The Worst Installer I’ve Ever Seen

I’m going to have to pass on naming the guilty party but recently I received an installer that I needed to add as a prereq to my bootstrapper / chainer.  I started to look at it and here’s what I found

1) It’s 300+ MB InstallAnywhere installer that presents itself on Windows as a command line installer.  You have to press enter 26 times to page through the EULA and then  type Y to accept it.  Press enter to accept the default installation directory and then watch a progress bar that looks something like:

===============================
Installing…
———–
[=========|=========|==========|==========|===========]
[————-|————–|————  <- the part that moves

Oh my God, and I though WiX was bad.   This one tops it for me.   Hello!  The 1980’s called and they want their INSTALL.EXE back.

Here’s where it gets worse though.  This InstallAnywhere is just a wrapper for an MSI installer that it extracts out, calls to and then deletes when it’s done.  (  Certainly hiding the installer source is far more important then making it available for repair operations ).

I did some googling ( I have to admit, I haven’t ever written an InstallAnywhere package.  The few tarballs I wrote in the 1990’s were enough for me. ) and I found the command line switches for UI, Console and Silent.  Guess what?   Yup.  UI and Silent were both intentionally disabled in this installer. 

Finally, the documentation that comes with this installer specifically states “Do Not Use Add/Remove Programs” to uninstall the application.

Wow.  I didn’t know to laugh or cry.

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