Silverlight on Mac Install Experience

Mike Downey, Group Manager of Platform Evangelism at Adobe Systems, wrote a comment to my blog post about Ice Cube's about the Silverlight install experience that he experienced on his Mac:

Also, in order to view the video I had to leave your site via a link out to, download a 4.7MB Silverlight update installer (Mac) to my desktop, hide my browser and find the DMG, double-click the DMG to unpack it, double-click the installer, click through the installer, and restart my browser - losing the page that I wanted to watch in the first place.

Flash Player updates through the old version of the Flash Player and doesn't require leaving the page or finding downloaded files (Mac, Windows, and Linux). The user just has to click to get the updated player. Just wanted to let you know.

I needed to test this out and luckily I had already ordered a MacBook and it came on Friday.  The first thing that I did, once I started it up, after installing important OS updates, was to go to my blog page and try to reproduce Mike's experience.  I was able to see exactly what he explained, with the exception of the playing hide-and-seek with the DMG file.  Safari's download manager listed the DMG file and I ran the install.  The painful part, that I agree with Mike on, was the fact that I had to restart my browser.  We have to find a way to install the plug-in without requiring a browser restart.

So then I decided to try the Flash install experience on the link that Mike left on his comment signature using FireFox on Windows Vista:  I already have the Flash Player 9 ActiveX installed.

  1. I got a message that the content requires Adobe Flash Player 9
  2. I click yes
  3. It asks for my permission, I say yes
  4. And then I get this curious message box

I don't get it.  This isn't the Flash install experience that Mike wrote about.  By requiring me to restart FireFox, I have to leave the page, the very criticism that he had of the Silverlight installer.  Now I don't want to start a fight. I think that Adobe makes great products and I have used many of them.  But I do think that comments like Mike's need a bit more explanation especially when comparing the Silverlight install experience to the Flash install experience. 

I think the truth it that installers are very difficult to write and installing a plug-in in a running process is difficult.

Please enlighten me!

Comments (7)

  1. Mike Downey, Group Manager of Platform Evangelism at Adobe Systems, wrote a comment to my blog post about

  2. Quinn says:

    Its not rocket science to enlighten you; you talk of the experience on the Mac but then your summation does not compare apples with apples (ahem). If the point is that the install process of Silverlight under OS X is not great then who cares about a Flash install under Vista; more to the point would be how the install process for Flash under OS X is, then you would have a direct comparison of the products under matching conditions.  By doing what you have, how do I know that the limitation of the Flash install is not due to Vista? Is the Flash installation experience the same under OS X?

  3. Synergist says:


    I realized that I did not compare Apples to Apples.  I just wanted to point out that I had an install experience for Flash with Vista that was similar to the install experience that Mike reported (and I confirmed) with Silverlight.  

    Thank you so much for your comment.


  4. Mike says:

    I recently had to install on my wife’s computer running Firefox and win xp. With an in place install, I was required to restart my browser and it lost the page on restart. On windows why doesn’t Microsoft push Silverlight via windows update?

  5. HarryMower says:

    It would be great to see a full review of all the install experiecnes i.e flash on Windows/IE – Firefox, Mac/Safari-Firefox and Silverlight on Windows/IE – Firefox, Mac/Safari-Firefox.

  6. Scott Barnes says:

    I could also throw in the mix that Expression Studio is a seamless easy installation on Vista, yet Adobe CS3 was a nightmare to install (read my twitters of past). I say this not to rub salt into anyones wounds, but to simply state that Experiences may varey depending on platform variables you have. Apple should be the smoothest by far as it’s a prescribed platform right? yet installation experiences varey from product to product.

    Could we all do better? yes..  Should we sit in our ivory tower and dennounce a product based of installation experience(s) i think not. Michael illustrated one point that Mike indicated Flash has a much nicer install experience (which he did really) and yet Michael didn’t recieve that promise.

    Point: Glass houses? Products are products and they are rarely ever perfect. Let’s all agree not to presume both companies aren’t still evolving the installation formula.

    That all being said, I think Microsoft, Adobe and many other software vendors out there could do much more in the installation space as this is your first indication of an experience about to come. Games nearly have it figured out and yet I wonder at times why Applications ignore the findings of what gaming companies have uncovered (a progress bar isn’t enough).

    Scott Barnes

    RIA Evangelist


  7. Mike Downey says:

    Haha – Scott, you are awesome!

    – Mike Downey, Adobe

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