Developer claims Windows Package Manager copied AppGet

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At Build earlier this month, Microsoft announced the Windows Package Manager, or winget. The feature is a command line tool that lets you run scripts to install apps, something other desktop operating systems like Linux have had for years. There are actually third-party solutions that do the same thing on Windows, like Chocolatey, but the developer behind another solution, AppGet, claims Microsoft has copied their idea.

In a blog post on Medium, Keivan Beigi details an experience where Microsoft contacted him about AppGet, planned to hire him as a kind of aqui-hire, brought him in for a day full of interviews, then was not communicated for six months. According to Beigi, the next time he heard from Microsoft was the day before Winget launched, simply saying that the team was going to mention AppGet in the blog post.

Beigi was first contacted on July 3, 2019, almost a year ago, by someone named Andrew. He provides transcripts via email, and at that time Micosoft was planning to be in Vancouver and wanted to meet with Beigi. They met and discussed things like how AppGet works, future projects, etc. It was August 20 and the next email arrived on August 28.

That’s when he was told that Microsoft was planning big changes in how software distribution worked on Windows, and asked if he wanted to come and work at the Redmond company. The plan was something like an acqui-hire, where he would go and work there and AppGet would come too. Apparently, the regular acquisition process takes too long, so the plan was to just hire him with a bonus and then transfer ownership from AppGet to Microsoft.

On December 5, Beigi said he flew to Seattle for a full day of talks and meetings, and then didn’t hear a word from Microsoft for six months. The email he received the day before from Build apologized that the PM post had not worked and stated that AppGet would receive a call in the blog post.

Beigi says he wasn’t upset that he wasn’t hired, that Microsoft released the Windows Package Manager, or even the code he claimed to have been copied. He said what bothers him is the way everything has been handled, all ending in “radio silence”. He claims that AppGet is the origin of most of the winget ideas, and that it has only been mentioned as “another package manager that has just existed”.

Beigi said in the blog post: “Do you want to know how Microsoft WinGet works? Go read the article I wrote 2 years ago on how AppGet works. He’s also been following some thread on Reddit, if you want to know more.

Microsoft says it’s investigating this, and it’s important to remember that’s only one side of the story. If you take a look at the winget repository and the AppGet repository on GitHub, it’s actually hard to find any real similarities between the two, although you’re free to dig deeper, because that’s the nature of open source.

He also noted in the Medium post how his wife commented on Microsoft’s solution called winget, which implies that the name is based on AppGet. To be fair to this complaint, the Linux variant of this, which existed long before AppGet or Winget, is called apt-get.

Microsoft will likely react sooner rather than later, but the truth is that when a company wants to do something, a decision has to be made about whether to build it in-house or acquire a company that has already done it. It’s entirely possible that the Redmond firm simply decided that it would be an easier thing to do internally, using already existing open source code.


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