Hardly anybody ever reads the license agreements that permit you to use computer software – and that for all you know, in paragraph 19(b)ii consign yourself to lifelong slavery with Moloch Computing, inc. Only feedback and our readers, we suspect even try. Certainly it seems hard to believe that the people at Apple ever read their blindingly obvious warning that iPod software is not, in fact suitable for controlling nuclear power stations (3 Jan 2009).

It is rare though, for major companies to be quite as upfront as Adobe in appearing not to care whether their agreements are read or not. Bob Holmes was recently trying to install their free Reader software that enables users to view PDF files. Conscientiously, he tried to obey the request on the download page to read the licence agreement. Clicking on the link took him to www.adobe.com/products/eulas where he could download the agreement in the form of – you’re ahead of us here?

– a PDF file!

Extract taken from ‘New Scientist, 25July, 2010’