back to article Not cool, Adobe: Give the Ninite guys a job, not the middle finger

Adobe wants the ability to easily roll out Flash updates removed from Ninite, the sysadmin Swiss army knife. I'm going to explain why this is a terrible thing. First, though, I would like to discuss the real-world practical uses of products such as Ninite. Ninite is used by systems administrators and ordinary folk alike to …

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  1. Richard Jones 1
    Happy

    Fireworks Anyone

    In pyrotechnics a flash is something that blows up with a visible and sometimes audible result. Is this what Adobe want with their idea of 'flash' .

    I totally agree that their 'product life cycle management' is total rubbish and worthy of the Financial Service Industry. The bundling of cr*pw*re with updates should be outlawed by law.

    (Thought, can we get apple to patent the stupid idea of sending out cr*pw*re with patches, so that it gets blocked that way. Then people would applaud not mock apple's patent activity.)

    1. BillG Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Fireworks Anyone

      Adobe's products are a security nightmare. Reader, Flash and Air are - alongside Oracle's Java browser plugin - the screen door through which the raw unfiltered sewage of the internet oozes into the homes of netizens. These products are awful, the security is worse and the management of them over the years beggars belief.

      This sums it up best.

      In pyrotechnics a Flash is something that occurs after the damage has been done.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Fireworks Anyone

      " The bundling of bundles of cr*pw*re with updating updates should be outlawed by law."

      Fixed it for you.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Fireworks Anyone

        Not needed.

        You only need to REMOVE THE PRIVILEGE of being able to tell others what to with one's product, in particular, throw it through a scrubber.

        But then Andrew Orlowski will start miaowing in the dark. I suppose.

        Anyway, Flash is not dead yet? Pity!

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Fireworks Anyone

          Let him. When greed + copyright clashes with privacy + information security, I vote that greed + copyright shouldn't be the one to win. Those who would blithely sacrifice the freedoms of others whilst diminishing the security of all in order to eek out a few fractions of a point of margin should be tarred, feathered and run into the oceans their brethren polluted beyond usefulness.

          1. Intractable Potsherd

            Re: Fireworks Anyone

            Well said, Trevor! I wish I could hand out upvotes by the kilo :-)

            I do agree with Andrew on some things, but his increasingly shrill clickbait on IP protection for the benefit of big industry a the expense of everyone else has almost got too annoying to read.

  2. Turtle

    What *I* would like to see...

    "Adobe wants the ability to easily roll out Flash updates removed from Ninite, the sysadmin Swiss army knife."

    *I* would like to see Flash removed from the web. Completely.

    1. h3

      Re: What *I* would like to see...

      If Adobe's updater worked properly then it might be ok. The fact is it doesn't.

      (Ninite one simple command to run to update ie ie64 firefox Adobe never manage to update more than one.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: *I* would like to see Flash removed from the web. Completely.

      Shut up and get back in your box, Jobs, you're supposed to be dead!

    3. Chicken Marengo
      WTF?

      Re: What *I* would like to see...

      Who the hell downvoted this sentiment? Not even Eadon is that divorced from common sense.

  3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    It's worse than you think.

    As a totally blind Geek, Adobe's site is a nightmare to navigate via Screen Reader Environment (SRE) such as Jaws by Freedom Scientific or NVDA.

    This issue is only compounded by Adobe's attempts to foist bundled crapware with the download, as I have to make Jaws read the page *twice* to make sure Adobe hasn't "helpfully included" anything.

    Once I've finally managed to get Adobe to understand that all I want is the update, then hit the download link, it's a crapshoot if it ever actually initiates the download.

    There's no audio "blip" to tell me I've got a Security Notification & need to Alt+N to the Notification Toolbar to accept the download, Control+J doesn't report any files being downloaded, and UAC hasn't screamed for attention, so I'm left scratching my head wondering if I've actually activated the damned link.

    Hit it again, and this time, dispite still no audio cues to the contrary, it gives me the "File Complete" ding to say it's done?

    WTF? Control+J, and lo & behold, it shows the Adobe installer as having finished downloading.

    When did it get there, because IE didn't seem to think it important enough to announce...

    *Sigh*

    Anyway, after getting the file, then using the Properties to Unblock it, and acknowledging UAC whining about "Not trusting unknown sources on the internet" (If only it knew!), the updater finally starts...

    Only to present a User Interface that, to put it quite bluntly, deserves to have everyone at Adobe nailed to a tree limb & used as a Public Pinata.

    Unmarked & unlabeled buttons, Required Check Boxes that don't get read by the SRE, elements the SRE can't find much less tell me about, and absolutely *ZERO* assistance from Adobe on the matter.

    IF I manage to get it to actually install the update, then it "helpfully" launches a website wanting to know how I feel about the experience.

    Really? You do *NOT* want to know how I really feel, because it involves Industrial grade Nail Guns, trees, & electrified-barbed-wire-wrapped-baseball-bats applied repeatedly to your genitals.

    Then Ninite steps up to the plate.

    The site is a *joy* to navigate, everything is properly labeled & identified, there's no wondering "WTF does this bit do?", the check boxes for the files I want are concise, and when I click that download link, It Just Works.

    The file is small, I don't have to Unblock it (UAC doesn't think it's malware? BAH HAhahahaha) and it does what it fekkin says it'll do.

    "Install the latest Adobe? Ok, hold on... downloading... done. Applying... done. Anything else with that today, or can I remove myself from memory, Sir?"

    I've already uninstalled Java because of all the exploits it has.

    I've uninstalled Adobe Reader for the same reason.

    If HTML5 were more prevelant, Adobe Flash Player would get ripped out "With Extreme Prejudice", and Adobe would get a "STFU, GTFO, FOAD, & HAND" letter from me.

    As it is, I'm stuck using Adobe's Flash Player, and it's about as Blind Accessable as a rabbid badger is friendly & cuddly.

    At least you can *SEE* the crap it pulls.

    The Blind/VisuallyImpaired have to rely on Adobe having the brains to properly design a UI that's Accessable such that a SRE stands a chance in hell of reading it to us.

    Want to take a wild arsed guess as to how well Adobe's done that?

    1. The Original Steve

      Re: It's worse than you think.

      Have an upvote just for this:

      "Really? You do *NOT* want to know how I really feel, because it involves Industrial grade Nail Guns, trees, & electrified-barbed-wire-wrapped-baseball-bats applied repeatedly to your genitals."

    2. Chris J
      Thumb Up

      Re: It's worse than you think.

      Insightful and entertaining. Reg should give you a column.

      1. mhoulden
        Thumb Up

        Re: It's worse than you think.

        This. Or at least a few articles. I write software and web applications. I've had to make sure what I do can be used by people with red/green colour blindness and I also have to be careful it can be understood by people whose first language isn't English (most of our main customers are based in Germany and the Netherlands). It would be very useful to have some ideas of how to design things for people with little or no sight written by someone who understands what it's like and has a technical background.

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          Feel free to contact me.

          My pseudonym at Gmail, and be sure to use "From The Register" in the subject so I don't auto-delete it as spam.

          This goes for you or anyone else whom would like me to assist in getting an Accessable site created.

          My HTML coding may not be up to snuff, but I can certainly let you know if $URL reads well from my POV.

          Cheers.

      2. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: It's worse than you think.

        I agree with Chris J - there is a lot to be learned from an articulate person with specific difficulties interacting with the technology. How about it, El Reg? 150+ upvotes say there is interest ... talk to this author and see if s/he is willing to do a few articles.

    3. Prowler
      Alien

      Re: It's worse than you think.

      " As a totally blind Geek, Adobe's site is a nightmare to navigate via Screen Reader Environment (SRE) such as Jaws by Freedom Scientific or NVDA. "

      Truth be told their website also sucks for those that can see it. I can only imagine the extra pain visited upon you.

      Even to this very day they cannot make the effort to post static links to the latest Flash versions, a personal pet peeve. You are always sent to a browser / OS sniffing page where they decide what you need, never even entertaining the thought of someone going there on a different computer. There is a way to get the so-called offline installers after clicking around for a while, but it is needlessly obtuse. Sun / Oracle does a similarly bad job with Java as do most other high profile software vendors.

      Ironically it is always the little guy, the really independent coders of all manner of drivers and utilities that make a nice effort for user-friendly distribution and pages that can be successfully bookmarked.

      I must force myself to say something nice about Microsoft now. At least getting files from them is relatively straightforward, even if we must go through some bona fide checking through that WGA genuine checker and whatnot. Yeah, they sniff browsers and operating system and steer you into pages sometimes but I have always been able to load up on files for all architectures and versions from any computer I use.

      So listen up Adobe. Everyone from Joe Schmo to Sourceforge to Microsoft itself does it better than you. Enough with the trialware and McAfee malware. Start acting professionally. And leave the good guys alone!

      1. H H

        Re: It's worse than you think.

        "Truth be told their website also sucks for those that can see it. I can only imagine the extra pain visited upon you."

        It's actually quite easy. Close your eyes and have a go. No cheating!

        (I never tried that myself but now I definitely will for the sites I manage!)

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          Visit FreedomScientific's site.

          Jaws is a free download, & operates in a "40 Minute Mode" indefinitely.

          It runs for 40 minutes, then you have to reboot to make it work again, but otherwise is the exact same file as the Registered version.

          (You pay for it, give it the reg code, and it unlocks from the time limit.)

          Give it a try, close your eyes, turn up the sound on your machine, and listen to Jaws read (your|any) site to you.

          Places like the Register are nice because the Print link gives you a Printer Friendly version of the article as a single page, with the links at the end as plain text.

          Other sites seem to think that "Print" means "launch your printer's dialog box trying to have it spit out a copy".

          This is *NOT* cool, as I don't want an article if it's spread across 15 pages, filled with ads, in full colour, and ultimately ends up being less than a paragraph of actual, useable, readable text.

          If you listen to the site, and can, purely by it's audio description, figure out how to navigate & get stuff done, then you've done it right.

          However, if your site is the audio equivalent of a flashing, blinking, scrolling marquis, animated gif laden, midi-auto-playing, Geocities nightmare (*cough*Adobe*cough*), then do us all a favour & go nail your head to a tree...

          *Chortle*

          But Jaws is a *very* good tool to use to verify your layout is done nicely, that all the Screen Elements (check boxes, radio buttons, DropDownMenu's not auto-triggering on the first Item you've ArrowKey'd to, etc) done with full text descriptions, that all the images are properly labeled (Alt Text! Use It! And no names like "ZXYSP!2~*#_Blah(DonkeySnot).jpg" either!), and if you MUST use Flash, make *damned sure* the buttons for the controls have text labels.

          "Unlabeled button one", "Unlabeled button two", "unlabeled button 9,457,181" do absolutely f4ing *NOTHING*, because I won't click on any of them without knowing what they're for, what they do, and why I should go anywhere near them...

          So grab a copy of Jaws, run it across your site, and do what needs be done to make it Accessible.

          If you're in America, then the American's with Disabilities Act may apply, but even if it doesn't or you're not in the States, it's still a damned good idea to do it anyway.

          Any & all B/VI visitors will thank you profusely, and your HTML coding skills will get honed to a point where you'll be leagues ahead of your competition.

      2. Skoorb

        Re: It's worse than you think.

        Adobe will, in fact, give you a plain EXE or MSI directly linked from a simple HTML page, with no bundled anything.

        Annoyingly, if I gave you the direct link, they would sue me.

        The only way to get it is to fill in the rediculous form at https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=distribution_form&pv=fp and get them to email you the link. Yes, I can barely believe it either.

        1. Sparky_Boy

          Re: It's worse than you think.

          Or you can just go here:

          http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/distribution3.html

    4. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: It's worse than you think.

      +1 good commenter. Would read again

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's worse than you think.

      Best. Comment. Ever.

    6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: It's worse than you think.

      It would seem that Adobe are *literally* blind to the needs of anyone who is blind/partially sighted.

    7. cybersaur
      Go

      Re: It's worse than you think.

      You may be able to sue them under the American Disabilities act for non-compliance. Worth looking in to.

    8. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: It's worse than you think.

      Having to deal with it in an enterprise implementation is at least as bad. What I don't understand is why folks persist in using Adobe's products for Flash and PDF. Besides the dubious assertion that it cannot be updated by a third party (how do you think most large enterprises handle their updates?), they pump out updates too fast to evaluate without managing to fix the underlying issues. I switched to a non-Adobe PDF reader a while back. There are some non-Adobe Flash implementations out there, at least according to the interwebs. I am going to have a go with them.

      If this approach would become more acceptable in corporate environments, life would be good.

    9. enerider
      Linux

      Re: It's worse than you think.

      Have an upvote as I personally know someone in the same boat as you - although this was admittedly less of a problem for him since he was meddling in Gentoo and doing related coding work.

  4. Fihart

    Adobe=Malware

    Yes, I was shocked that Adobe tried to stick me with McAfee when I updated. Presumably part of the aim of updates is to improve security and performance, which does not in my book include stuffing unrelated, unwanted, material onto my hard disk.

    In short, Adobe products should be regarded as potential malware until they clean up their act.

    As for McAfee -- I guess the only way they can get their products to be used is by paying other people to sneak it onto our computers. Hardly a recommendation.

    1. Wize

      Re: Adobe=Malware

      It can often be better to remote install software on a PC than allow users to do it. It saves me having to uninstall all those toolbars that come free with other packages when the user complains they are seeing the internet through a letterbox.

    2. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Adobe=Malware

      Microsoft do that too. Went to update an xp box to IE 8 and it wanted to install the "bing toolbar" by default.

  5. John H Woods Silver badge

    Bravo!

    "Reader, Flash and Air are - alongside Oracle's Java browser plugin - the screen door through which the raw unfiltered sewage of the internet oozes into the homes of netizens. These products are awful, the security is worse and the management of them over the years beggars belief."

    I have never seen this sentiment better expressed.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Bravo!

      "Reader, Flash and Air are - alongside Oracle's Java browser plugin - the screen door through which the raw unfiltered sewage of the internet oozes into the homes of netizens. These products are awful, the security is worse and the management of them over the years beggars belief."

      I have never seen this sentiment better expressed.

      I second that.

      In addition, Adobe uses another trick to make security harder than it needs to be: it uses its own downloader. When you download Adobe products, you often don't actually get the product, but only a downloader - which means that the software you screen and virus check is not the software that actually does the job post install.

      1. Calum Morrison

        Re: Bravo!

        And the downloader conveniently deletes itself when it runs so you need to download it again for the next PC or when it fails...

        Still, at least it can see a proxy server these days; that's an improvement...

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Bravo!

          I download the small downloader-installer and then make a copy of it, and run the copy. So far, it isn't smart enough to find and delete both copies of itself.

          I g et prompted each time with a dialog to control Flash's auto-update behaviour that always changes my previous choice of "Never" back to "Annoying". Oh, so now you -want- to update Flash after all, Robert? Well, here's how you -should- do it. I -think- it doesn't auto-set to silent download at any time, which would be "Outrageous". Anyway, it didn't really seem to work before, it only popped up a "Download the new Flash" dialog box when I rebooted - by which time I'd probably already done it.

          On most of my own PCs, I install Flash for Internet Explorer (ActiveX), then mostly never use Internet Explorer.

        2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          About auto-deleting installers...

          As soon as the program is completed in the download, open File Explorer & find the file.

          Rename it to something intelligent & identifiable ("Adobe Flash Updater, 2013-05-02") and make a copy to an Archive folder/drive.

          This allows you to run it again from another computer, or from the same one at a later time, and not have to download the downloader again.

          The next time you go to get an Adobe update manually, check the file sizes on the file you've previously downloaded, & the one you've just received.

          If they're the exact same size, chances are they're the exact same file.

          Try running (a copy of) the old version's updater first, and see if it does the trick.

          If so, delete the recent one, and call it a day.

          If it doesn't update to the most recent version, then go ahead & repeat the Rename+Archive+Run cycle on the new updater.

          You'll always have a copy of the latest, can apply them when *you* want (versus Adobe trying to ram them home), and may save yourself a headache or two in the long run.

          I've been doing this kind of thing for years (*cough*Decades*Cough*) and am always amazed, annoyed, & smug that a program deletes itself.

          What if it didn't install correctly? What if it corrupted something & I need to re-run the installer? What if I don't feel like spending *ANOTHER* day & a half grabbing a ~10Mb file from your server in Elbonia over your evidentialy sub-Dial-Up speeds on a flaky POTS line in stormy weather?

          So, yeah, grab a copy, Archive it, *then* run it.

          Sure, you quickly end up realizing you're another Program PackRat, but nobody taunts you anymore when you've got something The Internet Archive or OldVersion *doesn't*.

          (Makes a comical cheeks puffed out, tongue stuck out, HappyHootyMonkeyNoises face.)

      2. JetSetJim Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Bravo!

        obligatory XKCD reference

        1. Marvin the Martian
          Windows

          Obligatory?

          That word doesn't mean what you think it means.

          Also, in the article, "they should have checked with PR first" -- clearly, because PR is where a bunch of geniuses, philosophers, and friends of humanity typically gather together and come up with far-sighted decisions.

          1. mitch 2

            Re: Obligatory?

            "obligatory XKCD reference" is a meme

    2. sam bo
      Thumb Up

      Re: Bravo!

      "I have never seen this sentiment better expressed."

      Well put ! The first time I read it as - sediment. it worked just as well, i.e expressed through a screen door -Yuk.

  6. monkeyfish

    I prefer to use a slightly old version...

    Firefox automatically disables older versions of flash. So you don't get flash cookies, or annoying flash adverts. When it is disabled you get a greyed out window where it would have been. If you actually do want to use it, you click on the bit you want to load and allow flash to run in that one instance. Seems to work, and hopefully I wont allow it to run anything that will cause a security risk. Still have to update occasionally though, when it stops loading what you want.

    1. JC_

      Re: I prefer to use a slightly old version...

      Why not install Flashblock or NoScript? They'll do the same thing and won't mean keeping an old and risky version of Flash.

  7. jason 7
    Meh

    Ahhh I wondered why Flash had gone!

    Now I know. It took almost as long to Install Flash on a new build yesterday from Adobe as it did to install the dozen or so applications I pulled in from Ninite.

    The best thing the web could do is to ban the sneaky inclusion of software that isn't specifically requested with a single install/download.

    On another note my other half had to (kinda) buy the latest version of Photoshop CS6 (whatever) or lose 'the right to upgrade' and have to pay quadruple later if so.

    Her comment when it arrived in the post yesterday (after a big sigh) was "I remember a time when I used to look forward to my new Adobe software arriving but now I feel like I'm paying money for rape!"

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Ahhh I wondered why Flash had gone!

      A few years ago I had the misfortune to have to deploy the entire Adobe suite to a small design studio of 12 people. That's 12 people, 8 pieces of software, each of which had a 24 (or so) digit key to type in.

      To make the job much more interesting, Adobe didn't bother to indicate which of the 96 keys was to be entered into which product. That's right - all I was given was a list of 96 keys and a couple of these were upgrade keys.

      I rang the fuckers up and explained, carefully, why pirating their shit is such a good idea compared to trying to do it legally.

  8. Piro

    Ugh. Adobe.

    Ninite is one of the best sites to visit when you're setting up a new machine. Now you can't roll flash into that mess too? I hope Flash dies a horrible death because of this.

    1. Dave the Cat
      Mushroom

      Re: Ugh. Adobe.

      I hope Adobe dies a horrible death for their repeated failures to; listen to the people that keep them in business, sort out their exploit ridden software, sort out a decent updating system etc. etc.

  9. Joseph Lord

    Use Chrome

    I don't trust Google for privacy reasons but I do trust them with vague competence at updating software so I have uninstalled system Flash and if there is a site that needs it that I really want I copy the link in Firefox and paste into Chrome.

    I only use Reader annually for filling in my tax form and then delete it, there are plenty of other PDF readers out there.

    Adobe has become an embarrassment to the software industry with their poor security, crappy update practices and now this attack on someone trying to clean up their mess.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Use Chrome

      "Adobe has become an embarrassment to the software industry with their poor security, crappy update practices"

      I must say that there's a swampful of other contenders for the honour of "Most embarassingly crap software company", and Electronic Arts appear to have actually won this by public acclaim in the US.

      Until our gormless law makers start work to heal the festering sore of "licence agreements" and their ilk, second rate software will continue to exist, continue to be built, and continue to make money for third rate companies like Adobe (and Microsoft). I can appreciate that software companies can't guarantee that their software will always work for my particular requirements, but the law should require them to fix security and functionality flaws, accessibility issues of poor design (referred to in Shadow Systems brillant post) should be legally required to be fixed. In fact I'd guess there are laws on that last one already, but nobody enforces them, even though we have a quango or two paid good money to do just that (like the useless Equality & Human Rights Commission, who have a £27m a year budget).

    2. beep54

      Re: Use Chrome

      Don't trust Chrome? Don't use it. You can get Chromium for Windows or Comodo Dragon, another Chromium based browser. Personally, I like Dragon. http://www.comodo.com/home/browsers-toolbars/browser.php

    3. Sporkinum

      Re: Use Chrome

      I do the same thing with Adobe reader. I guess the government uses Adobe tools to create their tax forms, and it only works with reader to fill out. Once taxes are done, I get rid of reader and go back to Sumatra.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > the software giant's updater [...] is a bug-ridden example of the unfathomable number of methods by which an application can crash.

    It's also modal so you can't do anything useful whilst it's fucking up.

    Oracle are guilty of the same; they added a T&C tick box to their Java download pages. This had the side effect of buggering up Linux update mechanisms (apt / yum / portage) and turning the Java update process into an assault course for anyone running a headless server.

    What I can't fully understand is why companies do this; someone is offering to save Adobe / Oracle / whoever time and money by doing the donkey work for them, but they act like dicks instead.

    1. Mike Dimmick

      Kickbacks

      Adobe get kickbacks from Intel for bundling McAfee AntiVirus with Flash, Oracle get kickbacks from Ask for bundling their toolbar. I'm sure one of them tries to bundle Chrome as well. If Ninite are allowed to install without offering the prompt, Adobe and Oracle don't get their kickbacks.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What amuses me...

    ... is the way the flash player updater deletes itself after you run it. Almost as if it was ashamed...

  12. Ru
    Thumb Up

    I'd not heard of Ninite before... I'm feeling a bit out of touch now that I'm a dev rather than an admin. Thanks for the heads up!

    1. philbo
      Thumb Up

      Ninite is awesome

      I'm a developer rather than an admin, too, but for a while now ninite has been my first port of call for any new (or rebuilt) PC. Well, second, after installing Total Commander.

      Only complaint with Ninite is they still haven't added TC.

      ..and looking at the rest of this thread, it's great to see that I'm not alone in hurling verbal abuse when the Flash updater ignores my choices from last time and starts trying to install shit I have neither the need for nor the desire to have, unless I keep telling it not to.

  13. The Nameless Mist
    Unhappy

    What doesn't help with Adobe..

    Is their refusal to release a corporate level distribution platform like Microsoft's WSUS.

    I have 250 users in London (alone) and I don't want 250 of them running an update on Flash, Shockwave and Adobe Reader every time a patch comes out.

    If Adobe actually stopped mucking around and released a full domain integrated, O/S aware corporate hub then I'd be happy.

    That and of course I don't want CHROME or MCAFEE bundled with my updates.

    Personally if I could ban FLASH from my environment I would, but too many sites still demand it; and shockwave gets used in corporate training platforms still.

    1. Mike Dimmick

      Re: What doesn't help with Adobe..

      Apparently there is a way to bundle third-party applications in a way that WSUS can consume: see http://wsuspackagepublisher.codeplex.com/

      Microsoft have not bothered to make it possible to update third-party applications through Windows Update because the vendors all want to have control over the updating experience, and won't produce proper MSI installers that actually use Windows Installer properly (rather than just wrapping a script, for example). Windows Update does support driver updates, but when did you last see a timely update for your graphics card on WU? Never, because nVidia and ATI insist on shovelling additional control panels and other shovelware along with the driver, and don't package the install properly.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: What doesn't help with Adobe..

        "...vendors all want to have control over the updating experience, and won't produce proper MSI installers that actually use Windows Installer properly..."

        *splutter* Have you tried to use the MSI installer "properly"? I'm not sure even Microsoft use it "properly".

    2. 33rpm

      Re: What doesn't help with Adobe..

      I too would uninstall it if there were not so many other site that used it. Edit the MSI and you can shut off a lot of the crap.

  14. Russ Tarbox
    Megaphone

    Just going to dump this handy URL here

    http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/distribution3.html

    It's not that easy to come by sometimes...

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Just going to dump this handy URL here

      Everytime I find that page, or just the links to the two versions (seriously, why do I have to update two versions Adobe?), by the next time I need it, they've moved them somewhere else, so thanks for that mate :)

    2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      The Adobe Redistributeable link.

      ThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYou.

      Consider yourself hugged, given a box of Girl Scout Cookies, and a $RandomFurryCuddlyCritter in gratitude.

      (Please be sure to verify that you're not petting the cookies & about to eat the critter... the Cookies *hate* that!)

      *Grin*

  15. Prowler
    Thumb Up

    Great article Trevor

    Very well said indeed.

    Now who wants to lay odds that Adobe will come to its senses?

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Adobe developing Sanity?

      Adobe... developing Sanity?

      *Chuckle*

      ADOBE? ... Developing *Sanity*?

      *Snorffle*

      -=>ADOBE<=- developing _Sanity_?

      *Falls on the floor, clutching ribs, howling in pained laughter, unable to breathe, and dies laughing*

      Oh my!

      You, Sir, should write comedy for a living.

      *Wry smirk*

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Similarly..

    Some Linux distros have been doing this for years, the most obvious example being Umbongo's flashplugin-installer package, which triggers a download from Adobe, too.

    Hopefully, they are less likely to try and take "action" there, as they have announced they are ceasing support for Linux flash, and they wee never able to bundle Macafee crapware with it in the first place...

    (Also, ugh, Flash)

  17. mark l 2 Silver badge

    If i already have a Ninite installed downloaded with flash included will it still install flash when i run it or will it now error?

  18. Gordon Fecyk
    FAIL

    This is why he's mister "I hate everything."

    Adobe's products are a security nightmare.

    Adobe's products are a nightmare, Oracle's products are a nightmare, Microsoft's products are a nightmare. And yes, even CentOS can be a nightmare in the wrong hands.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Stop complaining about the weather and start doing something about it.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: This is why he's mister "I hate everything."

      Like what exactly? Buy a farm in Lancaster county? Bludgeon webmasters that gratuitously use Flash?

      In an avalanche, the pebbles don't get a vote.

    2. theblackhand

      Re: This is why he's mister "I hate everything."

      Yes - it goes with the title of SysAdmin...

      A good SysAdmin knows:

      - that all hardware sucks

      - the amount of hardware suckage is dependent upon both vendor and model as some hardware sucks slightly less than others.

      - all software sucks more than hardware.

      - some software sucks significantly more than other software.

      - carefully combining hardware and software may allow you to create an environment that only sucks a little. This usually requires a careful combination of design, bribery, threats and wet work to achieve.

      At present, Adobe and Oracle Java software have the annoying combination of being required for many tasks and having the ability to suck a large bowling ball through a very narrow hose...

    3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Your Anti-Windows Catalogue.

      This would be much more relevant if the leading article on the page isn't from *Two Thousand One*.

      I'm sorry if I didn't read far enough to make a different evaluation, but I've got too much else to do than try & sift through a pile of digital dust to find any "gold nuggets" that will turn out to be mere pyrite.

      *Smiles, shrugs*

  19. bigfoot780
    FAIL

    The fact the updater in flash uses the system account is cause for concern.

  20. dotdavid
    Thumb Up

    Ninite is good...

    ...but the way it excretes shortcut icons to your updated programs all over your desktop is a little annoying. Anyone know how you can turn that off?

  21. bag o' spanners
    Mushroom

    When Flash autonukes itself on a 64bit system, it seems to have a blast radius far exceeding its usefulness. I use NoScript to muzzle it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money, Money, Money

    Article: "It certainly is possible Adobe had a solid, logical reason for its request."

    Of course they have a solid, logical reason. They're greedy and they like being given money from McAfee... end of story.

    As you say yourself, if people start using Ninite, Adobe lose the ability to "bamboozle users with trial installer nagware in the pursuit of a few more coppers".

  23. Stuart Castle

    I just wish

    Adobe had a sane updater system that used updates that are easily distributed with the various enterprise software distribution systems. I know they have Adobe Software Update Server, but last time I tried that, it offered no obvious way to control which updates are installed (where I work, we test installs and updates thoroughly before we deploy them).

  24. The Dark Lord
    Meh

    Not exactly in defence, but...

    This is a problem endemic with Adobe's free products. They're crap, and they come with crap that you don't want.

    But shell out for their headline apps, like Photoshop, Lightroom, Dreamweaver etc, and what you find are highly polished, highly capable products that do what they're meant to do, and with aplomb.

    Adobe's business model seems to be a living parable for "you get what you pay for".

    1. jason 7
      Facepalm

      Re: Not exactly in defence, but...

      But just make sure you keep lapping up the largely cosmetic and not really necessary upgrades or they will financially ream you good!

      "Oh you are a registered user of Version 4 but you say you didn't get the email from us* about the new version 6.5 that now means you can't upgrade now and have to buy the whole new suite even though you paid for full Version 4 only two years ago and 6.5 hasn't really any new features as such?"

      Lovely people to do business with.

      * They never actually sent an email

  25. Stevie Silver badge
    Flame

    Bah!

    What needles me most about trial crapware is that it isn't smart enough to figure out you already have a fully licensed version of whatever it is running and installs it anyway, causing all sorts of trouble with the thing you actually paid for long before Adobe (et al) decided to direct your attention forcibly to whatever it is.

    Actually, not-smart-enough software in general is making me mad right now, from the fucking Bonjour service (which I didn't want) iTunes (which I was forced to use) installed silently and which ISN'T designed with a double-the-wait backoff algorithm so that my log fills with hundreds of fucking Bonjour errors whenever I'm not on a network (the majority of my laptop use is network-free) to "free" wifi service from my cable provider that takes so long to connect and whose nodes are positioned so stupidly that its use on my branch of the Long Island Rail Road is all but doomed to failure.

    And don't get me started about those fucktarded program traces java developers think are suitable for run-time user error messages. A till roll of mindless gibberjabber and if you are lucky the reason why whatever dimwit applet it is has crashed is anywhere to be found before the IO module truncates it (no, I don't allow java on my machine but I work in a Snoracle enterprise). Fucking new paradigm indeed.

    The new fad for loading crapware because the option to *not* load it is hidden amongst the boilerplate contract for your soul should earn for its inventor a special place in hell after a long and painful demise suffered because the paperwork to waive hospital liability was so long he (or she) died before they found the "just do it" checkbox.

    Where's the Tylenol?

  26. A J Stiles

    Gick

    I just wish they would open up the Source Code of Flash.

    After all, it's not as though they are making any money selling the binary .....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gick

      >After all, it's not as though they are making any money selling the binary .....

      ...except for the 25c a pop they get from McAfee Toolbar - 4 million Ninite downloads is a $1million loss.

      ...also Ninite charge upto $185 a month for the pro version.....and profit from redistribution requires a license agreement.

  27. contractorniu

    I wont deal with Adobe anymore. My favorite is Nuance PDF Converter Pro. Why deal with Adobe.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Flash as it was

      I can't answer the question "Why deal with Adobe" but I *can* say with much justification that the design interface for the pre-Adobe Macromedia Flash product (4?) has the most intuitive drawing interface I've encountered before or since.

      The other features are a study in ease-of-uptake too.

      I needed a quick and simple animation to illustrate a stupid point. During a boring meeting it dawned on me I could maybe use Flash. I hadn't used it in about a decade or so, but it took me only about 45 minutes to relearn how to do motion tweening, draw the stage and actors and produce the animation, without a single use of the help pages. The process was not only painless, it was fun, except for having to use my lappy's trackpad.

      My kid started drawing Anime pictures using Flash at a very early age. It just works well with humans.

      The Macromedia interface designers Got It Right. Other drawing programs I've tried (and there have been many) have never been able to produce the same ease-of-use and intuitive drawing experience.

  28. ecofeco Silver badge
    Boffin

    "Adobe's products are a security nightmare. Reader, Flash and Air are - alongside Oracle's Java browser plugin - the screen door through which the raw unfiltered sewage of the internet oozes into the homes of netizens"

    And all this time I thought it was the hidden viruses in ads, free games and porn and lack of updated OS, firewalls and AV.

    Silly me.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
      Pint

      The viruses and other malware are the raw, unfiltered sewage. Firewalls are needed only because apps/operating systems aren't particularly secure...excepting that of late they've been a hell of a lot more secure than Adobe and Oracle's products.

      In case you missed it, Windows et. al - while by no means perfect - aren't exactly swiss cheese anymore. Microsoft in particular has done a damn fine job of securing their operating system. Without Flash and Java installed, I'd cheerfully browse the net with a plugin-less Firefox on a Windows without anti-malware.

      The issue is these vulnerable plugins that live in our browser and allow execution of code with elevated privileges when compromised. In fact, if they would code the damned things according to Microsoft's spec, this wouldn't even be possible to have happen.

      The reason that the operating system allows Bad Things to happen is because it needs to maintain a level of backwards compatibility. The reason it needs to maintain a level of backwards compatibility is because fuckwads like Adobe and Oracle refuse to write applications that comply with modern design and security standards. The reason we're all vulnerable is because these same applications don't comply with modern design and security standards. They are the screen doors letting in the internet's filth.

      MIcrosoft could make an operating system that had no backwards compatibility. Where you must comply with modern security and design principles. Then we collectively would freak out and wail that the insecure applications we are so very reliant on don't work.

      Indeed, Microsoft did make such an operating system. It's called Windows RT. Frankly, given the raft of compromises on OSX lately, and the shocking number of Linux (or SSHd/HTTPd/BIND/etc, if you want to be an anal-retentive prick and try to say that "Linux is only the kernel, not the Distro") major vulnerabilities in the past several months, Windows RT is looking more and more like one of the most secure operating systems ever developed.

      We still collectively don't use the damned thing for one simple reason: the shit we actually need to use doesn't run on Windows RT. And the shit we need to use is all broken, insecure and otherwise the cause of our woes.

      Adobe and Oracle are like the worst kind of candy pimps. They keep you addicted to their crack so you can't go far, but they beat you senseless and refuse to change their ways, meaning you do nothing but dream of escape. I'm not saying Microsoft's been all that much better; Metro's "Fuck You, power users and people who require actual productivity" interface, that goddamned fucking ribbon, "Always On," Office 365 subscription bullying, licensing shenanigans and even DRM bullshit like "plays for sure" all come to mind. Microsoft is no saint, and I'll not defend the bastards on the whole.

      But don't blame the OS. That's the part of this that actually works securely, assuming you are willing to configure it to be secure-only, and live without your self-harming crack.

      Since you aren't - and I'm not either - why don't I leave you some resources that (while a little old) might prove valuable?

      Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

      I hope that helps you maintain your poor security habits with minimal damage to yourself and the rest of the internet. Cheers!

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Pint

        Rant of the week, Trevor!

        I feel your pain, and ironically had an advert for office 365 on the screen whilst reading your post.

        Here, have a beer, and a thumbs up!

      2. Lamont Cranston
        Thumb Up

        Hail he, who has come from the skies

        to deliver us from the terrors of the deadites!

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        about:config > plugins.click_to_play > true

        This makes newer versions of Firefox prompt even for the latest version of Flash, otherwise if you've got the latest version it gets run.

        Then you only install the plugin version of Flash, not the Active X version.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Flame

        Smart $hilling, Mr Pott

        So you claim that MS has mysteriously become secure ?What they currently peddle is not more than the WNT kernel with some new and expensive lipstick on the same old pig.

        All your claims are not substantiated and I bet you just regurgitate some MS talking points of the MS public relations manager (or whatever they call their spinmasters) who handles you.

        If Windows (whether it actually runs a window gui or not) were a proper operating system, it would simply not matter whether flash is secure or not. Flash would be contained in it's own little hellhole where it could not break out. MS has made sure there are dozens of openings in a typical windows machine to exploit and the RSA case is classic indeed ("Email with Excel attachment which contains Flash movie"). I don't think that there are sufficiently strong words to describe this extreme craziness. Maybe "acquiring AIDS by drinking random blood samples of random heroin addicts" would be the proper picture.

        The world of commercial computer science from MS to Lockheed Martin a world of pimps and whores, nothing less.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
          Megaphone

          Re: Smart $hilling, Mr Pott

          Hi frankg. 2000 called and it wants its understanding of the NT kernel and base operating system elements back. Thanks.

          If you'd actually READ my post, you'll note that I discuss that fact that there are tons of features in the OS that are NOT MANDATORY and I even tell you why. I also said that making them mandatory would make a much more secure operating system. Microsoft even makes it; I even discussed why.

          The sandboxing you discuss exists. ASLR and about a dozen other technologies exist. The issue - and it's huge - is that they don't make using such technologies mandatory, which is what allows flash to get out. It isn't because the mechanisms to make a damned fine secure OS aren't there. It is because they made a BUSINESS decision not to cut all old software (and thus their entire paying customer base) off at the knees.

          Take a Microsoft operating system which has been configured to require all of the security technologies as mandatory for every single application and I would be willing to put that up against anything else out there except possibly Wind River's stuff.

          Your willing ignorance to suit your own prejudices not only does you a disservice, it brings a bad name to all who practice the IT arts. There are plenty of damned good reasons to piss on Microsoft's good name. This isn't one of them. Quit fighting battles from a decade ago; you're distracting from the battles that need to be fought here and now.

          One of which is to get them to make the very technologies under discussion mandatory, but it is not remotely the only battle that needs fighting. We not need pissing and moaning about how "Insecure" Microsoft's technology is. That war was fought. We won. Can we please get you on the front lines where it counts?

          Cheers.

  29. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Well it's non-free software

    What do you expect? Free Software isn't about how much it costs strictly speaking not even about the availability of the source code (software _written_ in machine code can be free). It is about what you can and cannot do with it. And Adobe is one of the few remaining strong examples for the route you go down with non-free software.

  30. Peter Simpson 1
    FAIL

    Someone should tell Adobe

    Nobody likes a company whose updater pops up in the middle of a {presentation, experiment, editing session for a document due in 10 minutes} taking up a good chunk of the screen, right in the center, asking you if you want to update their damn PDF viewer now.

  31. Hoe
    Happy

    Well done Adobe, about time...

    Firstly well done Adobe, congratulations I am truly impressed and I never expected you of all companies to be the ones to do it but you have finally about time convinced em that it's about time for me to ban all your bloatware from my managed systems for now and for good.

    I was only put off the 100s of why can't we use Adobe Reader anymore, we're so used to it etc. now I'll look forward to the calls in order to discourage all home use too!

    For years I have given you leeway and time to improve and change but that clearly isn't happening...

    I mean seriously Adobe how is Reader 30-100Mb when FoxIT Reader is easily less than 5?

    Why does all your software have more holes than a politician's expenses excuse?

    Why don't your updater's work and why should I care?

    Why do I want a Grey-ware AV \ Popup Advertisement Software (no matter who made it, it cleans NOTHING just tries to sell you McAfee) just to install \ update your software?

    If you can be bothered to answer any of the above I will ensure that it gets the true attention it deserves, providing I am not too busy uninstalling Adobe... 1 Down 1873 to go... sigh.

  32. mike cupcake

    to automatically untick 'install Mcafee'

    try my Greasemonkey script: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/145983

    Currently runs on the Flash and Reader install pages.

  33. Mark Pawelek

    Lets all ditch Flash

    I uninstalled Flash yesterday - all 6 versions (6,7,8,910,11) I found on the PC. The motivation to do this were the regular red blobs in the PCs event log. On finding these errors I googled for a solution. Found nothing, so decided to unistall it. Interesting that the Flash auto-update had already been disabled my me. The only reason I unistalled it were the regular issues I've seen from Adobe updates. I wish I could do the same for Acrobat.

    As for the security issues - it's mostly the users fault; if they won't stop visiting dodgy sites and clicking on obvious evil links they're going to find their PCs attacked. The only antivirus I have on my PCs are the ones they force me to use at work. They even put AV on the database servers sitting behind corporate firewalls! What's that? - architecture done with paint-by-numbers?

  34. gnufrontier

    Deserve ?

    Since I have never paid Adobe anything I don't see why they owe me anything. When one is given stuff for nothing that turns out to be crap, it's hard to really complain. If the people who are paying Adobe's bills aren't complaining then I doubt anything will change. I presume they want to drive people to their servers for marketing reasons (certainly not for security issues - if that was the case their software would be better). But what are they going to say - hey don't use some third party app to update our stuff, we can't track you when you do that.

  35. Muskiier
    FAIL

    If I had a dollar for every hour wasted trying to automate Adobe updates work I'd be rich

    What a shortsighted move. I have spent hours trying to automate Adobe updates for Reader and Flash so our users (who don't have admin rights) don't have to suffer the incessant nagging and yet can have the latest update. Even the Adobe catalogue for MS System Centre don't work properly. I found Ninite a few weeks ago and was working on a solution - guess I'll give that project up.

  36. Sandpit

    Try to not do it

    I recently build my new main PC. So far I haven't put flash (or any Adobe) product on and hoping to never have to. Only think I have currently not been able to do is watch game promo videos in Steam.

    Java too is on my resist list but that may prove harder in the long run as too much excellent software uses it.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    just another nail

    in Adobe Flash's coffin as far as I'm concerned. The Flash updater is just stupidly implemented.

    I've a lot of respect for the Ninite guys - it makes updating all those apps painless plus it is just great for throwing on new VMs and having a standard set of apps easily installed.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    El Reg Hack - Trevor Pott

    You sir are - the man!

    Great article.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: El Reg Hack - Trevor Pott

      I am not the man. I don't think I can be the man. If I was the man who would I have to rage against?

  39. FatherStorm

    I have seen so many malware sites pretending to be a "update" for flash that I as a general matter of course automatically close any window that even remotely looks like it. I have relied on ninite to keep me up to date since not even the best of us remembers exactly which version of Java we currently have/need and can be downloaded from, the Sun/Oracle/Java website is a stuck-in-the 90's nightmare of navigability and clarity and I spend enough time getting rid of McAfee on new pc's in favor of other security products that I certainly don't need or want Adobe foisting it on me.

  40. Green Nigel 42
    Happy

    Adobe flash updates anyone?

    No thanks, I'll stick with the Malware.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Adobe assume far too much of average users

    They will never, ever apply updates unless there is a tangible break>fix>reward scenario at play, and it's usually something completely bollocks like videos not playing on '(their) Facebook site' (sic).

    Hence, the concept of seeking out an update, or indeed applying one yelling in their very faces, is purely abstract. With little to no conception of security, applying updates is as divorced from their thinking as, say, changing the element in a bloody toaster.

    I would say Adobe have not only done *nothing* to turn around this dangerous mindset, but actively encouraged it in the spirit of retaining old empires and practises.

  42. pepperminttea
    Boffin

    Use the MSI?

    After applying for their distribution licence, I've rolled out and updated Flash from the MSI and controlled it with the mms.cfg file for the last couple of years with little incident using plain old vanilla group policy deployment.

    http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplayer/articles/flash_player_admin_guide.html

    http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/administration-configure-auto-update-notification.html

    Hope that helps and all that.

  43. Nader

    Adobe aren't very consumer-friendly, and now they're bullying businesses into their cloud solution as well, making licensing way more expensive for many businesses.

    Ninite shouldn't pay Adobe any attention at all.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good guys?

    Why exactly am I supossed to accept this as the "good guys of the internet"?

    Anything that installs things on my system, and not under my control, is a hostile intruder to be crushed like a bug. And the corporate owners of such bugs to be crushed right along with it.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Good guys?

      Except it is under you control. So much for your righteous anger!

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