Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Windows 10 will come with a command line package manager, much to the lament of Linux users

They lament

Sorry, penguin lovers — if you thought that 2015, in the heinous wake of Windows 8, would finally be the year of desktop Linux, you were sadly mistaken. Microsoft is trying its best to make Windows 10 the dream OS for the billions of people around the world who use a desktop PC with a mouse and keyboard — and, as a result, this means Windows 10 will actually come with a package manager. Yes, in Windows 10 you can open up a command line shell and install VLC or Firefox or thousands of other packages by typing in a single command.

If you've ever ventured into the dark and mysterious land of Linutopia, where Ubutologists and Debianites reign, you will have noticed that one of the things that Linux users are most proud of is package management. While Windows and Mac users have to run graphical installers — you know, where you hit Next a few times and try to avoid installing bundled crapware — Linux users can just open up a command line and type sudo apt-get install vlc. I’m a Windows user through and through, but I have to admit that installing apps and keeping a system updated is much more pleasant in Linux.

With Windows 10, however, we are finally getting an official package manager: OneGet. In the current build of Windows 10 Technical Preview, you can open up PowerShell and use OneGet to install thousands of applications with commands such as Find-Package VLC and Install-Package Firefox. OneGet seems to implement all of the usual functions that you’d expect from a package manager. You can search for packages, add new sources/repos, uninstall packages, install packages, and so on. OneGet uses the same package format as Chocolatey, one of the most popular third-party package managers for Windows (and indeed, you can add the Chocolatey repo to OneGet if you so wish).

Windows 10 PowerShell, using OneGet to install a package

OneGet was originally rolled out as part of the Windows Management Framework 5.0 preview for Windows 8.1, and it’s being actively worked on to try and ship it as a standard tool in Windows 10. As far as we’re aware, it will only be available through PowerShell — a command-line utility that’s mostly used by power users and IT admins. If you don’t know your way around PowerShell (and indeed, it’s a much more complex beast than cmd or most Linux shells), you can still theoretically use OneGet through the standard cmd command line with @PowerShell. HowToGeek has some more details on OneGet and its implementation in Windows 10, if you’re interested.

The Store in Windows 10 is still pretty bad

What remains to be seen is just how far Microsoft will take OneGet. Will it be just be an obscure tool for nerdy admin types? The eventual plan is to expose a set of OneGet APIs, which means other apps will be able to tie into it — and who knows, that might just trigger some kind of revolution in Windows app management. OneGet would certainly be one way for Microsoft to offer desktop apps through the Windows Store (at the moment it can only install Metro apps). This time next year, maybe you’ll be able to open up PowerShell and type Install-Package Photoshop, or Update-Package Windows 10.

Last week, Windows 10 Technical Preview received its first update — and indeed, Microsoft plans to roll out a new, major update every few weeks. We will continue to closely track OneGet and Windows 10′s other desktop-oriented features as and when they appear in new builds.

Source: extremetech

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