Blog » No, I Did Not Ask You to Install That!

No, I Did Not Ask You to Install That!

Installing Google's new Chrome browser reminded me of something that really irritates me that more and more software installers do; installing things without my permission. It starts with small things. For example, I like keeping my desktop mostly free of icons, so, I do not like installers that think that their software is so good that it deserves a spot on my desktop. A large number of installers put their program icon on the desktop without even asking for permission. Even those that ask, usually have it as the default option.

If the only issue were icons on the desktop, then this problem would simply be a minor irritant. However, some installers also insist on installing other non-related software. Countless software (particularly freeware) want to install the Google toolbar, Yahoo toolbar, or some other browser plugin that has absolutely nothing to do with the software that the user is installing. This is made the default option too. Assuming that the user wants these unrelated and unnecessary extras is overly presumptuous. Perhaps these toolbars are offered in an attempt to gain extra revenue from the software (assuming that they receive a commission for every user that installs it). Regardless, it is a case of pushing software down the users throat.

This kind of behaviour is not exhibited solely by small companies however. I have installed software made by both Adobe and Apple that want to install non-related extras. In Adobe's case, it was a photo viewer, which I did not need or want. With Apple, it was very hard to install Quicktime without installing iTunes too. I understand that iTunes needs Quicktime. However, Quicktime does not need iTunes, nor do I. Apple's software updating utility also would love to install the Safari web-browser too, even though I have never installed it, meaning that this is not an update. When installing the driver for a Logitech webcam, it also installed a little server application whichsends me "messages from Logitech." Such pointless servers only slow the machine.

My suggestions to software development companies with regard to software installation:

  • The installer should ask for permission before installing icons on the desktop, or the quickstart bar. The default should be to only add icons to the start menu,
  • Do not install any software other than that which the installer is for. Thus, the following should not be installed as extra:
    • The Google toolbar, or any other non-related browser plugins, and
    • Any applications/games or other software which iare not part of the software that the user is trying to install, or a plugin to that software.
  • Following on from the previous item, do not even offer to add other non-related software,
  • If you insist on offering to install other non-related software, do not make it the default option,
  • Promoting other software can be performed by giving users the option to visit a website, and
  • Remember at all times, the software and installer should do what the user wants it to do, i.e., it should follow the user's commands.
I call on all software developers to stop trying to ram additional software down everyone's throats, and to design their software/installers to do exactly what the user asks. If I want the other software, I'll install it myself.

Blog » No, I Did Not Ask You to Install That!

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Blog » No, I Did Not Ask You to Install That!