Adobe shipping buggy versions of the Acrobat Reader

I was recently working on a new Windows XP machine that came with version 8.1.1 of the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Since there have been critical security bugs in the Adobe Reader, I dutifully updated the software with the usual Help -> Check for Updates. All proceeded as it has many times before, with the end result being the installation of version 8.1.3.

The latest edition of the Adobe Reader 8, however, is 8.1.4. 

On another Windows machine, running version 8.1.2 of the Adobe Reader, the same thing happened (see below): a check for updates turned up only version 8.1.3.

adobereader_8_12_updating.png

When I checked for updates from version 8.1.3 however, it did correctly detect and install version 8.1.4. 

Have a computer without any copy of the Adobe Reader? Be careful here too, if you prefer version 8 to version 9 (version 9 installs extra software which is not good for Defensive Computing, especially if you don't need or use the software).

Adobe's website naturally steers people to version 9, but version 8 is still available at get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/

If you go to this page (shown below), Adobe offers Windows users the buggy version 8.1.3 rather than the up-to-date version 8.1.4.

adobe_reader_latest_version_cropped.jpg

And, that's not just a typo in the web page, the downloaded file is AdbeRdr813_en_US.exe.

Version 8.1.4 seems to have been released March 18, 2009, yet, over two weeks later, Adobe still offers up an older buggy version.

Fortunately Secunia is on the ball.

I stumbled across all this quite by accident. Shortly after updating the Adobe Reader on the new computer, I ran the Secunia Online Software Inspector. I run this all the time, it's one of my favorite utilities. OSI, as Secunia refers to it, reports on software that's missing security patches. It only supports 70 applications, but Windows users are much better off using it than not using it.

Has Adobe jumped the shark? This is pretty shocking, especially for such a highly visible and widely used product as the Adobe Reader. As for me, like many, I use the Foxit Reader.

Update April 6, 2009: For more on this see Updating the Adobe Reader may be a two step process.

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