Uninvited guests

by Giles Turnbull

Soon after my copy of iLife 06 arrived, I settled down to do the install. As large installs go, it was pretty normal and uneventful, and I only made minimal changes to the default install options.

But after the install, I had to do a double-take at my Dock - suddenly it was twice as long as it had been. Huh? While my eyes had been busy watching the installer, iLife had added icons for all the new iLife applications to my Dock, without asking me first.

Now, a user's Dock is a very personal thing - everyone has their Dock set up in a way that suits them. Me, I don't have any applications in my Dock; rather than use it as a launcher, I use it to monitor what's currently running. The addition of these iLife apps annoyed me because it forced me to interrupt my work and re-arrange my Dock the way I like it. Sure, this only took a few seconds, but it's the principle.

I can understand that Apple wants to give new Mac users a helping hand, and it's fair to say that some newcomers can feel confused after installing new software and finding nothing on screen to tell them what's happened. Switchers from Windows, especially, are accustomed to seeing icons added to their Start menus or to the Desktop itself.

So my suggestion would be that the iLife installer should include a checkbox - checked by default would be fine - saying that icons for all the new software would be automatically added to the Dock. Then people like me, who like to keep their Dock under control, would have the chance to uncheck the box and remain untroubled.


2006-01-30 20:40:52
It's your fault for running the automated, pre-packaged installer. Why not just go into the package and pull out the parts and put them in place yourself? Or, if you were *really* clever, you'd just edit the installer script that adds the apps to the dock and comment out that section anyway. Show some initiative, will ya?!

2006-01-31 03:06:41
Including such question seems to be a little thing, but it makes one step away from simple and clean. What's the big deal with deleting a few icons from Dock... tho if it secretly added as a login item, I may be uncomfortable.
2006-01-31 08:49:46
You're right, Anonymous: removing a handful of icons from the Dock is no big deal. And as I said, it only took a few seconds to rectify. But I don't think adding a simple checkbox to the installer would be a big deal either.
Erica Sadun
2006-02-03 22:42:02
iLife's been doing this for several versions now. It's not new to 6. Just thought I'd mention...
2006-02-04 02:35:34
It reminds me of the old AOL and Real days. Remember when you'd install the latest Real player, and suddenly you'd have shortcuts scattered all over creation?


Lance Newcomb
2006-02-04 07:28:13
OMFG! Now you are forced to DRAG THE ICONS OFF THE DOCK! You poor baby, you had better cry it out!
2006-02-04 10:25:58
@Kevin: Yes. My point exactly. Real used to annoy me *so much*.

@Lance: Yeah, I'm pretty upset about it. (Sniffle)

Paul Mison
2006-02-04 15:19:26
I was thinking about this yesterday. I've started using a Windows machine at work, and every app's installer (of course none of them are drag-and-drop like most Mac apps) has checkboxes, usually on, for "Add shortcut to desktop", "Add to quick launch bar" and "Add to Start Menu". I usually only leave the last on (because otherwise launching apps is impossible), but after only a month I've already got more than a screen's height of applications.

Anyway, the point of this isn't to whine about how bad Windows is (we all know that already) but to note that almost no Mac applications are rude enough to add themselves to the Dock. Apple are the only people who do it (I think iLife's also behaves like this) and I really don't want third-party developers to start mimicking them, so although, yes, removing an icon or three from the Dock isn't a hardship, it's also worth making it clear that it's not something most users are comfortable with.

2006-02-04 18:26:24
Gliigghity, that's not cool.

A checkbox would be appreciated, on this front. I know my HP scanner had a bunch of crud that it added to the dock when I bought it, but that's about the only possessive installer I've come across, up until now.

(Although perhaps Erica is right – I can't remember if previous versions of iLife did that as well.)

By the by, I love not having to register for OreillyNet anymore in order to publish comments! Pass along my thanks to whoever cooked that up.

2006-02-09 00:37:23
Just curious: if you don't use the Dock as a launcher, then what do you use?
2006-02-09 00:49:24
@ nicole: I use Quicksilver, every time.


Now I'm used to using it, I find it hard to use any computer without it.