.NET Applications

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webfork
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Re: .NET Applications

#16 Post by webfork » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:45 am

M@tty:
Have you tried Mono? ... Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_Sou ... astructure
It's actually the developer of Mono who brought up the too-strict licensing issue.

As to getting Mono working on Windows, its a non-simple procedure and outside of my expertise. If someone reading this can make some headway on that, I welcome it.

http://www.mono-project.com/Mono:Windows


ohadsc:
Now you could, as webfork has, claim that they are all biased Microsoft liars
Its difficult to concisely explain why someone can be honest and yet their numbers are incorrect, but its the nature of statistics. Additionally, although I'm pleased you've found a trust model that works well for you, I have no such method so in the mean time I have to rely to the best of my ability on neutral third parties.

Additionally, it seems that your number is in dispute:
http://johnhaller.com/jh/useful_stuff/d ... able_apps/

You could put a big red warning saying "not completely portable"
As I understand it, the primary audience for this site is people who need their software to go from place to place easily. These are people interested in "public locations (net cafes, coffee shops, libraries, hotel business centers, school computer labs, etc)" (source), not just work and home. As a result, this audience is unlikely to use computers that have .NET installed with the latest updates and it is therefore hard to describe .NET software as portable.

Although I tend to be on the side of "let the user decide" I also enjoy the popularity that this site enjoys and love the nature of software that "just works." I know users will be annoyed and frustrated with .NET incompatibilities and agree with m^(2) that, "the only solution that works for all is to avoid problematic content."

If we were to create a separate area of the site or a dotnetportablefreeware.com or something like that, I'd be all for it. Since I don't have the ability to modify the site in that way, keeping a listing of portable .NET applications in the forums seems the best method at the moment.

popularity statistics, on whose relevance we agree, are likely to grow with time
I fully agree. When I find strong information that suggests .NET penetration has reached greater ubiquity my stance on this will necessarily change. If the use of Windows XP falls significantly within the next 5 years as it has with previous versions, it will not make sense to exclude .NET 2.0.

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Re: .NET Applications

#17 Post by M@tty » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:58 am

webfork wrote:As to getting Mono working on Windows, its a non-simple procedure and outside of my expertise. If someone reading this can make some headway on that, I welcome it.
Agreed, but once you get over all the fluff in a portable applications sense what it comes down to is one folder containing the Mono binaries, one folder containing the Mono libraries, and a simple launcher (batch script or otherwise) to start your program redirected through Mono. If I get an opportunity I'll go through the procedure (I'm at home not work so use Microsoft .NET framework rather than Mono here) and post it here. I could even go as far as to create a simple launcher that asks for the executable you wish to launch, time permitting. This was something I was planning on all the way back in March 2009 (sent myself an email reminder back then) and still haven't got round to doing.

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Re: .NET Applications

#18 Post by ohadsc » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:19 am

webfork wrote: Its difficult to concisely explain why someone can be honest and yet their numbers are incorrect, but its the nature of statistics. Additionally, although I'm pleased you've found a trust model that works well for you, I have no such method so in the mean time I have to rely to the best of my ability on neutral third parties.
You really should adopt my model - "trust Microsoft" ;)
webfork wrote: Additionally, it seems that your number is in dispute:
http://johnhaller.com/jh/useful_stuff/d ... able_apps/
Thanks for that link, an interesting read in its own. I'm not sure I understand the table there, but assuming the row "PCs With .NET Version Included" is what we're after, it doesn't make much sense that all versions besides 3.5 have the exact same percentage (27.22%). Also, note that both Scott and John use the same source for their statistics, namely "Net Applications", so I don't think the results should be that different... (I am well aware of possible statistical "cheats" but I'm assuming neither one uses them)
webfork wrote: As I understand it, the primary audience for this site is people who need their software to go from place to place easily. These are people interested in "public locations (net cafes, coffee shops, libraries, hotel business centers, school computer labs, etc)" (source), not just work and home. As a result, this audience is unlikely to use computers that have .NET installed with the latest updates and it is therefore hard to describe .NET software as portable.

Although I tend to be on the side of "let the user decide" I also enjoy the popularity that this site enjoys and love the nature of software that "just works." I know users will be annoyed and frustrated with .NET incompatibilities and agree with m^(2) that, "the only solution that works for all is to avoid problematic content."

If we were to create a separate area of the site or a dotnetportablefreeware.com or something like that, I'd be all for it. Since I don't have the ability to modify the site in that way, keeping a listing of portable .NET applications in the forums seems the best method at the moment.
popularity statistics, on whose relevance we agree, are likely to grow with time
I fully agree. When I find strong information that suggests .NET penetration has reached greater ubiquity my stance on this will necessarily change. If the use of Windows XP falls significantly within the next 5 years as it has with previous versions, it will not make sense to exclude .NET 2.0.
You bring up valid points. Indeed, a well thought of model of listing .NET application is needed.
I'm sure Andrew will think of something :)

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Re: .NET Applications

#19 Post by m^(2) » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:40 am

ohadsc wrote:
webfork wrote: Additionally, it seems that your number is in dispute:
http://johnhaller.com/jh/useful_stuff/d ... able_apps/
Thanks for that link, an interesting read in its own. I'm not sure I understand the table there, but assuming the row "PCs With .NET Version Included" is what we're after, it doesn't make much sense that all versions besides 3.5 have the exact same percentage (27.22%). Also, note that both Scott and John use the same source for their statistics, namely "Net Applications", so I don't think the results should be that different... (I am well aware of possible statistical "cheats" but I'm assuming neither one uses them)
If you look closer at the JTH stats, you'll see that he says about .NET "included" an it seems he means "preinstalled with the OS".
BTW the listing is flawed in that it thinks there are <= 0% Non-Windows PCs. I wonder if the NetApp is too.

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Re: .NET Applications

#20 Post by ohadsc » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:32 am

m^(2) wrote: If you look closer at the JTH stats, you'll see that he says about .NET "included" an it seems he means "preinstalled with the OS".
BTW the listing is flawed in that it thinks there are <= 0% Non-Windows PCs. I wonder if the NetApp is too.
Well, the the .NET framework isn't preinstalled with any version of windows prior to Vista so i'm still not sure what's going on there...
As for non windows computers, I think it makes sense not to include them, since the interesting percentage is of those PCs running windows (IMHO)

On an unrelated note, I have found these links (M@tty - you might find them interesting):
How to convert a simple .Net console project a into portable exe with Mono and mkbundle
Turning .NET executable into native executable

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Re: .NET Applications

#21 Post by m^(2) » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:50 am

ohadsc wrote:
m^(2) wrote: If you look closer at the JTH stats, you'll see that he says about .NET "included" an it seems he means "preinstalled with the OS".
BTW the listing is flawed in that it thinks there are <= 0% Non-Windows PCs. I wonder if the NetApp is too.
Well, the the .NET framework isn't preinstalled with any version of windows prior to Vista so i'm still not sure what's going on there...
Add Vista+W7 popularity numbers (2nd column) and you have 27.22%, which is shared by all versions <= 3.0.
8.23% for 3.5 is the W7 popularity level.
ohadsc wrote:As for non windows computers, I think it makes sense not to include them, since the interesting percentage is of those PCs running windows (IMHO)
I do not agree. I want to be able run my apps everywhere, regardless of everything, including OS family. I define portability level as percentage of machines on which app rans, over all machines that I use (average weighted by amount of time spent with each machine). This concept could be generalized to all people and though it can't be calculated directly, it can be estimated. And since Java for Windows can be carried around and is installed on most machines that don't have Windows too, I believe applications written in it have the highest portability potential. .NET with MONO might reach this level too, though MONO incompatibilities make it harder to determine whether an app can be used when there's no .NET installed.

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Re: .NET Applications

#22 Post by ohadsc » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:04 am

m^(2) wrote: I do not agree. I want to be able run my apps everywhere, regardless of everything, including OS family. I define portability level as percentage of machines on which app rans, over all machines that I use (average weighted by amount of time spent with each machine). This concept could be generalized to all people and though it can't be calculated directly, it can be estimated. And since Java for Windows can be carried around and is installed on most machines that don't have Windows too, I believe applications written in it have the highest portability potential. .NET with MONO might reach this level too, though MONO incompatibilities make it harder to determine whether an app can be used when there's no .NET installed.
Understood, your approach makes sense too. Regarding mono compatibility, check out the Mono Migration Analyzer (MoMA) (it gave the green light to my program ;))
I also ran into DotGNU Portable.NET

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Re: .NET Applications

#23 Post by JohnTHaller » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:13 am

m^(2) wrote:BTW the listing is flawed in that it thinks there are <= 0% Non-Windows PCs. I wonder if the NetApp is too.
That's done on purpose, since we're only really concerned with Windows PCs in relation to the portability of .NET. So I adjusted it to exclude Mac, Linux, iPhone, etc. We already know that a given .NET app won't work on anything except Windows (unless it has been properly compiled to also work on Mono on another OS), so including those additional several % of OSes doesn't really help what we're after. If anyone is genuinely curious, I could include them in the makeup.

Basically, right now, I list out what OSes have it pre-installed, and what OSes are capable of running each .NET release. We don't really know the actual install base of .NET itself for users that have manually installed it as there is no solid way of determining that from online users (though I think that may have been one of the things Microsoft was trying to do with their .NET plugin for Firefox that ruffled so many feathers).

As for whether or not .NET is portable, we're (as in PortableApps.com) taking a default approach that you can't be sure a given PC has it (unless it is Vista or Windows 7) until you actually try and run it, and since most PCs are XP, they probably won't have .NET on them. We are, however, going to list .NET apps on PortableApps.com, we're just not going to show them by default. So, a user who understands .NET can decide to show .NET apps and then have them listed and download them into their stick with the PortableApps.com Platform or another menu. I think that providers maximum flexibility and allows interested users to get the apps they want (when they know the PCs they are using have .NET and are comfortable with an app not working when it doesn't), without users who are less familiar getting stuck with an app that won't work everywhere.

I think the same approach could be used by Andrew here at PFC using a similar filter on apps. Perhaps not listing them by default and not showing them on the homepage but making them available to logged-in users who have decided they would like to see them.
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Re: .NET Applications

#24 Post by m^(2) » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:26 am

JohnTHaller wrote:
m^(2) wrote:BTW the listing is flawed in that it thinks there are <= 0% Non-Windows PCs. I wonder if the NetApp is too.
That's done on purpose, since we're only really concerned with Windows PCs in relation to the portability of .NET. So I adjusted it to exclude Mac, Linux, iPhone, etc. We already know that a given .NET app won't work on anything except Windows (unless it has been properly compiled to also work on Mono on another OS), so including those additional several % of OSes doesn't really help what we're after. If anyone is genuinely curious, I could include them in the makeup.

You may call it insignificant, but it does help.
JohnTHaller wrote:We are, however, going to list .NET apps on PortableApps.com, we're just not going to show them by default. So, a user who understands .NET can decide to show .NET apps and then have them listed and download them into their stick with the PortableApps.com Platform or another menu. I think that providers maximum flexibility and allows interested users to get the apps they want (when they know the PCs they are using have .NET and are comfortable with an app not working when it doesn't), without users who are less familiar getting stuck with an app that won't work everywhere.

I think the same approach could be used by Andrew here at PFC using a similar filter on apps. Perhaps not listing them by default and not showing them on the homepage but making them available to logged-in users who have decided they would like to see them.
This sounds like a good idea.

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Re: .NET Applications

#25 Post by ohadsc » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:51 pm

m^(2) wrote:Add Vista+W7 popularity numbers (2nd column) and you have 27.22%, which is shared by all versions <= 3.0.
8.23% for 3.5 is the W7 popularity level.
You're right - good call. So this statistic is somewhat less relevant...
See, webfork? no one disputes the voice of Microsoft

JohnTHaller's idea sounds good to me too

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Re: .NET Applications

#26 Post by JohnTHaller » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:04 pm

As requested, I have updated my .NET inclusion and compatibility matrix to also include information on non-Windows PCs like Mac, Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris (but have excluded smart phones and similar from the mix):
http://johnhaller.com/jh/useful_stuff/d ... able_apps/

I also added in information on the upcoming 4.0 version, currently at Release Candidate status, for completeness and revved it to March's updated numbers.
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Re: .NET Applications

#27 Post by m^(2) » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:28 am

ohadsc wrote:
m^(2) wrote:See, webfork? no one disputes the voice of Microsoft
It doesn't meant we trust it. :P

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Re: .NET Applications

#28 Post by webfork » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:12 am

guinness touched on this issue again so I wanted to add one more note about future-proofing:

A fundamental problem with .NET is the restriction to a Windows environment. That may sound absurd, but this means fewer libraries and dependencies, improving the chances of successful emulation under Linux or Mac. If Windows loses steam in the next 5-10 years (which was a genuine fear with Vista's poor debut), the applications you use will still be around. Additionally, as Linux and Mac have a great deal of momentum in the smart phone market, portable software has a much better shot of one day working on your cell phone.

Essentially, if you're going to really learn a piece of software, its nice to know its here to stay.

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Re: .NET Applications

#29 Post by m^(2) » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:40 pm

webfork wrote:guinness touched on this issue again so I wanted to add one more note about future-proofing:

A fundamental problem with .NET is the restriction to a Windows environment. That may sound absurd, but this means fewer libraries and dependencies, improving the chances of successful emulation under Linux or Mac. If Windows loses steam in the next 5-10 years (which was a genuine fear with Vista's poor debut), the applications you use will still be around. Additionally, as Linux and Mac have a great deal of momentum in the smart phone market, portable software has a much better shot of one day working on your cell phone.

Essentially, if you're going to really learn a piece of software, its nice to know its here to stay.
You're forgetting about Mono.
Actually the ones compatible with Mono offer more platform portability than regular x86 Windows executables.

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Re: .NET Applications

#30 Post by webfork » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:49 pm

m^(2) wrote:You're forgetting about Mono. Actually the ones compatible with Mono offer more platform portability than regular x86 Windows executables.
I was surprised to read that since I've never seen a .NET program advertise it runs on Mac and honestly thought it was a Linux-only program.

This brings up some questions: do any .NET programs here on the site work on Mac/Linux? Have you tested any?

I did a search and the only one that I could find was Transmute. Also, there are different downloads for each version of Transmute, which makes me wonder if you can run the Windows executable on Mac/Linux. Have you messed with this?

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