Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Download.com Bundling Adware With Free Software

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the install-our-useful-toolbar dept.

Open Source 228

Zocalo writes "In a post to the Nmap Hackers list Nmap author Fyodor accuses Download.com of wrapping a trojan installer (as detected by various AV applications when submitted to VirusTotal) around software including Nmap and VLC Media Player. The C|Net installer bundles a toolbar, changes browser settings, and, potentially, performs other shenanigans — all under the logo of the application the user thought they might have been downloading. Apparently, this isn't the first time they have done this, either."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

This is news? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277786)

Download.com have always done this... I thought this was how they funded the site.

Re:This is news? (5, Interesting)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277834)

Download.com have always done this... I thought this was how they funded the site.

This may be true, but doesn't shadow the efforts of those irritated enough to stand up and say something. Hats off to Fyodor for bringing it to light in hopes that things change.

And as knowledgeable as the average user has (been forced to) become about spyware and malware, Download.com should listen, because it's obviously not just those uploading content that keeps them in business. Let's hope they don't react and generate that stench of arrogance around themselves, not unlike many large businesses today that think they're "too big to fail", and could care less what their customers think.

Re:This is news? (4, Informative)

sosume (680416) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277868)

You can always choose not to offer your downloads through download.com.

Re:This is news? (4, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278102)

You can always choose not to offer your downloads through download.com.

Can you? Even if it's under a copyleft license, or in the public domain?

Re:This is news? (5, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278192)

If your logo or name is a trademark, yes. That's why no distribution can redistribute a modified Firefox with the same name & logo.

Re:This is news? (2)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278494)

(I am not an expert on these things so bear with me): But what I understood is that when they created a new installer to install the unmodified software (let's say firefox) with another software ( the adware) this can't be thought as an infringement... Or the software can be only installed via it's original installer ?

Re:This is news? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278682)

The new installer is a "derivative work", and you can specify that derivative works must not use the original trademarks. Mozilla and RedHat are both very strict about this: the source is open and free and all but you keep their name out of your modified stuff.

remove download (4, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278156)

That's what I finally had to do, when some entity (might've been download.com, might've been someone else) offered an alternative download location for my software - which bundled some sort of malware installer onto my software. After one attempt to remove them as an alternate, I was told I could request my software be removed, and that's what I did. This occurred back in 2004. [degreez.net]

Re:This is news? (5, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278056)

Sorry but this is old new and why most of us builders have been avoiding CNet like the clap for awhile. I'd loved to see their before and after website visits stats because i wouldn't be surprised if many are doing like me and the instant they see the article is on CNet closing the tab.

For those that need that "80%" software, the stuff you pretty much install on every system? Let old Hairy introduce to a really nice place with a weird name...Ninite [ninite.com] . it has all the latest versions of the software everyone installs, your flash, codec packs, VLC, LibreOffice, several AV and antimal to choose from, and NO TOOLBARS are allowed, no crapware, just the program you want pre-packaged as an unattended installer that's as simple as "clicky clicky" and let her run. great for not only new builds but when you need to help someone who lives a good distance away who is having trouble or doesn't know where to find the above basics.

I used to swing by CNet all the time back in the day but since i don't support spammers and spyware pushers they can go pound sand. With ninite all the basics are covered and if you can think of others you'd like just drop their name in the suggestion box and they'll add the most popular choices to the list. I suggested Klite with MPC and voila! There it is, and more popular apps are being added all the time. Enjoy folks!

Re:This is news? (4, Insightful)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278238)

It's even more stupid that Google has started offering Chrome just the same way like every other adware vendor - by offering freeware and shareware authors, and the likes of Download.com, money per install they get. This leads to software authors and download sites bundling it with unrelated software and pushing it to users since they get paid for it. They always used to do this with their toolbar, but of course now they switched it to Chrome. I've seen people using Chrome and when asked why they changed, they had no idea. Either it came with some other software or "Google said on internet that you need to download this to make your browsing better" and they thought fine. No wonder they gained that 25% market share so quickly...

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278332)

Well it did make their browsing better; those people would have been on IE previously.

Re:This is news? (0)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278420)

Just like Comic Central makes them IMing and emailing more fun by allowing to put funny smileys in them, and Bonzi Buddy helps you find stuff and does lots more!

Re:This is news? (5, Informative)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278462)

Thank you for Ninite. It will unsuck my life considerably.

Re:This is news? (1)

TheFakeMcCoy (1485631) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278562)

Agreed... although my life will still suck at least I will have more time to ponder why

Re:This is news? (1)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278526)

I did not know about Ninite. Thank you very much for pointing it out, it looks pretty awesome.

Re:This is news? (1)

achenaar (934663) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278558)

Thanks for that. Ninite.com looks like a cracking way to go.
Seriously, it looks like it would make populating a new build a snap.
Which is quite timely actually as the missus' machine is due a reinstall.

*Raises a glass*

Ach

Re:This is news? (5, Informative)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278676)

I like FileHippo [filehippo.com] more. It has a bigger collection than ninite, and it tracks both stable and beta versions of most free software and freeware on Windows. They also have a useful (and a completely optional download) update utility that checks if there are any updates available for software on your computer. If yes, you can let it update from their website. It's pretty awesome, all in all.

I used to have 5/5 star rated wares there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278678)

"I used to swing by CNet all the time back in the day" - by hairyfeet (841228) on Tuesday December 06, @06:19AM (#38278056)

As did I, & per my subject-line above Hairyfeet!

In fact, I used to have 5/5 star rated wares I wrote there, in over 40 apps I did over time circa 1997-2002...

I quit using them partially because of "shenanigans" like this one (when I was "into" doing shareware/freeware early on in my career "for the resume" mostly + to "sharpen the saw" above & beyond what I have done MOSTLY in coding for work: MIS/IS/IT db programming style work), AND?

Because initially in the 'shareware/freeware world', which I am doubtless SURE you'll recall (& which evidences greed imo also)? Initially, ONLY "SMALLFRIES" WERE FEATURED up to around 1999 or thereabouts.

THEN?

Then, the "big software publication houses" (ala Norton, Microsoft, etc.) started showing up to 'compete' with us, ON "OUR TURF" (shareware/freeware sites)... I didn't like that, but, it's "how it is" (from around 1999 onwards).

Isn't it ENOUGH they have "P.R. firms" & the money to host full page ads in written publications in computing to "get their name around"? Apparently not.

It made me also realize that yes: Websites DO get news of programs around, & apparently, MORE than written publications in computing do!

* Besides - theres PLENTY of competition for them now in many other sites that host wares for youngsters (mostly)!

(Yes, it's usually the young in computing who are probably in that game, most likely for the reasons I was early on in my career in computing: To "get your name around" the field, to have something interviewers can try that you wrote to see the quality in your work, & to just "up their skills" in coding on more levels than they're likely to see usually on the job!)

APK

P.S.=> Oh, & by the way, Hairyfeet? This will give you another laugh today I strongly wager & you may wish to give him your usual "piece of mind" as only YOU can, lol (from our "buddy", the ac off topic illogical adhominem attack using troll who thinks you & I are the "same guy" as usual):

http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2559120&cid=38269230 [slashdot.org]

Enjoy, I did, & see the post parent to that one there...

... apk

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278736)

oldversion.com isn't a bad choice either, especially useful for the large library of older installations that are sometimes impossible to find

Re:This is news? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277942)

Yes it is news for me.
I submitted something I wrote a while back and it used to offer the file the way I uploaded it. I just checked and sure enough my download is now wrapped in a Cnet installer. Now I need to dig out my account info and remove my software listing because this is fucking BULLSHIT!

Thanks Slashdot for pointing this out.

Re:This is news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277994)

LOL, easier said then done. There is no removal link....

Re:This is news? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278090)

If anybody else wants to remove their software as well then you need to contact support to delist from Download.com/Upload.com
They will respond with something like:

Thank you for contacting CNET Upload.com. There are several ways to opt-out:

- Premium subscription
- PPD

But if you insist they will remove your listing. Fucking scammers!

Re:This is news? (5, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277988)

Yes, they have, or at least it seems like it. The difference this time is that in addition to an abuse of the registered Nmap trademark Fyodor also has them in a clear breach of the NMAP licensing Ts&Cs and it appears he's willing to try and pursue the matter through the courts. I did have a strapline on the original submission to the effect that he was looking for a good US based copyright lawyer, but it appears that the Slashdot editors decided that wasn't an important part of the story.

Re:This is news? (1, Interesting)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278144)

I also find it interesting to note that it seems to be sponsored by a certain company we know too well...you know, changing Startpages/Default Searchmachines to MSN/Bing...

Re:This is news? (5, Informative)

Entropy98 (1340659) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278340)

Cnet is only bundling their adware with programs uploaded since they started bundling.

I've got a program listed there, its not bundled.

If I upload a new version they are going to bundle it with their crapware.

So I'm not uploading a new version, ever.

They told uploaders what they were going to do with their program, they don't agree to your terms and conditions, you agree to theirs.

Remove your program from their site and go elsewhere.

Re:This is news? (4, Informative)

Kadagan AU (638260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278774)

Seems like we had this discussion [slashdot.org] already..

Downloading free software is theft (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277814)

Can we all agree that downloading free software is stealing from poor programmers who have to live in their mother's basement because they're so poor they cannot even afford their own place? And that as we can read in TFA downloading free software supports criminal activities, and is therefore terrorism? And that this probably means you're a communist child-abusing terrorist?

-- Yes, this was a joke, and no, I don't have a good sense of humor.

Re:Downloading free software is theft (5, Funny)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278348)

but are they required now to gpl the virus and adware?

Re:Downloading free software is theft (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278610)

haha wish I still had mod points. Yes, make them GPL it!

Nothing new. (3, Interesting)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277816)

Download.com has been funded by bullshit third-party software addons for as long as I can remember. AFAIK, they only recently started this practice of causing the user to download a downloader which would first go through the third-party addons before downloading the actual installer... but it's not like it's any different than before. Yeah, lots of people will just click through and accept everything and that's their fault for not reading things before agreeing to them. Don't blame a free service operated by a for-profit corporation for wanting to make money. Host the Nmap installer yourself if you think it's so easy.

Re:Nothing new. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277850)

Robbing people is not easy either. Do not walk the streets at night if you are concerned.

Right?

Re:Nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278164)

Terrorism can strike anywhere. Let's take away some more freedom, right?
FWIW, I learned download.com's practice the hard way because Google presented it as the first hit when I searched "VLC". Yeah, my fault for not paying attention, and a half hour's extra work deleting all that crap manually. How the hell is a software pusher able to install something and make it utterly impossible to uninstall it, in Windows? What a crock.

Re:Nothing new. (5, Informative)

WoodSmoke (631754) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278214)

Fyodor actually *DOES* host the installer. He never gave them permission to repackage it. In fact, the software license prohibits this explicitly. From the article: "This is exactly why Nmap isn't under the plain GPL. Our license (http://nmap.org/book/man-legal.html) specifically adds a clause forbidding software which "integrates/includes/aggregates Nmap into a proprietary executable installer" unless that software itself conforms to various GPL requirements (this proprietary C|Net download.com software and the toolbar don't)." So yeah, I can blame them. If you read the fucking article you would know this. p.s. Yes, I said that the parent should have read the article. No, I am not new here, but that doesn't mean that I, or anyone else, should tolerate willfully uninformed bullshit spouting.

Re:Nothing new. (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278380)

He never gave them permission to repackage it.

He gave them permission when he uploaded/submitted his program to cnet. Just because he didn't read what he was agreeing to doesn't change this.

Not that what they are doing isn't deplorable, but claiming cnet is violating his license is ridiculous when he agreed to their tos/license and they never agreed to his.

Re:Nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278402)

Learn to read idiot he never gave them permission

Re:Nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278626)

If it is in CNET's TOS, and he checked the box/pressed the button/etc... then YES... HE AGREED! He took action with their TOS, and they didn't know about his terms at all. It look like your parent is spot on.

Now, whether or not TOS's are legal will be a completely new argument.

Re:Nothing new. (3, Insightful)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278556)

How do you know he uploaded it, and not some anon schmuck?

Go to the software producer's site (5, Insightful)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277824)

It's rather mindboggling that a decade into the 21st century, people are still going to third party download outfits like this.

Maybe someone wants to enlighten me as to why... I'm not coming up with much.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (5, Insightful)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277858)

There are a few reasons software repositories are popular that I can think of off the top of my head.

Much like an "app store" for smart phone apps, its convenient to have 1 place to go to look for an app, when you have general requirements or a specific type of app in mind, and not so much a specific app.

People are creatures of habit, and once they learn how to use the download.com ( or some other site like freshmeat.net ) interface, they just return to it out of habit, and the fact that they already know how to search and navigate the site.

As for why developers use sites like this, the visibility factor comes into play. Since the repositories have a returning user base, the app becomes that much more visible, as opposed to getting lost in search engine results.

Another incentive for small developers, is the bandwidth. They dont have to manage the large amount of bandwidth required to deliver apps, the repository does this. They also don't have to pay for a commercial ISP account that allows them to run servers, as most residential account agreements forbid the operation of servers ( although only in agreement, not necessarily technically prevented. )

Re:Go to the software producer's site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278448)

Bandwidth is the biggie for me - lots of developers who self-host also specifically request that you download from one of these sites instead to save their costs. If I'm getting something for free the least I can do is shave a few fractions of a penny off their hosting. The reason you go to the well known sites is because there's (you'd hope) less chance of them containing malware/trojans/etc.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278554)

The reason you go to the well known sites is because there's (you'd hope) less chance of them containing malware/trojans/etc.

Definitely. I would think download.com is going to suffer some degree of backlash and lost users from this. I know I wouldn't use a site that wrapped downloads, altered my local settings, etc.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278726)

then you're not the kind of user they want - you will just cost them bandwidth without helping them make money from bundled crap.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (5, Interesting)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277866)

I liked it years ago. They made it easy to search for a function and get a list of windows software that did it. Back then I usually couldn't find who made software that did what I needed done. I coudn't go to the software producer's site, because I didn't know who he was. Now I just google around a bit, search some forums and hope for the best.
In my eyes they already screwed up when they allowed sw developers to promote the features of the full (paid) version in the description of the free version without any indication the free version didn't include the feature.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (1)

Swarley (1795754) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278124)

I also used to really like the site many years ago. It was the only segment of Cnet that was worth going to. Ironically it seems that Cnet's technology news has gotten marginally better. Although that's probably more a function of their losing one of the two dumbest technology writers on the internet (Brian X. Chen). Wired's news took a similar hit for hiring him and has also improved since losing him.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (2)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277914)

Free bandwidth.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278018)

Not much of advantage anymore. You can just host on rapidshare/megaupload/similar site.

Rapidshare (5, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278038)

Rapidshare, for that authentic 90s warez feel.

Not hosting your own files, or torrents for larger stuff, looks about as professional as a hotmail address on a business card.

Re:Rapidshare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278152)

Not hosting your own files, or torrents for larger stuff, looks about as professional as a hotmail address on a business card.

... or twitter... or facebook....

Re:Rapidshare (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278242)

I'm pretty sure that we didn't have such nice download sites in the 90s. Which is why we had p2p for most of the copyright infringement back then.

Not to mention that pretty much no one "hosts their own files" anymore, except for really big companies. Outsourcing to professional hosting makes a whole lot more sense nowadays.

Re:Rapidshare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278298)

>I'm pretty sure that we didn't have such nice download sites in the 90s.
Tucows?

Re:Rapidshare (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278338)

As someone who had to use it a few times, CRINGE.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (2)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278262)

But hosting on "rapidshare/megaupload/similar site" makes it a pain for the user to download the software ("wait 60 seconds before you can download at a low speed!"), so it's not a good alternative.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (4, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278278)

Pick mediafire then. Zero wait, over 1MB/sec download speed.

Megaupload usually saturates my 2.2MB/sec download bandwidth, but it has wait time.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277918)

avast anti-virus redirects you to download.com

Re:Go to the software producer's site (2)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278096)

avast hosts the download off their site too but you have to know where to look....
http://www.avast.com/en-us/free-antivirus-download#tab4 [avast.com]

avg is the same way.. their offline installer is here...
http://free.avg.com/ww-en/download.prd-afh [avg.com]

(these are links for en-us)

Re:Go to the software producer's site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277932)

Some software distributors cannot afford by themselves to have high bandwidth distribution for their files, so they benefit from download.com having significant ability to store the files and also to attract thousands of viewers.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277968)

There are some big software companies (like Google and Microsoft) that like to make it extremely difficult to find and download their products, and even if you found it you have to use some shitty downloader which either works or not. Now download.com does the same so it's not an option but there are some other sites that work. Also, some software doesn't have enough mirrors/bandwith so using these services is faster. Although if I can find a torrent I use that instead as it's more comfortable and reliable.

Go to the repositories or PPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278022)

It's rather mindboggling that a decade into the 21st century, people are still going to the software producer's site like this.

Maybe someone wants to enlighten me as to why... I'm not coming up with much.

Re:Go to the repositories or PPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278110)

1. you're sure you're getting the latest version
2. higher probability the installer hasn't been messed with.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (2)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278030)

To have all software in one place, compare them, see how highly they're rated, and see all the user reviews is very valuable to me. But to download it? Just use Softpedia.com [softpedia.com] instead (which is almost as popular as Download.com, and avoids all the spamware).

Re:Go to the software producer's site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278454)

Softpedia? Which is based in (IIRC) Romania? And "guarantees all software is 100% spyware free"?

You seriously trust that shit?

Because I don't.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278638)

Obviously a few bad apples will it through any software portal you care to mention, but Softpedia does not include the spamware 'installer' that Download.com is infamous for. For the record, my own software is on there, and Softpedia supply exactly the same file (as expected).

Re:Go to the software producer's site (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278070)

The standard nontechies approach to getting software is as follows:
1. Enter name of software into browser search box*
2. Go to first link
3. Click 'download.' Repeat until a download starts.
4. Click 'next' until installation complete.

They go to download.com because for some programs, it actually comes higher in the listings than the program's main site. Espicially if they add 'download' to the search query, as many do.

*They don't quite get the concept of a search engine yet, so they'll go with the default. Theres a one-in-two chance they'll just type it in the address bar.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278270)

Sometimes it's easier to find a third-party download site than the author's site. Finding older versions is sometimes easier on the third-party download site too.

Re:Go to the software producer's site (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278320)

Because people would rather trust a single central location (eg download.com) than a multitude of different websites, any of which could be pushing malware or owned.

This is of course primarily a windows problem, linux users can get the majority of the software they want through the built in repositories while mac users now have the app store...

Re:Go to the software producer's site (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278484)

Out of habit (some users come from Ye Olde Tucows Tymes). Also, some small developers don't have the packages in their own website (hassle / bw cost).

Download.com?? Really?? (3, Insightful)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277830)

1999 just called. It wants its flagship shareware download repository back.

Seriously, today there are so many better sources to get free stuff (legal or otherwise) than Download.com

Why even bother?

Re:Download.com?? Really?? (1)

eharvill (991859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278034)

Citation needed?

Re:Download.com?? Really?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278700)

If you really need a citation for this, you must not be spending a lot of time on the Internet these days.

Do not call (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278042)

Can I put the 90s on my 'do not call' list?

Re:Download.com?? Really?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278098)

1999 called??? Did you warn them about September 11? No? YOU BASTARD!!!

http://xkcd.com/875/

Re:Download.com?? Really?? (2)

Calydor (739835) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278118)

The interesting question becomes this:

If we warn the past about an event like 9/11, and they actually DO something about it, what happens then? Would the American government spin it even further out of proportion, claiming the attacks would have used nukes and biological weapons? There's no way of knowing for certain.

We know what we have: A world that is worse off than before, yes, but not on the brink of having the planet destroyed. With the possibility that we could make things a lot worse and start World War III, is is really sensible to send messages back in time?

Re:Download.com?? Really?? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278254)

if someone had went back in time and removed the stupid wrapper from downloads downloads, would this article be here?
problem with trying to decide if you should send a message back in time is that if you did send the message, you already sent it.
time travel stories are for books and games like crono trigger and day of the tentacle.

honestly, the wrapper wouldn't be such a bad thing if download just checked that the sw they're offering at least worked.

Re:Download.com?? Really?? (3, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278400)

1) if they actually do something, it means the many worlds hypothesis is true, and the divergent timeline occurs in a different quantum universe.

2) if the get the message, and do nothing, then you could have created a closed timelike curve, and doomed your own universe to experience the exact timeline you are reporting on. This closed timelike curve would be an indelible part of that universe's history, both present, past and future. (The time after the event creates the preceeding event, which causes the event to happen. Rinse, repeate until dizzy.) (It could also simply be another instance of the many worlds hypothesis being true though.)

3) attempts at bidirectional communication would be systematically prevented by quantum collapse. All attempts to talk to 1999 on the other end of the call would mysteriously fail 100% of the time, even if the theory behind such a transmission seems sound.

4) 1999 calls us using a one way temporal transmission device. (Like an ordinary metal time capsule.) Communication is received, but no reply can be sent.

Of these 4 options, 4 and 3 are the most likely scenarios for "1999 called, they want...." happening. #4 being the most likely.

Causality, it's a bitch.

Re:World War III (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278418)

"If we warn the past about an event like 9/11, and they actually DO something about it, what happens then? Would the American government spin it even further out of proportion, claiming the attacks would have used nukes and biological weapons? There's no way of knowing for certain.

We know what we have: A world that is worse off than before, yes, but not on the brink of having the planet destroyed. With the possibility that we could make things a lot worse and start World War III, is is really sensible to send messages back in time?"

Family Guy did that exact plot.

Here is the Hulu Link. Your Country May Vary.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/299685/family-guy-back-to-the-pilot#s-p1-so-i0 [hulu.com]

Re:World War III (1)

Calydor (739835) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278488)

And do you have something not United States Only?

Re:Download.com?? Really?? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278422)

Not in this case. The warning would simply be "these planes are going to be hijacked on this day". Don't include "and they're going to fly them into buildings". They would simply assume what everyone on the planes assumed, that the hijackers want to either be flown somewhere or want to use the plane and passengers as leverage in bargaining. The same thing plane hijackings had been used for for the prior couple of decades.

That is why they hijackers succeeded. Their real weapon was surprise and unpredictability, not box cutters.

Re:Download.com?? Really?? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278436)

P.K.Dick added blue butterflies [wikipedia.org] to the dangers of knowing the future and acting to avoid it. Guess or predict is ok, but knowing, well, hell is just a step in that direction.

Nothing to see here... (0)

DemonicMember (1557097) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277836)

This is not news, this has been done, what makes it a trojan? Sounds like a false positive on a shitty toolbar to me.

easy way to bypass (5, Informative)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277860)

add &dlm=0 to the end of the 'your download is starting' page url..

1 go to a program's page
2. click download now
3. do not download the file that starts cnet_ or cnet2_ (if it doesn't start with cnet it's ok)
4. add the &dlm=0 to the url in the address bar after the spi=whatever junk

enjoy the direct download.. and go to the source next time..or try filehippo or softpedia (either one with your adblocker running)

Re:easy way to bypass (1)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278170)

Actually, if you're logged in you can simply click the "Download Directly" link right below the "Download Now" button.

Re:easy way to bypass (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278430)

Shouldn't have to edit URLs to bypass their crap; either offer me both download methods or gtfo.

As for the ad blocker, I'm making a habit of turning it off for sites that prove useful and not annoying; denying them the revenue makes me more of a leech.

It's a shame (4, Insightful)

crash123 (2523388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277864)

It's a shame, cnet and download.com used to be moderately safe ways of downloading new trial and freeware software. In my opinion shareware is now an outdated practice, with it now possible to find an open source equivalent for just commercial piece of software.

Re:It's a shame (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278226)

open source is the new shareware. buying expertise for configuring is the "registered" version.

Re:It's a shame (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278288)

Where is the open-source Windows version of the JPEG recovery software I've been looking for weeks back?

Re:It's a shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278350)

Trials of software have never been safe considering all the junk they dump on the system, I'll take your run of the mill spyware over kernel driver DRM that doesn't get reinstalled.

What about FileHippo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277996)

Is the Hippo safe?

huh? downloads not wrapped for me (1)

teridon (139550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278130)

I just downloaded nmap and vlc.  Both files were identical to what I got from the source.

Actually,it looks like cnet redirected me to the nmap.org download link (http://nmap.org/dist/nmap-5.51-setup.exe) using a 'META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" ...'.  VLC was still from cnet.com.

I'm not logged in; I wonder if I have a cookie that prevents the wrapper -- or if download.com changed something.

Also, I'm using NoScript and cnet/download.com is not allowed.  Perhaps this turns off the wrapper too.

too much middlemen (0)

znrt (2424692) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278326)

Always wondered why in heaven sites like this even exist in the first place. If people is dumb/lazy enough to seek out original sources or google for themselves, and instead blindly accepts recommendations and even downloads sw from these cheap shopwindows, i guess they simply deserve all spyware in the world.

Bundling / wrapping is old news (4, Interesting)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278336)

This extremely common practice of bundling garbage with every download is the cancer that is killing Windows freeware, and no, it's not limited to Download.com.

A while ago, when I was in-between jobs and looking for some freelance work, I stumbled upon an entire "community" of scammers known as PPI : Pay-Pay-Install. This forum was all about participating in these shady bundling practices, discussing the advertisers that were most tolerant to things like silent installs, home page swaps, BHO's that redirect your Google searches through a proxy (to hijack ad revenue), Vista sidebar widgets, toolbars, bookmarks, and start-up items, along with uploading deceptively named and heavily trojaned stuff via P2P. This is why, with every goddamned Windows utility you get these days, you get prompted to installt he Ask.com toolbar, BonziBuddy, free trials for McAfee's swiss cheese, and a laundry list of other standards.

CNet should indeed be made an example of, and burned to the ground, but they didn't start this gangbang, the advertisers did. Follow the money... There is no reason why users should tolerate this aberrant behaviour.

Re:Bundling / wrapping is old news (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278768)

I like your "64-bit: facts and myths" article btw. I wish everyone would just switch to 64 bit and be done with for better compatibility like you say.

Extend open source licenses to prevent this? (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278442)

While this has been normal practice for shady rippoff sites like the ones mentioned for almost a decade, I do wonder if appropriate extensions to FOSS licences such as the GPL could actually prevent this. Or at least make the culprits liable for damages, copyright infringement and/or fraud.

If I were to work on a large FOSS project I would like to know that the software im contributing to doesn't legally end up on one of these fraudulent DL sites.

My 2 cents.

This came up in the ScummVM group recently (4, Informative)

DreamMaster (175517) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278532)

I'm part of the ScummVM group, a cross platform software for playing various classic adventure games, and the question of Download.com came up when we released the next version of our software. There were some arguments for including it on such sites, such as giving greater visibility to the project. However, the issue of the bundled 'crapware' was considered too big a downside. We weren't that desperate for wider coverage of our software, and we certainly didn't want people to adversely associate our software with malware.

These days I wouldn't touch download.com even if you paid me.

Just Curious... (0)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278602)

I understand the sentiments, but I'm curious as to why some (most it seems) feel that the repository should not add the wrapper software (which they don't charge the end-user, the ultimate customer I believe)?

Software creator is getting market exposure....This is good.
End User gets the software they want for little to no charge...This is good too.
CNet gets to make some money for hosting / providing a repository of software...Also good.

So if everybody wins, where is the downside, lol?

Re:Just Curious... (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278724)

You did miss the analysis by Nmap else your stupid comment that everyone wins would not have been made.

Since your to lazy, here;

C|Net is adding trojans to the installer.

C|Net is in violation of the Nmap license.

So exactly who is winning here?

Re:Just Curious... (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278778)

The downside is that CNet is deliberately preying on users' ignorance and installing software they don't want as well.

I fully believe users should take responsibility for what they install on their systems by at least looking at what they're installing but that doesn't preclude companies from leaving that crap out in the first place.

FOSS BAD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278604)

Have to make foss look bad somewhere; so why not start with the installer?

Click to Download (1)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278690)

It's bad enough without the malware. If you're trying to download a 40kB file, they make you download a MB of ads, and you have to navigate through half a dozen links to "Download" which just go to more advertising. Good luck finding that tiny link that actually goes to the file you want... but now even that doesn't go to the file you want. Greedy bastards.

Happened to me with 7-zip (4, Informative)

apcullen (2504324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38278708)

Needed to install 7-zip on a windows computer, and was in a hurry, so I went to the first Google result instead of sourceforge. I aborted the install when I saw the "install this great toolbar" button. Still, I almost messed up my friend's computer. Important safety tip #1: Google doesn't always produce the result you really want anymore. Important safety tip #2: when installing open source software, Sourceforge is probably where you want to look.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?