It wasn’t much better under Tiger

I had tons of PGP encrypted important and urgent e-mails in my IMAP boxes. I was using PGP Desktop 9.5 under OS X 10.4. Ah, sweet memories of those Tiger days…

I was depending on PGP Desktop’s mail bundle to lock and unlock my e-mails at will. Then one day, my PGP innocuously alerted me to an update. OK, let’s review that just so we’re clear. An update of PGP Desktop itself. What could be wrong with it? On the contrary, it felt it would be crazy not to go ahead with the update because while working mostly OK, 9.5 did have occasional stability issues. Maybe they would go away if I clicked that innocent update button. In a moment of weakness, I did not feel the need to take a full bootable system backup and started the update. It was done and over with in a few moments. And so was I. Mail bundle did not work. I was left with mountains of important and urgently needed information out of my touch. So much for 9.6.

Mail bundle was there on the dmg. It still included a readme file explaining how to install it. It could be installed but it would not work.

Of course the next few hours were spent scourging through PGP community forums to find an answer. An answer indeed there was. PGP Corporation explained

The OS X Mail Plugin’s Encrypt/Sign functions are hardcoded as disabled.

That’ll forever stick with me. Whenever I see a catastrophic failure, I will call it hardcoded as disabled.

e.g. Instead of saying this administration has become a lame duck we can easily and meaningfully say it has become hardcoded as disabled.

I saved the best part to the end naturally: What would you do if an update did not work? Of course uninstall and install the old one. Nah. Never that simple with PGP. As I removed 9.6 and vainly tried to restore 9.5 I found myself in a vicious circle. It would not happen. Not even removal of plist files and clearing of caches helped. Whatever the software did to my computer, I could not put 9.5 back. Initially I opened a new user and worked my way indirectly. Then it became too much of a hassle and I did a clean install of Tiger. All for the sake of one lousily done and supported application.

So if PGP Corporation thinks all this anger toward their ways accumulated in one day, about one OS upgrade, they should think again. It’s the whole pattern of lack of seriousness and lack of empathy with the user that they should seriously worry about.

Or are their competence and empathy hardcoded as disabled?


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