Saturday, November 21, 2015

MacUpdate Interviewed By MacNN:
What's up with the 'MacUpdate Installer'?


MacNN has published an excellent story, well worth reading, about the changes going on at Specifically discussed is the switch out of actual application installers for the 'MacUpdate Installer' that attempts to install more than what the user intended, to be gentle about the issue. Our pal Thomas Reed of Malwarebytes is featured as well as the founder of MacUpdate, J. Mueller:

MacUpdate tests changes in face of challenging specialist market
Optional additional installs, app discovery at forefront of changes
- updated 04:00 pm EST, Fri November 20, 2015
. . . "Fear not," Mueller said in response to a question about whether long-time users should be concerned about MacUpdate's testing of similar techniques. "We are not planning to go in the same direction [as CNET and Softonic]. We are learning about this process ... and testing it on only one percent of our hosted apps. We are focused on problem-solving, and the Mac community is very important to us." He added that more information would be made available to users once the testing phase is further along, but that the goal of the optional install offers is to learn about how the process works, how users who see it respond to it, and how to avoid the mistakes rivals have made."
I hope that is indeed the case.

Apart from the unintended installations foisted on MacUpdate users and the scary requirement of your admin password, both highly NOT recommended practices, what I don't like is that the user does NOT end up with the actual application installer. The 'MacUpdate Installer' does all the installing for the user. There is no opportunity to KEEP the desired installer. I personally do not deal with that.

Why do I want to keep the actual update installer?

1) I have three Macs I run simultaneously with a total of five different partitions I maintain. I don't typically install applications on just one Mac. I usually install on two Macs. Going through the MacUpdate Installer adware foisting process twice is not in my interest.

2) I archive ALL the current update installers for applications. I collect them on my main Mac in a 'Move Out' folder, along with all the contemporary research I've been collecting from the net. I usually weed out the older update installers and only keep the latest. Periodically, I then write all of this data out to optical disk for permanent storage. I then catalogue each new disk collection into a database of my entire collection. Whenever I want some piece of software from back in the past, I search the catalogue and it tells me where to find it. This system has saved me many headaches and has often saved my backside.

Needless to say, hanging onto a bunch of MacUpdate Installers that do NOT incorporate the desired actual installer is NOT going to work for me. I want nothing to do with them.

Thankfully, as you'll read in MacNN's article, paying (and at the moment logging-in) members of MacUpdate are kindly prevented from having to deal with the MacUpdate Installer rubbish. For now, I can entirely avoid the problem by simply logging in. MacUpdate also know I've bought piles of software through them as a member. I have no reason to feel I am not contributing to their financial success.

Would I become a full fledged, fee paying member of I don't know of any valid reason to do so. I would never use their MacUpdate Desktop software specifically because of the reasons I want to keep update installers. Recently, MacUpdate Desktop has greatly improved and can be VERY useful! I'm grateful MacUpdate finally got it into good shape. (It used to be extremely clunky). But I don't need it or want it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This situation will play out in the months to come. I'm grateful that the folks at MacUpdate are being professional about this situation and at least promise not to inadvertently or purposely install crapware of hardcore malware onto user's Macs. There are good intentions. But I personally find nothing to appreciate about the MacUpdate Installer system.

As for, the website, as long as there is a convenient and friendly way for me to avoid the MacUpdate Installer, I'm happy and will continue to help them out with reviews and purchase their deals whenever possible. They've been a terrific asset to the Mac community.



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