Adobe: Reinventing the wheel as a rectangle

Earlier today, I tried to open a PDF[Portable Document Format] file, and my installation of Acrobat Reader warned me that the file utilized features that might not work properly in this version of Acrobat Reader, and it encouraged me to update. Fair enough, since the installation I was running probably was a year old.

I then visited Adobe’s web site and downloaded the new, renamed, and hopefully improved Adobe Reader 6.0.
Well. It turns out “improved” is a gross overstatement, at least as far as the installer goes. This was not on my primary PC, but on a PIII-500 with 128MB of memory, which is good enough for most everyday tasks.
I started the installer, and was met by an installer that was “Recomposing” the Adobe Reader setup program? Without any option to cancel. I waited for a few seconds, then decided to do something else while it finished. Which proved to be next to impossible, as this uncancellable “recomposing” of the software ate all of my CPU cycles, along with all of the available physical memory.
“Ok. No computing for the 30 more seconds this should have taken”, I thought, and went to the fridge to get a yoghurt. I went to the fridge, back to the computer, ate my yoghurt, and I was still looking at the “Netopsystems FEAD Optimizer” doing the mysterious “Recomposing” the Acrobat 6.0 setup program.
So, finally, after spending 6.5 minutes of waiting for this mysterious “Recomposing”, the installer launched. Which was another 30 seconds of staring at a “Progress” bar.
And then the installer finally launched. Whoever it was that decided to then torment me by forcing me to click through no less than *four* “Next” items in a wizard, where the only useful options was changing the install path, on the third screen, before actually installing anything, should have his ^1^ computing priveleges permanently withdrawn.
Oh, and by the way, the last paragraph I wrote was written without any sort of screen feedback, as I decided to relaunch the installer program to actually confirm that it took that long to launch. Which brings up yet another pet hate: It is actually fine by me that you try to confirm that I really want to cancel an operation, and quit the installer, but when I have confirmed that I want to cancel and quit, I actually expect the damn application to cancel and quit, not just cancel and point me to yet another wizard screen where the only option I have is clicking “Finish”.
^[1] I’m presuming only a male could come up with an installer this insanely stupid.^

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  1. Frak Einstein

     /  2003-07-02

    I had the same problem. Only mine never got past 68% of “recomposing”… ever! I left it running overnight to no avail. Some seriuosly annoying crap happening here.

  2. Jyri

     /  2003-07-10

    It says also that the “Recomposing” time “depends on Your system”! So what is it, another spyware?

  3. The FEAD Optimizer uses some heavy duty compression, and as with other compression algorithms, decompression becomes processor-intensive and takes longer as the compression level increases. In this case, they’ve simply overdone it, and bundled it with some horrid usability choices.

  4. Nick

     /  2003-07-21

    I have to agree that the FEAD Optimizer is a dreadfull bit of software, supposedly it not only provides high levels of compression but also ‘protects the integrity’ of the installer in the event of errors being introduced during the download. Surely this is something that the self extracting zip files can do as well…. and a damn site quicker too! I hope Adobe drop this awful bit of software with the next release Adobe Reader – if not sooner

  5. David Monterey

     /  2003-07-29

    This may only be of help to people like me who need to install Adobe Acrobat 6 on multiple computers, but states:
    “…if you start the installer and wait for it to finish extracting files, you will find it creates a folder named %SystemRoot%\cache\Adobe Reader 6.0\ENUBIG. (SystemRoot is normally C:\WINNT or C:\WINDOWS.) This folder contains the complete uncompressed tree, including an MSI file named Adobe Reader 6.0.msi….”
    You can copy the ENUBIG folder anywhere you like and use its SETUP.EXE to perform further installations. Worked for me.

  6. Mark

     /  2003-08-26

    Thanks for that tip. Seems to me that Adobe should be the one publishing that kind of information. At first I thought that FEAD beast was some kind of rogue program.

  7. Shawn

     /  2003-10-01

    You can also get the Acrobat reader MSI file off of the Adobe Acrobat Standard CD ROM. To have it install unattended, simply use the command:
    msiexec.exe /i ‘insert full path to the msi here’ /qn
    /qn will be completely silent and /qb will let the user see the prgress windows flying by.
    Unfortunately building an unattended install for Acrobat Standard is a much bigger PITA.

  8. vdcauter

     /  2003-10-09

    I completely agree about the long time of loading even on a P4 at 2.6Ghz
    Moreover, Adobe reader 6.0 has probably some kind of spyware built in as it tries to connect to both of my provider’s IPs between 50 and 70 times each time I am connected trough ADSL according to the log of Zonealarm PRO.
    Needless to say I have blocked this connection…

  9. lxwong

     /  2005-10-28

    Netopsystems FEAD Optimizer is one of the worst kind of software you will ever encounter. Its a shame that Adobe chose to associate with this kind of crap.

  10. Daniel Sheahan

     /  2006-01-19

    I so agree. I am not a techie, and this is the most stupid thing I have ever seen. HP and Adobe should dump this as fast as possible.

  11. Bob Dob

     /  2006-01-28

    I just downloaded the Reader 7 installer, and when I saw that “FEAD Optimizer” crap, I decided to back out of the installation altogether until I could do some more research. What the hell is wrong with Adobe? Arrogance? Stupidity? Any big company that thinks they’ve earned the “trust” of end-users enough to implement trojan-looking crap like this is seriously living in a fantasy world. My computer doesn’t need to be “optimized”, Adobe, and if that’s not what’s happening then you should effing-well have the courtesy to explain what IS being “optimized” in the Readme. Oh, wait–there IS no Readme.
    Dear Adobe: Get a clue.

  12. Can I recommend “Foxit Reader”: It doesn’t require an installer and has read every PDF file I have needed to opened for the last few months. It also starts in less than a second and the EXE file (which is all you need and all you will get) weighs less than 3MB.

  13. Nick Coffey

     /  2006-02-16

    I have had all the same concerns except I didn’t have time isssues with the installation. The wizards are rediculous; totally unnecessary, just slow you down even more? Why is it that all the recent adobe ‘upgrades’ seem retrograde?
    Which vesrion should I back up to? {BTW, If you don’t know already, the version 7’s don’t support a lot of HP printers. HP doesn’t release this information.}
    I need to view and print graphic files like maps. I guess I’ll try foxit reader. Or adobe 5?
    Linux looks better every day! XP is a mess. The sloppy practice of leaving old stuff behind and writing workarounds instead of cleaning the OS up has started killing the MS/OS. The enforced organization schemes are bad enough, and all those assumptions about what I want? I think those are called, “smart” devices… anyway two users found personal data in six locations after using xp for half a year. Gates’ nosiness is psychotic. oh well, flame flame flame