Microsoft finally gives AppGet the credit for inspiring its WinGet package manager


When Microsoft launched its Linux-style package manager WinGet, there was an immediate comparison to the competing tool AppGet. While AppGet is an open source project, developer Keivan Beigi was unhappy that Microsoft had essentially copied much of its work and not given it credit.

His accusations were not without merit, as he had met with a Microsoft official to discuss “how we can make your life easier by building an appget.” Now Microsoft has admitted that it did not credit Beigi’s influence and work and has taken action to address it.

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When WinGet came out last week, Beigi wrote online about how that meant AppGet was now dead. He also explained how he was contacted by Microsoft due to interest in his work, but after various discussions and meetings, no work was to come. Beigi was shocked, however, when AppGet’s rival WinGet appeared.

He was surprised to see that “the basic mechanics, terminology, format and structure of the manifesto, even the folder structure of the package repository, are very inspired by AppGet. ”He went on to say:

But the part that hurts the most is the announcement. AppGet, which objectively is the source of most of the ideas for WinGet, has only been mentioned as another package manager. which has just existed; While other package managers that WinGet shares very little with have been mentioned and explained much more deliberately.

He also notes:

I’m not even sorry that they copied me. For me, it is a validation of the correctness of my idea. What bothers me is that no credit has been given.

But Microsoft knows he was wrong. A group program manager at the company, Andrew Clinick, has now published an article in which he admits not to credit Beigi:

Last week we announced a preview of the Package Manager for Windows. Our goal is to provide a great product to our customers and our community where everyone can contribute and be recognized. The last thing we want to do is alienate anyone in the process. That’s why we’re building it on GitHub in public where anyone can contribute. Over the past two days we have listened and learned from our community and it is clear that we have fallen short of this goal. Specifically, we have failed to meet this with Keivan and AppGet. It was the last thing we wanted.

The desire to use GitHub as the basis of our package manager sprouted as a way to look into how developers build their apps. GitHub allows us to have an open repository and a way to integrate DevOps pipelines for publishing apps etc.

This GitHub-based approach led us to AppGet and Keivan. We spoke with Keivan last summer about potential opportunities to work together to deliver the Windows Package Manager. During these conversations, we were impressed with Keivan’s knowledge of the world of package management on Windows and his desire to have a great experience with package management on Windows.

There are a number of qualities in AppGet that have really helped us get better product focus for WinGet:

  • No scripts during installation – something we totally agree with and don’t allow with MSIX
  • Definition of rich manifesto within GitHub – the power of being open combined with rich declarative metadata on the app is so important to achieving Goal # 1
  • Support all types of Windows application installers
  • Transparent updates for apps in the repository

I want to take this opportunity to thank Keivan for his thoughtful approach to AppGet and for working with us. We will be opening our service code in our WinGet repository on GitHub so that we can work with Keivan and others to enable better WinGet repository listing service.

Image credit: Walter Cicchetti / Shutterstock


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