Windows 10 gets its own package manager

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If you’re really fed up with the Microsoft Store, Microsoft is now offering a throwback to the glory days of the command line interface. Meet App Installer, Microsoft’s new package manager for Windows.

Microsoft (a little on the defensive) announced the App Installer package manager in a blog post that coincides with the opening of Microsoft Build, Microsoft’s developer conference. This is important, because developers have typically worked in a command line or text interface, writing thousands of lines of code. Package managers are also the preferred way to install software on Linux, which manages the software and all the dependencies it needs.

On Windows, of course, software downloads are usually a single executable, an .MSI package, or a .ZIP file. Users can download them through a website, service like Steam, Microsoft Store, or other locations. Microsoft wants to make it clear that all of this will not go away.

But, for some reason, if you to want to open a command shell and just download the app you want without browsing the Microsoft Store or any of the other sites, you can. To be fair, other Windows package managers already exist, like Chocolately. It’s a simple way to just type a command and start an automated process to download and configure a predetermined number of background apps.

Microsoft

Demetrius Nelon, senior program director at Microsoft responsible for the app, explained that it comes as part of the Windows Insider beta rings. Once you have registered, you can then download the App Installer application from the Microsoft Store. (Attention: direct link.)

Nelon clarified that nothing will change for traditional Windows users. “What does this mean for the Windows store? It doesn’t mean anything to the Windows store, ”Nelon wrote. “Windows Package Manager is a command line interface, no marketing, no images, no commerce. Although we plan to make these apps installable as well.

Nelon said Microsoft has looked at other Windows package managers and decided to go its own way. “What about insert any other package manager here? We think they are great. If they want to take advantage of our repository of validated packages, they can. If they want to see how we do it, it’s open source. We are open to comments and suggestions.

Unfortunately, not all Windows Store apps are available through the App Installer, but more are apparently on the way.

Oddly enough, this wasn’t the only text-based interface to launch at Build. A new PowerToys app, known as PowerToys Run, lets you launch apps and documents by installing the software and then launching it through a Windows shortcut. Of course, you already have the Win + R shortcut to do this, or you can just type the Windows key and then the name of the app. Still, the first day of Build was apparently about creating various ways of doing the same thing.


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