“However, that still can’t get rid of the wonderful prelude to installing that IE7 puts in front of you: click to the download page, click the yellow infobar, reload the page, click the download link again, click Open, wait 30 seconds, click OK on the warning dialog from IE, click OK on the warning dialog from Windows (“this came from the Internet zone, it might harm your cat!”), then click OK on the UAC prompt … and if you downloaded it in a ZIP file you’ve got another double-click in there.”
yes, unfortunately, Safari also adds this “security” rigamarole to the process. You’d think IE and Safari would both be intelligent enough to allow me to click something that says, “I hereby agree that downloading a disk image or archive containing an executable might irreparably damage my OS installation, destroy all my data, and set fire to my grandmother’s house. I hereby absolve [Apple|Microsoft] of all culpability in the case of such an event.”
But, no. Sadly, instead, we must all blindly and thoughtlessly click on “Okay” buttons, then ask ourselves, “what was that I just clicked on?”
“On the Mac side, a .app is a self-contained entity. So, Jeff, if you run an .app from within the mounted .dmg, it will work.”
Well, that’s not always true. Some apps decide they want to write things into their package folders (which is a no-no, but still), and when they get to the point where they want to do that you’re in error-handling land. Will the app inform you of a fatal disk error? Will the app inform you that it can’t run on a read-only disk image? Will it instead write to your home folder? Will it crash?
I’ve seen a few of these apps. Generally, they either give an error message or crash. Very annoying, though.
“I really dislike setup.exe-type installations. I hate not knowing what the installer is doing, for one. Is it copying a bunch of files all over the place? Where is it placing it? I’m gonna have to hunt for it later, and it’s placing shortcuts all over the map. Sometimes I can’t say ‘no’ to those.”
To be fair, this isn’t necessarily a fault of the setup process, but more a cultural fault. Anything the Setup.exe does, the application executable can also do! Yes: your application could see it hasn’t run yet, and place an alias to itself in the Dock, on the desktop, in the user’s home folder, and on every network mounted drive. Yes, your application can choose to defy convention and place its config files in the Applications folder, or your Documents folder (Microsoft, you Son of a B*tch, I’m looking at YOU!). It can change your desktop background to a high-resolution rendering of it’s application icon.
There’s two things stopping this on te Mac. First, many (but not all) of those actions would require an admin password. So, it’s hard to get a user to agree to that during an install (not really hard, though), but really hard to get them to agree to type their admin password when running your app for the first time.
The main reason, though, is that there isn’t the Culture of Installer which exists on Windows. It is expected that an installer will do all this evil system-clogging crap to you on Windows, either wholly without you being informed or because you missed unchecking that particular option. Which is why, frankly, no matter what kind of “default install” button an installer provides on Windows, I NEVER, EVER just click it. I’ve been bitten far too many times, installed far too many Monzai Buddies as a result of “default options” in the installer.
So, for me, it all comes down to developer culture. There are a lot of really good developers for Windows. Unfortunately, there are also a few assholes who make it necessary to go over the installer options with a fine-toothed comb.