Update: The author has retired the script as CNET has added direct download links to all download pages on its website. To use them, you need to click on the "Direct Download Link" displayed underneath the larger green Download Now button. If there is no direct download link, it means that the green download button itself links to the full download without the wrapper.
We were one of the first sites to report that Cnet.com was replacing direct download links on their site with downloads pointing to a Cnet software Installer. This installer, according to Cnet, has been designed to deliver the requested downloads more securely to the client's computer.
The installer at the same time is used to push third party software programs, which many would call adware, to the computers of unsuspecting users. To make matters worse, users had to opt-out of the installation of toolbars and other software that more often than not changed the user's homepage and search engine among other things.
The web installer caused other issues as well. Users who wanted to install the program on a system without permanent Internet connection ran into troubles as the Cnet installer required a web connection to deliver the program to the user PC.
Cnet has been criticized heavily for this practice, and some software developers as a consequence have pulled their applications from the site. Others requested to remove the web installer from the program's distribution channel. Cnet as well seems to have removed the installer from some applications.
CNET Download.com - NoBadware: Direct Download Links is a userscript that skips Cnet's web downloader when downloading files from the download portal. It automatically replaces all links pointing to Cnet's secure downloader with direct software links, even for users who are not logged in or registered at the site.
The script indicates the change on the site by adding a small notification below the Download Now link on each program's download page.
This way it is immediately clear if the download button points to the Cnet installer or the original file that was requested by the user. A click on the button opens the "your download will begin in a moment page" where the originally file is then offered for download.
The userscript has been tested in Firefox and Google Chrome, and it worked in both browsers exactly as advertised. Firefox users need to install Greasemonkey or Scriptish before they can install the userscript in their browser. The userscript may work in other browsers as well.
All in all an excellent script for users who sometimes download software from download.cnet.com and prefer direct downloads.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.