As my long-time readers know, I am in the process of rebuilding a crashed hard disk on my laptop and upgrading a Microsoft Windows XP installation to Microsoft Windows 7. Both require installing the original versions of application programs. Unfortunately, some of my older programs, while at the current update level, are no longer available. Some have been upgraded to cloud versions and the older versions themselves are no longer available. But, even worse, I am finding that vendors of both proprietary and open source software are attempting to monetize their downloads by including crapware in their installer program. And while they do not expect such crapware to be malicious, some of it contains “phone home” software that exposes your system to external spying.
I am now extremely wary when I see a green download buttons (or any other color for that matter) …
The new CNET Download.com Installer
We want to let you know about a change you'll start to see when you download software from us over the next few weeks. CNET Download.com recently started using a new piece of software to help deliver our downloads. This new software is called the CNET Download.com Installer and it adds an extra layer of security and reliability to downloads that come from CNET.
In addition to making our downloads more secure, it has extra features like the ability to pause a download and launch the software installer immediately after it's finished downloading. We'll also be able to show you software recommendations and special offers through the CNET Download.com Installer, including some that are only available to CNET users.
And, I no longer trust downloads from the premier open source repository SourceForge …
I do not mind the on-page advertising from reputable companies like IBM, but I certainly do not trust downloads that are flagged as containing possible unsafe applications.
Today SourceForge it is excited to launch DevShare, a new opt-in, revenue-sharing program aimed at giving developers a better way to monetize their projects in a transparent, honest and sustainable way.
DevShare is a new partnership program designed to make it easy for SourceForge developers to offer a selection of trusted open source applications to users, turning downloads into a source of revenue that can help fund their projects. This revenue will help these projects to grow and offer additional software to our users.
We take our role at SourceForge as the trusted source for open source very seriously. That is why we spent considerable time looking for partners we could trust and building a system that does not detract from our core user experience.
We know many open source users are skeptical about monetization initiatives. SourceForge will always respect the rights of our users and we will never infringe on them. DevShare offers a transparent installation flow that gives users all the necessary information to make educated choices about what software to install.
Thanks to DevShare, we are now able to offer a bundle program that is fully compliant with Google’s strictest policies. This includes a solid compliance process for both open source applications and third party offerings. The whole installation flow is clean and has no misleading steps. Uninstallation procedures are exhaustively documented and all applications are verified to be virus and malware free. You can see this on the latest version of FileZilla, our largest DevShare partner to date.
Last but not least, we will only include projects that have opted into our program. Our compliance processes are very strict and, as such, our beta program is going to be invitation-only during this first phase. If you would like to participate in this revenue-sharing program, just drop us an email, we’ll be back to you as soon as possible.
Stay tuned for more! <Source>
Bottom line …
I am not saying every downloader is malicious or will install crapware, but it is up to you to decide whether or not to risk the download.
If you are downloaded free, open source, or proprietary software … make sure that your anti-virus and anti-malware programs are patched and up-to-date. You may also wish to run a program that will capture all changes to your system should you wish to remove crapware that is accidently installed.
It’s your system, why hardware and software vendors believe they should have access to your property – other than to verify license details – is problematical.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius