Linked by Kroc Camen on Fri 6th Nov 2009 22:30 UTC
Microsoft Click-to-Run is a new technology Microsoft are introducing to allow you to test out Office 2010 quickly and easily, by literally streaming the app to your computer from the Internet into a virtualised space.
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Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

Microsoft has really built up a reputation for poor installation experiences. Take today: I tried installing *just OneNote* from an Office 2007 Small Business Edition CD, onto a system that had Office 2007 Enterprise already installed, and it just failed. Nothing much changed, but OneNote was nowhere to be found. A month ago, I tried to install Expression Studio 3. What should have been a two-step process (uninstall Expression Studio 2, then install v3), turned out to be about 6 (very long, laggy) steps, since it turned out I couldn't uninstall v2 all at once, but needed to do it in pieces. Similar (but even more long and painful) story for upgrading from MS-SQL Server 2005 to 2008: First uninstalling 10 separate components, then running an installer for a web-based installer, then running the web-based installer itself, only to find out that I need a new version of the Windows installer(!), which I need to track down and install myself from MS's website, then restart, then try again, wait 2 hours for the download, and then find out that it got corrupted; try the download again, still no luck--then Google it and find a direct link to the actual install EXE, which finally does the trick. It couldn't be more ridiculous if I made it up but *I AM NOT JOKING!!!!* Anyone who thinks Microsoft has progressed from the good old days of 6-hour-long Visual Studio.NET installations has been deluded! If anything there are more types of installers and ways of installing things that the various arms of MS have come up with, all somehow incompatible with each other and designed to waste as much of your time as is humanly possible.

So all I can say is, I hope this new thing works better. But after 15 years of having experienced the same old crap, I have my doubts. At least it's isolated from all the other programs on your system, which is decidedly more Mac-like. If only *every* Windows program used such a method, installing applications on Windows might actually be fixed. (Because it would basically be just like a Mac at that point ;) ).

Seriously, Macs have had this thing down to a science (an incredibly easy to implement one at that) since forever, so it's amazing it's taken this long for MS to finally take a hint.

Edited 2009-11-06 23:14 UTC

Reply Score: 2

StaubSaugerNZ Member since:
2007-07-13


Seriously, why oh why do Windows apps insist on being so difficult to install? Macs have had this thing down to a science (an incredibly easy to implement one at that) since forever, so why hasn't MS taken a clue yet?


For several reasons:

a) Microsoft wants to tie you to Windows. Your app is designed to follow whatever is the current layout of the current version of Windows, rather than a more neutral distribution layout. This makes it easier for developers but harder for users. Sure you can get around this, but it is effort and a PITA so many developers don't bother.

b) Microsoft wants to tie you to your copy of Windows. Therefore, stuff gets put in a machine-specific place (registry) that is hard to move to another machine. Sure, copy the program's directory, but your app still won't run because required settings are squirreled away in registry settings rather than with the program. It's harder to pirate the program and this makes Microsoft's partners happy. Sure you can get around this, but it is effort and a PITA so many developers don't bother.

c) With all the other stuff going on at Microsoft installers and uninstallers are not the highest priority. In short, they don't care about your problem they're more interested in fighting or acquiring competitors in a different space (flavor of the year is the Web).

d) The desktop is already 'won' for them and too many existing users complain if stuff gets changed. So stuff gets changed very slowly.

So stop complaining and just buy Windows 7, and a a new version of MS Office, and new copies of all your apps so they actually run on Windows 7, and new copies of all your utilities (anti-virus etc), and a new computer to run it on, and new Windows Server licenses to support it, and new servers to support those licenses, and the latest version of SharePoint, and new training and a new support contract - don't you know that Microsoft knows what's best for you? (what's my point? don't use Windows if you don't want the pain).

Back to topic: Who cares about the streaming of Office. Don't ya know 'applets' (or their evolutionary descendent 'Java Webstart', which is effectively what this technology is, just implemented in .NET instead of Java) went out years ago. You're still gonna get all the deployment problems you thought you'd gotten rid of by moving away from rich clients for many things.

Edited 2009-11-06 23:30 UTC

Reply Score: 3

zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

Java webstart apps are actually one of my favorite things about Java. Most things about Java make it a nasty client-side experience but portability and web start are two good things.

Reply Score: 3

StaubSaugerNZ Member since:
2007-07-13

I like Java and Webstart too. The points I was trying to make were: that it is a pain for 'operational deployment', as is almost all client-side systems (hence the trend to the web despite the less rich experience. Having a streamed version of Office won't save you from this pain. Also, the streaming of apps isn't some new miraculous Microsoft technology, there is a precedent with Webstart (and others) - so early adopters ought to dismiss the marketing hype and maintain some skepticsm (it will be better for themselves to do so).

Reply Score: 2

drstorm Member since:
2009-04-24

Who cares about the streaming of Office. Don't ya know 'applets' (or their evolutionary descendent 'Java Webstart', which is effectively what this technology is, just implemented in .NET instead of Java) went out years ago.

Could you elaborate on that? I fail to see how the applets are similar to this.

Reply Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Aren't you happy you are using the superior stand-alone installer system without dependency handling?

Reply Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

who is so fond of Apple.

The installation system in OSX is better for isolating programs but doesn't beat Windows when it comes to usability. I've seen new Mac users have far more problems with installing downloaded software.

Apple does some things right but at the end of the day Steve Jobs cares more about his turtle necks than development software. I'd use Visual Studio even if it took 24 hours to install. I don't like the alternatives and Apple doesn't even provide one.

Reply Score: 2

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

"The installation system in OSX is better for isolating programs but doesn't beat Windows when it comes to usability. I've seen new Mac users have far more problems with installing downloaded software."

Haha, usability my ass. Anyone with a little less experience (and tenacity) than me would have given up at step 1. I don't call the average user not being able to install a piece of software "usable". As for OS X, the only reason users ever have trouble installing software on a Mac is because they're used to the Windows way. After the first time someone learns how to drag an app into the Applications folder, they get it. Maybe 80% of applications actually have an arrow next to an alias of the Applications folder with the instructions "drag to install". So I'd hardly call this "less usable" than Windows.

As for my MS-using ways, I try to keep myself abreast of many different development environments and tools. As a developer, I actually have the most experience with Java, so naturally I wanted to see what MS cooked up in their clone of it ;) . I wouldn't call myself a typical Mac developer, and I won't go to lengths to defend it as a development platform. However, I will say that Xcode, and indeed *every other IDE I have ever tried* on the Mac (which is quite a few) is pain-free to install, which is more than I can say about MS's toolset.

Meanwhile from a purely user perspective there is no question in my mind that Apple wins hands-down. Aside from providing a more stable OS, able to go to sleep and wake up for months on end without ever needing a restart, on a Mac you will almost never experience anything resembling DLL hell or registry hell. Worst case scenario, you delete a few .plist files and you're on your way. Thank the turtle-neck-wearing lord ;) .

Edited 2009-11-07 18:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

If only *every* Windows program used such a method, installing applications on Windows might actually be fixed.


If they did that, you'd run out of drive letters!

Reply Score: 1

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Strictly speaking, that's not quite correct. Drive letters are not necessary in NT-based versions of Windows, even though the system makes use of them (bad, bad concept there). You can have mount points on NTFS volumes, and installation images could be done this way rather than taking up a drive letter.

Reply Score: 2

ZeroInstall anyone?
by Temcat on Sat 7th Nov 2009 11:57 UTC
Temcat
Member since:
2005-10-18

Doesn't it look like ZeroInstall?

Reply Score: 2

streaming OS
by Different on Sun 8th Nov 2009 04:50 UTC
Different
Member since:
2007-07-03

If you'd like to stream the whole OS or MS Office instead of installing and maintaining each PC, you can always use a virtualization solution such as ThinServer

http://www.aikotech.com/thinserver.htm

Reply Score: 1

technology is Softgrid
by Paulhekje on Mon 9th Nov 2009 08:24 UTC
Paulhekje
Member since:
2007-10-03

For those who want information of the technology being used: Microsoft is using Softgrid, now called app-v
http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/appv/default.mspx

Reply Score: 2