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Losing Control?

There's no need to.

Dave Rowe sent in a tip to MacInTouch.

Adobe offers a trial version of, among other things, InDesign. When you install this trial, you are given a period of time during which the application is fully functional. After this period expires the application, which is apparently launched through a proxy app that checks a time stamp, you will get a message informing you that the trial has expired.

At this point, you can remove all the known files associated with this install (even with the help of Adobe), but something that they call a 'cookie' is left behind. This cookie serves to prevent you from reinstalling the trial and continuing to use it.

The problem is, even if you do not wish to use InDesign (trial or otherwise), Adobe refuses to disclose the nature of the software they left behind. They (customer service, outsourced to a company in Washington state) initially refused to acknowledge that there was any hidden software. Eventually they admitted that there was, and customers were 'not allowed to remove it.' No kidding. They said I was not allowed to remove this software from my own drive.

So, Adobe installs software in an unknown location, of a generally unknown nature (size, file type, etc.) and declares the right to maintain that file on your hard drive in perpetuity.

I certainly understand that Adobe doesn't want people to be able to use their trail version to the exclusion of buying their software. It's my opinion, however, that they should do this without claim-jumping your hard drive. As the administrator of computers I own and maintain, I believe that Adobe's chosen copy protection should not preclude me from knowing the specifics of software installed on my computer.

Parenthetically, I'm aware of a few ways to circumvent or discover Adobe's land-mine protection technique, but that's not really the point. I believe that if everyone knew how to clean their drives of this software, Adobe might implement a less intrusive method to achieve their goals. Unless they want to lease the space they use...

There is nothing unique with Adobe in this regard: Cocktail has used it, and almost all 'shareware' will try to find some way of ensconcing itself on your hard drive.

But there is not now nor ever will be any reason to 'lose control'. Follow these simple steps and no shareware mechanism anywhere will ever be able to 'put one past you'.

  1. After your download is complete, disconnect from the net, close all open applications, shut down anything else you can, and then 'touch' your download file.

    touch <your download file>

  2. Install the app and run it once.

  3. Run the following command.

    sudo find / -newer <your download file>' >newer.txt

The file 'newer.txt' will contain all changes to the drive that occurred as a result of the install and first program run.

Be sure to save the file - on OS X the perfect place is in 'Contents'.

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