Last week Rob Glaser stepped down exit
as CEO of Real Networks. Many of the commentators that covered the news didn't mention his leading role in helping to pioneer what today is the dark side of the Internet: malware, spamware, spyware, adware, etc
Whatever you want to call them, these are insidious programs that when loaded into your system, are incredibly difficult to remove. I know people had to abandon their PCs because of their frustration in trying to get rid of malware software that infected their systems and continually pestered them with ads, and worse.
Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York university was one of very few to note Mr Glaser's past accomplishments, he wrote on Twitter: "Rob Glaser steps down as head of Real Networks, and story after story fails to note he ran one of the most invasive malware companies ever."
Mr Rosen helpfully pointed to this page: StopBadware Report - RealPlayer.
The page from the site Stop Badware describes what Real Network's RealPlayer does:
RealPlayer 10.5 fails to adequately disclose the advertising behavior of its 'Message Center', and RealPlayer 11 silently installs the Rhapsody Player Engine, and does not uninstall this additional software when RealPlayer 11 is uninstalled.
Useful info but this is dated January 2008. Real Networks has been doing this since the mid 1990s!
I remember my first encounter with RealPlayer more than 12 years ago, it put me off forever. But many others followed its example.
Real Networks deserves recognition for figuring out how to exploit open Internet standards, and web browsers, a long, long time ago.
Today we see the fruits of that pioneering effort because our systems are infected by huge amounts of insidious programs. Thank you very much . . . Rob Glaser.