To stop Adobe Updater completely, one must understand how it gets run in the first place. The updater is launched by a Mac OS X system service called launchd. To launchd, Adobe Updater is a periodic job. The job file is stored under your ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder. The actual file name is suffixed with a number of random characters, but it starts with "com.adobe.ARM" as the prefix. If you look inside the file (it's a plain text file), you'd see that launchd would run the updater at 12600 seconds interval, or 3.5 hours.
To remove, type these commands in a Terminal window:
cd ~/Library/LaunchAgents launchctl remove `basename com.adobe.ARM.* .plist` rm com.adobe.ARM.*Basically, the idea is, for each launchd plist file in ~/Library/LaunchAgents that you don't want, run launchctl remove on the job name, which is the same as the plist file name without the .plist suffix, then remove the actual .plist file.
While you are at it, there may be other launchd jobs in ~/Library/LaunchAgents left over from stale applications you might have tried before. Feel free to remove them all.
Edit (Oct 20, 2012): a couple of readers pointed out in the comment that the launchd namespace used by Adobe Updater is now different. I just installed Adobe (Acrobat) Reader XI and found that the name is still
com.adobe.ARM.*, but if you have Creative Suite, it might be
com.adobe.AAM.*instead. I don't have Creative Suite so I can't verify that.
Furthermore, it appears that when you set Updater preference in Adobe Reader XI to "Do not download or install updates automatically," it now removes the launchd task as well, which means the
rmcommands would no longer be necessary. Kudos to Adobe for figuring that out!
One reader also pointed out that in his case, the updater is installed in the system-wide location
/Library/LaunchAgents. In that case, you will need to run “
sudo su -” first and type in your own password to gain root privilege (the prompt changes from “
$” to “
#”) before they can be removed. Be careful the commands you enter as root, as a mistake can irreparably damage your system.
Thanks for keeping me updated y'all.