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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Goodness or Badness?

I've noticed a disturbing trend that I've also been guilty of and I'd like my readers opinions.

As we all know, MSI databases are an open format. It's very easy to inspect them and transform them to fit the consumers needs. This is a good thing and yet it's a bad thing.

It seems that various Windows Installer Experts/Bloggers seem to think it's within their right to stand up on their soapbox, proclaim to be the all knowing expert of "Setup Goodness(TM)" and then proceed to mercilessly judge the authors of packages who don't meet their exacting standards. Typically the packages being reviewed are from companies that are competitors of Microsoft.

Granted, their are valid technical points, but I believe the message comes across in a very arrogant, vicious manner. So I'd like my readers opinion. Below are a few of examples for you to judge yourself. Afterwords, head over and vote on my new poll.

VirtualBox 1.6.0 setup another example of the second law of thermodynamics
Google Earth setup experience Google App Engine delivered to Windows by WiX.
Google Toolbar Beta for Enterprise a "Trojan horse" MSI package
ComponentID GUID Sloppiness Observation


  1. I think there's a fine line between evaluating and judging. There was something about the tone of the comments you're referring to that sounded a bit judgmental.

    If anything, doesn't it just further prove how difficult and complex the de facto installation standard pushed down from the cathedral is to work with??

  2. I think it is a fairly pointless excercise although it does make one feel superior looking at those things.
    Most MSIs are terrible, written in a hurry at the end of a project's lifecycle. It is only when we expect better from a vendor that it is disappointing.
    Two terrible packages that spring to mind are Microsoft Livemeeting console and Adobe Flash AciveX

    With the Virtualbox install it is only because VBScript that it was possible to see how it worked ... if it had been InstallScript then we'd never know how bad it was.

    How about the cludge that is the complus table which is some kind of pseudo-customaction that gives you very little control over any of the useful settings?

    I am far more worried by the Office 2007 package that actively prevents you from using any form of transform to tweak it so you can only use the approved MSP-generating office customisation wizard. I hope that office2k7 is unique in that way