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An open letter to developers of autoupdating apps. - Jerith online [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
jerith

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An open letter to developers of autoupdating apps. [Apr. 9th, 2008|04:30 pm]
jerith
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Dear person who writes software with an autoupdater,

I live in a country where the internet is very slow and very expensive. I really like your application, and I would love to be running the latest, greatest version of it, but please let me decide when to update. You have no idea whether I am on free wireless at a coffee shop, the office's ADSL connection or my cellphone's GPRS.

Appropriate behaviour is to tell me that an update is available and then make a discreet "yes, I would like to update now" button available. This notification should not block what I am doing. This notification should not require immediate attention. There are two unforgivable sins in the autoupdate world:

1. Downloading tens or hundreds of megabytes without permission.

2. Requiring an unconditional restart.

The first is obvious once you consider that not everyone using your software lives in a first-world country with unlimited cheap bandwidth. The second should be obvious everywhere. If you must restart to complete the update, let us know ahead of time. Let us decide when to restart. Don't tell us the restart will happen in thirty seconds unless we say no.

Yours sincerely,
The guy who lost data and incurred nontrivial bandwidth charges.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: msmercenary
2008-04-09 08:44 pm (UTC)
I have fought a losing battle within my own shop for quite some time to prevent applications from being able to force a system reboot. I guess I just like pain.
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[User Picture]From: jerith
2008-04-10 07:42 am (UTC)
While your company's software is a major culprit, it is by no means the only one. My Mac breaks rule 1 on occasion. Several apps break rule 2. FireFox (and many of its extensions) are very loud about wanting a restart and won't let you continue until you say yes or no.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: westyx
2008-04-12 12:39 am (UTC)
Doesn't firefox tell you "hey, you want to use the new extension, you can either restart me now or wait until you restart me sometime later"?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: pkeike
2008-04-10 09:37 am (UTC)
While you mentioned this in passing, I think it merits an extra sin...

Sin number 3 : Changing focus
Under pain of death, do NOT change the focus of the computer. Especially not to your 'Restart Now' button. Not now. Not later. Never.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: westyx
2008-04-12 12:38 am (UTC)
Ahh, yes, I came into work to find a nice, pristine rebooted computer today (haven't touched it all week). I like XP and ms products, but sometimes they really don't endear themselves to me.
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