« USB Floppy Disk Striped RAID under OS X | Main | Disable Self Heal in Adobe Reader 8 »

15 things that are wrong with installing Adobe Reader 8

I just installed Adobe Reader 8 on my mac mini. It was an even more convoluted process than I thought it would be, and I was not optimistic.

  1. Adobe Reader 8 is not a Universal Binary. You have to select PowerPC or Intel when downloading;

  2. The indicated file size is 22.9 MB but the downloaded file is actually 412 kB. This is because…

  3. the download is neither Adobe Reader, nor an installer for it;

  4. It is a disk image that contains an Installer package that installs Adobe Reader Download Manager in the Utilities folder;

  5. The download manager downloads a second disk image, to your Desktop (not to your Download folder.) This is the 22.9 MB file mentioned on the web site;

  6. Since Adobe Reader 8 is not a Universal Binary, the download manager should automatically choose the appropriate version between PowerPC and Intel, instead of having the user tell what version of the download manager they need. It doesn’t.

  7. The download manager is not removed from the Utilities folder after it has done its (silly) job and is not needed anymore;

  8. The disk image does not contain Adobe Reader 8 but another installer;

  9. The installer starts installing as soon as it is launched;

  10. It doesn’t let you choose the install location. An Adobe Reader 8 folder containing Adobe Reader and a Read Me is created in /Applications;

  11. It apparently doesn’t install anything else than the Adobe Reader 8 application (in particular, in doesn’t install the Internet plug-in), therefore there was no need for an installer;

  12. I say apparently because it doesn’t leave an installation log;

  13. It launches Adobe Reader after installing it;

  14. Adobe Reader asks whether it should install its Internet plug-in, when that was the job of the installer;

  15. To install the plug-in, it needs to quit Safari;

And that’s only for the installation.

Some advice to Adobe

  • Make Universal Binaries1;
  • Don’t make an installer when none is needed;
  • Don’t make two installers when none is needed;
  • Clean up after yourself, don’t litter your users’ hard disk with useless downloads and software;
  • Don’t install anything before the user says so. Launching an installer is not saying so;
  • Don’t automatically launch an application after installing it. The purpose of an installer is to install software. Otherwise, name it “Adobe Reader Installer and Launcher”;
  • Don’t require Safari to quit to install a plug-in;


  • John C. Welsh also notes that declining the license doesn’t cancel the installation, since the license agreement appears after the software was installed, and Jeff posts links to the direct downloads:

  • John Gruber notes that an install log is written in ~/Library/Receipts/ com.adobe.Reader/install.log. It’s a very bad location, but at least there is a log and it shows how Adobe litters your hard disk with useless stuff all over the place:

    • Utilities/Adobe Utilities.localized/Adobe Updater5/Adobe Updater.app
    • /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Help/en_US/Adobe Reader/8.0
    • /Applications/Adobe Help Viewer 1.0.app
    • Stuff in /Library/Application Support/Adobe/
    • /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/AdobePDFViewer.plugin/

    As a reminder, from the pre-installations, we have:

    • AdbeRdr80_DLM_en_US_i386.dmg in the Download folder;
    • Adobe Reader Download Manager.app in /Applications;
    • AdbeRdr80_en_US_i386.dmg on the Desktop;

    POS! some cleaning is needed (but make sure you first disable Self Heal):

    • Adobe Reader is going out of its useless folder. The Read Me is already gone;
    • I don’t need no stinkin’ updater. Having tried its previous incarnation, I’m better off downloading the full version from the FTP server every time;
    • The help viewer is going too. Since it will certainly not work if I move it elsewhere, better trash it now;
    • I had forgotten to trash Adobe Reader Download Manager.

1. Don’t think I’m not seeing you coming. You will make separate versions of Adobe CS 3 for PowerPC and Intel Macs, forcing G5 users to buy the PowerPC version and subsequently upgrade (for a fee) to the Intel version when they change their machine. 


TrackBack URL for this entry: https://ithink.ch/blog/tb.cgi/166.

Make sure JavaScript is enabled before using this URL. If you would like to ping my blog but can't, please do send me an e-mail at os3476 at this domain.

How to prevent Adobe Reader 8 from reinstalling its junk on every launch after you cleaned it up. [Read More]

Post a comment

Make sure JavaScript is enabled before posting a comment. If you would like to post a comment but can't, please do send me an e-mail at os3476 at this domain.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Coding Ninjas, for they are subtle and quick to anger.