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Adobe to test automatic updates for Reader, Acrobat

updated 09:35 am EST, Wed January 6, 2010

Company calls voluntary updates inadequate

Adobe will start beta testing automatic updates of Reader and Acrobat on January 12th, in parallel with the release of critical security patches, according to the company's director of product security and privacy, Brad Arkin. The test will use the Acrobat Refresh Manager, which was actually installed on people's systems as far back as October, but until now has not been activated. Automatic updates may be offered as a default option as soon as the next scheduled update, set for April 13th.

Reader and Acrobat users will also have the option of downloading updates manually, or else using a "semi-automatic" system in which files are downloaded automatically but not installed until authorized. The current Update Manager notifies users of possible updates, but does not download and install them without prompting. Too many people are postponing patches, Adobe suggests, making themselves more vulnerable to attacks.

The company's PDF tools are a regular target of attack by hackers, in part because it can be easy to trick people into opening malicious documents. Security experts have also complained about the software's handling of JavaScript, a common vector for PDF exploits. Disabling JavaScript entirely within the apps is often recommended.

Use of the Refresh Manager may spread to other products, but Adobe is said to be undecided. "We'll learn from it and see if it's applicable for other products," says Arkin.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +7

    great!

    As if the current method of installing updates isn't annoying enough (and seriously a pain to turn off), now they're going the Google route and forcing an updater down your throats.

    Just what the public has demanded!

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Fix It First

    It seems like the current updater app works perfectly well.

    Why doesn't Adobe make an effort to fix the Acrobat print driver in Snow Leopard, instead of "fixing" what ain't broke.

    It's ridiculous that, not only is PDF driver broken, but Snow Leopard has been out for 4months and there's still no fix available!

    Shame on Adobe.

  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Adobe like Microsoft

    I agree with testudo that this idea is a loser. It's bad enough that Adobe Reader is as bloated and clumsy to use as Microsoft Word, particularly in comparison to products like Skim and Preview. But they also seem to be adopting the attitude of their fellow giants, Microsoft and Google, that because some users don't understand computers, all users should be treated as stupid. Covert autoupdaters illustrate that attitude perfectly.

    I have no problem with applications that let me know that there's an update available when they first load. But I'm the one to decide if and when to update, not Adobe, not Microsoft, not Google. And there are many, many reasons why I might want to delay an update.

  1. ricardogf

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Another moronic move by Adobe

    Once more, Adobe screws up instead of improving its own ridiculously slow and bloated products. NOBODY needs covert updates: the current way used in 99% of apps out there is just fine. In other words, Adobe seems to be moving down an obscurity path that makes it look even worse than Microshaft...anyway, who the h*** needs slow poke Adobe Reader when Preview and/or Skim are SO MUCH better?

    Grow up and cater to your customers, Adobe:

    - Fix Flash on Macs, something that has been ridiculous since its launch;
    - ensure feature parity between platforms;
    - cut the bloat.

    Other than that I will pass, thanks.

  1. OS2Guy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Obviously a ruse...

    Adobe, like Microsoft, has a vested interest in releasing "crictical" updates - to generate more revenue by stamping out unlicensed copies. Microsoft does this quite often - and if you purchased Office for the Mac 2008 then you were privvy to this little game a few weeks back when MS released what they claimed was a "cricital" update. The only thing critical about it was the fact that it disabled your Office suite unless and until you agreed to pay the upgrade fee. Adobe saw that and said, 'Hey, we can do the same - we'll come out with a new installer and a bevy of "cricital" updates to scare the bajeebees out of our customers and force them to "buy up" the way MS does.

    Don't fall for it. Obtain a good version of Adobe Acrobat and sit on it. DO NOT fall for the "critical" update ploy because that's all it is, a ploy to get the hand of Adobe into your pocket again and again....

  1. ricardogf

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    "Good version"?

    What good version of Acrobat? Adobe sucks big time, no need to use its products anymore.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    Re: obviously a ruse

    Adobe, like Microsoft, has a vested interest in releasing "crictical" updates - to generate more revenue by stamping out unlicensed copies.

    What? They actually want you to pay to use their software? The damned greedy asses!

    and if you purchased Office for the Mac 2008 then you were privvy to this little game a few weeks back when MS released what they claimed was a "cricital" update. The only thing critical about it was the fact that it disabled your Office suite unless and until you agreed to pay the upgrade fee.

    Seems like you didn't 'purchase' it as much as you 'downloaded a hacked copy' of it to me.

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