Microsoft has copied its new Windows package manager from rival AppGet, developer claims


Microsoft surprised everyone with its new Windows Package Manager (winget) last week, but it looks like the company has copied the basic mechanics of a developer it interviewed and ghosted. Keivan Beigi, the developer behind the AppGet package manager, provided a detailed account of Microsoft contacting him last year with interest in his work before shutting down and then launching his own rival winget. It sounds like Sherlocking – a term that refers to Apple undermining third-party apps by building their functionality directly in macOS or iOS – but in the Microsoft and Windows world.

AppGet is a free and open source package manager for Windows that automates the installation of software on Windows PCs. This caught Microsoft’s attention last year, after Andrew Clinick, a program manager responsible for the application model at Microsoft, contacted AppGet developer Keivan Beigi. The conversations ultimately led Clinick to invite the developer to interview for a position at Microsoft that would see him work on improving software distribution in Windows through his work on AppGet.

Microsoft’s winget package manager.

Beigi interviewed in December, then never heard from the company for nearly six months until he received a 24-hour warning that Microsoft was launching a winget last week. “When I finally saw the ad and the GitHub repositories, was I shocked?” Upset? I wasn’t even sure what I was watching, ”says Beigi.

Beigi claims that the Microsoft wing’s “basic mechanics, terminology, format, and structure of the manifesto, even the package repository folder structure” are all heavily inspired by AppGet. Microsoft only briefly mentions AppGet in its announcement, in a throwaway line that lists other Windows package managers.

“What was copied without credit is the foundation of the project. How it actually works, ”explains Beigi in a separate Reddit post. “And I’m not talking about the general concept of a package / application manager … WinGet works pretty much the same way AppGet works.”

Beigi is now stopping work on AppGet as Microsoft moves forward with winget. In an email to The edge, he said there would be no point in competing. “I don’t think the fragmentation of the ecosystem will benefit anyone,” says Beigi. AppGet will now be closed on August 1, and Beigi is mostly unhappy with how Microsoft didn’t credit him for his work.

“The announcement was particularly bad given the low credit given to AppGet compared to other projects,” Beigi said. He seeks recognition from Microsoft more than anything. “I think an attribution / credit would be fair, but I don’t think what I would like to happen was really that important,” says Beigi, noting that he was blown away by the response to his article. blog.

“When writing the article, I tried to be as factual and fair as possible,” says Beigi. “And it’s been extremely gratifying to know that I’m not crazy and the whole situation was as unfair as I thought it was and foreigners tend to agree.”

Other open source software developers have found themselves in similar situations where Microsoft’s own software has drawn heavily from free and open source alternatives. Brisbane-based software developer Paul Stovell warned earlier this year that Microsoft was doing its homework on open source alternatives. If Microsoft brings out its own competitor, then, says Stovell, “they are unlikely to have done their research or were unaware of the alternative.”

We have reached out to Microsoft for comment on AppGet’s situation, and the company says it is investigating. “We regret to hear about this candidate’s experience and are examining the circumstances internally,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to The edge.

Update, May 28 at 10 a.m.ET: Article updated with comment from Microsoft.


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