I started to install an update to Java tonight. (Java is up to version 6, update 15. Sometimes it feels like Java updates are issued two or three times a day. It’s okay to install Java updates when you’re prompted by the icon in the lower right corner. It’s boring and irritating, yes, but it helps keep you safe online.)

As usual, some completely unrelated bit of software from a completely different manufacturer was offered during the installation, with the “Yes!” box checked by default. Tonight it was a trial version of “Carbonite Online Backup,” whatever that may be.

javajunk

Some bloggers are pushing a movement to “ban the check!” – the default checkmark that all too often causes unnecessary software to be installed along with an unrelated security update. Google/Yahoo/Bing/AOL/Ask.com toolbars, OpenOffice, more. Almost no one uses the Internet Explorer toolbars, but almost everyone accumulates a few unless they’re very careful.

Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Sun – don’t include other software with a security update! We need to be confident that we can install your updates to protect ourselves and not clutter up or destabilize our computers when we do.

Apple has now gone back to something that made a lot of people very angry at the beginning of 2008. Under the guise of a security update for the iPhone, Apple has gone back to a stealth installation of its useless Safari Internet browser, checking the box to install it by default along with the security update.

appleupdate

That’s so wrong! As I said before:

I have my own religious belief. I want as little superfluous software as possible on your computers. Each duplicative program increases the chance that your computer will slow down or crash; increases the chance that unfamiliar programs will start when you click on a file or shortcut; increases the chance that you will be frustrated instead of productive. . . .

I don’t suggest installing Safari unless you’re motivated to deal with whatever problems it introduces and willing to stay on top of the stream of updates that it will require.

Vendors – stop it! You’re destroying our faith in the update process. And all of you out there, my loyal friends and clients, watch out for those checkmarks!