So I was talking with my friends a while back, deep into one of my frequent rants about ineptitude in the software industry, when it struck me that I should start blogging this stuff. Also, my friends pointed out that the manner in which I deliver my criticism is particularly funny, and that I should post audio clips of this to accompany the rant.
I’ve decided to start a new section on this site devoted to these rants. The section is called “Regressions” and will contain my rants on various software issues that have been solved correctly before but, for some reason, are (still) present in some piece of software. These rants are a bit harsh: I’m trying to write it how I spit it when I get in the mood, and so if you find intense criticism and profanity offensive, I suggest you stop reading.
So, lets kick this bitch off with Adobe’s Creative Suite 4!
First, the installer is called “Setup.” On a Mac. See guys, on the Mac, we name things after what they really are. The correct name for this application is “Adobe CS4 Installer.” “Setup” is a) Windows-esque and b) useless for determining what this thing actually installs. Consider this regression #1.
Not only is the installer misnamed, but it’s in a folder with some other files. On the disk you see a folder with an icon that looks vaguely archive-like called “Adobe CS4 Master Collection.” I assumed this was the installer; what else would you put on the disk? Instead of the installer, however I see another Finder window open with 6 files: Bootstrapper.dmg, deployment, extensions, payloads, resources, Setup. What is all this crap? I just wanna install the apps dude, I don’t care about any of this junk.
After prompting for a password, the installer then proceeds to open a copy of the installer app running as root. This then makes another couple of child processes, which do something for a bit. Despite Apple’s consistent recommendation for and implementation of installers that use privilege-escalated tools only for the actual file copying portion, it seems that this part is too hard for Adobe, so they just launch the entire installer(s) as root. Nice job guys! Lets hope there’s no security flaws in your installer :) Regression #2.
I then get a dialog about some applications that need to be closed for installation. Photoshop of course is on there duh, so I close that. But what the fuck? Safari and Excel? What does that have to do with Adobe products? Presumably, Adobe thinks that because it can install its horrible PDF plugin for Safari and Office programs, you need to close these programs before you can install! Of course I don’t actually use these plugins because this is Mac OS X, where the graphics subsystem has had PDF support for 7 fucking years, and neither does anyone else who hasn’t been living under a rock. Regression #3.
Finally I get to the list of applications to install. I choose a custom install to see what there is and damn. That’s a LOT of crap to install. And fucking huge too! Acrobat 9 Pro is 1.2GB. How on earth you manage to make a PDF editor that big I have no idea, but clearly the folks at Adobe are good at it. Fortunately, Photoshop, which is about 2000 times more awesome and useful, is about half the size. Clearly Acrobat 9 has some absolutely AMAZING features that warrant this ridiculously huge installation size. Perhaps we should all aspire to make excessively large applications. Regression #4.
So I select some of these components and click install. The install finishes and I check my Applications folder to see the new apps. Wow. There’s a folder for each of the apps I wanted, of course, but there’s also a folder for some of the apps I didn’t want, containing an application container with nothing in it. Clearly along the packaging process Adobe thought that littering my hard drive with crap was acceptable. Regression #5.
You would think a big company like Adobe with a Mac userbase that is (or was) a significant portion of their customer base would be able to put more effort into their presentation, but perhaps to a big company these things are not such critical issues. With no serious competitor to Photoshop, customers are likely to overlook issues like these, if only because they have to.
[Note: Apologies if this seems a bit old — I wrote it several months ago and completely forgot about it until today]