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Annoying Installers

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  • User profile image
    wkempf

    I'm glad the Windows Store installations will take care of these annoyances, but darn, I wish we could fix desktop application installers as well. I'm ranting because two installation packages have annoyed the heck out of me already this morning.

    First, there was a Flash update. Stupid installer wanted to both make Chrome my default browser and install the Google Toolbar in IE. Either of those would have been annoying as heck, but combined it just leaves me scratching my head in confusion.

    Then Java wants to update (again). As always this one wants to install the Ask Toolbar. Yeah, right. When it gets done there's this nifty checkbox "Restart my browser now to complete the installation." Don't care to lose my current browser session just so Java (which rarely gets used) can finish, so I tick that off and click close. This results in a modal dialog "Java Setup - Restart Browser" where they tell me "If you do not restart your browser now, the installation will not complete until the next time you restart your computer." No kidding? Didn't I just read that and tell you to forget about, I'll restart later?

    All this over things I have installed only to handle a rare web page or two (and Java's about to get the boot regardless of what web pages require it!). There should be a law against "bundling" in installers, and stupid things like what the Java installer did should result in the developer undergoing public ridicule.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    @wkempf: I can't remember the last time I came across something that needed Java. I uninstalled it from my machines years ago.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    Basically, they need to allow developers to deploy desktop applications through the Store, but provide a way for the application to be installed using AppX to get the benefit of a minimal impact installation. If I were to see a desktop app on a website as well as in the store, then I'd be much more likely to install it from the Store because it's less of a pain. The store manages the install, the updates, and the uninstall. I don't have to remember to check back for a new version, or put up with the application whining about an update. I'm looking at you Acrobat Reader. I think I'm 6 months behind in the reboots that it wants to do. I also know that the developer was required to publish a manifest of what the app needs.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    @wkempf:

    This generates revenues for the developers. If you don't like it, feel free to not use their software.

     

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @Bass: That doesn't excuse it. I'd much rather toss the developer a few bucks for software I like than have to deal with this kind of crap. I'm generally happier with software I have to pay for. Maybe it's because I paid for it, and I'm darn well going to like it. More likely it's because the developer feels the need to make sure that people get their money's worth.

    There's stuff like LinqPad, Regex Buddy, and Bins that all have a free version that is excellent. I've bought the full version for all of those partially to get the added features, but also because I like the software enough to support the folks who write it.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    But, the point still stands. "If you don't like it, feel free to not use their software."

  • User profile image
    elmer

    , wkempf wrote

    Then Java wants to update (again).

    The Java installer is worse than annoying, it's unreliable and capable of screwing itself beyond recovery.

    The well known 'Error 1723' which Sun/Oracle have still not worked out a reliable fix for, continues to plague people. The one attempt at a fix that they produced, was pulled after it didn't work and actually made the situation worse for many people. Now you are on your own.

    I recently encountered this after the Java update failed to complete correctly.

    It took me half a day carefully sifting through the registry and killing off all references to Java, before I got it to a point where I could re-install Java and get it working again.

    If it wasn't for a particularly stupid java app that I require, I'd never let this junk loose on my computers.

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    I really don't know what is wrong with you people. I freaking love Java updates. That little orange icon in the system tray is so cute. 

    -Josh

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    @JoshRoss: after careful consideration, I concluded that the right place for the little orange icon is in the system tray of someone else's computer.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    @Bass:Yeah, what ever.

    I'm a developer as well... I fully understand the need to monetize, and have no problems with that. I do have problems with this bundling, however, as it's basically a crooked way of monetizing. The goal is to literally trick the user into installing something they never intended to. If that's what you need to do to make money, you have a serious problem. It's also very unhelpful to simply say "don't use their software." I don't have a problem with their software (OK, in this particular case I do, and I may just stop using it for reasons other than the bundling, but I'm talking universally here, as so many applications are bundling now). I don't have a problem with them making money from their software. I do have a problem with the bundling, but there's nothing I can do about it. Not using the software is no more effective than complaining about the problem on here... neither action is likely to change their behavior. But getting it off my chest made me feel better. Tongue Out

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    @wkempf: That Flash one nearly caught me out the other day on my W7 netbook. Thankfully I was able to cancel it before it had downloaded Chrome, Google Toolbar and who else know what. Normally I'm careful enough to deselect all those kind of things, so I suspect it been even more devious in stealth hiding that option. Java, however, has not been installed on any of my machines for a long time and I find I'm a lot better off for it.

    @Bass: +1 to not using software that does this.

    Flash was always a git, because it's still difficult to use the web without it and there never was an alternative. Switching to Windows 8 has resolved that though and my machine is more crapware free than ever! Big Smile

    @kettch: I'm hoping that's what we'll see in Windows 9. Solving the problems of isolated installation of desktop applications without constraining their ability too much (as well as needing to live in the same world as old-school Windows applications) is no doubt a difficult goal, but not unattainable either.

  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    , kettch wrote

    @Bass: That doesn't excuse it. I'd much rather toss the developer a few bucks for software I like than have to deal with this kind of crap. I'm generally happier with software I have to pay for. Maybe it's because I paid for it, and I'm darn well going to like it. More likely it's because the developer feels the need to make sure that people get their money's worth.

    There's stuff like LinqPad, Regex Buddy, and Bins that all have a free version that is excellent. I've bought the full version for all of those partially to get the added features, but also because I like the software enough to support the folks who write it.

    I don't think that revenue model is really feasible for stuff like Java (or even Adobe Reader or Flash Player). (Not that I imagine either Oracle or Adobe exactly have cashflow problems, even without bundling.)

    EDIT: Although it does p!55 me off. Particularly when you're actually doing them a favour running flash/java/adobe reader since it helps make their ecosystems more dominant encouraging people to buy expensive copies of acrobat or whatever. (It's not like I actually want these programmes on my computer in the first place anyway but more a case of "needs must".) Plus the annoyance issues of them sneaking onto your computer if you forget to notice/uncheck the little box. Plus the security issues of people running unpatched versions of goodness knows what that was only installed as a result of this kind of bundling.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    This is a problem of control that only computer nerds seem to care about. Others will either not notice or find the bundled "crapware" useful. Computer nerds (or "professionals" if you prefer that term) who do not actively use proprietary software to begin with do not experience these issues.

    Thus I must conclude that this is a non-issue, and will continue as long as it remains a profitable way to distribute software.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    I just saw this blog post about this issue.

    Is the Flash business losing so much money that it has to be subsidized by Google, a company who seems to have a strategy of pushing Flash out of the market?

  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    @Bass:I think it's more a case of ignorance - they don't know their browser isn't supposed to have a bazillion toolbars or how to get rid of them. People certainly dislike it - these are the cause of (and often inherently in and of themselves) the vague PC gripes that Apple advertising has capitalised on so successfully.

     

  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    On a related note, WTF is this all about?:

    http://clicktoverify.truste.com/pvr.php?page=validate&softwareProgramId=234&sealid=112

    "We certified that it's adware" is basically what they're saying. Great, except they now get to display a great big "CERTIFIED - TEH OMG!?!? LOLZ" badge on their front page for social engineering purposes.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    , Bass wrote

    This is a problem of control that only computer nerds seem to care about. Others will either not notice or find the bundled "crapware" useful. Computer nerds (or "professionals" if you prefer that term) who do not actively use proprietary software to begin with do not experience these issues.

    Thus I must conclude that this is a non-issue, and will continue as long as it remains a profitable way to distribute software.

    I call BS. First, many normal users do complain about this. Others complain about it indirectly without having any idea what the cause of their complaints are. The problem is so bad that Microsoft has taken to trying to find "solutions" (IE trying to help users to disable add-ons, Microsoft store selling and marketing Signature Line PCs, etc.), though admittedly they are obviously reluctant to actually put the ban hammer down, as they do have the ability to do so. This is NOT a non-issue, nor is it "nerd rage", nor would it matter if it were. And if your last sentence is indicating that you personally have software you've written that follows these practices, then shame on you.

  • User profile image
    Typhoon87

    Dont get me started on Java's installer. Trying to package it for distrubition through SCCM is like poking your eyes out with a piano tuner.  The best is if you install Java 6 U 18 or higher wich will by default remove versions between Java 6 U 18 and whatever one you are trying to install ok sounds good but if you have a version pre 6U18 on the machine it breaks itself in a way which is almost impossible to fix unless you use the

    1)Microsoft Installer cleanup utilty to remove all versions of java on the machine

    2) then run a utilty called Java Ra to remove all files, folders and reg keys then go into the registry and delete the HKLM/Software/Javasoft key.

    3) ensure the program files/java folder is gone

    4) rerun your install and most of the time it will work.

     

    Took me a while to figure out how to fix that one.

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