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Installers which will try to download from Web..

Recently I have come across several installers of software which while running, download files from the software creator's website.

I don't know why don't they tell me on the site which all files they want so that I can download them using FTP instead of the stupid installer downloading using method I don't know. It will not understand my firewall/proxy settings. It's ALMOST ALWAYS slow. It hangs my installation.

Could someone please educate those people who try to put this download functionality as an OPTION rather than a must?

Anyone has similar experiences?
Regards,
JD

JD
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

"Could someone please educate those people who try to put this download functionality as an OPTION rather than a must?"

I actually meant,

Could someone please educate those people who make this download functionality as a MUST, to make it a choice for the end user.

And btw, the last software which I tried with such a stupid thing was Artifact Desktop.

JD

JD
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

<standard user/management response>
What's FTP?
</standard user/management response>

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

That's why I am saying, they should keep downloading from Installer itself as an OPTION.

For example, till date I have not found installer who can correctly understand our corporate password protected proxy. Sometimes it fails because of firewall.

I mean, instead they could well give me option saying You need blah.cab from this website before this installer runs.

For people with T1 and for those not so advanced user, downloading straight from installer is fine.

JD

JD
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Also, I was wondering what kind of method is used by this installer to download a file.

I doubt if they use FTP.

JD

JD
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Anybody downloading from an installer is most likely using http. That's because ftp doesn't deal well with firewalls and network address translation.

Clay Dowling
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Some of them use web installers to try to stop people from distributing copies of the software.  First you download something that is a subset of the overall package, then that thing downloads and installs the rest of the software.  So you aren't left with a neat zip or exe that you can copy.  You would have to compare before and after snapshots of the directory and registry to find out what was installed and changed if you wanted to obtain something that could be copied to another computer (or reinstalled after a reformat).

Of course, this is very annoying.

In particular, I notice Microsoft has started doing this more often, which is strange considering that they aren't even selling the software (e.g. DirectX).

T. Norman
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Most likely, the lack of an "installation from FTP" option or other settings to allow the user to optimize downloading is a customer support issue.

IE: allowing a choice == rich opportunity for end lusers to deliberately go out of their way to become confused, get stupid, do the wrong thing, become stymied and then bombard the vendor's tech support with issues.

The built in way is nonoptimal but is pretty much guaranteed to work.

Snobby programmer who looks down on end lusers
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

"In particular, I notice Microsoft has started doing this more often, which is strange considering that they aren't even selling the software"

There are sometimes very good reasons to offer such systems. For example, take an application that requires a runtime of some kind: VC++ runtime libraries, VB runtime libraries, .NET, etc. It makes a lot more sense to download the stub and detect what's needed, instead of downloading everything that might possibly need.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I'm not sure why FTP continues to stick around.  I'm pretty certain pipelined chunked HTTP connections as specified in 1.1 would outperform FTP downloads.  A proxy that doesn't implement this properly is likely pretty brain dead.

christopher baus
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Can you upload a file with a pipelined, chunked HTTP connection?

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

philo- yes. apache dav should support it, according to release notes. it's certainly valid in the spec. IIS doesn't support it.

apple ical tries to use it in a most braindead fashion (they specify "bytes 1-n followed by the rest" in the request header, which means if your server doesn't support range requests it must reject the request, though of course that translates to 'every byte')

mb
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

So - 20 year old protocol that works fine vs. 0.9b protocol that isn't supported by one major internet server, has a broken implementation on the second, and "should be" implemented on the third.

Yeah, you gotta wonder why people still use FTP...

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

going way off topic here, but there are two main http servers: Apache and IIS. One has good DAV support. The other comes from a company which tends to avoid doing full support of standards until forced. Maybe IIS 6 has range support.

anyway, http is no longer 0.9, 1.1 has been stable for about 5 years and as a protocol is perfectly decent. it solves a number of problems with FTP (secondary ports open, lots of security holes in implementations). it's easy to write your own server too.

no one says you must switch, but it's easy to understand why others are switching. even kermit and zmodem are still valid for certain situations.

mb
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Does FTP still "just work" in the NAT'ed internet?

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Passive mode was added to FTP to support NATs and firewalls. Most NATs and firewalls also have code that will specifically watch and change FTP command channel traffic (specifically, PORT commands) for non-passive FTP.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Passive mode FTP breaks a lot of FTP proxies.

And, apropos of the recent messages asking why critical systems are connected to the Internet at all, well, this is one of the reasons: there's too much software that won't install or run if it can't get to the net.

"Inconceivable!"

The most insane example I heard of was some firewall software that had to download its rulesets during the install from the net... so you HAD to put the computer online before it had been secured!

Developers: always provide a way for people to use and install your software offline. If I need to download a 120MB package, I might gripe but I'll be back.

Oh, another thing, provide a batch installer, and if possible build your software so you can install just it by copying the runtime directory tree into place... if it discovers that some libraries or drivers are missing, install them from a cache on first run. Anyone who needs to do bulk installs will thank you.

Peter da Silva
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Another problem with installers which try to download from Web is that Net Nanny sometimes screws with them. Try to download Kodak's free photo software and you will see what I mean...

Seeya

Matthew
Thursday, August 21, 2003

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