Do You Despise Adware?

Who doesn’t? Well, for one, all the people who have sipped the Kool-Ade of Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office is adware.

Or at least, this is the arugment made by OpenOffice.orgNinja, and by the way, something I’ve been saying for years.

Is Microsoft Office adware? Wikipedia defines adware as “any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertising material to a computer after the software is installed on it or while the application is being used.”

Ninja then goes on to demonstrate that this is true.

It goes beyond that, to the level of malware, in that malware is software that makes your computer do something that you do not want it to do, and in fact, have explicitly prohibited it to do. When some of the adware dialog boxes pop up in Office, if you click on the part they want you to click on, a web site opens in a browser. If you have Firefox installed as your default browser, Office ignores this and opens the site in Internet Explorer.

Now, think about this for a second. Say you have Windows (woe is you!) and you don’t upgrade your Internet Explorer because you never use it, and it has a security flaw, and then you click on the items referred to above. If you are a MS Kool-Ade fan you will respond “well, you should keep your software updated for security reasons, anything else is irresponsible.”

Well, I’m sorry, but you would be wrong about that. A user can certainly elect to not use or maintain a piece of software that is on their system if they want to.

Well,you might say, the only responsible way to handle that is to remove such software just in case.

Well, FYVM, but here you would be blaming the victim. In a Windows instillation, users do not have a lot of control over what software if foisted on them.

By the way, Ninja points out that Microsoft Office is adware based on Microsoft’s definition as well.

On Microsoft.com, Sandi Hardmeier, MVP, concludes her adware definition, “Ads are not bad by themselves but they become a problem when they are unauthorized. Unfortunately, many adware programs do not give users enough notice or control.” In Office, where is the “notice or control”? A workaround is to search the Offline Help instead of the default Microsoft Office Online.

Ninja goes even further than this, making a reasonable case that Microsoft Office is spyware.

Does any of this bother you? Do you want to solve this problem and get rid of not only this adware/spyware, but all adware and spyware on your system? I recommend the following:

A Sure Fire Way to Eliminate Adware and Spyware from your Hardware

Comments

  1. #1 The Ridger
    February 11, 2008

    I don’t particularly like Windows but I’d be a lot more inclined to switch to Ubuntu if ANYWHERE easily found on that site there was ANYTHING telling me what would happen to my decade’s worth of files and how easy it is to share things with people still using windows – some of whom are never going to switch, like, say, MY OFFICE.

  2. #2 decrepitoldfool
    February 11, 2008

    What will happen to your decade’s worth of files? That’s a good question even if you continue using Windows – Office 2007 already balks at opening Office 6.0 files.

    I’d start converting them to Open Document Format sooner rather than later. It is a standard built to avoid data loss due to software changes. Don’t wait.

    As to swapping files with Windows users, it does take a bit of conscious effort. But not comparatively so much if you factor in the time you waste just using Windows.

  3. #3 Lassi Hippeläinen
    February 12, 2008

    The amount of concious effort is close to zero. You just save your work as .PDF or in M$ format.

  4. #4 LRM
    February 12, 2008

    Allow me to put aside the “Cool-Ade” for a few minutes, and try to burst your bubble. Switching to Ubuntu won’t help you get rid of adware – at least not by the ridiculously broad definition the article is proposing. For instance, Firefox – the browser that comes bundled with Ubuntu (and which I’m currently using to post from my “adware”-laden Windows machine) – features Google search in the search box: according to the very unbiased Open Office Ninja, that’s adware! (Why is Firefox promoting Google when I never explicitly asked it to do so?) Want to open a PDF document? Your best bet is Adobe Reader for Linux, which keeps pimping the full Acrobat suite – adware! Want to browse online help for pretty much any commercial software product, and you’ll very likely find ads for the company’s other products and services – adware! Heck, even your own blog is blatant adware: it delivers software in HTML form to my computer, along with ads I definitely don’t want to see (and thanks to Firefox and AdblockPlus, don’t have to). I guess you don’t hate adware enough because you’ve sipped the “Cool-Ade” of software? Or maybe, just maybe, some definitions of “adware” are so ridiculously broad as to be meaningless?

    As for any threat to your system from clicking the links in Office, that’s pure FUD, unless you’re really trying to get your machine infected. First, on a patched Windows machine, all IE security updates will install automatically – unless you consciously disable automatic updates *and* actively prevent IE from updating each time you run Windows Update manually (and deliberately leaving open serious security holes, even in software you don’t intend to use, is a monumentally dumb idea). Even if you do all that, clicking on links in Office poses no threat to you, as it opens links either on your local PC or on the Microsoft website, neither which would infect your machine. You would need to continue browsing using unpatched IE and stumble onto some external site that would get you infected: and you’re not very likely to do that, since you don’t use IE for browsing.

    You are really not doing the open-source movement any favors here. I’ve been using Windows on my home boxes all my adult life, starting with the much-maligned Win 98, and never had any serious problems with any of them (many annoyances, sure, but nothing serious like data loss, spyware, viruses, etc.) I’ve been using Office 2003 on an almost daily basis for the last few years until switching to Office 2007 recently, and never even noticed the “ads”. I’ve also been using Linux (and before that, Unix) heavily in school and at work, and definitely appreciate it as a user. And, of course, I use a lot of open source software, including Cygwin and the aforementioned “adware-laden” Firefox. Telling users like me that we’ve been drinking the “Cool-Ade” and spuriously calling the software we use “malware” is not a particularly effective way to convince us to embrace Ubuntu. Unless, of course, you were simply preaching to the choir and congratulating yourself for your own intellectual and moral superiority derived from using open-source software: in which case, apologies for interrupting, and please carry on.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    February 12, 2008

    Ridger:

    Openoffice.org will open word files and excel files.

    I routinely open people’s Word or Excel document, manipulate them, then save them, send them back, and noone knows that Microsoft never touched their document.

    The most current version of Word can save documents in a thing called Docx format. Last time I checked, nobody could open those but Microsoft, and I believe that is the point …. but efforts began right away to make DOCX fit nicely with OpenOffice and I presume that has already happened or will happen soon. I simply politely ask people to not give me documents in that format.

    If you have Access files that are decades old, you can’t open them in Access anyway, so that is not much of an issue. Let me know here or send me an email specifying what file types you have and I’ll tell you if they can be opened and how, but for the most part, the whole idea of Linux/Opensource is that you will never have to ask yourself this question again.

    Have a look:

    http://gregladen.com/wordpress/?p=394

    LRM: I don’t count the goolge search box as adware. First of all, it is not really there … it is a search box that defaults to whatever search engine you want it to. Go click on the “G” and you will see the list, including a button to change it. This is not adware.

    In Internet Explorer, if you put “Google Map” into the “search box” (the url box doubles as a search box) you are given “Microsoft Maps.”

    That, my friend, is the obnoxious behavior we are talking about.

    Have some cool ade.

    You are telling me that there is asware in Linux. I’ve been using linux and nothing else (with two minor exceptions) for three years continuously and off and on for ten years and I’ve not seen adware.

    I’m not sure about the last two years, but in recent years automatic updates in Windows could not be trusted. Automatic updates in Windows are FUD.

    What does FUD mean, by the way?

    Actually, I don’t feel that threatened most of the time by clicking on things in Windows. But I am very often terribly annoyed by the behavior.

    Let me give you another security/annoyance thing: In Windows, if a particular window as the focus, and you are moving the mouse around like you are about to click on something, a second window can pop up so quickly that you end up clicking on that second window, on who knows what?

    That is totally FUD, assuming FUD is something really annoying!

    Actually, I was not spuriously calling Office adware. I have relayed the analysis of another person who has suggested this (see above). IN truth, this level of “ad” exposure is moderate in Office, but it is not non-existent. But I assure you that for every nasty thing I bother to say about Windows or Office, Micsosoft will tell you ten lies.

    There are dozens of books and articles callee “Windows/OfficeWhatever Annoyances” Many, many of the “tips and tricks” one finds in the literature for Windows are about how to compensate for something screwy in the software.

    Now, go somewhere and take a deep breadth. And next time you use Help in Office, please DO click on the button that says “I want to find out if there is any pirated software on my computer” and let Big Brother have is way with you…. could be relaxing, I dunno….

  6. #6 user
    February 12, 2008

    ^some people are real scientists and can’t use the lame-ass openoffice rip off of excel to actually analyze data properly

  7. #7 Left_Wing_Fox
    February 12, 2008

    FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. It’s false, trivial, or misleading “concerns” about a product meant to keep people worried about using those products. I’m not entirely sure where it was coined but Mac sites where I visit have been using the term at least since the late 90’s when discussing poorly written news articles about Apple.

  8. #8 Courtney
    February 12, 2008

    The term FUD is actually rather old. From what I’ve read, it was first used in relation to IBM (back when they were a major player in the computer industry). It was apparently coined by a former IBM employee who started his own company making IBM compatible equipment, and he coined it to describe IBM’s tactics in convincing people to stay with IBM. See Wikipedia for more detail.

  9. #9 LRM
    February 12, 2008

    Greg, I think you missed my point.

    LRM: I don’t count the goolge search box as adware. First of all, it is not really there … it is a search box that defaults to whatever search engine you want it to. Go click on the “G” and you will see the list, including a button to change it. This is not adware.

    Certainly, Firefox isn’t adware – unless you are Open Office Ninja, in which case any unsolicited endorsement of a product automagically turns the software into adware. By that overly broad definition, the majority of commercial software and probably a good fraction of free software would be considered adware.

    You are telling me that there is asware in Linux. I’ve been using linux and nothing else (with two minor exceptions) for three years continuously and off and on for ten years and I’ve not seen adware.

    Sure you have, if MS-Office meets your definition of adware. That is the point I’m trying to make: a small amount of unobtrusive, contextually related first-party product placement does not immediately turn software into adware.

    In Internet Explorer, if you put “Google Map” into the “search box” (the url box doubles as a search box) you are given “Microsoft Maps.”

    That, my friend, is the obnoxious behavior we are talking about.

    If it were true. I just tried it in IE7: typing “google maps” in the URL location bar, the search box, and, finally Windows Live search. In all three cases, it returns a link to Google maps as the top search result (following by a bunch of links to other Google sites and a Wikipedia article on Google maps).

    Perhaps the behavior you described was true in the past, or in a previous version of IE. But, it isn’t anymore. Being a scientist, don’t you agree that it helps to verify factual claims before boldly making them?

    Now, go somewhere and take a deep breadth. And next time you use Help in Office, please DO click on the button that says “I want to find out if there is any pirated software on my computer” and let Big Brother have is way with you…. could be relaxing, I dunno…

    If I actually ever see that “button” (or link, or whatever) – as far as I can tell, it’s nowhere to be found in my copy of Office 2007 – I might follow your advice. Or, I could, you know, NOT click it, and not indulge in fantasies about Big Brother, sexual or otherwise. Personally, I find the latter approach much more relaxing, but to each his own, I suppose.

    There are dozens of books and articles callee “Windows/OfficeWhatever Annoyances” Many, many of the “tips and tricks” one finds in the literature for Windows are about how to compensate for something screwy in the software.

    No argument there. But Linux/Unix/OS_X/What-Have-You all have their own sets of vagaries, annoyances, and idiosyncrasies that are not easy to deal with at first, and that you learn to work around and eventually completely stop noticing once you are sufficiently used to the system. I find Windows much easier and more intuitive than anything else – but that’s no doubt because I’ve been using Windows as my primary OS for over the last decade. On the other hand, my one attempt to install Fedora onto my PC several years back ended in a partial disaster (largely of my own making), and led me to swear off Linux on my desktop for a while. Still, I’m quite curious about giving Ubuntu a shot – though, as I said, articles like yours are *not* helping.

    As far as your advice about converting old (and new) Office documents to OpenDocument format, I couldn’t agree with you more. Just don’t get rid of the originals. Disk space is dirt cheap these days, data is (are?) very important, and you never know which software format(s) will still be in use and supported X years down the road. The more redundant copies and formats, the merrier.

  10. #10 samk
    February 12, 2008

    Adware defined by PC magazine:

    “Definition of: adware
    (1) (ADvertisementWARE) Software that periodically pops up advertisements on a user’s computer. It displays ads targeted to the individual user based on key words entered in search engines and the types of Web sites the user visits. The marketing data is collected periodically and sent in the background to the adware Web server. Adware is known as “contextual marketing.”

    I like the fact that openofficeorgninja (no biases there, right?) uses Wikipedia as the source of his definition of spyware. When do Universitiess start allowing students to cite the anon authors at Wikipedia?

    I did the “Google Map” issue you described using IE6 and there was no link to any site other than Google.com until the third page! (These results came via Windows Live Search, BTW.)

    As an aside, I’ve reinstalled Windows XP once in the past three years due to a serious hardware upgrade. (That was two months ago.) I’ve yet to have a Linux distro Just Work with all my devices.

  11. #11 samk
    February 12, 2008

    “I did the “Google Map” issue you described using IE6 and there was no link to any site other than Google.com until the third page!”

    My mistake there is a Wikipedia article listed on the first page of hits. There is also a maps.com link on the second page.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    February 12, 2008

    Samk: SO, PC magazine is a scholarly source, but avoid wikipedia? Interesting perspective. whatever…

    Look, everybody has their own stories, and it is pretty useless to compare. My experiences with Windows have been dreadful, and I used windows daily from version 3.0 (yes, 3.0, not 3.1 …. back in the days when Windows was started by typing “win” or whatever at the DOS prompt). In stark contrast, my experiences with Linux have been fantastic. I’ve got a windows computer (my daughter’s games) and a linux computer sitting next to each other. My HP printer will not work with the Windows computer at all, but it works fine with the Linux computer. I could tell a hundred more stories like that.

    For years, I tried linux distributions to see if they would work with the hardware, etc. Generally it was difficult and frustrating, and I would not play around more than a little then continue on with using Windows. Then it stopped being difficult and frustrating, and I now see Linux as the superior choice.

    However, I quickly add this: Linux is not for everyone. Linux works well, is the most stable system, does in fact work with most hardware (certainly does better than many versions of windows have in the past) and will run on every known processor, and runs well on older systems, or systems with less memory, etc. than Windows does. There is a very large percentage of computers sitting right now on people’s desktops that will not really run Windows Vista (and maybe XP in many cases!) that will run Linux jut fine.

    But, a lot of what I think of as annoyances in Windows are, in fact, hand holding. Hand holding is good. Not everyone is willing or has the time or ability to learn what it takes to use a powerful system like Linux. Be it the frequent dialog boxes, UI level decisions about what window you probably want to look at next, or a happy paper clip, Windows does more than any other system to hold your hand. Mac is a close second, but I think the Mac philosophy is to simply be more intuitive rather than to hold the user’s hand.

    If you are a person who minds being thought of as a geek, stay away from Linux. It is not for everybody.

    But for those of us who are able to use it, we love it and everyone I know who has actually made the switch is just plain happier for it. Usually a lot happier.

    Oh, and another thing: I am no longer inundated by constant emails, calls, and people stopping by asking me to help them make something work on their Windows machine. I used to be “the guy”. No longer. I just stare and say “… windows? Is that a computer thing? … sorry, I use Linux. Know nothin’ ’bout windows….” and they go away. Life is good.

  13. #13 LRM
    February 13, 2008

    Look, everybody has their own stories, and it is pretty useless to compare. My experiences with Windows have been dreadful, and I used windows daily from version 3.0 (yes, 3.0, not 3.1 …. back in the days when Windows was started by typing “win” or whatever at the DOS prompt). In stark contrast, my experiences with Linux have been fantastic. I’ve got a windows computer (my daughter’s games) and a linux computer sitting next to each other. My HP printer will not work with the Windows computer at all, but it works fine with the Linux computer. I could tell a hundred more stories like that.

    If that’s your take on things, we have no quarrel whatsoever. To each his own, as they say. It’s great that Linux works well for you, as it does for millions of others. Furthermore, I have no problem with you or anyone championing Linux; quite the contrary, I’m very impressed with how it’s grown in the last few years, and that is in no small part due to Linux supporters getting the word out to businesses and home users. What I do object to is being labeled a cool-aid drinker for using (and generally liking) MS software, the baseless FUD (e.g. labeling Office “adware” when it clearly is not by any useful definition), and the outright misinformation that OSS advocates sometimes espouse. I read a lot of Slashdot, and no longer pay much attention to it there, but I expect more by way of reasoned discourse here at Scienceblogs. (I am an avid reader, though I almost never post.)

    For instance, you could have easily used your daughter’s Windows machine to type “Google Maps” in the search bar of IE before claiming it goes to “Microsoft Maps”. You didn’t, didn’t offer any evidence to back up your assertion, and failed to retract your claim when two posters, myself included, corrected you. This is the sort of behavior I find annoying – as I’m sure you would too, if it were done by, say, an ID creationist (as it has been on countless occasions, here and elsewhere).

    If you are a person who minds being thought of as a geek, stay away from Linux. It is not for everybody.

    Here I disagree with you. While I use Windows as my primary OS, I am a pretty hard-core geek, and have the creds for it: post-hole digger in CS, programming since I was 14, currently work in high-performance computing building massively parallel software. Love coding, am a fan of OSS, and yes, and have for many years been a very satisfied Linux user (although, apparently, a crappy admin). I have equally geeky (and even geekier) friends, and I would say that about half of them use Windows as their primary home OS (the rest are split between Macs and various Linux distros). Like me, they use Windows not because they are afraid to learn something new, but because Windows – at least in its latest incarnations (and yes, I’m including Vista, though it certainly has taken some steps backward as well as forward) – is an entirely satisfactory OS for our purposes. Linux on our desktops isn’t scary: it’s just not particularly appealing, and doesn’t yet offer much worth switching over, IMO. The learning curve is a deterrent only in the sense that there doesn’t appear to be sufficient return on the time and effort invested. Your mileage may vary of course – in fact, given how much happier you are with Linux, it does, widely. But it doesn’t necessarily make you any geekier. :) Besides, how can you claim geek creds when you didn’t even know what FUD was? If this were Slashdot, they’d be revoking your geek card with extreme prejudice.

  14. #14 clinteas
    February 13, 2008

    No geek at all,but been using Linux for 10 years as primary OS for Internet,office applications etc,while using the various Windoze incarnations over time for gaming and Internet TV only.
    With the Unix distributions today,there is no geek factor at all,simple to use for anyone,no command line thingies involved unless you want to do something fancy,and btw,never had a Google searchbar in Firefox before,not sure where that comes from.
    And not to forget,the various 100 dollar Laptops being rolled out atm,all have Linux as their OS,and if the kids in India and South America can cope with it,everyone else ought to as well.
    My 2 cents….

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2008

    LRM:

    Oh, my evidence that looking for Google Maps on IE and getting to Microsoft Maps (somehow) without wanting to is that it happened on a windows computer to me last week. I tried to replicate it and could not. But it really did happen

    What must have happened is that I clicked on something wrong or otherwise did something wrong. I was not making a test or conducting an experience, I was in a big hurry looking for a google map and ended up at a microsoft map.

    Here’s the thing: I’m the guy who does not want to go to Microsoft’s site, but I ended up there on a windows computer running IE. Who knows, I probably pressed the wrong button. But I ask you this: How does a random error (which I assume I had made) just happen to make a person end up on a Microsoft site? Because somebody at Microsoft designed something that makes that happen sometimes, because that sort of thing is part of their business model.

    Ignoring that or not realizing that it is tru (I’m speaking here in generalities, not about a particular screw up I made that cannot be replicated) is absolutely Kool-Ade sipping. (I’m not saying that you in particular are Kool-Ade sipping (or not), but that is what I mean by that phrase).

    Here I disagree with you. While I use Windows as my primary OS, I am a pretty hard-core geek, and have the creds for it

    No. If you were a real geek, you’d be using Linux. Windows is for wanna be dickless yuppie geeks.

    (OK, OK, calm down, only kidding…. some of my best friends are Windows geeks. I was a windows geek for years until I finally got a the same Linux box to hook to both a printer and a network!!!)

    Your analysis of the quality of Linux as a system vs. Windows is entirely wrong, of course. In every possible Metric Linux is better. Look at this interesting fact I just found on the Internet somewhere … some guy who appears to know what he is talking about said:

    I have equally geeky (and even geekier) friends, and I would say that about half of them use Windows as their primary home OS (the rest are split between Macs and various Linux distros).

    In the general population, just a few percent of people are using Linux. Among people who really know computers, it’s more like half.

    In the words of Paul Macarthy: “Say no more…”

    clinteas: I know, I agree with you totally. But whenever I run into someone who is intractably anti Linux I say something like that. It’s the IT/PC equiviliant of “Hey, bro,is that a new shirt? Wha, yo daddy get a job?”

  16. #16 William
    February 13, 2008

    How does a random error (which I assume I had made) just happen to make a person end up on a Microsoft site? Because somebody at Microsoft designed something that makes that happen sometimes, because that sort of thing is part of their business model.

    A random error that we can’t reproduce so this is just speculation, but perhaps you got “Microsoft maps” because a) you forgot to include “Google” in your query, and b) you have your default search provider set to Live Search in IE. When you search from the Address bar, IE7 uses your default search provider (some previous versions used a random search provider – see here for details). Steps to add or change search providers in IE7 is left as an exercise for the “geeky” reader.

    Say you have Windows (woe is you!) and you don’t upgrade your Internet Explorer because you never use it, and it has a security flaw, and then you click on the items referred to above…in recent years automatic updates in Windows could not be trusted. Automatic updates in Windows are FUD.

    You don’t have to click on something that launches IE to get yourself into trouble in this case. Just run some other application that hosts the Web Browser control (IE). IOW, you should install IE security updates even if you don’t use IE! And Automatic Updates handles this quite nicely for users. That’s why, for example, the University of Manitoba has decided to trust Automatic Updates–instead of thousands of individual users–to keep their Windows systems updated.

  17. #17 obie
    February 13, 2008

    William: A better solution … don’t use MS Windows!

  18. #18 William
    February 13, 2008

    Even better Obie: don’t use computers or the Internet at all! Then you don’t have to worry about Windows or Linux security vulnerabilities.

  19. #19 samk
    February 13, 2008

    “SO, PC magazine is a scholarly source, but avoid wikipedia? Interesting perspective. whatever…”

    “Whatever”? Hey! That is the same argument my 10 year old daughter offers up when her decisions are questioned! In truth both Wikipedia and PC Magazine are popular sources. Obviously, though, there is more than one definition of ‘adware’. If you call 911 and tell them you just saw a cat loose in your neighborhood when you were referring to a tiger have you given the operator enough information? Does your definition of a cat need a bit more refinement? I wonder why openofficeorgninja chose Wikipedia’s definition of adware instead of PC Magazine’s. Maybe it was because it was the one he could use to hammer home his obviously biased opinion.

    “My HP printer will not work with the Windows computer at all, but it works fine with the Linux computer.”

    If that is truly the case I am willing to bet that HP does not indicate that they support your printer on the version of Windows you are using. My Photosmart 3210 supports 98 through 64 bit Vista. Why would I try installing it on a 95 box? BTW, it is also supported on Linux using hplip. That’s how I’m using it right now on my Ubuntu box.

    “Linux works well, is the most stable system, does in fact work with most hardware (certainly does better than many versions of windows have in the past)and will run on every known processor, and runs well on older systems, or systems with less memory, etc. than Windows does. There is a very large percentage of computers sitting right now on people’s desktops that will not really run Windows Vista (and maybe XP in many cases!) that will run Linux jut fine.”

    I have never run across a piece of hardware that was certified as Windows compatible that failed to work with Windows except when the hardware itself was defective or when someone was attempting to use said hardware with an unsupported version of Windows. As with Windows there are many different versions of Linux. I ran RedHat 5 on a 486/33. Can I run Vista on that 486? Nope, but I sure as hell can’t run Fedora Core 6 on it either!

    “With the Unix distributions today,there is no geek factor at all, simple to use for anyone, no command line thingies involved unless you want to do something fancy”

    Like listen to an mp3 or watch a DVD? ROFL! Have fun installing that support on a Ubuntu box. Sure, you and I can do it…we’ve been using PCs for decades. But give Joe Sixpack a new PC with an OoTB install of Ubuntu 7.1 and I’ll bet dollars to donuts that he can’t get those packages installed. What J6P would say is, “I can’t play my mp3s. Give me back my Windows!” Then again, Linux is only used by those with mad computing skillz! Why would anyone want to listen to an mp3?

    The simple fact of the matter is that by unchecking a single box and restarting Word both the APA and print issues openofficeorgninja rants about disappear.

  20. #20 William
    February 13, 2008

    BTW Greg: on your “Sure Fire Way to Eliminate Adware and Spyware from your Hardware” I would simply offer this thread as a counterexample.

  21. #21 William
    February 13, 2008

    And speaking of unexpected ads, I just popped over to your old blog Greg. And what did I find? An ad for Ben Stein’s movie! ;-)

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2008

    If that is truly the case I am willing to bet that HP does not indicate that they support your printer on the version of Windows you are using.

    Huh? Having a major common printer not run on a major release of an OS and that’s OK? It’s a 2400 series printer and it’s an XP box. The documentation says it should work. In fact, it should be plug and play!

    The fact that you have never run into a hardware problem in Windows smells a lot like … well, Kool Ade, actually.

    My linux installation plays MP3’s without tweaking and does an excellent job out of the box with DVD’s, no problem. Better than Windows.

    In fact, check this out: Because of the way that *nix systems work, the DVD does not even have to be a physical DVD in a DVD reader. It can be an image of a DVD. Since everything in Linux is a file (essentially) there is no difference. In Windows, if you want to do that, you have to install crappy software that will not work.

    Your information is either willfully flawed or just play unbelievably out of date.

    (Glug glug glug)

    Hey, william, stop drinking that Kool ade… yes, that thread mention is a bit odd. It is about the very unusual problem of someone having an “adware” issue on a Ubuntu installation. (Or did you not notice the word “unusual”??? )

    Given that there is no explanation for what is happening, I suspect that this is YOU pretending to have a broken Ubuntu machine. Tear off the mask, ol’ “william” ol’ boy … you’re really Bill, aren’t you!?!?? You really need to find something more productive to do in your retirement.

  23. #23 ColoRambler
    February 13, 2008

    Like listen to an mp3 or watch a DVD? ROFL! Have fun installing that support on a Ubuntu box. Sure, you and I can do it…we’ve been using PCs for decades.

    It’s true that out-of-the-box support for popular files and activities is a sticking point for some versions of Linux.

    That said, I was up and playing MP3s and DVDs immediately after installing the latest version of my current Linux distribution (Linux Mint), which I chose in part for that reason. It’s not Ubuntu per se, but it is based on Ubuntu, and pretty much every Ubuntu tip out there applies to it. I know there are a couple other distributions out there that are like this, but I’m not sure of their names off the top of my head. Even if I’d installed vanilla Ubuntu, installing MP3 and DVD support on it (or really, most any modern distribution) isn’t a power-user activity anymore. It could have been one 4 or 5 years ago, but today, the normal procedure for installing free (as in beer) software is to go to the software package manager, select something, and say “yes, please install this”.

    I think the biggest sticking point for Linux in general isn’t software, but hardware. In any given distribution and installation I’ve usually had one piece of hardware (4 years ago, an HP printer; more recently, wireless cards) that needed a little tweaking to work right. If I were a Windows user who didn’t want to do any tweaking, I could easily consider that a significant turnoff.

  24. #24 William
    February 13, 2008

    Or did you not notice the word “unusual”???

    Actually, I did. And I’m sure that adware on Ubuntu is very unusual. I mean how many people actually use Ubuntu in the first place? And then what percentage of those users are “geeky” enough to know how to avoid installing adware and spyware and viruses? So I would be very surprised if adware was a significant problem on Ubuntu in the wild. But did you not notice the “me too” responses on that thread? Or forget that you used the phrase “sure fire” in your original post? Or are you just not smart enough to realize that ONE counterexample is a “sure fire” way to disprove a “sure fire” solution?

    I suspect that this is YOU pretending to have a broken Ubuntu machine.

    Oh sure, I joined the Ubuntu Forums back in April 07 and started that thread in August 07. Since then I spend all of my time looking for people touting Ubuntu as the “sure fire” solution to adware so I can use my thread as a counterexample. Talk about drinking the kool ade, you must have ordered in bulk!

    Tear off the mask, ol’ “william” ol’ boy … you’re really Bill, aren’t you!?!??

    Forget the kool ade Greg…you need to put down your crack pipe! ;-)

  25. #25 samk
    February 13, 2008

    “Huh? Having a major common printer not run on a major release of an OS and that’s OK? It’s a 2400 series printer and it’s an XP box. The documentation says it should work. In fact, it should be plug and play!”

    This hardly points to an OS issue.

    “The fact that you have never run into a hardware problem in Windows smells a lot like … well, Kool Ade, actually.”

    Reading Is Fundamental. I never said that I hadn’t run into hardware problems with Windows. I said that the hardware issues I have come across using Windows were either PEBKAC or defective hardware.

    “My linux installation plays MP3’s without tweaking and does an excellent job out of the box with DVD’s, no problem. Better than Windows.”

    Which Linux distro are you using? I can tell you that Ubuntu 7.1 does not include DVD or MP3 support out of the box. Also, which metric are you using to determine which OS plays a media file “better”?

    “In fact, check this out: Because of the way that *nix systems work, the DVD does not even have to be a physical DVD in a DVD reader. It can be an image of a DVD. Since everything in Linux is a file (essentially) there is no difference. In Windows, if you want to do that, you have to install crappy software that will not work. ”

    Wow! I mount ISO images all the time! The software I use works every single time, too! Microsoft even offers a free tool to do this. Microsoft’s tool has been available since at least January of 2004. You were saying something about someone being unbelievably out of date? Granted, it’s not as nice as the tool I personally use…but it’s there.

    “Your information is either willfully flawed or just play unbelievably out of date.”

    Now I’m a liar. You’re the one who posted about IE’s phantom “obnoxious behavior” and then, when called on it, you admitted that it was most likely caused by a user error and that it could not be reproduced. Willfully flawed indeed.

  26. #26 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2008

    Wow, I’m going to have to switch to this “Windows” thing .. sounds like a great piece of software.

    Readers: Please ignore this troll. He is providing a lot of bad information. Windows, like any operating system, but more so than most, fails to operate hardware quite often, when the hardware is working fine and specifications say it should work.

    The current version of Ubuntu plays mp3 out of the box. Ubuntu has played DVD’s out of the box for a long time, as far a I know.

    There are a few multimedia bits and pieces that have in the past required the user to install one item to make everything work, but I believe the current version this one-click solution entirely or almost entirely.

    Enough of the Kool Ade.

  27. #27 samk
    February 13, 2008

    From https://help.ubuntu.com/7.10/musicvideophotos/C/video.html#video-dvd

    WARNING. DO NOT FOLLOW THIS INDIVIDUAL’S INSTRUCTIONS. THIS IS THE HARD WAY. DO IT THE EASY WAY.

    “Playing DVDs
    In order to play DVDs, you must install some additional software. Unfortunately, DVD support cannot be provided by default in Ubuntu due to legal and technical restrictions.

    Many commercial DVDs are encrypted and so require the use of decryption software in order to play them. In some countries, the use of such decryption software is not permitted by law. Verify that you are within your rights in using it.

    Install the following packages (see Add Applications):

    gxine

    libdvdnav4

    libdvdplay0

    libdvdread3

    If you would like to play encrypted DVDs (see the legal note above), press Applications ? Accessories ? Terminal and type the following into the screen which appears, followed by the Return key:

    sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/install-css.shPress System ? Preferences ? Removable Drives and Media and click on the Multimedia tab.

    In the Command box under Video DVD Discs, type �gxine -S dvd:/� (without quotes) and then press Close.

    Insert a DVD disc into the DVD drive of your computer. It should play automatically in gxine. You can press the f key to watch the DVD full-screen.”

    Now who’s a Kool-Aid drinking troll?

  28. #28 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2008

    As I said. MP3 support out of the box, DVD with one click as an option during your installation process.

    The instructions you provide are incorrect and misleading.

    I am the blogger, you are the troll. You are wasting my time and everyone else’s. You are full of shit, full of lies, full of love for Microsoft and despise Linux. You are trolling around in the wrong place.

    Good bye.

  29. #29 samk
    February 13, 2008

    “As I said. MP3 support out of the box”

    Wrong again.

    From https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestrictedFormats/MP3

    “Playing MP3 Files
    Since MP3 is one of the most widely-used audio formats, you probably will come across a few MP3 files in your computer usage – if you don’t already have a large collection of them. You have two options for dealing with your MP3’s under Ubuntu:

    Install some extra, restricted plugins

    Converting to open unrestricted formats, like Ogg-Vorbis”

  30. #30 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2008

    You may be right about the MP3 files. I honestly can’t remember for two reasons:

    1) When I installed my current installation of Linux, I then installed (with virtually no effort) another piece of software (for free) that then installed everything I needed for multimedia operations; and

    2) Since I use linux, and now windows, I don’t have to constantly wipe my hard drive and reinstall the system. It just works. Also, the equivilant to automatic update in linux is safe, flawless, and seamless, so you are not entering codes and rebooting and having thing break when upgrades happen, so one tends to lose track.

    With Windows, on the other hand, it does not work that way. For instance: Go buy windows (it is not free) and install it. Then go and buy a copy of Zoo Tycoon, the game. It is not free. Then try to run Zoo Tycoon (this is with XP). It will not run. You get a message saying that you must install a third party codex to run this on windows. SO you go to get that from the web site, and it’s like 20 bucks. So you pay them the money and install it, then it runs.

    Zoo Tycoon and Windows are both made by Microsoft.

    Then your windows installation totally crashes, and you have to reinstall the codex and buy it again because that’s how it works…

    And so on and so forth.

    Sam, let me tell you. Windows is perfect. For you. It never goes wrong, alwasy does what you want, anything that happens that other people might find annoying, expensive, time consuming, or simply broken is either a feature or is a problem caused by something other than windows. So go and use your windows and have fun.

    Oh, and by the way, thanks for looking up that MP3 thing. I won’t need the information, though, because I use a much easier method for installing and maintaining that software and it all seems to be working just fine.

  31. #31 adware
    April 12, 2008

    great topic i will keep reading mpre well written
    http://adware—removal.blogspot.com/

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