Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2

19 Replies - 2583 Views - Last Post: 09 March 2011 - 07:12 AM

#1 DillonSalsman  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head
  • member icon

Reputation: 13
  • View blog
  • Posts: 144
  • Joined: 30-October 07

Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 11 March 2009 - 04:37 PM

So am I the only one who HATES installers?
I know its part of the Windows experience. XD
But seriously, 9/10 programs I've downloaded in the last month or two don't have a simple zip "installation" available.
Its not so much the process of installing the software that I dislike.
Its many other things:
1.) I don't have a clue whats being put on my computer or where.
2.) I have to go to Control Panel -> Programs and Accessories to uninstall half of them because they couldn't include an uninstaller.
3.) Why in the world does it take JDiskReport, which just scans your harddrives and displays a graph of what takes up what portion of space as a pie chart, 4-6 minutes? I can install the Single Player version of Diablo 2 and create a new character in the same amount of time.

Although against all these negative things, the one good thing is I didn't have to write the programs myself XD

Share your thoughts!

Is This A Good Question/Topic? 0
  • +

Replies To: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

#2 KYA  Icon User is offline

  • g++ jameson.cpp -o beverage
  • member icon

Reputation: 3120
  • View blog
  • Posts: 19,163
  • Joined: 14-September 07

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 11 March 2009 - 06:12 PM

It's for the non computer people. Believe it or not, a vast majority of people wouldn't know how to open a zip file and install something manually.

However, as a software developer trying to reach their audience, I can see the need for installer. Bloatware is terrible, I hope to avoid all of that in anything I write.
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#3 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

  • Admiral Fancy Pants
  • member icon

Reputation: 5388
  • View blog
  • Posts: 27,384
  • Joined: 10-May 07

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 11 March 2009 - 06:15 PM

Sometimes the installer will simply download the real installer from an unknown source on the internet. Saves bandwidth & helps prevent piracy, on a small level.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#4 Raynes  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Lover
  • member icon

Reputation: 611
  • View blog
  • Posts: 2,815
  • Joined: 05-January 09

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 11 March 2009 - 07:11 PM

Because when users download a program they expect a nice little exe or msi to be sitting in front of them which they will close their eyes and click through and when they get done a magic icon will be sitting in front of them for them to click. If they get a zip folder, a lot of them will just delete it and move on. They have absolutely no clue what to do with it.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#5 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

  • Admiral Fancy Pants
  • member icon

Reputation: 5388
  • View blog
  • Posts: 27,384
  • Joined: 10-May 07

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 11 March 2009 - 07:13 PM

View PostRaynes, on 11 Mar, 2009 - 08:11 PM, said:

They have absolutely no clue what to do with it.

Next...
Next...
Next...

I know how to use a computer.

Next...
Next...
Ok...

All finished!

What... I have spyware?!
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#6 AdamSpeight2008  Icon User is offline

  • MrCupOfT
  • member icon


Reputation: 2271
  • View blog
  • Posts: 9,498
  • Joined: 29-May 08

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 11 March 2009 - 07:35 PM

Same as problem some people with have Vista UAC. They don't think What is Application Doing to require Administrator Privileges?
Most of the time its okay to allow.
With well behaved program it should only prompt you during installation and uninstalling.

Explaining UAC

This post has been edited by AdamSpeight2008: 11 March 2009 - 07:38 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#7 Hyper  Icon User is offline

  • Banned

Reputation: 108
  • View blog
  • Posts: 2,129
  • Joined: 15-October 08

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 11 March 2009 - 08:40 PM

View Postno2pencil, on 11 Mar, 2009 - 06:13 PM, said:

What... I have spyware?!


I has spyed on you...! I didn't know you played NeoPets and used DIC.

Why are there "installers?" Because Windows is a general usage Operating System! Meant for dumb people.
It's a GUI (for dumb people), everything is point and click, therefore nobody can learn anything more...
If you do, everybody who has limited knowledge thinks you're some kind a "God" or "Computer Wiz."

This post has been edited by Hyper: 11 March 2009 - 08:41 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#8 lpcustom  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 11-March 09

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 12 March 2009 - 12:20 AM

Really at this point in hardware capability, I'm surprised everything isn't more self-contained. Should applications be installed at all any more?

Now, I'm also against the idea of every application on my system trying to use all my resources. It seems that most developers these days are of the mindset that since we have such powerful machines there is no reason to optimize anything.

So, don't think for a moment that I mean we shouldn't optimize. Maybe the solution is to optimize and include all dependencies right there in the package. The only cost is disk space. Hard drives are cheap, even if today's standard hard drive is lacking in reliability.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#9 Hyper  Icon User is offline

  • Banned

Reputation: 108
  • View blog
  • Posts: 2,129
  • Joined: 15-October 08

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:07 PM

View Postlpcustom, on 11 Mar, 2009 - 11:20 PM, said:

So, don't think for a moment that I mean we shouldn't optimize. Maybe the solution is to optimize and include all dependencies right there in the package. The only cost is disk space. Hard drives are cheap, even if today's standard hard drive is lacking in reliability.


As is the case with "Rainbow Cracking" scheme.

Quote

A rainbow table is a lookup table offering a time-memory tradeoff used in recovering the plaintext password from a password hash generated by a hash function, often a cryptographic hash function.


I believe optimizing everything would make machines alot better, even though there's "more than plenty enough power (speed)" in machines now-days, you can "weigh (slow)" them down if you know how (via allocating more RAM than the machine has, or maxing out the RAM allocated). Although I'm sure that's not the intent of any program made by a "Professional Company" (game, and software application (Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, Firefox, etc) it still happens today.

The majority of people can (I believe) afford a decent enough machine to "handle" all todays programs and stuff simutainously ($100 is what a 1.2 GHz will sell for if it's used). But the principle behind it is what I believe in. Just because you can waste, doesn't mean you should. Just because you can skip out on a bill, doesn't mean you should. It may save you time and therefore "money," but it's the customer who gets screwed. Going that extra mile (quality! Not quantity) is seriously what people lack now-days.

I'm not saying we should go overboard with programs now-days and make it as tiny (compact) and fast ("performance") as possible (via Assembly and alot of logic) but they shouldn't just leave bugs in a program and fix them later (like Microsoft has a tendancy to do - First to market wins, you can release "patches" afterwards).

Maybe I just think differently than alot of people, but that's my opinion.
There's no need for "installers" now-days like there was then, it's just a simple bell & whistle.

This post has been edited by Hyper: 12 March 2009 - 01:08 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#10 NickDMax  Icon User is offline

  • Can grep dead trees!
  • member icon

Reputation: 2250
  • View blog
  • Posts: 9,245
  • Joined: 18-February 07

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:37 PM

installation is often non-trivial and the potential to screw it up is pretty great. Why give users the chance?

Often installation requires the creation of directories. Configuring resources. Registering the program with services. Creation of databases. Sometimes there is platform dependent choices that have to be made. Sometimes code has to be compiled to use the current platform. Registry entries have to be read and other created etc.

Basically -- it is not the norm that you can just "unzip" a file into a directory and double click the exe and go. Users screw up installers enough that it is just not worth trying to generate a "how to install" document and expect users to get it right.

heck my customers generally demand that I develop installers and they have entire IT departments full of techies who could probably figure out how to deploy an app... but the enterprises don't trust their IT departments (can't sue yourself) so they ask me to make an installer (if for no other reason then to put the responsibility on my sholders).

This post has been edited by NickDMax: 12 March 2009 - 10:38 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 4
  • +
  • -

#11 cfoley  Icon User is offline

  • Cabbage
  • member icon

Reputation: 2069
  • View blog
  • Posts: 4,307
  • Joined: 11-December 07

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 13 March 2009 - 03:38 AM

Computer applications are to make tasks easier for humans. Techies lose sight of this a lot but Everything else is a secondary consideration. Even though I'm a computer programmer, I like applications I use to be simple, intuitive and powerful. And the installation process is part of that. The fewer hoops I have to jump through, the sooner I can get on with something I enjoy.

Linux-style package managers are the best. I don't even have to look for the app's site. I simply find it in the list, hit install and put the kettle on.

Next is downloading an executable. Some apps are just that simple and anything else is extra hoops for the sake of it.

Because I know how to unzip a file, unzipping a file is my next favourite.

Next is an installer (but for non techies it beats the zip). If there's complicated stuff going on, I don't need to know. More tea anyone?

I have to REALLY WANT an application to be bothered going through a manual installation. I'll need an entire tea urn and packet of biscuits to get me through it, and that's just not good for my diet.

Quote

The majority of people can (I believe) afford a decent enough machine to "handle" all todays programs and stuff simutainously ($100 is what a 1.2 GHz will sell for if it's used). But the principle behind it is what I believe in. Just because you can waste, doesn't mean you should. Just because you can skip out on a bill, doesn't mean you should. It may save you time and therefore "money," but it's the customer who gets screwed. Going that extra mile (quality! Not quantity) is seriously what people lack now-days.


Like everything it's a balance. I'd rather an application with more features and better usability than one that uses less memory.

You can run 100 instances of my efficient word processor on an average machine but MS Word crashes it after 20. My response would be "Who gives a shit?"
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#12 programble  Icon User is offline

  • (cons :dic :head)

Reputation: 49
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,315
  • Joined: 21-February 09

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 13 March 2009 - 03:48 PM

Not all programs are self-contained. A lot of them put files into the Document And Settings folder for the user, put in new registry entries, etc... That is why installers are helpful. I do, however, thing that all programs should be self-contained. All of the files it needs should be kept in its own directory along with the actual executable.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#13 Hyper  Icon User is offline

  • Banned

Reputation: 108
  • View blog
  • Posts: 2,129
  • Joined: 15-October 08

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 13 March 2009 - 03:56 PM

View PostNickDMax, on 12 Mar, 2009 - 09:37 PM, said:

Users screw up installers enough that it is just not worth trying to generate a "how to install" document and expect users to get it right.


Posted Image

I'd sit here and list more (easily googlable) pictures, but what you said is irrelevant (it's more or less understood when you refer to people in general).

http://www.rinkworks.../warnings.shtml

Quote

"For external use only!" -- On a curling iron.


Seriously.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#14 mikeblas  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Regular
  • member icon

Reputation: 44
  • View blog
  • Posts: 390
  • Joined: 08-February 08

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 17 March 2009 - 07:34 PM

View PostDillonSalsman, on 11 Mar, 2009 - 03:37 PM, said:

3.) Why in the world does it take JDiskReport, which just scans your harddrives and displays a graph of what takes up what portion of space as a pie chart, 4-6 minutes? I can install the Single Player version of Diablo 2 and create a new character in the same amount of time.

The reason that JDiskReport takes so long to install is that it's written in Java. The installation has to install Java, if you don't have it already. If you do have it, you probably have the wrong version and it needs to install some updates or patches. Then, it needs to install the code and register everything it needs. Maybe it uses other components, too; as you point out, you'd rather use other software than write it yourself. That means you've got to do the install for the other code, and whatever dependencies it has, too.

This indirectly answers your question: installers are necessary because most software isn't self-contained. It requires additional dependencies that you need to have before running the software. The installation program is also a convenient place to take care of registration and licensing.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#15 bodom658  Icon User is offline

  • Villiage Idiom
  • member icon

Reputation: 113
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,123
  • Joined: 22-February 08

Re: Why Do 9/10 Programs Come as Installers?

Posted 26 March 2009 - 07:11 AM

I like installers, no grunt work on my part. Double click and go!
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2