[wpkg-users] wpkg for crapware removal?

Paul McGrath J.P.McGrath at leeds.ac.uk
Fri Dec 14 09:47:18 CET 2012

Hi Jon,
  Instead of the "remove" we use "install" (execute once) to remove some crapware.  Usually Bing, Ask and Google toolbars.  We get a lot of Samsung laptops and they are choked full of crapware but I haven't got around to building anything extensive. 

-----Original Message-----
From: wpkg-users-bounces at lists.wpkg.org [mailto:wpkg-users-bounces at lists.wpkg.org] On Behalf Of Rainer Meier
Sent: 14 December 2012 08:44
To: Jon Goldberg
Cc: wpkg-users at lists.wpkg.org
Subject: Re: [wpkg-users] wpkg for crapware removal?

Hi Jon,

On 14.12.2012 01:32, Jon Goldberg wrote:
> I just inherited a new client whose workstations have users logged in 
> as local administrators; the net result is a ton of crapware.

Yes this is what usually happens.

> I considered creating wpkg packages for the crapware with only a 
> "remove" section to a) simplify cleanup, and b) ensure that machines 
> remain clean, since a handful of users will be retaining local admin 
> privileges.
> So, my questions:
> * Has anyone else tried this?  Do they have any package definitions to 
> share?

In fact this will likely not work as expected. WPKG "remove" commands are executed only when a package is installed by WPKG and later removed.
What you're looking for is rather a package which has execute="always" flag set and therefore runs the install commands on every WPKG run.
Then put your crapware removal scripts in install commands. Note that if a specific crapware is not installed you need to deal with it. For example by using use scripts which still return success exit code even if crapware was not found and not removed. You might also use conditional commands to execute install commands only if specific crapware is found.

Also note that removing crapware would require you to maintain a potentially big list of crapware you would like to remove. Moreover removing it might have impact on installed applications as some of them will not work properly if the crapware (might be ad-ware) component is removed.

As long as users still have admin privileges it might end in a fight between your WPKG crapware-remover and the user re-installing it - up to the extend the user is going to disable automatic WPKG run (since the user has admin privileges you can't really prevent this too).

> * Should I bother posting these package definitions to the wpkg wiki?  
> I don't want to load up the wiki with entries for software no one 
> would ever use, but I know that other folks may also benefit from 
> these definitions.

Well yes, I think it could be useful to have unattended scripts or command-line parameters for unattended crapware removal at least for common crapware. This might be useful for others as well.

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