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PortableApps in Puppy Linux 1 January, 2009

Posted by aronzak in Linux, portableapps, Puppy Linux.
Tags: , , , , ,

Puppy Linux can be installed on your USB stick. So can PortableApps, a collection of cross platform open source software that can run on Windows. Interestingly, nearly all of the apps also run perfectly in wine, except for a few issues. So, I got an idea. Why not try and integrate the two.

I created a simple script that can run at startup to check weather the Portableapps.com suite is installed, and then if wine is installed, offer to start it, and if not, offer to download and install wine. Pretty cool, huh?

Here’s some screenshots of it in use:

First, the obligatory desktop shot.


After copying my script to the ‘Startup’ folder and restarting X, a dialog pops up.


In a new version, the network connection setup comes up so that you can actually set up a connection before you try and download a file (whoops).

3The file will download and then you are prompted to install the package.


All done, wine is now installed.


Just keeping the user clued in.

6And now the desktop with the PortableApps Menu


Ok, and finally, two versions of abiword are running, the PortableApps one on top, and the native one on the bottom.


NB. Take a look at that compatibility page. Abiword doesn’t work that well.

Finally, here’s a new version of the script that I wrote:

# Author: Aronzak
# Download and install wine

if [ -f /mnt/home/PortableApps/PortableAppsMenu/PortableAppsMenu.exe ]; then
 if [ -f /usr/bin/wine ]; then
  Xdialog --title "Run PortableApps" --yesno "Wine is installed. \nWould you like to run PortableApps?" 0 0
  [ ! $? -eq 0 ] && exit 0
  wine /mnt/home/PortableApps/PortableAppsMenu/PortableAppsMenu.exe
  Xdialog --title "Run PortableApps" --yesno "You have PortableApps installed on your usb stick.\n Congratulations. Would you like to download and\n install wine so that you can run PortableApps in Puppy?\n (Download is around 8MB)" 0 0
  [ ! $? -eq 0 ] && exit 0
  Xdialog --title "Run PortableApps" --no-cancel --msgbox "Please use the networking wizard to set up a network connection." 0 0
  Xdialog --title "Run PortableApps" --yesno "Would you like to download wine now? \n (Download is around 8MB)" 0 0
  [ ! $? -eq 0 ] && exit 0
  echo "wget http://downloads.sourceforge.net/wine/wine-1.1.10-i486-1kjz.tgz?modtime=1228522686&big_mirror=1" > /tmp/runme
  echo "wait" >> /tmp/runme
  echo "tgz2pet wine-1.1.10-i486-1kjz.tgz 2> /dev/null" >> /tmp/runme
  echo "wait" >> /tmp/runme
  echo "exit" >> /tmp/runme
  chmod +x /tmp/runme
  rxvt -bg "orange" -title "Puppy Universal Installer" -geometry 80x10 -e /tmp/runme
  Xdialog --title "Run PortableApps" --no-cancel --msgbox "Wine downloaded. Will now install." 0 0
  pupget /root/wine-1.1.10-i486-1kjz.pet
  Xdialog --title "Run PortableApps" --no-cancel --msgbox "Wine should now be installed. Will now run PortableApps." 0 0
  wine /mnt/home/PortableApps/PortableAppsMenu/PortableAppsMenu.exe

I’d appreciate feedback to improve the script. Does this work for you?

ReactOS; a free alternative to Windows 26 November, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Windows.
Tags: , , , , , ,

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” is where ReactOS, what is essentially an attempt at a free Windows clone, derives its name. The project aims to be ‘binary compatible’ with Windows NT, which XP, Vista and the upcoming 7 are based on, meaning that users will be able to run native Windows applications without forking out for a licence from Microsoft, or turning to Bittorrent. It’s an ambitious goal, which, understandably, will take a long time to reach. It’s still in alpha, and aims to be 50% compatible with the NT kernel in version 0.4. But, despite being in the alpha stage of development, it can run some programs without a hitch. You can download .iso images from the main website, or prebuilt disk images for VMware or QEMU. The OS should only be installed on test machines. Virtualising is safer and easier.qemu

Running ReactOS in QEMU seems to work quite well. The system boots up fairly quickly, but then runs slightly sluggishly, possibly because I have not set it up optimally. After the boot, you are confronted with a Windows 2000 look that just seems out of place in today’s operating system shells. There are no programs bundled with it (as one would expect from Windows), but you can use an inbuilt downloader that should automatically install programs from the project’s subversion repository. I didn’t have any luck with it. So, I quickly make an iso with programs from Portable apps on my USB stick. These run with a varying degree of success.

TrueCrypt, AbiWordPortable, Notepad++Portable, PortableAppsBackup, WinSCPPortable and 7-ZipPortable all seem to work.

PortableAppsMenu opens, and can spawn other applications, but it’s image is out. Otherwise it works.

ClamWinPortable opens a window, but does not have any icons, and freezes the OS after it successfully brings up a configuration dialogue.

VLCPortable cause the whole OS to crash in version 0.3.6, but running the latest build it starts. Icons are missing, however, and the logo seems to be upside down and blue (Inversed colours?) (???), some icons are missing, and trying to open a dialogue to open media causes the program to crash. Might be a long day tomorrow on IRC.

Both SunbirdPortable and PuTTYPortable had some errors and did not start.

So, as you see, there’s quite a range. But generally, there is a lot of programs that seem to be able to run fine. There’s a fair bit of testing going on, to establish application and driver compatibility, and to address issues. ReactOS is a neat collection of software that you can download and try out with virtualisation. But it’s not an OS to install on your computer, and probably never will be. One of the main premises behind the OS is that Linux is too complicated for most uders and they will never be able to use Free software that is diffrent from Windows. I think that this is wrong, especially given Linux’s long history of development. Also, doubts are handing in the air as to weather or not ReactOS really is a clean reverse engineering process, or weather code was stolen from the Windows kernel. There are no real IP threats to Linux.

Portable Apps in Linux 2 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Linux, Live Usb, Windows.
Tags: , , ,
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It is possible to run Portable apps in Linux with Wine. But my question is, why should you need to? All of the programs that you can install to a usb drive are open source, and so most of them will come with a Linux distro, or are installable to one. As this is such a useful tool to get open source apps working on a windows box, I am surprised that there is no tool to better integrate portable apps into a Linux desktop. A few ideas:

1 Allow MS links (.lnk) to be opened by wine, which would follow the link as if it was in wondows, guessing the directory that it liks to. in windows, the link is to F:/portableapps/portableappsmenu/portableappsmenu.exe. Surely this could automatically be worked out to be a link to /media/sdxx/portableappsmenu/portableappsmenu.exe.

2 Allow autorun.ini scripts in KDE. There’s already an options dialog when you plug in a device.

3 Allow programs such as thunderbird to automatically synchronise with files of the portable apps version installed to a usb stick.