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Bug of the moment 2007-01-09

silvestrij pointed out a cross-site scripting flaw in the Adobe Reader browser plugin, so I upgraded Adobe Reader to version 8 (which apparently solves the problem). Along the way, I met up with the latest version of their Netopsystems-based installer. The one that used to be called “FEAD”:

Maybe it’s just me, but “FEAD” sounds somehow gruesome and macabre, and yet reminds me of “FOAD”. Perhaps Adobe, or Netopsystems, felt the same way as they no longer use that name. However, their presentation has taken a turn for the worse:

Note that while I wonder if, sometimes, my own computer is simply cursed, these problems are reproducible in Windows XP SP 2 on a much newer Pentium 4 computer.

The following screenshot is, again, taken from my Pentium II; given that the installation process was not unreasonably slow, one has to wonder quite why the space between the number and the unit in the time estimate readout is so long:

By my estimation, and not considering the space to the left of the figure, nor thousands separation (as the program does not bother with it) you can fit in ten digits of time:

Ten digits of time here is 1010−1 seconds, or 316 years. Perhaps this is how long it would take if you had chosen the floppy-based install? On a 486? I am only half-kidding, having experienced the joy which is installing Microsoft Office 4 onto what I imagine was a 486 or early Pentium, all 25 or 26 discs of it. And lo, the CD-ROM was invented. That and the Intarweb. (And even I had no idea that the Internet and the Web were separate. Shame on me.)

Anyhows, my PC has a 120 toasty GB hard drive so space is of little concern to me, but the good folk at Adobe decided to offer me some of the same generosity they provide to their 486-with-floppy-drive-only users and give me some more:

Only 38 of them, but beggars can’t be choosers…

By the way, does anyone else feel slightly disturbed that the first dialog is part of Netopsystems’ Size Optimizer® which, after much churning and using 109 MB of RAM in the process, launches InstallShield inside of the Windows Installer?

Let alone why Windows Installer needs so many processes to operate. One can only wonder what sort of monstrous nightmare Windows has become that it needs such a convoluted process to simply install a flipping PDF reader!

(silvestrij pointed out that InstallShield launches the Windows Installer, not the other way around (as I wrote it) but on checking again (sorry, should have saved an un-cropped copy of that screenshot), Setup.exe is the “Adobe Bootstrapper for Single Installation” and the InstallShield dialogs belong not to Setup.exe but to its child process, msiexec.exe [1500]. From what I can see, InstallShield is running as an MSI, but make of it what you will.)

Posted 9th January 2007 – Comments and questions?