Why does Preform install Apple's Bonjour on a Windows PC?

Why does Preform install Apple’s Bonjour on a Windows PC? Does Preform and the Form 2 printer need this piece of rotten Crapple bloatware?

I’ve never had any software written by Crapple work worth a damn on any Windows PC.

Thanks, Matt

Great question!

I believe they use it for device discovery. i.e. When you first hook up your printer to your network via ethernet or Wifi, your computer doesn’t know the IP address of your Formlabs printer. Once upon a time software would broadcast a discover message to your local subnet (“Formlabs printers, where art thou”) and listen to see what responded. Now a lot of applications use Apple’s Bonjour library for this; presumably it offers some advantages (and by the way, appears to be open source under Apache 2.0 license).

Personally I always found it heavy-handed that Bonjour installs an unwanted service on my machine, and it’s conflicted pretty badly with my other software in the past (I think it screwed up my Palm PDA’s ability to connect and some other obscure drivers). Those experiences have probably colored my opinion of the software, and seeing as half the population in Formlabs’ target market has iPhones it makes sense the company would pick it.

Personally I uninstall that crap, disable the service if present, and it’s never caused me problems. If you’re networking-competent, just assign a fixed IP address for your printer; I find that’s more reliable than all this auto-discover stuff anyway (at least for these printers, from my own experience).

If you care about stuff like this I’d recommend Total Uninstall to more closely monitor exactly what software vendors are doing to your PC and clean up any abuse.

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There are tons of things that install Bonjour and I’d say it is safe to remove. I’ve never had an issue with it, but that’s not to say it can’t cause them. You may also check your installed list once in a while for anything else you don’t want tagging along. You might see it end up on there again,

It allows Preform to find your printer on the network without having to tell the software what the local IP address of the printer is.

That’s correct. Microsoft has introduced a standard way to do this in Windows 10, but PreForm was written to support earlier versions of Windows as well. Bonjour was a handy solution that worked for all versions.


You don’t need Bonjour with Windows 7 too.

When installing an new PreForm version, I skip the Bonjour installation and enter the Printer IP manually.

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My thanks to everyone that replied.

I’m going to uninstall Bonjour.