Thursday, April 8, 2010

Microsoft's attempt to fix windows packaging: The Common Opensource Application Publishing Platform (CoApp)

I read about Garrett Serack's project to fix the mess that is windows packaging (or lack of packaging) with The Common Opensource Application Publishing Platform (CoApp) and was pretty surprised. It seems Garrett is a long time linux user who has somehow found himself working at Microsoft, and has come up with this project to try and fix things. His post is a pretty good description of just how bad packaging is on windows, and provides good background on how a lack of standardisation has got us into dependency hell. In his words:
Frankly it's taken an extremely long time to convince the powers-that-be at Microsoft that Linux's package management is stellar compared to Windows.

My intent is to completely do away with the [current Windows application] practice of everybody shipping every damn shared library.

Reading some of his responses to the slashdot comments, some interesting tidbits came out. He is planning to use WiX to chain MSI's together to handle dependencies, and Windows SxS to handle multiple versions of libraries.

Will it work? Who knows, it is a massive undertaking. I imagine some open-source community members might have to do some soul searching to figure out if they want to contribute to a project that will make windows better, and presumably make Microsoft more money.

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