Adobe Unwanted Application Installation Draws Fire

by Sam Dean - Aug. 25, 2011Comments (8)

You have to hand it to Adobe. The company seems to find a way to constantly annoy Windows and Mac users with reminders to update their Adobe Flash deployments and other Adobe products, often putting the reminders in pop-up nag boxes that are difficult to get rid of. Linux users are much less subject to these shenanigans, underscoring the fact that Linux can not only keep users safe from hackers, but from software companies with annoying practices. Adobe's latest round of criticism on this front comes from the automatic installation of McAfee security software along with updates to Flash Player.

Take a look at Adobe's own discussion forums here, and you'll find irate notes like this one:

"New computer, installed Firefox, went to get Flash Player for Firefox. Install the plugin, Firefox warning comes up about software trying to be installed, click "allow", install window pops up, 3;2;1, click install. Adobe Download Manager comes up downloads Flash Player, Adobe Flash install programs starts, need to close Firefox to continue Flash installed, McAfee Security Scan Plus installed.....Huh? What? McAfee Security Scan Plus???? Their was no notification that McAfee Security Scan Plus was going to be installed.  Their was no check box."

These users aren't alone. PCMag's John Dvorak writes:

"I was appalled when I loaded the latest version of Adobe Flash on my machine to find that Adobe had decided to saddle me with McAfee's Security Scan Plus. I was never asked if I wanted this product. (I didn't.) At first, I thought that perhaps it actually wasn't a full-blown virus scanner...Like clockwork, up sprang a dialog box, telling me that I needed to 'update' my McAfee software to get full protection. Protection from what?"

Sadly, this kind of unwanted application installation is all too common, and Adobe isn't the only company that gets in trouble for it. The problem plagues Linux users much less than it does Windows and Mac users, though, partly because Linux users don't do the same kinds of transparent, automated installations that Windows and Mac users do. Ironically, critics of Linux then turn around and say that simple tasks like installing new applications are too difficult.

Let's keep these tasks difficult. That makes it harder to end up with annoying applicaitons that you never asked for and don't want.


John Mark Walker uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


birds of a feather, i always say.

truth is html5 has all we need for open web video, adobe flash would die if we all walked away.

in the meantime- enjoy your crapware!

1 Votes

It is ignorant to say this wont happen with linux. It is possible to bundle other products in the packages installed by package managers.

0 Votes

'Let's keep these tasks difficult.'? Well, no, a check box would do the job. Until the difficult-is-good mentality changes I'll be keeping well clear of Linux. I'd prefer just to have to delete McAfee, and barrack for Gnash, Swfdec or something to take over from Adobe.

0 Votes

That is the same reason that I dumped QuickTime and no longer use the software. As a user I want to decide on what software that install on my computer and what I don't. When will computer companies learn this. Let customers know what software will be installed on their computer, and allow them to choose what to install.

1 Votes

I agree. Unchecking the opt-out check box in the Flash Player installer dialog to avoid the extra McAffee or Google toolbar install is way too complicated for the average Mac or Windows user. You need to be a militant Linux nerd to be smart enough to do that. Shame on Adobe for accepting that 40 million per year from Google to include the optional download. That's just poor business. Adobe's stockholders must be enraged too.

0 Votes

The option to not install McAffee is there. If PCMag's John Dvorak can not figure out how to uncheck a box when installing flash, perhaps he needs to find a new career path. This is simply piling on Adobe. I have worked for 10 years as a web developer, I have used and defended JavaScript in the past and I have used and defended Flash. Neither technology should be thought of as the replacement for the other.

0 Votes

I can only assume that Adobe is hoping that the crossbreeding of professional into consumer sales is what's going to keep their head afloat. It's 'wishful thinking' in my book.

0 Votes

"The option to not install McAffee is there. If PCMag's John Dvorak can not figure out how to uncheck a box when installing flash, perhaps he needs to find a new career path. This is simply piling on Adobe."

Actually, milwaukeeCharles, the option is NOT there anymore. If your "10 years as a web developer" has taught you anything, it should be that things change. It's probably best to check your facts before opening your mouth, lest your foot land in it.

If my next Adobe update comes with auto-installed crapware bundled in, I'll have no choice but to uninstall all of their products.

0 Votes
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