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An Open Letter To PC Makers: Ditch Bloatware, Now!

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the take-this-free-trial-and-shove-it dept.

HP 609

MojoKid writes "This is the final straw, the last stand. This is the year that companies have to wise up and realize that they're destroying the experience of the very machines they are marketing so vigorously against their competitors. We're talking about bloatware, and it's an issue that we simply cannot remain silent on any longer. The term 'bloatware' generally refers to any additional software installed on a machine that is not a native part of the operating system. 'Bloatware' is usually provided by third-party software companies, and can range from security suites to unwanted Web browser toolbars. It's most problematic, as these programs generally attempt to boot up first thing, right as the OS is booting up, before the end-user ever has a chance to launch the program on their own accord. It's time for manufacturers to take note: consumers do not want bloatware. It's a royal pain from top to bottom, and moreover, it ruins your brand. When people think of HP and Dell, they immediately think of just how infuriating it is that their last 'new' PC took over one minute to boot up and become usable. To these companies: why are you saddling your machines with software that makes it less enjoyable to use? The solution seems pretty simple. If you still wish to include loads upon loads of third-party software, stick it all on a thumb drive and include it with every new machine. Problem solved."

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609 comments

Money (5, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131520)

To these companies: why are you saddling your machines with software that makes it less enjoyable to use?

Because they get paid a fortune to do so

Re:Money (2, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131564)

The question was ridiculous. How did such shallow crybabying get to a slashdot feature? Hasn't that poor schmuck ever heard of DIY computers and GNU/Linux? Most likely (like a lot of us), there's some have-to-have Windows software he needs, so he's screwed and has to get a cheap commercial Windows box. Bummer, man. That's the way it is.

Re:Money (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131644)

The problem is that you shouldn't have to do that with an OS that you're paying for. It's not that big a deal if you're intending to wipe out the OS in favor of something else, but the problem is that the bloatware tends to get included on the install media. Meaning that everytime you reinstall you're stuck with the same bloatware.

I remember having PC-Cillin running at 99% immediately upon boot with my Vaio laptop. And because Sony insisted on not shipping a proper install CD it ended up being a real pain.

Re:Money (4, Informative)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131780)

you shouldn't have to do that with an OS that you're paying for

And, happily, you don't. You can buy PCs from any of thousands of vendors (or roll your own) without that experience. The OS is just part of what most people buy from a typical large retailer. If they don't like that experience any more than they like having an activated-for-one-year OnStar system in the car they just bought, they can shop for their computer (and their car) somewhere else. It's called a market, and it does offer more alternatives than you can count.

Re:Money (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131830)

Right, and that's the last time I bought a Sony computer. The point is that they don't really advertise Vaio, with extra crap that doesn't run right and will require you to pay for at a later date.

The point is that if you want to avoid that you're stuck dealing with a smaller vendor typically, but if it spreads much further that might not be enough. And at any rate the customer shouldn't have to know how to roll their own install media to avoid that sort of thing. It should be a legislated right.

Re:Money (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131898)

OEMs who don't ship stock windows media with windows-licenced PCs deserve to burn in hell; but it is hard to blame the PC OEMS, who all ship essentially undifferentiated product on extremely thin margins from trying to make a few bucks where the can(the comparatively competitive world of shitware vendors) to make up for the bucks that they can't make(intel, MS)... Particularly when, for the most part, they do have corporate lines that are unafflicted by the plague. Either you get the subsidized hardware, and suffer(or reinstall), or you pay the extra to get the good stuff.

Re:Money (4, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131764)

Yeah, he can just do what I've.. sorry, what we've all been doing since the 90s:

Do a fresh install.

Spend the $100 and get the Windows DVD if it bothers you that much and you have to have Windows, or install Ubuntu / Kubuntu. Your family is probably only using it for Facebook and email anyway, so you can add a dash of security by using an OS where you don't have to be admin all the time.

The licence key that came with your PC is still valid, so if you've got a friend with a Win7 DVD, copy it and use the key. Edit / remove ei.cfg to choose the correct version for your CD key and you're golden.

Shovelware (which is, I believe, the correct term for the bundled crapola; bloatware refers to programs that take up more room and memory as time goes by) will never go away because:

1. You paid HP $200 for the computer.
2. MacAfee paid HP $1.5 million* to install the 30-day trial.

Thus, fuck you.
*This number was totally pulled out of my ass but I would guess that it is n x $200 where n is any large number.

Also, I have to ask why you're buying a branded machine anyway when you can get more power and a longer lasting machine for less money. I guess you have to with a laptop form factor, but that's really the only reason to not just pick up the parts and put the damned thing together yourself. And I'm saying this as a Canadian where I can't use the super-cheap deals you can get in the States.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131868)

>so you can add a dash of security by using an OS where you don't have to be admin all the time.

You don't have to be admin all the time on Windows. What on earth gave you that notion? You can run it quite effectively as a standard user as long as you know the admin password for installing things.

Re:Money (1)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131728)

It's ironic that people demand cheap, disposable $499 laptops yet complain that they're filled with junk. When Google pays a manufacturer $1 per every 3000 searches for setting Google as the default search engine, or Yahoo a similar deal, you're going to find such junk on PC's to help offset the cost of providing a low cost PC. It's also unfortunate that Microsoft changed their OEM distribution method of Microsoft Office, since 2007, so every manufacturer has to preload it, bloating the size of the images and other areas.

Re:Money (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131758)

exactly!

Joe Consumer makes his purchasing decision based on price and partly on specs. If two machines have roughly identical specs, the consumer will choose the cheaper one.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131816)

Was coming here to say that. Thats also why the "microsoft tax" is a myth, its paid for by Symantec and such for their crapware, not by consumers. I can agree if people fundamentally dont want to give Microsoft money in any way, but to say it costs you isnt true either.

Also: Microsoft Signature program.

Re:Money (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131848)

More importantly: Because the whitebox x86 market is a knife-fight-in-a-telephone booth.

On the plus side, this means that you can get more computrons for your dollar than at just about any point in history, at any given moment. On the minus side, it means that what you buy will reflect the consequences of ruthless cost cutting(and bloatware is, in essence, a form of cost cutting...)

Trouble is, as much as consumers hate bloatware, they'll chose the cheapest box on the shelf time and again. Ye olde laws of economics pretty much guarantee that the cheapest box on the shelf will be the one whose software has negative value...

Now, as your friendly local smirking linux user, I find the fact that your suffering powers my cheap hardware amusing. However, in the spirit of charity, here is how to avoid bloatware:

Option 1: Buy "corporate". For a modest premium, you can go with the corporate, rather than "consumer" version of your x86 packager of choice. It will cost more; but the packagers know not to fuck with corporate, and the bloatware-pushers know that the value of bloatware that is 99% assured to be blown away with a corporate standard image is near zero.

Option 2: Pay the local geek kid a pizza(or a six-pack) to install windows from scratch. It's tedious; but it isn't hard, and you'll get a fully bloatware-free setup for less than the cost of Option 1. An even lower budget version of option 2 would involve just running PC-decrapifier yourself...

Option 3: Embrace the dark kingdom of the turtlenecked one: Apple's OS differentiation gives them strong ability to resist race-to-the-bottom pressures. You will face the minor niggle of sponsored safari bookmarks and (the especially galling) offer from Apple itself to "go pro" with quicktime(Jobs, you turtlenecked bastard, this mac pro cost me 4 grand. I'll burn in hell before I give you another $20 to run quicktime without being harassed....)

Re:Money (2)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131908)

It's not just "get paid a fortune..." Every bit of space is advertising and real estate to be sold. Some of it is to instill name recognition. Does the average end user really care that the CPU is Intel or AMD? Nope. Do they care if it has a nVidia or ATI video card? Not really. They care about the price tag, and does it show web pages. If you ask your average consumer what they use their computer for, they'll tell you they check their email, and look at web pages.

    The box and case are the initial advertising space.

    The virtual space inside the box is worth an awful lot more. Some of the pay just to be included as part of the install. Some don't pay at all, but pay out on conversions. You don't think the 90 day "free" trial of Symantec/Norton [package of the week] if really free. Nope, when sucker consumer sees the warning of "oh my gosh, I'm not protected", and they whip out their credit card, part goes to the software vendor, and part goes to .. you guessed it, the hardware vendor. It makes selling that $99 computer for $499.95 that much easier on the profit margin. Who wants to only make a 400% markup, when they can get a 1000% markup through software conversions over the life of the machine. And whee, they get name loyalty to boot. I bought a HP computer, so I should have a HP camera, and HP printer, and HP dildonics port [opendildonics.org]. ... and that's why every freakin' inch of real estate, inside and outside of the machine is branded, logo'd, and sold to the highest bidder.

    And hell, with enough crapware installed, you may be completely disappointed with your new purchase, and bring it right back to the store for the bigger, better, faster model instead. It'd be like buying a new subcompact car with lead weights in the trunk. Hell, who'd drive that? No one. So you'll upgrade to the faster "Urban Assault Battlewagoneer"(tm) !

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131910)

But then they get paid nothing whatsoever by many of us because we are so fed up with this, we make our own home brews.

Not going to happen (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131524)

Keep wishing, do you think anyone would purposely install that software off a thumb drive?

and (1)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131528)

Also get rid of that MS Works POS. Never used it in 15 years

Re:and (2)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131580)

Your wish has been granted.

Microsoft Works has been discontinued, and instead you get a defeatured nagware adsupported version of Office 2010 "Starter".

Re:and (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131602)

I use works on my netbook.

It's free, and I don't need a FULL version of office. It works great. I don't know why you have to apply the hate to Works. It does a passable job for what it is intended to do. Most of the bloat, doesn't. I tried to use Google Docs, but found my connection at school wasn't reliable enough. So, Works + Dropbox lets me have access to my notes everywhere, and backs them up on the fly.

Re:and (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131626)

Open Office. 'Nuff said.

Re:and (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131742)

Life's too short to spend it waiting for OO to start up.

Profit Margins (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131532)

The problem is that PC makers have pursued the lowest common denominator so long that their very slim profit margins probably only exist because of the third party software. I look at the price of some of the systems out there, and I can only assume that without 30-day Office 2010 trial editions and all the other crap they'd probably be in the hole.

Solution? (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131534)

Eh. Buy the business versions of computers instead. They're comparable in price to their home equivalents, and lack the trialware.

I still remember when I got my first computer though. There were some demos preinstalled, but there were also full versions of software as well on CDs - a few games, Encarta, etc. Plus, it came with a thick book with detailed technical descriptions of the computer (keep in mind this was a "home user" system) that was comparable to a textbook. Good stuff.

Re:Solution? (0)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131634)

What are you, 60 years old?

Re:Solution? (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131670)

You don't need to be a senior citizen to remember when PCs came with actual user manuals and proper OS install disks.

It helps if you didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday though.

Re:Solution? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131740)

What are you, 60 years old?

I'm 57 and I remember when documentation included the source code of the OS and schematics. None of the 'restore CD' nonsense. We had to type the damned stuff in. Tech support? That's what your soldering iron was for.

But it's late and the nurse tells me it's time for my afternoon meds so I don't get all crochety and weird. But, if you don't mind - get off my lawn.

Re:Solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131812)

The real IBM PC came with BIOS listing.

Re:Solution? (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131866)

Yeah! Goddamn fuckin' whippersnapper little peckers.

I actually remember those days as well. More to the point, I had forgotten them long ago. Last time I got an HP box I uninstalled just about everything that wasn't absolutely positively necessary for the damn thing to work.

Re:Solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131878)

When I was a kid I thought there would be a driver implementation guide that explained the ports, registers, memory access, etc. in the SBPro user manual.
How wide-eyed and hopeful I was.

Re:Solution? (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131750)

Eh. Buy the business versions of computers instead. They're comparable in price to their home equivalents, and lack the trialware.

I still remember when I got my first computer though. There were some demos preinstalled, but there were also full versions of software as well on CDs - a few games, Encarta, etc. Plus, it came with a thick book with detailed technical descriptions of the computer (keep in mind this was a "home user" system) that was comparable to a textbook. Good stuff.

That requires informed consumers. What about all the people that "just need a computer" so they can go on Facebook or whatever? Although they aren't savvy enough to know they should get the business PC, they still hate how slow their new computer is, and it upsets them.

Sure, slashdot users know how to get around the bloatware, but the article is talking about getting rid of it for everyone, for the sake of the PC industry. And its a worthy suggestion I think.

Re:Solution? (1)

John Meacham (1112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131858)

Yup, I had an original IBM PC and one of the coolest things was the manual came with the complete schematics and source code of the BIOS in the manual. I even used them to track down and replace a chip on the board. I am sure that helped jumpstart the early PC clone market :).

How are you going to replace the revenue? (1)

rminsk (831757) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131538)

Software companies pay the vendors to include the bloatware. HP and Dell are making tons of money including all the extra bloat. How are you going to replace the revenue stream?

Re:How are you going to replace the revenue? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131704)

Well, they could install it by default, but give the end user the ability to not install it in the future. Which is a pretty reasonable compromise, people that don't want it could just put the install CD in immediately and never have to worry about it. The main problem I have with it is that they would make it impossible to install the OS again without including the bloatware or going to ridiculous extremes to avoid it. If you're reinstalling the OS and you're opting not to install the bloatware, I think that it's pretty clear that you're not going to be using it anyways.

Easy to do... at a price. Won't happen. (3, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131542)

Bloatware is generally on a computer to help subsidize the cost down to "commodity item" prices. Removing the bloatware will increase the price of a computer. As the majority of people would prefer a cheap computer (with bloatware) over one with no bloatware, this is something unlikely to change.

That aside, and possibly also related to this, bloatware of certain categories helps fund the support marketplace. Most notably are things like trial antivirus software, that numerous computer purchasers let the trial expire and no longer receive definition updates, putting them at risk of malware infections. I've had a lot of customers come in with infected machines and tell me "but I had CrappyTrial 2011 installed" - at which point I find that the trialware subscription service expired 3 months ago. As sad as it is, I know it helps our business gain tech work. And I am sure it helps the big box places as well.

Other options include having a machine custom built - which of course will mean paying more, since there are generally no bloatware subsidies. At least on a PC, it's pretty easy to remove the bloatware.

Re:Easy to do... at a price. Won't happen. (3, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131712)

Some of the cheapest machines come without any OS at all. It's also pretty easy to beat name brand OEMs with quasi-DIY sellers on the web.
So the idea that all machines need to be subsidized through shovelware and bloatware is a little absurd.

The OS itself plays a large part in this.

Some stuff is just bloated by itself even if you install it off of OEM disks without adding any other nonsense.

Re:Easy to do... at a price. Won't happen. (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131818)

Some of the cheapest machines come without any OS at all.

But are pieces of crap I would not wish on my worst enemy. Virtually NO Windows machine built by any decent sized OEM comes without bloatware.

It's also pretty easy to beat name brand OEMs with quasi-DIY sellers on the web.

As I suggested. Though I beg to differ on the pricing - except, as noted, when one buys an el-crappo machine. I can build one for $200 - but it will barely run Windows 7 and decent sized apps like Office 2010 and say... Quickbooks 2010 at the same time. ;-)

So the idea that all machines need to be subsidized through shovelware and bloatware is a little absurd.

The OS itself plays a large part in this.

Some stuff is just bloated by itself even if you install it off of OEM disks without adding any other nonsense.

Because the OEM disks often include the bloatware slipstreamed into them. One notable exception, back in the day, was Dell, which provided an OS disk, a driver disk (or disks) and a bunch of bloatware disks (and even those didnt always include all the bloatware that came on the machine). Others, like the HP Restore Sets, image the machine to the exact way it was when it was shipped to the retailer; bloatware and all.

Re:Easy to do... at a price. Won't happen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131944)

>>> Bloatware is generally on a computer to help subsidize the cost down to "commodity item" prices. Removing the bloatware will increase the price of a computer

This is somewhat debatable given the fact that HP has a "Department of Bloatware" (that is not the official name). May be 50 bucks a piece is what is left after accounting for the cost the department. Even if the difference was a little more than that, if a customer called in about three times, whatever profit was made vanishes fielding those three calls. It is more likely that someone would call about the very same bloatware that HP tried to subsidize the unit with.

One can only hope... (1)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131544)

Apart from the obvious reasons, one of the things that vendors should take seriously is the initial impression a bloated system has on their reputation. Joe Average is going to get a bitter taste in their mouth when that fancy new laptop is bugged down with crap.

What they should really do is have a Startup menu on first boot that shows a list of special deals & promotions with quick and easy download links for popular free and commercial software and/or have the installation files on the drive that one can delete, but definately not pre-installed.

It doesn't bother geeks, the first thing I do is image the drive (in case I want to re-sell the machine) and slap on a clean image of my OS.

Re:One can only hope... (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131760)

vendors should take seriously is the initial impression a bloated system has on their reputation

OK, upwards of 30 years past the beginning of the "microcomputer revolution," vendors are supposed to become aware of "the initial impression a bloated system has on their reputation?" What for? Who cares? What consumer gives a crap? Most consumers may even be pleased they're getting something for nothing, or the appearance of it anyway. Not being able to deal with bloatware is grounds for exclusion even from slashdot. Dude, if you can't even deal with that, how did you end up on this forum?

Sorry to be harsh, and I gather the above doesn't really apply to you in particular, but the question/complaint in TFA is utterly and completely ridiculous. It is sappy whining about a standard part of computer system commerce.

Economics (1)

rbollinger (1922546) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131546)

People hate bloatware, but computer companies love money. If a software company gives them money to provide bloatware pre-installed, then of course they are going to take the money. Small computer companies usually don't have as much bloatware because they don't provide the same audience as the big computer companies do, but they also can't match the prices of the big companies. So the choice is really up to you, pay more for a small company that matches your ideology, or pay less for the big companies with bloatware. Or you could always buy the cheaper computer, wipe it, and install a new OS on it.

I format pre-built pc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131548)

The second I set it up for someone.

Simple solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131550)

Buy Apple. No bloatware, ever.

Re:Simple solution: (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131586)

While the parent is flamebait, it does present an interesting point: if PC makers are so hard-up for cash that they will install anything with a bribe, why does Apple continue to do so well despite the fact that they don't engage in pay-to-play bloatware?

Sure, a Mac costs a bit more than a Windows box. But not substantially more.

Re:Simple solution: (1, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131746)

No. Macs cost substantially more. Or rather they come with substantially less in terms of hardware.

When you are not constrained by cloning a Mac, it's pretty easy to run circles around one while spending a lot less.

Although MacOS will do better than Windows on the same relatively meagre hardware.

Re:Simple solution: (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131748)

Because they aren't competing with other manufacturers of Macs. Remember what happened back when they were? The point is that Apple is competing essentially with not Apple and they can make a lot more money by charging enough to make a profit without bloatware.

Re:Simple solution: (1, Informative)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131846)

The Mac is a market niche where people are paying a much higher price for a specific name and experience. Adding "bloatware" would take the focus off of Apple and put it on the applications. And, you are wrong a Mac costs substantially more than a Windows based PC. The Dell equivalent of the basic Macbook costs 25% less.

Simpler Solution (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131658)

Or nuke the existing OS and install Linux.

It'll work out cheaper as well, even at the loss of your Windoze license.

Re:Simpler Solution (-1, Troll)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131860)

That is only true if the installation works perfectly and one never has any trouble with it; or if one's time has no value.

Install a Free OS (1)

rla3rd (596810) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131552)

if bloatware bothers you that much, just install Linux or one of the BSD's. Problem solved.

Dear kid: No. (5, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131558)

We get paid by the vendor to put it there, so that's money to us regardless of the price you pay for the machine. You'll buy the machine regardless of what we put on the desktop, so there is no economic reason to remove it.

You can remove it yourself using the normal software uninstallation process. You can remove the entire operating system if you like. People with opinions like yours have been doing that for decades, now, to put alternative operating systems on the machines. How did that affect our sales? It didn't. So don't expect it to now.

The only thing that could make us change our ways is if it actually starts costing us money, and since boot time is your time, not ours, it doesn't cost us a thing.

Re:Dear kid: No. (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131882)

PS: Once the bloatware chokes out the PC over time, most people will just go an buy a new PC, which means more money for us. So, there you go.

Fantasyland (-1, Flamebait)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131914)

You can remove it yourself using the normal software uninstallation process

What is this, a comedy tour? Try using the 'normal software uninstallation process' on most of that bloatware and let me know how it goes. I assure you, your chances of having the uninstall process completely remove all that crap is less than zero. Frequently, the uninstall process breaks or hangs. Failing that, you will be left with registry junk if the process does work. In many cases, the bloatware seems to refuse to honor the uninstall process. So no, you're not getting rid of all that crap.

From your use of pronouns, I'm assuming you're employed by the assholes who bring us this crap. On behalf of the rest of us, I'd like to offer you a heartfelt 'fuck you'.

Re:Dear kid: No. (2)

cornjones (33009) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131920)

The economic reason is Apple (and soon, linux. This is the year of the linux desktop, right?) I have lost count of how many people have talked about how much better apple is than windows and faster etc. (I don't want to get into a flame war about which is actually better, for my purposes here lets just say they are within range of each other; both w/ strengths and weaknesses.)

I used to wonder why I never ran into any of the problems 'everybody' has w/ windows. I always blew away everything and laid down a clean os when I got a new machine. Then I sat down at one of these dell made loaded up pieces of garbage. It absolutely kills teh experience. The base MS experience is fairly responsive but when you load up the trial ware and tool bars this guy is talking about, it has a serious negative impact.

The feed backloop is broken though. People bitch about the crappy MS OS where it is really dell et al that are crushing the experience. As apple's marketshare (in consumer land) increases, the wintel crowd are going to need to reevaluate.

Re:Dear kid: No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131924)

Dear OEM,

You are not getting my money.

kthnkbye,
Anonymous Computer USer

Follow the money (2)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131562)

Consumers hate bloatware. They also like getting computers for less than the price of the parts that go into it.

Companies don't change their policies because of letters, open or otherwise. Companies change their policies when they see consumers buying something else. Sometimes that "something else" is a lower price. Sometimes that "something else" is a nicer set of features, which might just include not having bloatware.

As long as the OEMs are being paid to include bloatware, they'll be able to score that lower price point. The bloatware may aggravate, but it's not driving the customers away fast enough to make it go away, either.

It's much like web sites. You're getting something cheap because you're looking at ads. You don't like it, go elsewhere.

Who cares? (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131566)

The first thing I do with a new PC is blow the HDD and rebuild. Yeah, all this bloatware is inconvenient for my parents and relatives (and thus me), but even that is only occasionally bothersome. I fail to see why the majority of the /. users should trouble themselves with this.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131794)

The first thing I do with a new PC is blow the HDD and rebuild. Yeah, all this bloatware is inconvenient for my parents and relatives (and thus me), but even that is only occasionally bothersome. I fail to see why the majority of the /. users should trouble themselves with this.

The article isn't talking about doing this for the sake of Slashdot users, its talking about doing it to keep Joe Consumer happy, which is for the sake of the PC industry. Which is indirectly for the sake of the Slashdot user. Also, it means slashdot users don't have to fix our parents computers as soon as they buy them.

Honestly people hate how slow their computers are, and there will be plenty of people who leave PCs for Macs for just this reason, I bet.

-Taylor

Enjoy paying more (2)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131570)

The companies that put that bloatware on your machine pay to get it there. Without these deals, the manufactures and retailers will now be selling each machine for less profit, and who do you think they'll be passing the "cost" on to?

On the other hand, feel free to buy a Linux or OS X machine. I can't remember hearing about "bloatware" for those.

Re:Enjoy paying more (2)

rbollinger (1922546) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131660)

Lots of 'Get Linux' or 'Get OS X' responses. But Windows doesn't mean that you have to have bloatware. Build your computer yourself, buy from a manufacturer that doens't include bloatware (you'll be supporting small business to boot!), or buy the cheap big brand computer and wipe the drive/reinstall the OS.

Restore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131578)

If you buy a new PC, the first thing you should do is insert the recovery discs (or boot recovery partition) and select the option to install the OS and drivers, and deselect all of the value-added bundled software. In 30 minutes you have a happy bald PC.

Re:Restore (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131786)

Assuming you can. I know that Sony used to include recovery discs which basically just placed the original image back on the disk. I think the only significant change you could make is that it allowed you to choose a partition to install it on. But other than that all the original bloatware was back, and every bit as buggy as the last time I installed.

Not quite... (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131582)

I usually don't refer to something as "bloatware" if it comes preinstalled. That's one thing. It's quite another for preinstalled software to automatically start running crap in the background when you boot. THAT is what I consider bloatware, but connotative and denotative and all that. If the software doesn't start pissing away CPU time once the OS fires up, then it's pretty unobtrusive.

What bloatware? (1)

steveg (55825) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131588)

Are you saying that computers come with software installed?
Huh. Who knew?
I just always assume the disk is blank and do a fresh install.

Just wipe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131596)

And install an actual operating system.

PC Decrapifier (4, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131598)

Try PC Decrapifier. http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/ [pcdecrapifier.com]

Rather then cracking open that Add/Remove program list, just run this program and it will run through the process for you.

Re:PC Decrapifier (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131698)

I prefer This Decrapifier [ubuntu.com].

I find that it does an amazingly thorough job of eliminating crapware from the machine!

Re:PC Decrapifier - More crap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131714)

Or you could just uninstall the shit instead of installing more shit!

Geeze! What a stupid fucking suggestion and that software is shit!

Re:PC Decrapifier - More crap! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131926)

You know the old saying. Never judge a book by its cover. While the website sucks, the program is quite nice in fact.

I've never used the commercial version, but I think you can script it for mass PC replacement across the network. But generally if you're a fortune 500 company, your desktop/laptops would be shipped with a corporate image anyways. However, ghosting machines or even going so far as to use a MS Windows sysprep process doesn't work well half the time. Mainly, because newer hardware contains things like Bluetooth, biometric scanners, and a TPM chip. Because the serials are different, the software has to be reinstalled anyways because of the whole public/private keys breaking. Because of such issues where re-imaging machines becomes too much a hassle, PC Decrapifier is a good way to go down an alternate path of new PC deployment.

Mod -1 : Author is an idiot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131600)

If they didn't install the bloatware (getting paid for it) they would have to up the price of their product... cutting into their market share significantly.

How much time (1)

Adam Appel (1991764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131612)

.....does it take to remove all the bloatware from a samll business computers? One reason why I moved out of desktop IT was that it was such a pain to setup desktops for office staff. Even as a consultant buying a laptop for a client and configuring it for their needs, I just didn't like charging my $120 an hour to delete the crap that came preinstalled.

Re:How much time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131824)

Holy crap, ever heard of image-based deployment? Your own ignorance cost you dearly, friend.

The Bloatware Manifesto! (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131624)

Build your own computer. Free yourself from bloatware.
Otherwise, GET OFF MY LAWN!

Crapware (5, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131648)

It's crapware, not bloatware. Bloatware is shit like Microsoft's apps which are huge and slow but are at least 'functional' in some sense of the word.

Crapware is all the toolbars and trial virus checkers and other rubbish which is responsible for your machine taking 20 minutes to boot up and the drive light to never quite go out.

and ship drivers, too (2)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131650)

They not only add the bloat, they do what they can to prevent the crap from being removed.

Just yesterday I helped a cousin reinstall Win7 on a near-new Sony Vaio after their utilities decided to "helpfully" blow away the whole system including all data (fortunately, nothing vital was lost). I admit I have very little experience with Windows these days, but hunting down the needed drivers from Sony's website shouldn't take four freaking hours for someone doing IT for 25 years. They assume their recovery partition is the be-all and end-all and can never be wrong -- or perhaps, they are afraid someone may want to get rid of their precious crapware.

Build your own. (1)

chemicalfacist (963555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131672)

I've build all the computers for myself and my family. It' really doesn't take long and it becomes a nice weekend hobby. Retail on the specs for the machines I build are upwards of $2000. But we pay as little as $800 for them. If I was going to build a budget conscious one, retailing for $300 or $500, I would probably build it for less than $200. Look into it and stop giving them a reason for bloatware.

But does it reduce the cost of the PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131678)

I thought they could reduce the cost of the PC by pre-installing this bloatware they would get paid by the bloatware manufacturer. I don't mind wiping it to get a cheaper PC but its when you run their recover CDs that it can be confusing to work out what is bloatware and what is drivers. Some of the bloatware is their own software that is meant to provide a "better experience".

Post Office delivers my recycling (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131684)

The U.S. Postal Service delivers my paper waste recycling material twice a week, in the form of "Coupons" and "Specials" and so forth.

I made strenuous efforts to remove myself from the distribution list. Found the advertising agency's phone number, in the very fine print; called repeatedly; got no reply.

Postal regulations provide a mechanism for "take me off your list, stop sending this junk!" ... but only when the junk mail is addressed to a particular household. In this case, the junk mail isn't addressed to a particular household -- instead, the junk is bulk-distributed to every household in the neighborhood.

I went to my local post office and spoke with the clerk, who was sympathetic, but said, essentially: "I can't stop sending you this junk mail -- the advertisers pay the Postal Service too much money."

Same with bloatware. Yes, it sucks. Yes, we hate it. Yes, it's morally reprehensible. And yes -- PC manufacturers will keep on loading machines with bloatware precisely because there is so much money to be made.

It goes beyond complete systems (1)

droidsURlooking4 (1543007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131690)

Most major brand motherboards (for example) you buy will come with at least one cd. You have to look at each application very carefully, often their names are not intuitive and there is no description. If you want to install chipset drivers, video, sound & maybe the update app, you will have to know what you are looking for.

Ironic Icon (1)

dx40sh (1773338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131692)

It really amuses me that this story has a "HP" icon. Their printer software is bloaty, proliferous, and doesn't really even work that well.

Pay the apple tax, skip the bloat. (1)

goffster (1104287) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131720)

You pay your taxes in one way or another.

Re:Pay the apple tax, skip the bloat. (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131936)

Yeah.... I'll pay an extra $1000 for each machine just to avoid having to uninstall a few programs.... riiiight...

Re:Pay the apple tax, skip the bloat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131940)

You can custom build a system for far cheaper than the equivalent apple computer, even if you buy a retail copy of windows. Apple is good for people who like Apple, but not for people who rely on having a broad choice in software, or in people who actually use the command-line and would be using linux anyway.

Microsoft will do this for you (4, Interesting)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131730)

Just shop at a Microsoft store (online or at retail). The PCs they sell are part of their "Signature" program whereby they remove all crap/bloatware and optimize the Windows install to run its best on that hardware.

Of course it's a bit more expensive, but it looks like it's worth it for the performance improvements and lack of hassle that you get.

No, i don't work for MS. I just think it's a good option.

  http://signature.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com]

Re:Microsoft will do this for you (2)

deniable (76198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131886)

They remove the bloat, don't allow trials because they piss off the user, set up one anti-virus that doesn't need a subscription, will sort out your iTunes if you ask, make sure all of the codecs are installed out of the box, and get rid of duplicate applications that do basically the same thing. They make things "just work."

In other words, they've reinvented the old school computer store. I give them a year or two before somebody 'improves' the experience. Before that, I'm going to look at what they're selling.

Re:Microsoft will do this for you (1)

tapo (855172) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131906)

I can vouch for this. Signature isn't exactly a vanilla install (Microsoft wants you to have the OEM drivers and some software) but it gives you no bullshit, Live Essentials, and Security Essentials, arguably the best AV program on Windows.

If you're suggesting a friend buy a laptop or, don't want to deal with PC Decrapifier, I highly recommend it.

Choice (1)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131756)

"stick it all on a thumb drive and include it with every new machine"

To quote Neo, the problem is choice.

The solution being proposed involves giving consumers a greater choice. The aim of bloatware is to discretely deny choice. In the eyes of the PC makers, the solution and the aim are incompatible.

If I'm punching you in the face, me stopping punching you is not a solution I'm interested in. You need to start thinking about moving away.

Re:Choice (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131820)

If I'm punching you in the face, me stopping punching you is not a solution I'm interested in. You need to start thinking about moving away.

I have a lawyer. You punching me in the face is, in the end, going to make her and I a fair bit richer at your expense.

Vendors! Please ignore (1)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131822)

Mr. Willington's fevered rantings. In fact please put MORE bloatware on new computers! You see, I'm a computer consultant, and derive a significant sum of money each time a neighbor/friend/referral asks me how to remove your products from his new computer. Since your software causes considerable delay at each bootup if left untouched, they are amazed at how it responds when I am through, and are very eager and grateful to pay my fees! If you could perhaps slip in a few easy-to-clean viruses or computer worms, those would be appreciated as well.

30 day antivirus trials (1)

the_mind_ (157933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131826)

Im convinced that the 30-day anti-virus trial software is the one of largest reason so many computers owned by average users get infected.
"But I have anti-virus!" "Technically, yes you do. It expired one and a half year ago. And you have ignored the pop-up notice ever since."

But its not only 3rd party trial software that should go away. My Dell laptop with 7 multimedia button had a tray app that took up 60MB of RAM and 3% of the CPU.
And then there is support clients, "Cool application launchers" and other crap that is branded with Dell logos.

Buy a Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131838)

Sorry, but just had to say it. A UNIX-based OS with a nice GUI, what's not to love? For me, completely worth the extra $.

If I had to have a PeeCee, then I'd install Ubuntu over all the bloatware (extra stuff I'd never want) and all the crap ware (the Windows OS).

Sure thing Mojo Office (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131844)

You know the first thing people ask them when they buy a computer?

"Does it come with MS Office?"

Mojo kid may be annoyed but the vast majority of consumers who pay money for these computers don't expect to come with nothing.

Not everyone is computer savvy (1)

Octopuscabbage (1932234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35131874)

Not every user is computer savvy so they may want said bloatware because it makes things "just work." Which is what a lot of non computer savvy people want. If your computer savvy and don't want the bloatware, just take if off your machine or build your own machine or wipe the os. Having bloatware on the machine isn't a problem for some people and it helps alleviate some of the cost of the commercial computer. Protip: If you factory reset a computer when you first get it it usually deletes all the bloatware. Or at least it has for me.

Format and clean install every time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35131918)

Every time I deploy a new PC from one of these companies I always format and install windows fresh. Otherwise it's just problematic.

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