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Adobe Download Manager Installing Software Without Consent

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the plus-one-invitation dept.

Security 98

"Not all is worth cheering about as Adobe turns 20," writes reader adeelarshad82, who excerpts from a story at PC Magazine's Security Watch: "Researcher Aviv Raff has found a problem in ADM (Adobe Download Manager) and the method through which it is delivered from adobe.com. The net effect of the problem is that a user can be tricked into downloading and installing software using ADM without actual consent. Tonight Adobe acknowledged the report and said they were working on the issue with Raff and NOS Microsystems, the company that wrote ADM."

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Bonjour (4, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205308)

Bonjour [wikipedia.org] is just as bad. It scans your LAN constantly, takes A LOT resources and provides nothing good. And it's installed without asking you along any Adobe product.

Re:Bonjour (3, Interesting)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205382)

I don't see how this is off topic. Unless you are some Mac/iTunes Fanboy.
When you install a piece of software you should be warned of hitchhikers and be given the option to not install.
Bonjour is packaged with a few pieces of useless trash now.

Re:Bonjour (1, Offtopic)

twoDigitIq (1352643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206928)

Apple fanboys on Slashdot seem to be pretty reckless with their mod points. I posted a few anti-Apple comments in a Droid thread (and also posted some useful information at the same time) and now I have Bad Karma here. I guess I can post whatever I like now, since no one will end up reading it anyway. Have fun with your dead batteries and your closed app store you collective shits for brains! woohooo! Of course if someone mods THIS post as troll or off topic then it's well deserved. How far into the negative can Karma go anyway?

Re:Bonjour (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208364)

I occasionally post a negative comment about Apple. Worse, I sometimes post a politically conservative comment. And, yet, my Karma has been excellent for years.

It may have something to do with (1) sometimes posting worthwhile comments and (2) not being a vulgar idiot.

Please consider doing either or both in the future.

Re:Bonjour (2, Insightful)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209162)

OK, let's just get this straight here: some people do not like Apple (myself included) and in general negative Apple comments on Slashdot do get modded down regardless of how true they are. Apple is very much a company with a very strong brand image; and their fans seem to feel it's their responsibility to protect that image like a religious belief. So now that you'll understand my viewpoint better when I say I understand twoDigitlw's frustration in his comment and I find your comment to be arrogant. The fact you were modded 5 Insightful is also an expression in the truth of twoDigitlw's post, though it is true his post was Offtopic.

Re:Bonjour (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218460)

OK, let's just get this straight here: some people do not like Apple (myself included) and in general negative Apple comments on Slashdot do get modded down regardless of how true they are.

Funny, I've made a number of (mildly) anti-Apple comments over the years, and very few have got any negative mods at all. Of course, most of them have been along the lines of stating simple facts about specific things that don't work well, or which are implemented somewhat better in other systems.

A lot of them have been comments on sub-optimal or broken parts of the GUI. Thus, a constant annoyance on Macs is the fact that window size can only be modified with the widget in the lower right corner. This works, but it takes more hand motions than the resize borders and corners that most other systems use. The Mac's borderless windows also tends to cause some confusion when there are several similarly-colored overlapping windows. This is worse for windows with darker backgrounds, since the shadowing helps with bright windows. I've also had problems with windows that get resized to be taller than the screen, making the tiny resize widget inaccessible. Sometimes this can be fixed with various "resize" thingies in menus, but some apps lack these. I've got a few useful suggestions when I've made comments about this for specific apps, but it's an ongoing annoyance that could be fixed easily if the Mac GUI had an option to do resize borders like most everyone else does. The borderless style does get supported on aesthetic grounds, but of course that's a matter of taste, so not everyone likes it (and many people don't see what's aesthetic about it).

A funny aside here is that I've occasionally got thin red borders on my Macbook's windows, which really helps with the overlap problem. But I don't know what causes this or how to do it intentionally, and those borders tend to disappear just as mysteriously, so they're not very useful. They probably mean something, but I have no idea what. This does prove that the GUI has the ability to draw borders, though; we just can't use it intentionally like we can on other systems.

Maybe what gets modded down is more the subjective comments, which are plentiful here for just about everything. For statements of fact ("I'm having this problem and googling it doesn't find any answers") about the only relevant mod is "off topic", and such comments usually appear in response to someone else's off-topic comment, so they don't tend to get that mod. OTOH, complaints about details like GUI annoyances don't get modded much at all. And sometimes they even get answers. ;-)

Re:Bonjour (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#31213330)

Bonjour is an integral part of iTunes and Mac OS X. It does things like automatically discover people on your network sharing their music with you (from either Linux, Mac or Windows), it automatically discovers other services like Apache webservers, printers, configuration pages, iPhone/iPod's for remote control of your iTunes library, AppleTV's and a bunch of other services that are available over Bonjour.

Microsoft bundles their operating system with the exact same functionality, just based on a non-open source protocol and hardly used by anyone but a few printers. Ubuntu and OpenSolaris also installs a Bonjour daemon (Avahi) just for kicks.

Re:Bonjour (4, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205428)

I also dislike the opt-out Safari install that I have to remember every time I upgrade iTunes.

Re:Bonjour (1)

klui (457783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205956)

I have opted out of Safari and it doesn't get selected each time. But I have gotten tired of the tens of MB installs of iTunes/Quicktime that I've switched to Foobar 2000 and Quicktime Alternative. I stopped upgrading iTunes/Quicktime when the bundle was 70+MB but now it is 100+ which is ridiculous.

As far as Adobe Download Manager, I have removed Acrobat Reader and replaced it with PDF XChange (Portable) Reader.

Re:Bonjour (1, Troll)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206308)

The moral of this thread is: don't use software made by apple or adobe!

Re:Bonjour (1)

grepdisc (1352977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206368)

While virtualXTC rarely trolls, this may be one of those cases.

Whether the two companies can really be lumped together is up for debate, but they frequently provide a slick application that works very well. Most of the automatic updates improve security and reduce bugs.

It is good to be aware that many successful commercial ventures do take this approach, and it is even better when we keep them honest about it. How many of us really want to give up on all products from either of these two companies?

Re:Bonjour (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206484)

... humm I wonder if asking for someone to be modded a troll counts as trolling? LOL

Anyway, your question seems like a great slash poll. I for one would love to never have to touch a computer with software by either company on it again.

Re:Bonjour (1)

grepdisc (1352977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206532)

No it doesn't. But thanks for asking.
I don't actually want the parent to my post modded that way.

Re:Bonjour (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209600)

Given that I avoid Adobe and Apple programs for reasons of security (Adobe), performance (Adobe and Apple) and attempts to install all sorts of crap on my computer (Apple - it is news to me that Adobe is following suit), I would say that virtualXTC is not being a troll. VirtualXTC is simply stating the obvious.

Re:Bonjour (4, Informative)

MonTemplar (174120) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205964)

To be fair to Apple, they only did that the one time - and learnt their lesson *really* quickly! Now it shows up in Apple Software Update, but un-ticked.

Which is fine by me, as I don't have any need for Safari. Already have Firefox for day-to-day browsing, Chrome for testing, and IE for just remote access to work.

-MT.

Re:Bonjour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31207818)

Nope, just last week my Apple Update had Safari ticked by default again.

Re:Bonjour (1)

MonTemplar (174120) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209962)

Ah, I'm on Windows. Guess it's OK if it's on their 'turf', so to speak. Sorry, dude.

-MT.

Re:Bonjour (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206250)

But not enough to stop using iTunes it would seem.

Re:Bonjour (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206502)

Sounds like you're voting with your wallet...

Re:Bonjour (1)

My Iron Lung (834019) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205484)

Oh, Adobe is to blame for that crap! I wondered how it kept getting on my PC without any Apple software installed.

Re:Bonjour (0, Offtopic)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205734)

Bonjour pisses me off. I can't count the number of times the damned thing has popped up on my monitor while I've had Hulu running a show full-screen on my projector (thus jacking Hulu's Flash player out of full-screen mode) - and it's asking me to install shit I don't want or need (Why the fuck would I run Safari on my Windows box, just cuz I happened to put iTunes on my system?).

Re:Bonjour (4, Informative)

MichaelJ (140077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206382)

What the heck are you talking about? Bonjour is a service discovery protocol (mDNS) server and client library. It doesn't pop up anything, and it certainly doesn't install software. If you have a complaint it's with either the Apple Software Update, or some other software update product.

Re:Bonjour (1, Redundant)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206860)

Okay, well, on this one I'm probably confused because I've seen the Bonjour name pop up in the Apple software update. Sorry. Thanks for the clarification.

Re:Bonjour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31208836)

Yeah, yeah, we know. But it's every program and his dog sending broadcasts to the net "Hi, I'm qwizziz. I want to be service-discovered" what pisses us off. On modern Linux distros too.

There, had to be said.

Your problem isn't Bonjour, it's porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31208122)

Bonjour pisses me off. I can't count the number of times the damned thing has popped up on my monitor while I've had Hulu running a show full-screen on my projector (thus jacking Hulu's Flash player out of full-screen mode) - and it's asking me to install shit I don't want or need (Why the fuck would I run Safari on my Windows box, just cuz I happened to put iTunes on my system?).

What you describe isn't caused by Bonjour, it is caused by going to certain pornographic Web sites. You should really try to find better quality porn instead of that crap that comes out of Eastern Europe.

Re:Bonjour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31206228)

Its installed because its part of iTunes, why do people fail to understand this? :\ Its used to detect iTunes Remotes and what not.

Re:Bonjour (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208516)

All fine in that case, but I would never put iTunes on my computer, but still I've had it for long time before I few weeks ago had to hack it away.

Re:Bonjour (1)

Doggabone (1025394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31213090)

Other apps use and install the Bonjour service.

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Bonjour is a general method to discover services on a local area network. It is widely used throughout Mac OS X and allows users to set up a network without any configuration. Currently it is used by Mac OS X and on other operating systems to find printers and file-sharing servers. It is also used by iTunes to find shared music, iPhoto to find shared photos, iChat, Adobe Systems Creative Suite 3, Proteus, Adium, Fire, Pidgin, Skype, Vine Server, Elgato EyeTV to share local recordings with multiple clients, the Gizmo5 to find other users on the local network, TiVo Desktop to find digital video recorders and shared media libraries, SubEthaEdit and e to find document collaborators, Contactizer to find and share contacts, tasks, and events information, and OmniFocus to synchronize projects and tasks across the Mac desktop and the iPhone or iPod touch. It is used by Safari to find local web servers and configuration pages for local devices, and by Asterisk to advertise telephone services along with configuration parameters to VoIP phones and dialers. Software such as Bonjour Browser or iStumbler, both for Mac OS X, or Zeroconf Neighborhood Explorer for Windows, can be used to view all services declared by these applications. Apple's "Remote" application for iPhone and iPod Touch also uses Bonjour to establish connection to iTunes libraries via Wi-Fi.[2]

ya and has crashed xp 5 tiems today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31206468)

/.

Re:Bonjour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31224698)

Researcher Aviv Raff has found a problem in ADM (Adobe Download Manager)

One man's problem is another man's feature...

Re:Bonjour (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31232152)

Bonjour is just as bad. It scans your LAN constantly, takes A LOT resources and provides nothing good. And it's installed without asking you along any Adobe product.

Do those Adobe products depend on Bonjour to work?
Can you uninstall Bonjour without losing functionality? How?

Disable (5, Informative)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205312)

I noticed this a few days ago and had enough. I found the KB article the spells out how to disable and wrote it up here [unlettered...dinary.com] .

Re:Disable (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206940)

Google "block adobe hosts file" for more useful info.

Re:Disable (1)

goatherder23 (1189859) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208802)

No, you wrote up a bunch of crap to whore your blog and included the link in that.

How about just posting the link to the adobe kb instead?

http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb404813.html [adobe.com]

Re:Disable (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255426)

Maybe. But it works. I made a stunning $6.00 in ad revenue while earning my +5 Informative. :P

Free software (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31205374)

Recently, I found a design flaw on Adobe’s website, which allows the abuse of the Adobe Download Manager to force the automatic installation of Adobe products, as well as other software products (e.g. Google Toolbar).

Anyway to get them for "force" a free download of PhotoShop?

Re:Free software (4, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206914)

"Anyway to get them for "force" a free download of PhotoShop?"

No, but blocking the proper entries in your hosts file as someone might do who didn't want Adobe warez "phoning home" would take care of unwanted "updates" nicely.

Re:Free software (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 4 years ago | (#31207236)

How about a malware writer moding your host file so that when the Adobe warez phones home it gets something quite different?

I know we think of computer users as dumb. But must we have our "trusted vendors" also assume that all users are too dumb to trust with a decision about when and where you want to get your software from?

It's not like Microsoft and Adobe have sterling records for keeping our system secure or anything.

No surprise there.... (5, Insightful)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205406)

I inherently distrust download managers. You don't need them. Just give me an http, ftp or (in some cases) torrent download and that's all I need. Download managers are not needed, they are additional fluff for nothing. It gets on my nerves they usually get forced down your throat and you need to jump through hoops on fire to get to a normal download.

Re:No surprise there.... (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205536)

I not only distrust download managers, I don't see the fucking point. To my mind, the only reason any of these guys make them is so they can make back doors to stuff what you don't want with what you do. Naturally these download managers have the potential of being abused either by the company or by some third party exploiting them.

If I can't download the thing through FTP, HTTP or bittorrent, I'm not interested, period. There's no technical reason for download managers, and thus any company that uses them has some nefarious goal in mind.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205874)

Absolutely... That was pretty much what I tried to say :-) Thanks for saying it better than me.

Re:No surprise there.... (4, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206158)

I can explain the point to you:

See, Linux/BSD systems have this nice thing called a ‘package manager”. And since all software is free, you essentially have a nice “app store”-like interface, where you can install everything (out of currently over 13,000 packages here on Gentoo) you like.

Then when you want to update things, you can just call one global update program, and be done with it. Everything that has an update available, will be updated. With tons of options on what you want to block, what you want to allow despite it being marked as unstable, etc, etc, etc.

After a while, when your rule set is stabilizing, and you routinely do those updates, you start to feel the natural need to automate it. (Unfortunately, most Windows users lack that need, since they are trained to use a PC like an appliance.) So you automate it.

Now of course, big companies get all wet or stiff down there, when they see such a system. But since there is no such thing for Windows, they try to imitate it with such a download manager. Badly.

But since everyone rolls his own thing, does not give you any control, and they don’t understand all aspects of package management anyway, you get a mess of tons of stupid background processes doing stupid (and sometimes useful) things without asking you.

This is a opportunity that Microsoft clearly missed. Sure, they have Windows Update, which is not that bad and does the job for Windows itself, plus some drivers. But they should have offered a real package manager, and allow others to integrate into it. That would have given them big plus points from companies and users.

And now we’re in the mess.
But hey: You can still make some room and install a beginner-friendly Linux distribution, to go to, when you start pulling hairs again. :)

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 4 years ago | (#31207086)

This is a opportunity that Microsoft clearly missed. Sure, they have Windows Update, which is not that bad and does the job for Windows itself, plus some drivers. But they should have offered a real package manager, and allow others to integrate into it. That would have given them big plus points from companies and users.

I don't see what is stopping them now. It's not like someone else has cornered the market on package management on Windows; even Apple has neglected this feature on their own OS.

If and when Microsoft finally gets around to this I fully expect other software publishers will fall into line and use the new service.

Re:No surprise there.... (2, Insightful)

Bagels (676159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31207450)

Just wanted to note that Microsoft does actually have a 'Microsoft Update' system that will update other Microsoft products (Office, Visual Studio, etc) installed on the system. I don't think it's available for pre-Vista systems, and it's a far cry from apt-get and the like, but it's a step in the right direction.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208380)

On Windows, Microsoft has an update system that also updates non-Microsoft products - typically hardware drivers.

I don't use it for that because I like my computer to work fine without bluescreens and flakiness.

I doubt it is a good idea for Microsoft to start pushing that update system as a mainstream method of updating non-Microsoft software for Windows. Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, so taking such a direction so soon would create more problems for them.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208986)

> This is a opportunity that Microsoft clearly missed. Sure, they have Windows Update, which is not that bad and does the job for Windows itself, plus some drivers.

How do you conclude that it is "not that bad"? The idea is fine, but the implementation is one of the worst things Microsoft has delivered, and certainly the worst implementation that is widely used (due to a lack of alternatives).

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31212452)

Simple: It does in fact update Windows. Even automatically. And bad patches are not the update system’s fault.
So it is better than having nothing at all. And does its job.
That’s not that bad, is it?

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214104)

And since all software is free, you essentially have a nice "app store"-like interface, where you can install everything (out of currently over 13,000 packages here on Gentoo) you like

not quite everything written for Linux is free and not quite everything will be in every repository.

or in the same state in every repository.

and while Windows doesn't have a universal repository - there are many mega-mall Windows "app stores" like Download.com.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214576)

IMO, Windows won't ever have this.

It could have the technical part of it - package manager, repository, etc.

But where Linux wins massively is that the package manager system serves exclusively the needs of the user. It doesn't try to push crap like toolbars on you with every new application. It doesn't install spyware. It doesn't try to get you to "Try this new cool thing we made!". It doesn't install applications that do underhanded things - if one slipped through the distribution would remove it. It won't allow an application mess with another. It will remove anything it installed if asked, removing it fully.

And it provides everything, with kitchen sink and all, without refusing applications because they would compete with their own, or are used for something porn related, or would let you do things they don't want you to do.

I don't think Windows could have this due to the large amount of commercial interests. It'd be heavily regulated to favour Microsoft (like Apple does with their store), or it'd include undesirable things because companies pay for it, or it'd install things without your knowledge, or something else. The temptation is just too great when money is involved.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

godefroi (52421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31229198)

Only because there's no money in it. Believe me, as soon as there were millions of naive users getting applications from some package manager, the Comet Cursors of the world won't be far behind.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206216)

There's no technical reason for download managers

Unless you are unfortunate enough to have slow and/or unreliable internet.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

seanvaandering (604658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206222)

You must of forgotten how inept or lazy regular users are.

Re:No surprise there.... (2, Interesting)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206380)

Conversely, they know that a major subset of their users are like my father.

When Itunes wants to be updated, it says, "Hey! Update me!". My father says OK, and a browser opens. He has to find the download link (took him a while to realize that was what needed doing). Then, he has to save it locally. Then, he has to FIND the file and actually run it. Some users think that after they've downloaded it, it's installed - whoops. If they do actually think they need to run it, sometimes they have a hard time finding it.

Download managers are a superb annoyance to power users like you or me, but are a great asset to users like my father. It downloads stuff in the background, and then says, "Hey, I have an update -- want me to install it?" Or, even better, "I've automagically updated your software to be more awesome."

Sure, sometimes they lie about it being more awesome, or don't tell that Lame Things are being installed. That's a problem, but it's a flaw of execution rather than a fundamental flaw of download managers themselves.

I'd even like a download manager, if it could be centrally arranged (so I didn't have Adobe, Real,Apple, Opera, Windows and Java all wanting to auto-update stuff). The only reason I DON'T use them is because they always pop up at a time when I want to get work (or play) done, and I usually don't CARE about whether I have the latest and greatest JVM or Quicktime or Flash or Acrobat Reader. (I *should* care about the adobe products, given their level of exploitability, but I don't often read PDFs, and when I do it's with Foxit.)

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

jisatsusha (755173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206476)

P2P, basically.

I'm not sure if this applies to all download managers, but speaking specifically of the Adobe one, the reason they pressure you into using it, and make it more difficult to find the direct HTTP-link, is because it uses P2P technology from Akamai to spread out the bandwidth cost among all the people downloading.

Re:No surprise there.... (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206766)

If I can't download the thing through FTP, HTTP or bittorrent, I'm not interested, period.

You aren't the market. The non technical end user is the market. The user who isn't even aware that his PC has an FTP client - and won't install one short of being forced to do so at gun point. The geek lost this battle along about AOL 3.0 for Windows.

Re:No surprise there.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31207156)

I have a case of tinfoil just right for making hats over here. only 24.95 plus tax and conspiracy tarif.

Re:No surprise there.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31207834)

Yep; therefore you should download Acrobat Reader from ftp.adobe.com [adobe.com] . Flash player for Firefox is here [macromedia.com] , though you need to save the file and extract files manually because Firefox no longer supports installing extensions via install.js. Replace with -mac/-linux as appropriate.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

ytpete (837953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31207920)

Yeah – the "download manager" is only used for ginormous files. E.g. all of CS4 is several GB.

Re:No surprise there.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31207906)

I work at Adobe and from what I've heard, the reason we use this is that many browsers simply aren't reliable when downloading huge files over HTTP or FTP. Firefox has always seemed decent at it to me, but apparently there are enough out there that can't handle downloading all of Creative Suite... Maybe we will phase it out as newer browsers start to dominate the marketshare.

As for Bittorrent, that's probably asking for too much from many artist-types -- not to mention many IT policies block all "file sharing," including Bittorrent.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208914)

Download managers had one real benefit some time ago, which has since expired as we moved on to broadband: resumable downloads, for those often times when your analog modem or ISP dropped the connection. This was handy when downloading large (for the day) files over unreliable connections that could drop if your cat sneezed.

I avoid DLM's as much as possible. Give me an http or ftp or torrent anyday over a DLM. In fact, I will avoid any software that requires use of a DLM to install or keep it updated.

They are generally (ab)used for nefarious things these days like installing crap you don't want/need. In a way, they are a perfect delivery system for stealthily installing rootkits and other malware.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205686)

Maybe our terminology is a little incompatible here. But apt-get is a download manager is it not? It and the rest of its cousins common in linux are quite easy and useful.

Re:No surprise there.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31205772)

As a windows user, I'll tell you apt-get is quite different from a download manager. With my (minimal) Ubuntu experience, I've learned apt-get as a way to find, download and install a piece of software, while all such a download manager does is leech a file and put it on your desktop. That, and apt-get is already in the package, while a download manager replaces a normal hyperlink.

Re:No surprise there.... (2, Informative)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205866)

No apt-get (or aptitude as you should use) is a package manager. Stuff Adobe gives you, or whatever iTunes installs, or any Windows updater for non-OS software are download managers.

Go download some drivers at Dell. It will ask you to install a download manager for its drivers. What for? That's a download manager to me.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206258)

I downloaded some drivers last week for my laptop from Dell. I didn't get any prompts for a download manager.

Re:No surprise there.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31206904)

Well, maybe you should learn what a Download Manager is then. My favourite for Firefox is DownThemAll.
A good download manager can find and download from multiple sources, resume downloads (if server permits) and some other minor stuff.
You dont have to have one, but they're pretty neat if your connection is flaky, or youve got a fast connection to do multiple sources.

iTunes etc., are not Download Managers. Sun has bad "download managers", but Im sure there is no intent to evil there, just incompetence and over-willingness to use Java.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209546)

Maybe our terminology is a little incompatible here. But apt-get is a download manager is it not?

No, it is not. apt-get is a package manager; it uses a download manager called wget to fetch files which it then passes to dpkg for installation. wget has an enormous feature set not utilized by apt-get, which is a stupid name. It should have simply been called apt. Of course, aptitude is better anyway...

Re:No surprise there.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31205912)

The worst use of a download manager, in my opinion, is Avast Antivirus. It's not because it's particularly intrusive (it isn't). It's not because it installs extras you don't want (it doesn't).

It's just that, out of all programs that shouldn't use a download manager, antivirus is at the top of the list.

One of the first rules of computer security is that you stay off the internet until you have your antivirus program up and running. They're an antivirus company; they should know that. But there's no way to get Avast up and running unless you get on the internet first! You can't download it on another computer and transfer it on a thumb drive because all you get with the initial download is the downloader. So you have to expose your computer to risk for a few minutes while it downloads and installs.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206654)

Hang on - I wouldn't quite say they shouldn't use one - all AV programs need to have a download manager as its critical that they are updated regularly. What you are after - and what all good AV software should have is an option to update it off-line so you don't have to expose the comp to the internet.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31207136)

They mail you a USB stick in the post ?

They transmit the bits via semaphore ?

I'm intrigued with this internet-less upgrade method you described.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208648)

Sometimes you want to have a box that doesn't access the internet - but you still want to have AV updates. So you dl updates from another comp that is connected to the comp and then transfer it by whatever method is easiest. Prob is some AVs don't support this update method. Word.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205966)

Back in the dialup days I used something called Getright frequently. When a file took days to download and your connection was unstable... they had their use. Nowdays, not so much.

Re:No surprise there.... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208396)

See what you've done, now I'm getting flashbacks of the days of busy tones, modem negotiation screeches+chirps and Trumpet Winsock with multi-number dialup scripts.

Oh yah, there was also this program called WebWhacker which was like wget -r for windows (hmm looks like it's still around and selling for USD49.95).

DLM? No thank you (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31205462)

I've always distrusted Adobe simply for pushing the Google Toolbar, or these days McAfee. An easy way to get Reader or Flash without getting stuck with their stupid and unnecessary DLM is to cancel the first download, and then "click here if your download doesn't start". That way you only get the installer you wanted, not all the other crap they're trying to push on you.

Re:DLM? No thank you (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205754)

I agree. Why the hell am I prompted to install some freaking Firefox addon just to download Adobe Flash? Ridiculous.

Re:DLM? No thank you (2, Insightful)

MonTemplar (174120) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205880)

Ironically, the first time I tried DLM, it didn't work. So now I know to bypass that and hit the direct download link instead for what I can there for.

-MT.

Re:DLM? No thank you (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206694)

I haven't bought anything by Adobe ever since I bought one of their cars [jt.org] . Oh, sure, you fix the dents yourself.. until it cures!!! Then good luck reshaping your new brick.

Re:DLM? No thank you (1)

ergean (582285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209106)

I use filehippo.com to skip all that crap, all the apps in one place... like yahoo messenger, google earth and a few other apps I need to get fast without browsing through 10 pages to get to a damn download manager. They have annoying adds, but it's OK if you use add-block.

A minor nit (5, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205482)

Adobe is about 28 this year. It's Photoshop that is 20.

Re:A minor nit (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206204)

So one year, and that Gimp can legally fuck Photoshop? Or what are the laws over there? ^^

Re:A minor nit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31206480)

One year, and Gimp can use the technologies patented by Adobe 21 years ago... not the ones they patented since then, and nothing that's under copyright or trade mark.

Re:A minor nit (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206526)

You know what would have been funny? If GIMP had been named ImageStore.

Consider using Google Pack (w updater) (1)

get quad (917331) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205560)

http://pack.google.com/ [google.com] This is too cool for school - by selecting the programs you want through Google Pack, a special exe will be created for download which installs these programs and the google updater which runs as a scheduled task. Easy button FTW.

Google Pack not cool, Firefox Check for Updates is (2, Insightful)

spage (73271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208116)

When I tried Google Pack I found it didn't bundle the latest versions of the software it installs, so several immediately had to download additional updates!

At one point my Windows PC had 7 different update programs running [skierpage.com] : Adobe Acrobat updater, Apple Updater, Flash updater, GoogleUpdate.exe and GoogleUpdaterService.exe, Java update (jusched.exe?), LavaSoft Ad-Aware updater, Symantec LiveUpdate (AluSchedulerSvc.exe?), ThinkVantage updater, Windows update. And that's after I turned off several others in MSCONFIG and Services.

Firefox/Thunderbird/Mozilla's Help > Check for Updates... is the best Windows updater. It only runs when the application runs, it downloads a minimal diff, it prompts you to restart the application and self-updates (unlike some updaters that make you re-run a ^%$#$@! full-blown uninstall/installation program and ask you stupid questions that make no sense in an update), and it doesn't leave megabytes of crap lying around (I had five 70MB Java versions in C:\Program Files\Java and more crap in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Java\Update\Base Images).

(I'm now on Kubuntu and KPackageKit, not perfect but an improvement in many ways.)

Re:Google Pack not cool, Firefox Check for Updates (1)

klui (457783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208978)

I would have to disagree. While Firefox's Windows updater is convenient, it will not allow an individual who only has limited user access (my parents) to a machine to update itself. Now, Apple, Adobe, etc. updaters except for Microsoft's don't work correctly either if they are run within a limited user account.

limited access and Firefox Check for Updates (1)

spage (73271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31213202)

That sounds as expected to me. If you have limited rights you can't install or update software, unless you installed it in your own directory.

Anyway, the bugs are filed and Mozilla is working on making it better, see the comments from Robert S. in the thread http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1587505 [mozillazine.org]

B3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31205642)

Yeah, well i lost alot of respect after photoshop went into the CS series. Thats when all this extra software garbage started coming out with it.
Next will be apple.

Re:B3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31205724)

Next will be apple.

Next? How about just wanting quicktime because someone requires it for their site? I don't give a flying fuck about iTunes or Safari, and I wish the updater would remember that instead of trying to trick me into downloading them every time an update is pushed.

it's not adobe's fault... (1)

thechronic (892545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206238)

it's your computer's fault for acting all slutty like that with all that spare ram, unused cpu cycles and an ethernet card aching to transmit all your personal information to Adobe!

Adobe also uses Akamai Download Manager (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31206414)

That's two strikes now for Adobe. As TFA says, Adobe also uses the Akamai Download Manager [adobe.com] for downloads from the Adobe Store. This thing installs itself and runs *forever*, not just for the download you paid for in the store.

It has a P2P mode where client machines (that's *you*, sucker) distribute the downloaded software using your bandwidth in the background. Is there an icon in the taskbar letting you know? Nope, it runs silent and deep (it does show up as Akamai something-or-other in Process Explorer).

It's like running BitTorrent and donating your bandwidth to Akamai and their friends. Except not on purpose.

But hey, you probably clicked through a EULA that you didn't read, so it's all on you right?

Adobe is not 20 years old (0, Redundant)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206536)

"Not all is worth cheering about as Adobe turns 20,"

Photoshop is turning 20 this month, not Adobe, which was founded in 1982.

The Tragedy of Adobe (2, Informative)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206846)

Instead of getting off my lawn, sit down and I'll tell you kids a story: In the Good ole days Adobe and it's founder John Warnock (or Warnock's Algorithm fame) were heroes. At the time most of us had ugly dot matrix printers and fixed fonts, they came up with the PostScript printer description language and many beautiful fonts. Buy a Postscript printer and you could print beautiful documents previously only typesetters could. When Apple licensed it for their laser printer desktop publishing took off. Warnock cared about beautiful fonts. Postscript was a full-blown programming language, yet a very efficient one. PDF itself *is* Postscript, just encapsulated in a file.

But Adobe then isn't Adobe now. Their Adobe Reader is an appalling, fat, unresponsive hard to drive piece of software. Ever configured options? There are twenty off preference pages with no coherent grouping. They still haven't grasped things like reopening the document where you last were reading it, or letting you add bookmarks. Instead they've loaded Adobe with a tonne of "features" to the point it's now a trojan horse vector. The company itself is no longer a source of innovation: Instead they just buy out other companies (like Macromedia Flash) and then run them into the ground. Their software uniformly suffers from appalling GUIs (or if it doesn't when they buy it, they shortly will) e.g. Photoshop, but when you're that big you can afford to be that arrogant. People will buy your software anyway, because they don't have a choice.

Yes, there are some PDF Reader imitators like Foxit Software. While they're much faster, they have copied the Adobe interface instead of themselves innovating.

The Adobe Updater is an intrusive pain in the ass. In a previous version, you had to connect to the net and then connect to Adobe to turn off the Updater. This was "free" software, so this wasn't for licensing: It was just lame in-your-face programming by lame programmers. If you try and deleted the Updater yourself, it reinstalled itself. In the end I found out if you deleted it (in your Program Files directory) and then replace plain files with directories and directories with plain files so when it goes try and reinstall itself Windows tells it to get lost.

Re:The Tragedy of Adobe (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31212920)

Sadly, Adobe has turned into Symantec. A once-innovative software company now being plundered by MBA/PHB/Marketroid types only looking for short-term profit. Things will only reach a turning point once corporate IT departments stop installing Acrobat Reader and Adobe is forced by the market to innovate again.

Adobe Reader 9 Installer (3, Insightful)

cvtan (752695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206900)

There is a folder sitting on my desktop called Adobe Reader 9 Installer (>100meg). Can I get rid of this? I don't know what is going on with Adobe. The pdf reader used to be a lean secure program and now it's turned into some huge hideous beast that tries to sing and dance. Sigh.

Re:Adobe Reader 9 Installer (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31207846)

You most certainly can get rid of that monster. Go get Sumatra PDF [kowalczyk.info] . 1.2 MB of joy.

Re:Adobe Reader 9 Installer (1)

ergean (582285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209138)

I wouldn't recommend summatra pdf :(. It's slow and sometimes it has problems displaying some .pdfs. Foxit reader is kind of annoying in so many ways... there must be a better reader somewhere.

Use Portable Apps! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31207066)

Portable apps doesnt leave anything in your registry (ideally), so you can just run the app, close / move / copy it, put it on a USB-drive or whatever you want without worry :)
It also makes it much faster to backup your whole app collection, or duplicate / sync your setup across machines.
Am currently running all of these software as portable apps, and only have a few apps left which are too embedded in the OS to be portable (like iTunes for my iPhone (neva gonna buy Apple again!!, and Windows Media Player, but with VLC and DIVX weplayer available I never use that much ;)
I have even seen Photoshop as portable somewhere, but doesnt use it nowadays so not sure how well that works.

My current Portable Apps list:
2XClient, 7-ZipPortable, AudacityPortable, BonkEncPortable, CelestiaPortable, ClamWinPortable, ConvertAllPortable, CoolPlayer+Portable, EraserDropPortable, EraserPortable, GIMPPortable
InfraRecorderPortable, Java, JavaPortableLauncher, KompoZerPortable, LightscreenPortable, MPlayerPortable, Notepad++Portable, On-ScreenKeyboardPortable, OpenOfficePortable, PDFTKBuilderPortable, PortableApps.com, PortableAppsBackup, PortableAppsMenu, SpeedCrunchPortable, SpyDLLRemover, StellariumPortable, SumatraPDFPortable, TeamViewerPortable
Toucan, UltraVNCViewer Portable, UnlockerPortable, VirtualDubPortable, VirtualMagnifyingGlassPortable, VLCPortable, WinDirStatPortable, winMd5SumPortable, WinMergePortable, WiresharkPortable
Adobe_Reader_9.0_Lite_ENG.exe, aida32, CCleaner, F-Secure Blacklight, freecap_nosetup_eng, GMER, HTMLTidy, httrack-noinst, ifunbox_en, LubbosFanControl_0_1_4, Microsoft Visual SourceSafe, PdaNet for iPhone
PowerISO, ProcessMonitor, Profiles, Proxifier PE, RootkitRevealer, Spybot - Search & Destroy, Spybot Search And Destroy.lnk, StartPortableApps.exe, Stress Prime, Styler, TcpView, TrueCrypt
TweakUI, UltraISO Premium Edition 8.6.3 Build 2056.exe, uTorrent, VeryPDF PDF Editor.exe, WinRAR Unplugged

Portable Apps on Truecrypt file-volume (saves passwords to encrypted files):
Opera1010usb, aMSNPortable, FirefoxPortable, GoogleChromePortable, KeePassPortable, PidginPortable, PuTTYPortable, SkypePortable, ThunderbirdPortable, WinSCPPortable

Take back control over your apps and start using portable apps. Its worth the small extra footprint in startup, since your PC will run smoother without all the extra hooks into the OS, and the extra spyware companies like to push down your throat! Most of these even updates cleanly while staying portable!

Even though most proprietary apps have installers, if they are simple, odds are you can probably run them portable also, or find a version which is tweaked to run portable *cough cough*
Quick recipe: Just copy the files to another location, uninstall the sucker, and pray all the features works ;-)
PortableApps.com is a good resource for getting free portable apps, and many of those utilities are good enough alternatives to commercial software as well.
Their setup is tweaked to be run on USB drives, which also fits into our paradigm of taking back control over our apps and not mess up our PCs.

Good luck and spread the word!

Too common. (1)

Martin Spamer (244245) | more than 4 years ago | (#31207484)

This stealthy downloading & installation is becoming very common even by well known companies, Safari constantly attempts a stealthy install of iTunes.

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