Positive press on lifehacker - comments

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I am Baas
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Positive press on lifehacker - comments

#1 Post by I am Baas » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:17 pm

[Moderator note: this thread was split from the original article.]

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Oh man, John T. Haller is busy working the comments in that article :roll: .

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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#2 Post by SYSTEM » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:26 am

I am Baas wrote:Oh man, John T. Haller is busy working the comments in that article :roll: .
I see.
John T. Haller wrote: Use care when downloading from Portable Freeware Collection as they have a different definition of what is 'portable' than we do. Having things breaks as you move PCs and leave things behind are acceptable at PFC even though they violate our guidelines of what a portable app is: [portableapps.com] If you're only using them locally, though, it isn't as big of an issue.
http://lifehacker.com/5890856/kick-wind ... 9#comments

Not exactly incorrect but definitely biased.
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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#3 Post by guinness » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:28 am

Just read this comment from him...
Use care when downloading from Portable Freeware Collection as they have a different definition of what is 'portable' than we do. Having things breaks as you move PCs and leave things behind are acceptable at PFC even though they violate our guidelines of what a portable app is: [portableapps.com] If you're only using them locally, though, it isn't as big of an issue.
I'm a little astounded by this comment.

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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#4 Post by guinness » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:35 am

I see SYSTEM saw the comment at the same time I did. When I read the article I was going to comment on why they didn't like PortableApps.com launchers, because I felt sorry for them and that it wasn't a justified comment because they didn't explain why.
Not exactly incorrect but definitely biased.
...and just plain unprofessional. Rule 1 of business, don't put the competition down. We do document whether or not it will leave traces on the system or if there's a x64 bit version available, it's up to the user whether or not they want to use our advice.

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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#5 Post by joby_toss » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:16 am

Hmm...not very nice...

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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#6 Post by JohnTHaller » Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:34 am

SYSTEM wrote:Not exactly incorrect but definitely biased.
The comment I made is 100% correct. PFC considers apps that are not stealth (leave things behind in the registry, temp, etc) and have things break (recently used files, some settings) to be portable and prefers apps without launchers that function in this manner to apps with launchers that are what many people refer to as 'portable' (fully 'stealth' and auto-adjust paths). This is part of the policy that Andrew has laid out for PFC and what many long-time members prefer. There are dozens and dozens of listings done in just this fashion.

Many users who are only familiar with the PortableApps.com definition of portable (nothing left behind but what windows itself does, recently used file lists and all features continuing to work, etc) are confused by that. So, I spelled out that that was a difference for any users new to PFC. I also stated, correctly, that these sorts of things being left behind and breaking as you move between PCs aren't as big a deal in the context of the article (running portable apps locally).

The one thing I did forget to add is that an interested user can then check the 'stealth' and 'paths' entries in the PFC database to see if the app is actually fully portable. As I can't edit the comment, I did add it as a reply.

I'm a bit unsure about the hubbub over pointing out PFC's preferred criteria for listing apps as portable in their database. I didn't add any commentary about it the policy to the comment on lifehacker, just a factually accurate description.
guinness wrote:Rule 1 of business, don't put the competition down. We do document whether or not it will leave traces on the system or if there's a x64 bit version available, it's up to the user whether or not they want to use our advice.
I wasn't putting PFC down, just pointing out a big difference between their definition of portable and what other people (most people?) think it means. I had forgotten about mentioning the 'stealth' and path entries and added it in a comment. And I don't think of PFC as competition. PFC doesn't develop anything, it's a database listing portable software and lists many of PortableApps.com's apps (including 6 of the 7 apps they mention as examples in the lifehacker article). If PFC was competition, I wouldn't be here helping update entries, helping out in the forums, and giving suggestions about improving PFC.
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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#7 Post by SYSTEM » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:40 am

JohnTHaller wrote:
SYSTEM wrote:Not exactly incorrect but definitely biased.
The comment I made is 100% correct. PFC considers apps that are not stealth (leave things behind in the registry, temp, etc) and have things break (recently used files, some settings) to be portable and prefers apps without launchers that function in this manner to apps with launchers that are what many people refer to as 'portable' (fully 'stealth' and auto-adjust paths). This is part of the policy that Andrew has laid out for PFC and what many long-time members prefer. There are dozens and dozens of listings done in just this fashion.
That's right, but you created a very bad impression. Consider someone who has never heard of portable applications reading your comment.
John T. Haller wrote: Use care when downloading from Portable Freeware Collection as they have a different definition of what is 'portable' than we do. Having things breaks as you move PCs
What's "things"? An average user probably thinks core functionality instead of recent file list.
John T. Haller wrote: and leave things behind are acceptable at PFC
Again, here an average user thinks probably browser history or something.
John T. Haller wrote: even though they violate our guidelines of what a portable app is
First of all, what's "they"? We, the TPFC members?

Secondly, this sounds like "we are right and they are wrong". You have created guidelines! How dare we violate them?! :shock:

--

Finally, while "[T]here are dozens and dozens of listings done in just this fashion", there are also at least hundreds of tiny stealth applications in the TPFC database. Saying "Having things breaks as you move PCs and leave things behind are acceptable at PFC" is accurate, but creates the false impression that a significant portion of applications indeed have things break and leave things behind.
JohnTHaller wrote: The one thing I did forget to add is that an interested user can then check the 'stealth' and 'paths' entries in the PFC database to see if the app is actually fully portable. As I can't edit the comment, I did add it as a reply.
Thanks for that.
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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#8 Post by JohnTHaller » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:05 am

SYSTEM wrote:What's "things"? An average user probably thinks core functionality instead of recent file list.
As it tooks months to get VLC switched from the kinda, sorta, a little bit portable listing that was there to VLC Portable even though core functionality like the music library was completely broken, I'd argue that my point was fair here. Some apps do have certain functionality break as you move PCs. In most cases it's 'minor' things like recent files. In others it's re-opening what you were working on so you have to manually go find and reopen your password file or similar. In some others, things like themes or custom backgrounds break. Admittedly, it is rarely something that someone would consider 'core' functionality (VLC being one of those times). But it is functionality that most users expect to work in many apps. And it is something that is not mentioned in most listings.
SYSTEM wrote:Again, here an average user thinks probably browser history or something.
I honestly hadn't even considered that a newbie would read it as that. And I don't think PFC would list an app as portable if it was leaking any personal data. Although, honestly, what is the cutoff? I don't think there is a clear guideline about what things left behind is considered acceptable in PFC. If an app isn't 'stealth', *something* is being left behind. And not all listings are clear about exactly what is left behind or where it is being left.
SYSTEM wrote:First of all, what's "they"? We, the TPFC members? Secondly, this sounds like "we are right and they are wrong". You have created guidelines! How dare we violate them?! :shock:
They means the apps. Meaning that PFC has apps listed even though they (the apps) aren't fully portable. As for the guidelines, PortableApps.com is the world's most popular portable software site (and even the very first listing in google for just the word 'portable'), so it is a bit of an authority on the subject. And the word 'violate' again referred to the apps, not you. PFC lists a good number of apps that wouldn't appear on PA.c due to the fact that they leave things behind.
SYSTEM wrote:Finally, while "[T]here are dozens and dozens of listings done in just this fashion", there are also at least hundreds of tiny stealth applications in the TPFC database. Saying "Having things breaks as you move PCs and leave things behind are acceptable at PFC" is accurate, but creates the false impression that a significant portion of applications indeed have things break and leave things behind.
It's an accurate statement. And I didn't say or imply that all or a majority of listings had those issues either here or there. Just that it's acceptable by policy. And, realistically, most new end users would likely be unaware of this and the fact that they should read a whole entry including whether or not it is stealth and what it leaves behind and where before they download. If saying that it is acceptable to list apps that leave things behind or have some functionality break makes PFC look bad, I'd suggest either changing the policy or making it much clearer to new users.

Again, my goal wasn't to make PFC look bad, just to ensure that new users know what they are getting into. At PortableApps.com, our goal is to ensure that all the apps just work and that a user just has to download and use them. PFC is geared towards a much more technical user and there is more manual effort and need for research involved when getting an app. That's not a good or bad thing, it's just a different niche.
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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#9 Post by the_watcher » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:25 am

i'm sorry, John, i don't know what your intentions were when you posted that comment, but i will agree with SYSTEM here...your comment gives a really bad impression about TPFC. If all you wanted to do was to clarify what PortableApps.com accepts as portable VS what TPFC does, you should be more careful with your statements.

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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#10 Post by SYSTEM » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:27 am

JohnTHaller wrote:
SYSTEM wrote:What's "things"? An average user probably thinks core functionality instead of recent file list.
As it tooks months to get VLC switched from the kinda, sorta, a little bit portable listing that was there to VLC Portable even though core functionality like the music library was completely broken, I'd argue that my point was fair here.
Well, Andrew switched the entry seven hours after you suggested switching it. :) (http://www.portablefreeware.com/forums/ ... f=8&t=7519)

AFAIK, VLC was originally natively portable. It has become less and less portable over time. No one suggested switching the entry simply because the change was so slow. I think such "kinda, sorta, a little bit portable listings" aren't normally allowed.
JohnTHaller wrote:
SYSTEM wrote:Again, here an average user thinks probably browser history or something.
I honestly hadn't even considered that a newbie would read it as that. And I don't think PFC would list an app as portable if it was leaking any personal data. Although, honestly, what is the cutoff? I don't think there is a clear guideline about what things left behind is considered acceptable in PFC. If an app isn't 'stealth', *something* is being left behind. And not all listings are clear about exactly what is left behind or where it is being left.
Indeed, there isn't any official guideline.
JohnTHaller wrote:
SYSTEM wrote:First of all, what's "they"? We, the TPFC members? Secondly, this sounds like "we are right and they are wrong". You have created guidelines! How dare we violate them?! :shock:
They means the apps. Meaning that PFC has apps listed even though they (the apps) aren't fully portable. As for the guidelines, PortableApps.com is the world's most popular portable software site (and even the very first listing in google for just the word 'portable'), so it is a bit of an authority on the subject. And the word 'violate' again referred to the apps, not you. PFC lists a good number of apps that wouldn't appear on PA.c due to the fact that they leave things behind.
Still, the word "violate" is a bit harsh. IMO, using that word requires more authority than you have.
JohnTHaller wrote:
SYSTEM wrote:Finally, while "[T]here are dozens and dozens of listings done in just this fashion", there are also at least hundreds of tiny stealth applications in the TPFC database. Saying "Having things breaks as you move PCs and leave things behind are acceptable at PFC" is accurate, but creates the false impression that a significant portion of applications indeed have things break and leave things behind.
It's an accurate statement. And I didn't say or imply that all or a majority of listings had those issues either here or there. Just that it's acceptable by policy.
Correct. I just said you (unintentionally?) created that impression.
JohnTHaller wrote: And, realistically, most new end users would likely be unaware of this and the fact that they should read a whole entry including whether or not it is stealth and what it leaves behind and where before they download.
I'm aware of that and have thought it myself. See also: FileZilla entry :(
JohnTHaller wrote: If saying that it is acceptable to list apps that leave things behind or have some functionality break makes PFC look bad, I'd suggest either changing the policy or making it much clearer to new users.
It can be said in many ways, for example:
Use care when downloading from Portable Freeware Collection as they have a different definition of what is 'portable' than we do. Unless an application is 'stealth', it may leave files and registry entries behind. Minor things like recent file list may be broken as well.

By contrast, our guidelines guarantee that nothing is left behind and nothing breaks as you move PCs.
JohnTHaller wrote: Again, my goal wasn't to make PFC look bad, just to ensure that new users know what they are getting into. At PortableApps.com, our goal is to ensure that all the apps just work and that a user just has to download and use them. PFC is geared towards a much more technical user and there is more manual effort and need for research involved when getting an app. That's not a good or bad thing, it's just a different niche.
Agreed.
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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#11 Post by lautrepay » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:15 pm

@JohnTHaller:
I really like to read your articles, posts and comments when they deal with issues of computing and software in general. They reflect your admirable intelligence and your in-depth knowledge of the topics that you address. And I even consider useful and absolutely acceptable when you use TPFC to announce something new about PA.c, since we are also interested in and, after all, we must seize the oppurtunities for a bit of marketing.
But it seems to me little friendly when you try to defend your platform and your concept of portable applications. At such times you look like a sort of Bill Gates, trying to monopolize the "market" of portable apps at any price, seeking confrontation needlessly because, as you've said, "PortableApps.com is the world's most popular portable software site".

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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#12 Post by JohnTHaller » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:19 pm

SYSTEM wrote:Well, Andrew switched the entry seven hours after you suggested switching it. :)
VLC was known-broken since about 2008 ( http://www.portablefreeware.com/forums/ ... f=8&t=3848 ) and the media library (core functionality) was completely broken as you moved PCs for well over a year yet no mention was made in the listing on PFC and no move was made to switch to a fully portable package like VLC Portable. That's more what I was referring to.
SYSTEM wrote:AFAIK, VLC was originally natively portable. It has become less and less portable over time. No one suggested switching the entry simply because the change was so slow. I think such "kinda, sorta, a little bit portable listings" aren't normally allowed.
VLC was kinda sorta portable a long time ago but hadn't been in years when the listing was finally updated to VLC Portable. There have been quite a few discussions where it was argued that a given listing should be the main app with the instructions to make portable (extract from installer, change setting, X is left behind, Y doesn't work) over a fully-portable PortableApps.com Format package. In nearly all of those, the 'native' kinda portable version won out. I may disagree with that choice, but it is the way things work and what Andrew and the other longtime members prefer.
SYSTEM wrote:Indeed, there isn't any official guideline.
Perhaps there should be. And it should be figured prominently so that users know exactly what to expect.
SYSTEM wrote:Still, the word "violate" is a bit harsh. IMO, using that word requires more authority than you have.
We have guidelines for what a portable app is. And many apps listed here don't follow those guidelines, violating key parts like not leaving things behind and adjusting paths. These guidelines are, for the most part, the most commonly-accepted rules for what make an app portable. Partially due to the fact that PortableApps.com is the most popular and largest provider of portable software. And partially due to the fact that the first modern portable app, Portable Firefox, was created by our team back in 2004. While it's perfectly acceptable for other people to have different guidelines to work from, I think most people expect an app to fully work as you move PCs and not leave things behind in order to be called 'portable'.
SYSTEM wrote:Correct. I just said you (unintentionally?) created that impression.
I still don't think I did, but if I did to some folks, I apologize for that. If it did leave personal stuff, I'd have said that. I said 'things' because that seems to be the policy, that leaving certain 'things' behind is acceptable. I don't think you or I necessarily know what all those things are.
SYSTEM wrote:I'm aware of that and have thought it myself. See also: FileZilla entry :(
That seems like it was a user not following all the instructions. Perhaps there should be a general set of guidelines on how to follow the instructions, understanding what the listing means and what PFC considers 'portable' linked to from every page. We do this on PortableApps.com with our What is a Portable App? page.
SYSTEM wrote:Use care when downloading from Portable Freeware Collection as they have a different definition of what is 'portable' than we do. Unless an application is 'stealth', it may leave files and registry entries behind. Minor things like recent file list may be broken as well. By contrast, our guidelines guarantee that nothing is left behind and nothing breaks as you move PCs.
Except that's not entirely accurate, as with some apps more important things are broken like themes, custom backgrounds, logs, smiley packs, etc. And if an app isn't listed as 'stealth' it will (not may) leave files or registry entries as well (otherwise it would be listed as stealth). You'd need to read the individual listing to see what and the listing may not specify.

IIRC, there was a long argument about switching from Pidgin to Pidgin portable in the database despite the fact that lots of different things (smiley themes, some plugins, logging in many cases, etc) were broken. PFC folks, in general, overlook things that they don't consider core functionality despite the fact that many other users may consider a lot of those things part of the app that should just work. So, saying that "Minor things like recent file list may be broken" is inaccurate. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but it differs from what a large number of folks consider 'portable'. Once again, different niche.
SYSTEM wrote:Agreed.
Glad we can agree on something :)
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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#13 Post by JohnTHaller » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:25 pm

lautrepay wrote:But it seems to me little friendly when you try to defend your platform and your concept of portable applications. At such times you look like a sort of Bill Gates, trying to monopolize the "market" of portable apps at any price, seeking confrontation needlessly because, as you've said, "PortableApps.com is the world's most popular portable software site".
I appreciate your feedback. I only stated the most popular software site in reference to why the guidelines have some weight behind them. If someone wants to know what a portable app is and types it into Google, they'll wind up looking at our guidelines.

I'm happy to have competition in the market and have no need to monopolize it (because then it stagnates). That's one of the reasons why we're the only project that has 100% open source portable tools, portable tool builders, and an open portable format. I only have issues with illegal use of our and others software (not referring to PFC, mind you), passing off others' work as your own (again, not PFC) or things that could confuse folks getting involved.
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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#14 Post by tproli » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:52 pm

Syncing (a settings of a) portable application with Dropbox can be dangerous too, and not because privacy or security. Imagine that your portable starts BEFORE Dropbox finished syncing. What happens? The application will probably overwrite the settings file and thus you may lost some settings. There are some "Dropbox ready" applications that solve this issue (e.g. CintaNotes, Breevy) but in general I think it is not a good advice.

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Re: Positive press on lifehacker today...

#15 Post by SYSTEM » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:32 pm

JohnTHaller wrote:
SYSTEM wrote:Well, Andrew switched the entry seven hours after you suggested switching it. :)
VLC was known-broken since about 2008 ( http://www.portablefreeware.com/forums/ ... f=8&t=3848 ) and the media library (core functionality) was completely broken as you moved PCs for well over a year yet no mention was made in the listing on PFC and no move was made to switch to a fully portable package like VLC Portable. That's more what I was referring to.
SYSTEM wrote:AFAIK, VLC was originally natively portable. It has become less and less portable over time. No one suggested switching the entry simply because the change was so slow. I think such "kinda, sorta, a little bit portable listings" aren't normally allowed.
VLC was kinda sorta portable a long time ago but hadn't been in years when the listing was finally updated to VLC Portable.
Correct, that may happen when portability is lost slowly. :(
JohnTHaller wrote: There have been quite a few discussions where it was argued that a given listing should be the main app with the instructions to make portable (extract from installer, change setting, X is left behind, Y doesn't work) over a fully-portable PortableApps.com Format package. In nearly all of those, the 'native' kinda portable version won out. I may disagree with that choice, but it is the way things work and what Andrew and the other longtime members prefer.
I'd like to clarify that I prefer those choices as well. :P

VLC was a "kinda, sorta, a little bit portable listing" and its entry should have been switched earlier. In most of the other cases where you've suggested switching an entry, the natively portable option hasn't been that bad.
JohnTHaller wrote: While it's perfectly acceptable for other people to have different guidelines to work from, I think most people expect an app to fully work as you move PCs and not leave things behind in order to be called 'portable'.
I don't think so. To begin with, most people don't even notice if something is left behind. (On the other hand, if an application leaves files to a visible location such as the desktop, it's not portable in my opinion.)
JohnTHaller wrote: That seems like it was a user not following all the instructions. Perhaps there should be a general set of guidelines on how to follow the instructions, understanding what the listing means and what PFC considers 'portable' linked to from every page. We do this on PortableApps.com with our What is a Portable App? page.
Won't work. We can't force anyone to read the instructions. :?
JohnTHaller wrote:
SYSTEM wrote:Use care when downloading from Portable Freeware Collection as they have a different definition of what is 'portable' than we do. Unless an application is 'stealth', it may leave files and registry entries behind. Minor things like recent file list may be broken as well. By contrast, our guidelines guarantee that nothing is left behind and nothing breaks as you move PCs.
Except that's not entirely accurate, as with some apps more important things are broken like themes, custom backgrounds, logs, smiley packs, etc. And if an app isn't listed as 'stealth' it will (not may) leave files or registry entries as well (otherwise it would be listed as stealth). You'd need to read the individual listing to see what and the listing may not specify.
Being inaccurate is better than giving a very bad impression.
JohnTHaller wrote: IIRC, there was a long argument about switching from Pidgin to Pidgin portable in the database despite the fact that lots of different things (smiley themes, some plugins, logging in many cases, etc) were broken. PFC folks, in general, overlook things that they don't consider core functionality despite the fact that many other users may consider a lot of those things part of the app that should just work.
PFC folks, including me, dislike wrappers and that's why the natively portable version is usually listed as the main option.

Note that we give the visitor choice. If a visitor considers something core functionality, he/she is free to download the PortableApps.com or winPenPack version.
JohnTHaller wrote:
lautrepay wrote:But it seems to me little friendly when you try to defend your platform and your concept of portable applications. At such times you look like a sort of Bill Gates, trying to monopolize the "market" of portable apps at any price, seeking confrontation needlessly because, as you've said, "PortableApps.com is the world's most popular portable software site".
I appreciate your feedback. I only stated the most popular software site in reference to why the guidelines have some weight behind them. If someone wants to know what a portable app is and types it into Google, they'll wind up looking at our guidelines.

I'm happy to have competition in the market and have no need to monopolize it (because then it stagnates). That's one of the reasons why we're the only project that has 100% open source portable tools, portable tool builders, and an open portable format. I only have issues with illegal use of our and others software (not referring to PFC, mind you), passing off others' work as your own (again, not PFC) or things that could confuse folks getting involved.
To me, the whole PortableApps.com Platform looks like a vendor lock-in, even though it's open source.
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