Modified application installers – a good thing that allows a user to select a bevy of additional software (browser toolbars, homepage alterations ……..) or, just one more example of enterprise feeding the greed machine?
A nasty comment? Too strong a sentiment, perhaps? More to the point – do I even have the right to question how a free application is packaged? Probably not – but, I can let my fingers do the talking by walkin’ – away, that is.
That being the case – it seems counterproductive to annoy me (and, other users), by insisting that I play a silly game of “uncheck the boxes”, in order to install an application. A moments inattention and, in nothing flat – the user is faced with a “gotcha”.
I’ve covered this issue previously in – We Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Toolbar! so, I won’t bludgeon the question to death (well, maybe just a little), except to offer this from the previous article.
So here’s a question for “ethical” freeware providers. How many toolbars do you think an average user needs? Ten? Twenty? Thirty………….. ?
I can already hear your answer “ but the user can uncheck the appropriate boxes when installing the application”.
Sure! Unless you’re detached from the real world, you’re more than aware that a typical user does not uncheck this box. Then, over time, the user is at a loss to explain why their machine has slowed to a crawl.
Could it be because your toolbar, along with twenty others, become active at startup – ya think!!
Of all the reader comments on this article – not one was supportive of developers, or download sites, that behave in this manner.
Instead, typical comments included the following –
“I’m with you on this; damn annoying practice and completely unnecessary, just makes us all mad as hell.”
“To me it’s just a slightly less malicious form of malware (when its not out- right malware).”
“Even free programs that I thought never would stoop to that level have added this practice. I won’t mention their names but some of them are supposed to be an A,B, C”Cleaner” to get rid of junk files, while installing a toolbar that’s a junk file. It’s disheartening.”
“I will absolutely not pay for any software from a vendor who’s tried to con me. They are no better than the other malware smugglers.”
Which brings me to CNET’s download.com – until recently my preferred site to direct readers to, following an application review. But, no longer. Neither readers here, nor I, need to turn on our “scam radar” when downloading/installing, what is ostensible a freeware application.
Especially since, any number of superb download sites like MajorGeeks, FileHippo, PC World – just to name a few – offer the same service without the game playing.
The following is just one example of the “new” CNET download structure. Their little game of – Let’s fuel the insatiable need for greed.
I should point out; this new structure has raised the ire of more than a few developers who have been outraged by CNETs modification of their install package – without permission.
As bad as this is – at least in my view – that’s mild compared to the experience I had yesterday while installing the open source application GimpShop, a modified version of the popular open source application – GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program.
There’s no suggestion here that GimpShop.com attempts, in any way, to mislead potential users. In fact, they’re upfront about their modified installer. Provided, that is, the potential user reads the “fine print” on the site.
Follow along with the modified install process and then, you decide if this process is over the edge – or, if it fits within your comfort zone.
Round one – Yahoo!
Round two – mysearch.
Round three – Norton.
Round four – WeatherBug.
Round five – let’s dig a little deeper.
I checked out the More Information link which opened a browser window as shown below. Thank you WOT (The WOT Browser add-on shows you which websites you can trust based on millions of users’ experiences – easy-to-use, fast and completely free.)
WOT’s report –
Despite all this – I did, in fact, complete the installation so that I could test the applications capabilities in handling the following photo of my Grandfather’s 1919 enlistment in the British Army – which was dug up by my nephew Brian Mullins, in the British National Achieves. The application failed to meet my expectations.
Untouched original photo – possible the most artifact laden photo I’ve ever worked on.
This was a pretty round about way to link back to my nephew’s Philadelphia based technology company, I’ll admit. But hey, he’s family.