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Thursday, April 17, 2008

The truth behind UAC

A few days ago Information Age published an article quoting comments of David Cross, a Microsoft Employee participating in RSA Conference in San Francisco. In his speech David said what I consider a joke:

"The reason we put User Account Control into the Vista platform was to annoy users – I'm serious.” 

And I considered it a joke because later in his speech he explained how these warnings from UAC were real and were part of a plan to improve independently-developed software.

"UAC is changing the ISV ecosystem," he said. "Applications are getting more secure [as a result]. We needed to change the ecosystem, and we needed a heavy hammer to do it."

According to Cross, 88% of Vista users have the feature enabled, contrary to the popular belief that disabling UAC is one of the first steps many take when setting up a Vista system.

The bottom line is one. Independent developers or freelancer usually do not have the kind of money asked by Microsoft and other companies to certify their programs and that's all it takes to get rid of these warnings in many cases. Taking in consideration that, I decided a long time ago to be part of that 12% that Microsoft talks about. In what group are you? the 12% or the 88%?

1 comment:

  1. I understand what they're getting at and I agree -- software shouldn't need to do 'administrative' activities... and if they do, there should be a prompt for the user in case they don't quite get what they're doing. However, UAC can be annoying.

    For me, I leave UAC on. On my main desktop, I even take it a step further: I enabled the Administrator account and then demoted my own account to 'limited user'. I don't just get an "allow/cancel" dialogue -- I have to type my Administrator password in any time I or a program needs to do something administrative.

    I'm an experienced user, so I'm not worried about messing up my own computer, it's more to see what running Vista in a Linux-esque fashion is like. Really, just about all of my programs are fine. There are some poorly designed games (I'm looking at you, Battlefield 2, 2142 and Dawn of War: SouldStorm) that require Admin access, but that's mostly due to copy protection and poor programming.

    I think my tolerance for things which are annoying is higher than that for most people, but really, it's not that bad.


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