Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 15th Dec 2008 15:10 UTC
Editorial states: "Microsoft (or a really smart ISV) should build a full application manager for Windows, similar to what most Linux distributions do today." Most Windows applications come with their own distinctive updating mechanism (much like Mac OS X), instead of having a centralised updating location like most Linux distributions offer. While it certainly wouldn't be harmful for Windows to gain such a feature - the question remains: isn't it time we rethink program installation and management altogether?
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System Tray....
by apoclypse on Mon 15th Dec 2008 16:08 UTC
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Another issue is that because of the non centralized way of installing and updating apps in Windows, you have companies like Adobe and Sun putting things into your system tray just to update their apps. The System Tray, a place which is already scarce of real-estate is actively used by companies in-order to automatically update their applications and no one elses. In Linux, centralized package management means that the system handles the updates, usually with one system tray icon and a separate windows showing you all the applications that need updating. If you install Adobe reader, Flash, JRE in say Ubuntu you are not going to get three system tray icons all asking you to update, they get updated by Ubuntu's update manager.

Sure, this depends quite a bit on the distro maker, but it doesn't have to. Most of the package managers in Linux allow for 3rd party repos. With Windows this would be much easier to support if MS allowed for third party vendors to add their repositories to MS update functionality. Adobe already has an installer that ha to download the full file from their own repo, basically all these 3rd party companies have to do is create an installer with the repo info, have the user install the file and ask for the gpg or whatever certification MS wants to use and all the installer script does is add the repo to the package manager download the actual binary and install. It could be seemless for users. Like Ubuntu you can still install full packages you download (the package manager would usually check dependencies at this point but that is not as important in Windows or OSX due to the way they package things).

BTW, Apple's iphone package manager is pretty good and it does update all apps on your iphone, but then again Apple controls all of the distribution of the apps in the appstore, which I'm sure they would love to do on OSX.

The only real issue, which even Ubuntu hasn't gotten down yet, is copy protection for commercial apps. Again with windows and OSX this is a much easier to cope with than with Linux. One solution is to do what Adobe did with theirs, which is to ask for the activation key when you first start the application as opposed to when you first install the application.

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