Adware And The Case Against Bundled Software

Adware And The Case Against Bundled Software



Adware And the​ Case Against Bundled Software
Bundling software applications together is​ a​ practice much abused by purveyors of​ adware .​
The potential for sneaking unwanted software into a​ bundle of​ desirable software is​ obvious .​
The benefits of​ bundling software aren't so obvious .​
Isn't it​ time to​ consider dumping the​ practice of​ bundling software altogether?
Bundled Software: When is​ It Not Adware?
If a​ user wants a​ piece of​ software,​ why can't he or​ she be allowed to​ install it​ separately? If the​ bundled software were essential to​ the​ functioning of​ the​ original software (excluding generic functions such as​ install,​ un-uninstall,​ and documentation),​ why wouldn't the​ developer build its functions directly into the​ original software?
Sure,​ sometimes there's a​ software application that clearly complements another application .​
But for users who do not want the​ complementary software,​ having it​ just means a​ bloated install file and a​ needlessly long installation process .​
Does the​ chance that users will want the​ bundled software ever outweigh the​ risk of​ the​ bundled software being installed without the​ user noticing? in​ the​ case of​ adware,​ the​ technology community is​ increasingly willing to​ put the​ burden of​ proof on​ the​ adware bundlers:
* Cnet's download.com website recently removed any and all software that comes bundled with another piece of​ software that shows advertising,​ regardless of​ how well informed the​ user is​ of​ the​ bundled software.
* Affiliate networks such as​ Commission Junction and Kolimbo have either cautioned advertisers against accepting adware distributors into their affiliate programs or​ kicked them out altogether .​
* Many technology law experts are saying that the​ click-wrap license agreements that supposedly legitimate adware are not proof of​ informed consent .​
Some experts even say that such agreements amount to​ unconscionable contracts: the​ burden imposed by adware is​ so great and the​ benefit offered so negligible .​
Adware and Bundled Software: a​ Modest Proposal
If the​ spam arms race is​ any indication,​ we may soon face even more aggressive attempts to​ get adware on​ our computers .​
There will be even more tortured arguments that bundled adware is​ installed with users' informed consent .​
Why not head off any of​ those arguments right now? Let's push for an​ industry standard that reputable developers do not bundle software (with a​ few highly specific exceptions such as​ documentation,​ installation,​ and error reporting) .​
In the​ end,​ by getting rid of​ bundled software,​ what do we have to​ lose except adware?




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