Adobe has long been known for its terrible installation process, both for its productivity applications such as Flash and for its professional creative products. However, with its Creative Cloud services and Adobe Labs beta, engineers say things will be better.
A week ago, I spent about an hour with Kirk van Druten of LANsharks Consulting, a local Bay Area Mac consultant, listening to his latest rant on Adobe installers. The product in question was Flash.
I’m not surprised Adobe’s Flash is the target of the recent Mac malware. Their software update mechanism is idiotic. Really. The process is so convoluted, it explains why there is so much out-of-date Flash software out there, ripe and ready to be malware-ized.
A couple of weeks ago there was a hubbub over Flash updates when the latest update of Safari (Version 5.1.7) disabled older versions of Flash.
Adobe Labs this spring released a Mac beta of its Flash Player Background Updater, which has already been released for Windows for a while. In a blog post, Stephen Pohl, a scientist on the Adobe Flash Runtime team, asked customers for feedback on the release.
Installing the newer, better beta installer, however, is a bit of the old process. It requires users to download the software and leave the system connected to the web for at least a hour. And the actual software that needs to be installed is the full Adobe Flash Player 11.3 beta 3 package — that page is for all supporting operating systems, which might be a confusing for people expecting a Mac installer. The only mention of the background updating feature (and the Mac itself) is down towards the bottom of the page.
Flash Player background updates (Mac) — New versions of the runtimes can now be delivered more effectively to the end user with this enhanced updating mechanism (Background update is only available in the release versions of Flash Player).
However, introduced this month is another vision for Adobe installations. In a blog post, Adobe blogger John Nack says that managing the new Creative Cloud service updating process is easy:
Download & install the App Manager (less than 1MB), then log in with your Adobe ID. Click the links for the apps you want to install. “There’s no step 3!”
Right–no typing/copying/pasting serials (and potentially losing them later), no running installer after installer.
There's also a video of the process in the post.