Real Player is evil, it seems. I actually like and use Real Player every day - both on my Windows box and on Linux. I love the new TiVo-like capabilities of the newest player, and the fact that it's supported by a bunch of different websites so I pretty much don't ever have to use Windows Media (except to watch streaming media of the DNC... Grrrrr...).
So if I like Real Player, why in the world am I calling it evil? Well, the masses have spoken on my previous post. I must be highly ranked in Google for some search about installing the player as I get a comment ever few days from some super-frustrated Real user who's been completely screwed over one way or another by installing this app. 28 comments and counting...
From what I can see, it mostly has to do with TinkerBell or whatever that crap Real installs which automagically starts up when you start Windows. I don't have that problem because I've got a program I installed months ago called Startup Monitor which protects me every time I install a new app on Windows. It's written by a guy named Mike Lin, who also has another small program for seeing which apps have already filled your machine with startup-crap so you can clean them out. Both insanely useful. (In writing this it seems I've never donated to his PayPal... I'll be doing that shortly.)
This is just another area where Microsoft's monopoly has made them complacent. This has been a problem for years and affects every Windows user, but Microsoft continues to pump out versions of the OS which do nothing to alleviate the problem. Like pop-ups in IE, this has to be a really simple fix, no? Why don't programs have to ask permissions before they're allowed to install crap in your startup registry? And why can't I find a list of these apps anywhere without installing some third party solution or digging around in regedit? If there was competition in the market, Microsoft would realize how much frustration this causes users and do something about it, but they don't care. Their solution to the system-tray overflow problem in XP? Hide the apps. Niiiice, that really helped. Not only does my Mom's machine barely run because of all the memory-resident programs, but she can't actually see all the crap that's slowing down her machine either because they're behind a small arrow button. Perfect. What frigin' bozos.
And to shift the blame away from MS for a bit, why does every frigin' software company think they need to install crap that starts up automatically and don't ask your permission? Install anything that's USB-enabled lately (printer, scanner, dongle, etc.) and with it comes some mini app that sucks up resources for no reason. Quicktime? Same thing. IM clients? Same thing. What the hell are wrong with these companies that they publish such user-hostile software? Amazing.