The weekend saw me doing a Motherboard / CPU / HDD upgrade on one of our household’s PC’s – It’s a Windows 2003 server that had an IDE drive in it and the new Mobo was SATA. The day before, the system wouldn’t boot – some cool bad sector business had caused it. So, I didn’t have a working image to restore to the new hard drive and the system has been running for about 2 years anyway, so I figured it’s probably time for a fresh install.
But I forgot one thing – Windows doesn’t have a package manager. Here’s what I have installed so far.
In the GNU/GPL/LGPL etc front I have installed:
- 7zip (zip / rar / tgz etc)
- Filezilla (ftp client)
- Winmerge (diff tool)
- Pidgin (msn / yahoo / jabber client)
- OpenOffice (office suite)
- Mindquarry client (for Mindquarry Server)
- Firefox (browser)
- Putty (ssh client)
- Winscp (scp client)
- NXClient (nomachine X client)
- PDFCreator (pdf printer)
- Python2.5 (language)
- WXPython (widgets for python)
- BWgBurn (burning program)
- Notepad++ (notepad on steroids)
- Gvim (Graphical vi text editor)
- Launchy (free’s me from the Start menu)
- Keepass Password Safe (stores passwords – synch’s with mindquarry server and accessible from all my machines)
- tortoisesvn (Subversion client)
- Miro (ex-Democracy player ie: download free (non-pirated) movie content)
On the non-GPL but Free front:
- JRE 1.5
- Foxit Reader (win32 pdf reader without the bloat)
- Copernic Desktop Search (google desktop doesn’t play nice on Terminal Servers)
- .NET 2.0
Now that’s a lot of :
- Download -> wait -> Choose Version -> Save As
- Run -> click, click, click, click, finish
Those packages are just what I could think up off the top of my head – I am sure there’s a bunch more to come. What would be REALLY, really nice is if we had a package manager like synaptic so that I could just point it to a text file backup of my package selection and it goes away and downloads and installs it all for me. As you can see above, I think there’s enough quality open source packages that could justify such a cause.
The cygwin project is a prime example (although finding the packages you want could be nicer ie: searching) on how a package manager could work.
There are two projects in the works trying to achieve this but both are quite immature with a limited choice of programs to choose from:
The aptly named Windows Package Manager can install putty for you which is kind of harder than just ‘installing’ putty yourself but it’s a start and WinLibre, which I only discovered after installing all of the above programs already and it doesn’t have half of the programs I use anyway.
Maybe when I get through “Dive into Python” book I might take the project on – but then, the book’s author Mark Pilgrim has the same gripe about MacOSX in this post so I might just stick with my Ubuntu and plug any efforts I make in that area.
UPDATE: As chance would have it, Lifehacker wrote an article on a apt-get like tool for windows called win-get
I gave it a bit of a try but it kept failing at the point of running the installer ie:
C:\scripts\wx>win-get install vlc_playerChecking for mirrors…Searching For Best Mirror:Searching For Best Mirror…Pinging: ftp.snt.utwente.nl … No Reponse.–13:26:14– http://ftp.snt.utwente.nl/pub/software/videolan/vlc/0.8.4a/win32/vlc-0.8.4a-win32.exe => `vlc-0.8.4a-win32.exe’Resolving ftp.snt.utwente.nl… 22.214.171.124Connecting to ftp.snt.utwente.nl|126.96.36.199|:80… connected.HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 200 OKLength: 9,692,886 (9.2M) [application/octet-stream]100%[========================================================================================>] 9,692,886 187.52K/s ETA 00:0013:27:12 (164.42 KB/s) – `vlc-0.8.4a-win32.exe’ saved [9692886/9692886]File Retrieved Successfully..Launching Installer…Unable to run installer.
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