Please drop bundled installer, it is installing stuff considered malware (e.g. Babylon Toolbar)

Dear PDFForge Team,

I just have installer PDFCreator on my new PC and saw that it comes with an unwanted installation.

By installing your product, another one called "BabylonToolbar" was installed. There was *no* obvious dialog which asked me whether I want it, or even told me about it. I just noticed because Firefox asked me whether I wanted to install the BabylonToolbar Addon. But the stuff is already sitting in my Program Files and IE :(

(Of course, I did not read the user license agreement, it was probably somewhere in there, but that's not what I would call obvious.)

Please, please, please, drop these bundles. It is not a honest way of marketing. It does unwanted things with your users' equipment.


I know the idea is tempting, I am developing a quite popular piece of OS software myself and have seen offers for installer bundles, too. We decided not to do it, as we do not want to have our reputation damaged (just search for bablyon toolbar and you'll see about it's reputation).

It just really is not nice to install unwanted things and this damages not only your, but the reputation of open source in general.

Thanks for your time, best regards,


By the way: I got the installer from this website, which openend a download from

Are you sure that Sourceforge's terms and conditions allow hosting third-party software (which is probably not open source) on their systems? I do not know for sure, but I doubt.


I also just noticed that the evil Babylon Toolbar changed my browser's homepage and added fiddled with my search providers. This is really annoying, I am quite frustrated now. Who knows what else it did. Definitely malware.


Thanks and best regards,


> "E.g. after installing the PDFCreator the installer could open the web page about making donations. "

That would break a silent install.

Dear team,

Norman strongly recommends not to install your latest version, as it claims it does contain a trojan:


Is this related to the request posted by Peter to refrain from unwanted bundled software?

best regards,


I am developing a quite popular piece of OS software myself and have seen offers for installer bundles, too

Well... sometimes no answer is an answer too :(

I suggest everyone should express their feelings/opinion here:
Maybe even there:


It really is a pity, I used to recommend PDFCreator :(


Best Regards,

pdfforge, just wanted to let you know I'm tired of the malware you bundle with your great software so guess what? I've uninstalled both Creator and Architect off my computer, will be taking both off of the computers at work, will take it off of our approved software at work and will be going for a reliable pdf converter that, gues what - has no malmare included.

Thanks a lot for making another great argument for the non-use of open source software. Sometimes it is true - you get what you pay for. No thanks for wasting my time.


instead of misleading users into installing various additional software to raise funds for the project it would be better to promote direct users' donations. E.g. after installing the PDFCreator the installer could open the web page about making donations.

There is a link for making donations to the project on

Another one is

Free and open source software developers must make the users aware that creating and distributing the software is not costless and should invite them to make donations according to the value that each of the applications has for them.

Have you tried to go this way in the past?

-- rpr.

Anyone notice how no people responsible for PDFCreator are responding to the complaints abou the crap they're instaling.  I'm on 0.9.7 and will stay there forever if this garbage continues.

@Terabyte: is this version the latest without any toolbars or bundled installers? Thanks for the hint :)

Best regards,


 I really don't understand the complaints. These folks give away great software. It is really great. It is the only program that I have ever seen (and I have looked) that allows one to que prints across multiple applications and then save them all as a single pdf.

How did you people miss the option to not install the toolbar? The "are you sure?" check is even more obvious in this version than the the 1.2x series. Pay attention for f@#&! sake! 

It really amazes me that people bitch and moan because these guys try to recoup (not make) money for providing this great software and its associated overhead (their time, web hosting, etc). And, they only do so by giving you the option to opt out. 

Dear Pdfforge, since some vocal citizens of the net are incapable of following simple instructions, I suggest you offer a paid version, guaranteed to be ad/toolbar free. PDFSam offers an enhanced version with a choose-what-you-want donation. In fact, it would be cool if you could team up with PDFSam because the new Architect program has some similar functions.

Thanks again for the great software. 

@longtimeuser: I think the bundled install is not always the same - I have tried a second time and the installer tried to install something else than Babylon Toolbar. (Some instant messenger, don't remember its name.)

But, in both cases, it was not obvious that it would do so. The only thing that should have probably made me hesitate in the first place was that there were two end user lincenses to agree with. However, the windows were not titled "Babylon Toolbar License Agreement" or similar, and - admittedly, as most users - if have not read the license agreement and thus do not know that I have obviously accepted an agreement with Babylon stuff.

Furthermore, at least Babylon is designed to stick in your system wherever it can, without offering an easy option to uninstall it again completely. This is definitely malware behavior, and should not be suppported, not even in order to support a good thing (as qualitative open source software, which we are definitely talking about).

We are *not* complaining about seeing ads, we are *not* complaining about nag features, we are *not* complaining about being asked for donations. We *are* complaining that malware comes with what we think is trustworthy, in a way that cannot really be called obvious.

As stated above, I give away open source software for free, too. I am also not excited about the fact that there are so few people willing to support a good piece of open source software. And the donations not even nearly cover the costs we have to develop it, even though it is downloaded several thousand times per day. But installing malware is not an option for us. If it was really really obvious, and if there was a complete uninstaller for the bundled software... yes, it *might* be an option, but still it's really an ugly thing that the user allows administrative access for the software installer, which in turn passes it to a third party company.

There are other ways to make money with OSS, probably not as much as with bundled installers. But if you pack really unpopular things in your software, you have to accept that you are criticized for doing so.

The problem is that many people is too used to choose "Typical installation" everywhere, everytime.

I always choose Custom / Advanced, or whatever that’s available. When setup reaches the point when asks me to install toolbars, search engines or other silly things, then I just uncheck all marks and press the "No" button to decline license terms. I never had any problem with this. I recently installed latest version, same procedure, no toolbars... so, what’s the complaint?

I chose Custom / Advanced installation and unclicked the areas for a new default browser page, Browser Helper Object, etc.  They were installed anyway.  This is clearly grounds for calling this software inappropriate.


Regarding this issue I'd like to add my experience of installing PDFCreator v. 1.3.2 which I downloaded from
(The exe has the following MD5 hash: 6d4c8dad2aca3981ed28b603cfdfaa4a)

I've done installations on several PCs with (Windows XP or Windows 7). I always choose custom installation. Sometimes the installer asks about installing the Nitro PDF Reader and it is possible to avoid it -- see this picture.

But in about 50% of cases the installer tries to download something from which gets blocked by Eset NOD32 antivirus -- see this picture.

Luckily, at this point it is possible to click next and continue the installation without installing the crap.

I would really prefer not to have crapware installed together with PDFCreator.

-- rpr.

"The problem is that many people is too used to choose "Typical installation" everywhere, everytime."

Yes, that's a problem. But whoever wants to be at least a little bit trustworthy would not trick these people into installing unwanted third party software (which is not even under control of the developers of this software project). That's the complaint.

Just because many people are too used to ignore red traffic lights does not mean it is okay to run them over.

After uninstalling PDFCreator, I downloaded it again. When it came time to install it, I read ALL the boilerplate with due dilligence. When it tried to install the unwanted toolbar, I first unclicked the blocks and started to click "Agree." My thinking was that the toolbar would not be installed. But after reading the boilerplate, I realized that "Agree" meant I would accept installation of the toolbar and that the check-boxes were not revelant. I think the people who wrote the software for the toolbar did this deliberately knowing that unless the person read the boilerplate in detail, they would be tricked into clicking "Agree." So I clicked "Decline" and the tool bar was not installed. It seems that many purveyers of "spy and annoy" software are doing this. When you try to download software today, notice how many "Download Now" buttons are on the screen. Generally only one button is the correct one. The other buttons are there to fool a reader into installing "spy and annoy" software. They are carefully crafted to look virtually identical to the correct button, and they are placed on the screen in plaaces where one would expect the correct "Download Now" button to be. Notice ham many "Free Download" buttons are on the PDFCreator web page on Sourceforge. If you have Internet Explorer, pass your cursor over these - but don't click. At the bottom of the IE screen, the real link is displayed. I wonder where the link: takes you? I try to avoid anything from DOUBLECLICK.NET as standard practice. Notice the site, and look at what you might be agreeing to if you click it. This is worse than a fast talking used car salesman! It is not illegal, but it certainly is misleading. I personally consider it immoral (speaking as a devout agnostic!. ☺). So PDFCreator is not really at fault here. The download of unwanted toolbars was due to my being fooled into clicking "Acept" where I should have clicked "Decline." Please accept my apology. Barry


first of all, I want to say sorry for the delayed response. We have been on easter holiday and are now trying to catch up with all the threads here while still trying to develop software ;-)

There are some topics mixed here which I will try to seperate:

Software Offers in the installer

We are currently testing two different providers and both of them have different offers, so there can be potentially many different offers that are shown to a user. This can be a bit confusing, I have to admit. All of the offers are designed to be more obvious than the old system we had with the Yahoo! toolbar. There is always a choice of Accept / Decline or a similar thing and it is not hidden in the user license, but on a seperate screen.

But we are still trying to work with the providers to improve the offer screens to be obvious to the user, though it of course is harder with more offers as it is now.

Fake download buttons

This is a big problem. We are using AdSense on the homepage and there are many companies trying to trick the user into downloading their software. We usually are rather fast in detecting that, but hints are welcome on that. We are also in good contact with sourceforge, but it regularly takes them longer to remove the displays.

Ad-free version

We were thinking of that as well. Maybe we will do that in near future to have a minimalistic donation (like $1) to allow access to the Ad-free download. We will discuss that in the team.

We are ignoring this topic

I hope that this post will prove the opposite, though it may take some time to get an answer, specially during holidays.


kind regards,

Of course, the silent install will not open a web page.

The program could also display a message about donations after user starts a version for the first time.

-- rpr.

Philip, thanks for your feedback on this topic.

I've never seen the Yahoo toolbar integration in your installer, but those that I saw where not at all obvious.


I'd rather suggest a nag-feature, maybe every 10th created PDF a browser window opens, displaying your donations page and ads. This nag-feature could be deactivated with a key the developers can give to any user for a small donation.