There are a couple of proposals on the Dell user feedback site to
provide the option of computers with a clean install,
without having all the vampire programs/shovelware installed:
One can vote to show support for these proposals.
What do I mean by Vampire Programs?
The programs that load on startup but don't actually do anything
I want done. (e.g. real player, instant messaging, the office bar from some versions of MS Office, etc.)
Many applications install bits that run even when you don't want/need
them. This is especially bad when this software is preinstalled, since
many users don't know enough to get rid of the programs.
And like vampires some of these programs keep coming back after you think you have killed them.
Why is this an environmental issue?
- Slows down boot and shutdown (time=energy)
- Slows system operations
- Destabilize computer (the more junk the more likely something go wrong)
- More clutter for user (all this junk to sort through, takes time to
find what want, takes time to get rid of it (if they are that sophisticated))
- Decrease security (whatever security holes the programs have,
and user less likely to notice something new/odd among all that fluff.
Again this can destabilize the system.)
- Slowness takes energy, and the slowness and destabilization hasten
(it's too slow, it keeps crashing, it's time to get a new one)
Likewise some programs suck up network bandwidth (e.g. by automatically checking for updates).
These programs should be available as options, not forced on everybody.
Even when I install the program, it should ask if I want to run the
startup bit, or if I want it to wait until I need it.
To do it right, an application accelerator should observe the system
properties and the users behavior, and only offer to run if it will actually save time.
(Observe how long it takes to load the accelerator
and how often the user boots the computer, and how much having the accelerator in virtual memory slows the system. Compare this to
how much time the accelerator saves in loading the application
and how often they use the application. Then only offer to install the accelerator if it would save a significant amount of time for the user.)
Sure, it would be a lot of bother to do it right, but if not going to do it right, then they shouldn't do it at all.
The environmental issues also apply to shovelware in general:
- Takes up disk space (hasten need for new disk/computer)
- Destabilize computer
- Confuse the user (wade through dozens of icons or items on programs bar)