You Are Not Special: You Don't Have the Right Turn Off Your Anti-Virus


News: You Are Not Special: You Don't Have the Right Turn Off Your Anti-Virus

  1. There is a quick set of tips for improving the performance of the Eclipse IDE that is making the rounds, and it starts off with the moronic suggestion of disabling your anti-virus software:

    1. Disable antivirus software
    2. Disable unecessary validations
    3. Modify eclipse.ini 
    4. Create a ram disk(virtual disk) on memory, and put your jdk on the ram disk.
    5. Make sure you are using sun jdk

    You Are Not Special: You Are Not a Beautiful Snowflake

    I can deal with the last four tips, and I can even appreciate putting your workspace files into a folder on your hard drive that is not indexed by your anti-virus software, but the advice to turn off any anti-virus software is ludicrous.

    First off, every client you work for will have strict rules about the fact that every machine must have virus software installed. Sure, some organizations may extend a professional courtesy to you by not inspecting your laptop when you walk in the door, but that doesn't mean you don't have to respect their policies.

    Ruining it for Everyone

    Plus, when people do rebuff this professional courtesy, they simply make life more difficult for the honest developers that maintain a modicum of integrity and professionalism. If contractors start deciding they don't need to follow corporate policies, that's when corporations start making strict policies about never extending professional courtesies, which means more shops that are going to annoyingly start inspecting laptops every time a contractor enters the office and connects to the network.

    Better Hope You Have Moron Insurance

    And if you do infect your client's network with a trojan or a worm or a backdoor, not only are you going to get fired, but you could be looking at a six or seven digit lawsuit being launched over your negligence.

    Programmers and developers have to get over this idea that they are above the law and better than everyone else that's connected to the Intertubes. Knowing how to write a for loop doesn't give you the right to put every other box connected to the network at risk. 

    The Best Way to Improve Performance

    By the way, I've run IBM development tools, from VisualAge to RSA, on many slow computers. I've never seen a single system that was made significantly faster by disabling the anti-virus, which I have done simply to demonstrate to others that it's an act of futility. In fact, the best way to speed up any given WebSphere or Rational product is to simply switch to NetBeans and Glassfish instead.

    Threaded Messages (17)

  2. Morons?[ Go to top ]

    I am special. Most users only use word/outlook etc. on their machines. Performance does not matter for them.

    But performance matters for me. Having any IDE, application server and other software running on my machine outs it under a much higher load than most users have.

    So I need a special machine and I need special privileges to make changes to the system (e.g. install software).

    In different companies I have seen huge performance improvements when excluding certain files from the virus scanners.

    Some AV programs scan every .class file and even open every jar to scan the contents. This is a huge performance hit and disabling AV can help a lot to speed up the build process.

    In the companies I have worked this was always done after long discussions with management, so we definitely had the right to change the AV settings.

    So I find you quite rude to call me a moron. Also I have never used any IBM develpment tool. They may be slow, but they are not the only problem.

  3. Real problem is bad anti-virus[ Go to top ]

    The real problem isn't developers turning off anti-virus. The real issue is crappy anti-virus software that chew up a ton of CPU every time the IDE recompiles stuff. For performance testing, some really crappy anti-virus make the network IO unreasonably slow. I'm guilty of turning off anti-virus now and then in the past for benchmarking/stress testing. If the anti-virus worked well and had minimal impact, many developers would be fine with leaving it on. I won't name the guilty anti-virus products, everyone knows which ones they are.

  4. Real problem is bad anti-virus[ Go to top ]

    This is a timely post.

    Just yesteday I uninstalled PCTools AV and Spyware because of disk thrashing and slow performance and error dialogs popping up on shutdown.  Their update notification GUI would also throw up an error dialog.  I switched to AVG and my laptop is now noticeably faster.

    I also noticed that my IntelliScans don't run every night like they used to.

    Most annoying was that after the screen saver would come on the Taskbar would be blacked-out and I had no option besides to restart my laptop by holding down the power switch for 4 seconds.

    PCTools was good AV software until several weeks ago.  I believe the degradation started after some major update.  Now it's just disk-thrashing, CPU hogging bugware.


  5. my current most un-favorite[ Go to top ]

    I will name one - Microsoft's. Brings back the "good ol days" when compiling meant you could go to lunch or whatever cause you werent' doing anything for a while. And it is such a memory hog.

    That being said, being able to exclude directories is better than turning off AV totally.

  6. Crapy Antivirus and company policy take 95% of my CPU for 3-4 hours/day. So yes I will turn it off because I cannot work with 5% CPU!



  7. ??[ Go to top ]

    If the company IT didn't disallow you to change antivirus settings on your workstation, that means that you have absolute right to do so if you think it will help you.

    It's not like you hacked the provided workstation to do so.

  8. Just use Linux for development machines, in case you're not developing .NET, of course :-)

    And feel free from using those crapware (antivirus)

  9. Tip 1 is appropriate for a certain type of anti-virus scan, often found in corporate products, such as McAfee. The scan is called "On access scan". The settings the IT department at my company enforce is "On access scan - read file" and "On access scan - write file". There are no exceptions, such as ignoring the on access scan for JAR or TXT files.

    The result, every file opened during the life of a program gets at least one, maybe two scans - at least one at file open for read and then if updated another scan on write. These are triggered by file open operations.

    Now, take the way Eclipse maintains its internal registry and the workspace. It is often the case that many files are opened, read, updated, with every simple operation in order to maintain the metadata, relationships, validation, etc. So, when every operation incurs this additional "on access" scan, and a large number of files are involved in an operation, then the virus scan can "kill" the performance of Eclipse.

  10. I have to disagree with you. Option 1(disabling anit virus) and in some cases 2(disabling validation) have considerably made my machine faster. That was before I convinced my employer to switch to a Mac. Now I no longer have to deal with option 1. Just do option 2 and it is a smooth sailing al the way.

    I'll be nice unlike you and therefore will not call users who still use Windows for development environment morons ;-)

  11. why shouldn't I[ Go to top ]

    Disabling antivirus *can* speed some things.

    But what do you think will happen when you do? Will a virus come from nowhere and automatically infect your machine? If it's up to date, if you don't install spyware (I mean, by clicking on random links and confirming the 125 prompts telling you could do something stupid), and don't run as admin anyway, what could you expect? Just plain nothing that your antivirus would stop. There just happen to be a lot of superstition around virii, the truth being that you get what you deserve.

  12. Run Linux[ Go to top ]

    Yes, run Linux and you will see Eclipse work faster - so you do too.


  13. This article is moronic as the author obviously didn't check to see if there are very good reasons for disabling virus checkers nor that disabling the virus checkers actually is the biggest performance boost that a development box can get.

    Its soul destroying to see builds taking multiple minutes that should take a few seconds down to the moronic Virus Checker scanning every newly compiled .class file and every .jar file on the classpath. In my previous company the Virus checker did a full scan every reboot so even on a dual-core machine, it took around 20 minutes to even get the responveness back to load Outlook.

    Additionally, Virus Checkers are simply a placebo that makes you feel safe whilst only actually protecting you against older threats anyway at a huge cost to productivity.

    My Core 2 Duo box was unusable with mcafee installed. Build would grind the box to a halt, IO was laughable and I had to go for a coffee when performing a build. Now the Virus checker is off, it flies like the wind.

    Regular users only load a few files a day, developers can access thousands of files in less than a minute. Virus checkers are not designed for that use case.

    Developers don't consider themselves above the law or special, but they have a job to do and Virus checkers stop them from effectively performing their job. Virus check the entry vectors by all means, monitor USB sticks, screen all attachments from incoming emails, but keep desktop virus checkers off PCs.

  14. My Style...[ Go to top ]

    Is someone imitating my writing style? What is it they say about imitation and flattery. :)

    In my defense, I did mention that I felt it was valid to exclude a given directory from the Virus Checker, such as the workspace files that an Eclipse project might use, saving virus checking on the core development files.

  15. Oddly enough[ Go to top ]

    It is "funny" how many people how many people at work have virus protection on and don't have admin rights and still get viruses. From what i can tell, this is pretty common.

  16. Moronic Suggestions[ Go to top ]

    I've a moronic suggestion ... why not configure your site so that the heading categories are meaningful ... and don't contain particular bits of software but instead software types. Then a further moronic suggestion, fix the search so it actually finds old news articles.


    Moronic indeed

  17. Opt out[ Go to top ]

    Attitudes like this is why I opt out of anything distributed, recommended, and supported by IT if possible.  Doesn't matter what company I worked at in my 20 year career, anything touched by IT turns to rot.  Anytime you have to interact with IT, you get an ulcer.  So, I buy my own machines, install my own OSs and software.  I haven't had virus problems since the mid-90s.

  18. Opt out[ Go to top ]

    Attitudes like this is why I opt out of anything distributed, recommended, and supported by IT if possible.  Doesn't matter what company I worked at in my 20 year career, anything touched by IT turns to rot.  Anytime you have to interact with IT, you get an ulcer and wasted time.  So, I buy my own machines, install my own OSs and software.  I haven't had virus problems since the mid-90s.