of Adobe Illustrator. Whilst searching for an answer to my problem I discovered an old link to a free copy of Creative Suite CS2. I remembered the link as there was a lot of noise on the internet when it first appeared. Adobe were apparently giving away a FREE copy of Creative Suite CS2 which in its CS6 version cost in the order of £900. Creative Suite contains Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and a few other bits and pieces.
My investigations resulted in a download of Creative Suite 2 onto Windows 7 (64bit), so ignore all the rubbish on the net about compatibility and availability. There are a number of locations for downloading, but I used this link on the PC Advisor Mag website.
I downloaded the files from the Adobe website, you do, however, need an Adobe identity. They even supply a Product Key that works.
The only snag is the installation is a bit of a nightmare and the instructions on the Adobe site are less than helpful but the info to help is out there, this is the main link for the advice I followed.
Only problem I found with using Illustrator CS2 is it will not open .eps files from the more recent versions of the software. However, I did discover a workaround for this. Open a new document and "Place" (import) the old .eps file in it.
This whole Creative Suite package offers a great solution for those who are short of cash. Despite being over 10 years old, these versions of Adobes flagship software have plenty of mileage in them.