Adobe Reader 7: Yet another lousy installer

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 20th, 2005 • 7:09 am

Adobe is really trying to break all records when it comes to lousy software installers these days. The lowest point was probably reached with the Illustrator CS 11.0.2 update, but it’s not an isolated case.

Take the Adobe Reader 7 installer, for example. Download the thing and double-click on it and what do you get? This:

Adobe Reader installer

Does this look like an installer to you? I didn’t think so. Yet that’s what it is. In spite of what the file name seems to indicate, this is not the Adobe Reader 7 application itself, but the installer application.

Adobe Reader 6 did not require an installer. You just downloaded the thing and mounted the disk image and you could just drag and drop the application folder to your preferred location. Now with Adobe Reader 7 you get this thing that is called “Adobe Reader” but is actually the installer, and you have to run it first.

And then of course the installer gives you no choice when it comes to the location for the installation. It forces you to install the application in the “Applications” folder on your startup volume. Yet the Adobe Premium CS2 installer lets you choose to install the other Adobe applications on another volume. (It still installs a number of things on the startup volume, but that’s another story.)

Can you spell in-con-sis-tent?

That’s not all. The Adobe Reader 7 installer forces you to go through the usual software agreement thing, and a dialog box pops up asking you to “Agree” with the agreement or “Decline“. And guess which button is the right-most button in that dialog box? Yup — it’s the “Decline” button, even though the right-most button in this type of dialog box is always the “Agree” button in other software installers.

Of course, the “Print” dialog box in Illustrator CS2 still suffers from the same kind of flaw, so it’s no big surprise:

Illustrator print dialog

Why do they have to inflict such user interface atrocities on us? What is wrong with major software developers these days?

2 Responses to “Adobe Reader 7: Yet another lousy installer”

  1. Warren Beck says:

    I have the impression that certain apps go out of their way to avoid conforming with interface practices in the EULA accepting stuff so that the user has to do something actively to agree and activate the program. This is probably something that has been added at the request of the lawyers. By making the user do something actively that is away from the default behavior of the UI, the company can be assured that the user did agree with the EULA. Such a practice might be of help to the company if it is sued by an end user at a later date.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    There’s obviously an element of that — which also explains why Apple refuses to make “Agree” the default button (in pulsating blue) in its own Installer, forcing people to grab the mouse to click on it (unless they have full keyboard access on). Interestingly, for the exact same “Agree” button, the Kensington installer for MouseWorks uses the pulsating blue, and it can be activated with the Return key.

    So basically each software provider does its own thing, with various degrees of user-friendliness. But if there is one lawyer out there who believes that any of these tricks forces users to actually read the agreements… So I don’t really see how this would hold in court as “proof” that the user has actually read it.


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