There are alternatives if you don't like Adobe. Light works, Sony Vegas, Edius, Lightworks, Gimp, Blender, ffmpeg are just a few that come to mind.
Adobe doesn't control the world. Relax.
This is a valid question - and these "use Gimp instead" suggestions arn't helpful to all the CC users that count on Adobe tools for their daily work...
how to deal with:
1. Show stopper bugs in new releases (AVCHD and MXF trouble to remember)
2. Plugin availibility (I had to use AF CS5 until an update for a Plugin was ready for CS6 for instance)
How can we deal with this in modern CC times?
But we have no more choice when using Creative Cloud?
A dedicated machine, a separate bootable OS drive, a Virtual Machine are options to think of. Not sure they are worse options compared to running testing software in parallel on a working rig...
If you don't want to worry about CC changes, and what you have works for you... stay with what you have
If you don't already have CS6 it is still possible to buy an old fashioned perpetual license version instead of the Cloud
Subscribers don't have to apply the updates notified via Application Manager straight away, they can wait for up to 12 months (though they take the risk of any security or stability problems that may cause). It's true you cannot run two point versions of CC on the same operating system but that's always been the case (e.g. you can install Premiere CS5 and CS6 together, but can't have both CS6.0.1 and CS6.0.2).
I understand the logic of managed change, but with CC the rules are different. Anyone you are working with who has CC should also be using the latest build, so you no longer care about version compatibility. Although there will be internal version numbers in the code, users will no longer think of their apps that way - you are either "up to date" or not. There won't be a program called "Premiere Pro CC.0.2".
If you're using CC and your colleagues are still on CS6 or earlier then sharing PRPROJ files is a non-starter, as Premiere Pro doesn't save to previous versions and never did.
Creative Clown... Perfect name for it!
I have read everything written here, and I believe that the best answer combines ideas from multiple posts.
I think that having multiple major versions on your PC will be easy, but Dave points out that the point releases, or in this case, various updates, can't be kept separate.
I am a fan of using multiple OS disks. I bought two just in case I started beta testing software again, but could inexpensively add a third or fourth. The prices of a SSD has come down considerably. So when you are working on a project, use the older drive, and when you want to experiment, use a newly cloned drive.
I can't afford a second powerful PC, but I do have the Creative Cloud apps on a slow little laptop, just in case I want to do something minor while on vacation, or I want to look at a picture from my camera while sitting underneath a tree somewhere. (My laptop stays in my camera case. It was purchased specifically for photos taken on vacations or out an about.)
I suppose if I needed to test something in particular, I could put it on the laptop. But it is easier to choose a boot drive on startup than to work on a slow little laptop.
This is a particularly good question, and I think we will all find various ways to deal with it.
My own plan for this is to have CC installed and activated on two machines, which is allowed in the EULA. My personal machine which I tinker with will get the updates first. Any problems and the production machine will wait till Adobe sorts it out. No problems after a time and the production machine will get the update.
I think I will just buy an extra SSD so that I can rotate three of them through the process. Safe and well tested, the next one after that, and the current one. That way if something new comes out for Premiere Pro and then something new for After Effects, I won't have to make decisions sooner than I can test everything.
I only keep the OS and programs on the OS drive. All of the other things people usually keep on the C drive are off on a separate spinning drive.
Unfortunately, I only have room for two SSD and not three. So that means the "safe" one will be outside of the PC.
I operate my edit PC similar to Steven's.
I have the boot drive in a caddy and below it my store drive is also in a caddy. This way it is very easy with Acronis True Image to make a fully working clone of my boot disk, this clone then stays in a protective case as a backup.
I have a couple of other boot discs that I cloned off the original and I use these for trying out new software and updates before I install them on the main boot drive.
Users could do something similar with CC and non CC installations
This is a good point because if you look at CS5 it was a great innovation, but when CS6 was released lots of AVCHD bugs, warp stabilizer etc. Some users had to revert TO CS5. So for some users who own one machine it maybe difficult to stay away or install the updates.
Those users may have to wait until any new bugs are reported in the forums. Then they can decide if they should update or wait.