Used Cars and Stub Installers

The Wireshark development team works hard to earn the respect of our users. This includes making sure that downloading and installing Wireshark is as easy and trouble-free as possible. Right now the vast majority of our users can go to www.wireshark.org, follow the big green arrows, and immediately download the appropriate Wireshark package for their platform.

For many years a number of third party sites have also offered Wireshark downloads. Typing “wireshark download” into your favorite search engine will turn up a bunch of them, usually just below links to wireshark.org. These sites are popular and often provide valuable services such as reviews and malware prescreening. They also reside outside the Wireshark ecosystem — we don’t link to them and aren’t affiliated with any of them.

"This is the Cadillac of invasive toolbars at a Chevy price!"

Sometimes these sites abuse their relationship with their users. For example a few months ago Download.com started using a stub installer which tries to get you to install various toolbars and who-knows-what-else before it installs the package you ultimately want, much like a sleazy car salesman trying to bundle add-ons you don’t want or need.

This sort of bottom-feeding behavior is harmful to our user community and exploits the goodwill we have with our users. Brian Krebs and Gordon “Fyodor” Lyon describe the problem with much more depth and eloquence than I can.

I sent a request to Download.com to disable their stub installer for Wireshark. They complied, but there are dozens of other download sites. Trying to keep tabs on all of them would result in a never-ending game of Whac-A-Mole®.

On behalf of the Wireshark development team I promise to provide easily accessible, direct downloads of Wireshark from wireshark.org just as we always have. If you choose to download Wireshark somewhere else we can’t guarantee that the experience will be free of shenanigans so please be careful.

1 thought on “Used Cars and Stub Installers

  1. Sean B

    But they just wanted to ‘wrap’ all these nice programs in an extra little blanket for…warmth, and safe-keeping…and stuff. I mean who notices extra toolbars and new default search engines? Intrusive? Infuriating? Nonsense.

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