I completely agree with Asa that having unwanted crap forced upon the user is morally wrong. We should do a better job of undoing this kind of braindamage. In the meantime here is a brief rant on the parasitic underpinnings of crapware.
Until recently, I have been testing Firefox on my own installs of Windows. I had no idea how aggressive bundleware could be. Then I got this piece-of-crap i7 Acer laptop with Windows 7 (and relatively little crapware preinstalled) and tried to use it as my primary machine. Suddenly, I could reproduce a lot more “slow” scenarios. I even went further and tried installing common crapware known as AVG to reproduce more bugs.
Turns out almost every vendor tries to mix in crap into Firefox. Acer, Microsoft Office/Silverlight, Adobe flash/acrobat, Google, AVG, etc all added unwanted functionality to my Firefox. I marveled at all kinds of “helpful” functionality such as the wonderful ability to click on a link in a webpage and have Google chrome install without any warning that the webpage is about to execute a windows program. AVG adds a couple of extensions that make Firefox start up 0.5-4x slower.
So far I noticed 2 vectors of attack: plugins and extensions. Plugins are fun because those get added by registering bonus plugin directories. Plugin directories are usually just application directories that contain plugins. This means Firefox gets to slowly rummage through bonus application directories looking for what might be a plugin. Extensions are fun because unlike plugins (which affect most browsers on the computer), extensions are very browser-specific. Most extension crapware doesn’t yet support Chrome. Installing things like AVG retards Firefox performance while Chrome escapes unmolested.
Benjamin, I don’t think these software vendors are “doing exactly as we ask of them.”
Personally, I would like us to be a lot more aggressive about blacklisting ill-performing software. Ie we need to go above and beyond warning users when crapware. I would like to to actively check performance of popular plugins/addons and ban them if they are substandard.