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Windows 10 is getting a package manager - my thoughts

kailyons profile image KaiLikesLinux ・2 min read

I recently saw that Windows is getting a package manager. I, as a Linux user, am not excited, not because I fear for Linux but that I hate how Windows will implement it. While I am excited that Windows is actually trying to catch up to Linux, how they are trying to get to the level of Linux is laughable.

The huge thing that makes me laugh at the Windows package manager is that it uses Powershell. As the sysadmins who saw me say that leave, let me explain why I hate this being built in Powershell. Five words: Wrong tool for the job. I wouldn't write a package manager in Bash, because it being the wrong tool for the job. Not that Powershell is bad, just a terrible tool for the job.

While Powershell is my favorite shell language, personally, I would more want C, C++, C#. Something that isn't built to work in a shell alone. Shells use the same principles as interpreters, while Powershell - if my memory serves me correctly - allows for compiling, I would prefer a language that is a pure compile.

Another gripe with it is the use of YAML. I hate YAML. Same reason I hate Debian packaging. Last I remember using YAML, I had to be so precise that I hated my existence. I personally wish Microsoft would also at least design their own system, maybe borrowed from Debian. Something like:

Package: my-app
Version: 1.0.0
Developer: SomeDeveloper Inc.
DeveloperEmail: somedev@example.com
License: Copyright 2999 SomeDeveloper Inc.
Homepage: https://example.com
Architecture: amd64
Source: root

That's how I would write it, and even though their YAML is easy enough, two main things I HATE! I will borrow both of them from the WhatsApp package.

ID's: Id: WhatsApp.WhatsApp
and Installers:

Installers:
  - Arch: x64
    Url: https://web.whatsapp.com/desktop/windows/release/x64/WhatsAppSetup.exe
    Sha256: ECE62222419605FF607CB5BB68FE05A098D74320B9E2762CFC1C9DD42C31570B
    InstallerType: exe

This angers me, and for two reasons:

  • The URLs can be long
  • No from-source-compiles

While both of these will hopefully be solved, I do have a couple of other issues.

  • No personal-package archives seem to be planned
  • Package uploads can be rejected by Microsoft
    • Only angers me because again, no personal package lists
  • Packages are hosted in the repository itself, with no external servers.

Now, can all of these be fixed? Yes. Will this convince me Windows is a good option as an OS? No. The package manager is a cool concept, but I feel like it is another Fucsia, an experiment that they don't really care to put to its max potential.

Can WinGet impress me? Well, it has a solid name, and I am hoping I am wrong about how it will end up. Currently, it seems like a gimmick to me, or maybe just a dumb experiment like the rest of their opensource apps. I really just want to see this prove me wrong, but currently, I am unimpressed.


What are your thoughts on Windows 10 getting a package manager? Do you agree with me about it seeming more like a gimmick/experiment than a product? I want to hear your thoughts.

Discussion (1)

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bigpod98 profile image
Primož Ajdišek

Isnt windows package manager writen in c++ with a few bits of python c and c#
Also i can confirm it works in normal cmd

Well first of all this is its first public preview in linux land we are somewhat used that even usable applications/used applications arent 1.0 just look at inkscape. But with proprietary or more corporate based software this isnt true most of the time first ga(general availability) version is 1.0
So from that we can derive that many features are missing including personal repositories (it is on roadmap as far ad im aware) as far as im aware