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AOL 9.0 Called Badware 295

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the been-called-worse dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The bad news at AOL keeps coming. First they get in trouble for releasing search data on more than half a million customers, then it gives away security software with a nasty EULA, now its free client software is accused of acting like badware according to Stopbadware.org, the Google-funded rating group."
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AOL 9.0 Called Badware

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  • LOL (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:04PM (#15994732)
    So, Google technically owns like 5% of AOL, and funds stopbadware.org. So this is sort of like Sony vs. Sony, isn't it? Not directly relevant, but interesting as it shows how widespread these big Internet companies are, and how many pies they have their fingers in.
  • Re:badware? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Br00se (211727) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:13PM (#15994807)
    Badware Behavior
    Installs additional software without disclosure (Deceptive installation)
    Forces users to take an action (Interferes with computer use)
    Adds AOL toolbar in Internet Explorer (Makes changes to other software without disclosure)
    Adds additional icons to default Internet Explorer toolbar (Makes changes to other software without disclosure)
    Adds to "Favorites" in Internet Explorer (Modifies other software without disclosure)
    Adds AOL Deskbar to the user's taskbar (Modifies other software without disclosure)
    Updates software automatically (Deceptive installation)
    Fails to uninstall software completely (Unacceptable unistallation)
  • Re:The horror (Score:3, Informative)

    by remembertomorrow (959064) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:13PM (#15994809)
    Keep in mind that Google also has some stock in AOL...
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:38PM (#15995004) Journal
    Uninstalling is not a trivial problem. What happens if the program installs a shared library? If you remove it when you uninstall, you might end up breaking things. You could fix this in a UNIX system by putting the library in /usr/lib and hard linking it to /usr/lib/appname/lib (for example). When you uninstall, you delete the copy in /usr/lib/appname/lib and then remove everything from /usr/lib with a reference count of 1. Or you keep an install count somewhere else (e.g. in the package management framework), although both of these require everyone to play by the rules.

    And what about configuration files? Sometimes I uninstall an application because I want it gone. Sometimes I uninstall it because I want to install a new version. In the first case, I want configuration information to be deleted. In the second, I want it retained. The uninstaller needs to know which of these I'm doing. There is even the third case (although less common these days) that I am uninstalling it to free up some disk space, but I will want it back later. In this case, I probably want configuration files deleted.

  • Re:Erm (Score:4, Informative)

    by Knossos (814024) <knossos&gmail,com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @02:45PM (#15995464)
    FTA:

    Backed by tech companies such as Google, Lenovo Group, and Sun Microsystems

    It is run out of two well-respected university departments: Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and University of Oxford's Internet Institute in the U.K.

    It's not just funded by Google, and the researchers are in public departments, not privately employed ratings companies.

  • It's Still Badware (Score:5, Informative)

    by homer_ca (144738) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:15PM (#15995653)
    I installed AOL 9.0 on a virtual machine to see for myself, and it is a seriously annoying piece of software. It takes an extra section of the taskbar for itself (about 1/5 the width of a 1024 screen). It adds an autostart tray icon and about five desktop shortcuts. I launched the program to see if I could log in with my AIM account. I got to a screen where I could log in with an existing account or register a new account, but that screen had no back or cancel. I could only kill it with task manager.

    It's obviously made for newbies who need lots of handholding, and it's good that they're bundling free antivirus with AOL 9.0 because that demographic really needs it. If you want to try out free AOL 9.0 over broadband, do yourself a favor and install it in a VM. MS Virtual PC and VMWare Player are both free (beer). QEMU is Free, but you need the KQEMU module to get decent speed, and it's free (beer).
  • by servognome (738846) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:51PM (#15995871)
    but I just can't remember what I use my actual washingmachine for!

    Making giant batches of koolaid. Pour the mix in set the machine, and it automagically adds the water and stirs.
  • by operagost (62405) on Monday August 28, 2006 @04:18PM (#15996020) Homepage Journal
    I remember that infamous version. We had employees who could not dial-up into the company's modem bank for remote access until we completely reinstalled the machine. I tried removing every bit of AOL and the Windows DUN (following Microsoft's KB entry) and failed.
  • Re:Why is that? (Score:4, Informative)

    by rm69990 (885744) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:36PM (#15997073)
    The group rated AOL 9.0 as "badware" because it doesn't fully uninstall when you tell it to and because all of the actions the software takes aren't disclosed to the user. Google fully discloses [google.com] what their software does to the user, and I've never had a problem uninstalling Google Toolbar.

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