Tech Off Thread

19 posts

Moving beyond just updates.

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  • User profile image
    Skorbel

    Today I was visiting my parents homestead due to a problem my Mom was having with her computer. After fixing what turned out to be a driver problem I did my usual check to make sure the anti-virus and Windows itself were up to date when all of a sudden I got a popup asking to update Adobe Reader. I got thinking to myself, why can't Adobe Reader acomplish such a task by itself? Futher thought into this lead me to question why so many programs allways either fail to auto update or ask before updating. Surely there are some programs that I would not wish to update automaticaly but those are few vs many.

    Windows update is a fantastic tool for keeping Windows up to date, may anti-virus programs are ok but usualy do so in a flashy yes I am still working way. I got thinking, why is there no program that goes out and gets updates automaticaly for the programs that don't? Furthermore why not let Windows Update perform updates on programs outside of windows? Perplexed

    Good examples of what I think the tech would be like: Windows Update would be the best example in a OS. Best 3rd party app I can think of is Steam.

    I am looking for a meaningful discussion not a ranty 'why I would not like this:@' because surely it could be a option that can be turned off...

    (I am new to channel 9 so I don't know if this is the right place or what but I did do a couple searches before asking!)

    Thanks in advance for any responce.Cool

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    First of all, welcome to channel 9 Skorbel!

    Why programs ask to be updated is relatively simple, do YOU want it updated?

    You should always have that choice.

  • User profile image
    TommyCarlier

    Stevo_'s right. A few months ago, we deployed an important update for our application. The application checks for updates after it starts. If there are updates, it asks the user if he wants to update to the new version. When the app 'broke' for some users, we asked them if they had the most recent version, they answered "No, should I have?". Apparently, the application did ask (each time they start it), but they answered "No" EACH TIME.

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    Excuse my bluntness (I am infamous for it in several countries).

    What I think the general folk here will say is:
    "Keep your hands off my software until I say it is ok."

    What the common user will say is:
    "Whatever you think is best Microsoft/Google/Adobe."

    But regardless, I think all people should be given the choice. If asked to make a choice one should know a tad more then "There is an update". Windows Update has a vast knowlidge base with all patches, but when you are presented the choice to install it not much is mentioned. Same with Adobe.

    I like your notion that all updates should be partitioned into recommended, critical or optional. Makes more sense for the common user. Provide a small summary why you need to install a centain update, would make it alot more clear aswell.

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    it's a pain in many ways...

    sometimes you need an app to get updated in spite of the user.

    but then you also have cases where users freak out, like some folks are complaning that microsoft update is updating when they have tried to turn it off.

    so in any given case you can lose both with auto update and with manual update.

    I think there should be an option for auto / manual udates in most apps.

    I think in most cases the default should be auto.

    but there are cases where the user should be able to "just say no"

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    Skorbel wrote:
    
    Windows update is a fantastic tool for keeping Windows up to date, may anti-virus programs are ok but usualy do so in a flashy yes I am still working way. I got thinking, why is there no program that goes out and gets updates automaticaly for the programs that don't? Furthermore why not let Windows Update perform updates on programs outside of windows? Perplexed


    #1 is the legal problems....

    while it technicaly could work, the legal problems with this are huge.

    like the anti-trust issues, the EU legal issues, the "I will sue MSFT cuase my app is not on the list" cases, the "I will sure MSFT cause they updated some app w/o my knowing"

    and the list goes on.

    the few non-msft updates you see on the windows update are drivers from vendors that msft has made some kind of legal contracts with that clear them.

    if msft tried to do that with say Adobe ... well let's just say it will not happen cause in the end Adobe would not want to.

    so for MSFT way to many risks and legal costs to justify trying to do that.

  • User profile image
    stevo_

    Personally.. as an average user, 'Do you want to update x'.. dunno? do I? what for?

    The user will have a lot of questions regarding the update.. do they need it for their security? what if it breaks their app from working as expected?

    I like on Microsoft Update, it recommends upgrades, and I imagine in systems with only limited users, updates are somewhat more automated..

    I can't contribute enough to this really but I'm interested in what people think of updates.. and how they should be handled for the user..

  • User profile image
    ZippyV

    What if...

    Microsoft could create a plugin system for MicrosoftUpdate. Like this: user installs an application and the application registers with the MicrosoftUpdate service by providing a url to check. The url (for example an xml file) links to the latest versions and patches for that application. Of course, the registration to the service and the patches should be digitally signed by the software company.

    Result: 1 updateservice in Windows while 3th party applications still have control over their updates.

  • User profile image
    TimP

    ZippyV wrote:
    What if...

    Microsoft could create a plugin system for MicrosoftUpdate. Like this: user installs an application and the application registers with the MicrosoftUpdate service by providing a url to check. The url (for example an xml file) links to the latest versions and patches for that application. Of course, the registration to the service and the patches should be digitally signed by the software company.

    Result: 1 updateservice in Windows while 3th party applications still have control over their updates.


    This is kind of how most package systems on Linux work, except that the majority of the packages are usually controlled in a single repository (and there are no plugins involved).

  • User profile image
    phreaks

    Any product that ever updates itself without my consent will promptly be uninstalled.

    That's a dangerous path to go down on many levels.

    What if the update servers get own3d?

    What if the update is incompatible with the previous version?

    What if the update requires a reboot?

    What if the update changes some shared assembly that is used by another app?

    what if the update has big bugs? Now your entire user base has an unusable piece of trash.


    Thanks, but no thanks.

    EDIT/ I'm speaking only in the context of personal apps. Not corp apps.

  • User profile image
    Cannot​Resolve​Symbol

    phreaks wrote:
    Any product that ever updates itself without my consent will promptly be uninstalled.

    That's a dangerous path to go down on many levels.

    What if the update servers get own3d?

    What if the update is incompatible with the previous version?

    What if the update requires a reboot?

    What if the update changes some shared assembly that is used by another app?

    what if the update has big bugs? Now your entire user base has an unusable piece of trash.


    Thanks, but no thanks.

    EDIT/ I'm speaking only in the context of personal apps. Not corp apps.


    So you don't use Firefox, I suppose?

  • User profile image
    phreaks

    CannotResolveSymbol wrote:
    
    phreaks wrote:
    Any product that ever updates itself without my consent will promptly be uninstalled.

    That's a dangerous path to go down on many levels.

    What if the update servers get own3d?

    What if the update is incompatible with the previous version?

    What if the update requires a reboot?

    What if the update changes some shared assembly that is used by another app?

    what if the update has big bugs? Now your entire user base has an unusable piece of trash.


    Thanks, but no thanks.

    EDIT/ I'm speaking only in the context of personal apps. Not corp apps.


    So you don't use Firefox, I suppose?


    Actually, I don't. Does it auto-update?

  • User profile image
    Cannot​Resolve​Symbol

    phreaks wrote:
    
    CannotResolveSymbol wrote:
    
    phreaks wrote:
    Any product that ever updates itself without my consent will promptly be uninstalled.

    That's a dangerous path to go down on many levels.

    What if the update servers get own3d?

    What if the update is incompatible with the previous version?

    What if the update requires a reboot?

    What if the update changes some shared assembly that is used by another app?

    what if the update has big bugs? Now your entire user base has an unusable piece of trash.


    Thanks, but no thanks.

    EDIT/ I'm speaking only in the context of personal apps. Not corp apps.


    So you don't use Firefox, I suppose?


    Actually, I don't. Does it auto-update?


    Yes.  Once it automatically downloads an update, there's no way to tell it to not install the update short of deleting the update files manually.  It's particularly a pain when it tries to update and you're running as a limited user (this happens on my school's domain computers all the time, because it never gives up...  just tries to update every time you start Firefox, and fails).

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    TommyCarlier wrote:
    Stevo_'s right. A few months ago, we deployed an important update for our application. The application checks for updates after it starts. If there are updates, it asks the user if he wants to update to the new version. When the app 'broke' for some users, we asked them if they had the most recent version, they answered "No, should I have?". Apparently, the application did ask (each time they start it), but they answered "No" EACH TIME.

    I can confirm this, I keep a log of update checks, and Find As You Type 1.2 still greatly outnumbers 1.3. Now in the case of FAYT, it doesn't give a dialog, instead it adds an "Update Available" button to the toolbar, so if somebody has FAYT installed but isn't actively using it it would still check for updates but the user would never see the message.

    Still, if only half of the FAYT 1.2 update checks represents somebody who is really using FAYT but ignoring the update available button, that's still more people using FAYT 1.2 than 1.3.

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    CannotResolveSymbol wrote:
    Yes.  Once it automatically downloads an update, there's no way to tell it to not install the update short of deleting the update files manually.  It's particularly a pain when it tries to update and you're running as a limited user (this happens on my school's domain computers all the time, because it never gives up...  just tries to update every time you start Firefox, and fails).


    That's a pain,... If only you could somehow zapp the programmer that wrote that Wink

  • User profile image
    nightski

    I agree, its a major problem in the Windows world.  I do really like the idea of a pluggable update platform provided by Microsoft.  They sort of provide this already with click once deployment, except that it doesn't tie into windows update in Vista.  Would be cool if all .NET apps could integrate with the update in Vista.  Then the user could also select whether to automatically install updates, request permission, etc...

    I tell you one thing, the whole bubble notification system was the worst idea ever created (hang its creater! haha j/k).  No really, annoying popup notifications near the system tray are evil.  Too many apps saw what Microsoft did and used it for no reason other than it was the "cool" thing to do.  Now we have to suffer through anti-virus updates that fail and display a notification, blah blah blah...

    Anyways, I digress.  I do hope some thought goes into this for Windows 7 Smiley

  • User profile image
    Flatliner

    I couldn't agree more that Microsoft Update should enable automatic updates of third parties. I don't agree that the reason they don't do it is due to legal issues. After all just give a blanket disclaimer to the end user, and force the User to choose when they install an application whether it should be allowed to update itself (note that it should say how to do this manually from within the app, should the user choose not to). I write Windows apps for a living, and while Click-once addresses many of the issues, there are still non-managed apps out there that bug the hell out of me wiht update requests (Quicktime/iTunes being the biggest offender with a massive popup while I'm working on something).

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    Flatliner wrote:
    I couldn't agree more that Microsoft Update should enable automatic updates of third parties.


    Doesnt Vista do this allready with device drivers?

    Auditing every software update for a windows application worldwide is going to require a lot of resources. It would make the whole platform more stable,...

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