New beta version of package manager PackMan

A beta PackMan than before!

Alan Buckley has released a new beta version of his package manager, PackMan. The software is designed to work with packages distributed using the RISC OS Packaging Project, and is an alternative to the project’s own software, RiscPkg.

New in version 0.8.4 of PackMan are the following features:

  • A configurable reminder message to prompt the user “to update the lists” has been added.
  • The position of the main window can now be saved (so that it subsequently opens in the same place).
  • The Main Window filter is now split into ‘status’ and ‘section’.
  • The documentation has been fixed – it was not correctly referring to the components added in the last release.

In addition to these, there have also been an assortment of minor bug fixes and UI improvements.

The software can be downloaded from Alan’s website for first time users, but if you already have PackMan installed, you can use it to upgrade to the latest version – as can RiscPkg, if you have that.

The RISC OS Packaging Project was conceived by Graham Shaw over ten years ago, and aims to make it easy for users to find and install new software; the software is packaged in a consistent way, predefined way, and added to a repository recognised by the package manager software – so if the user is running the package manager, it can show them a list of available packages, from which they can choose items to be downloaded and automatically installed.

Graham’s inspiration came from other platforms – most notably GNU/Linux systems, on which package management was already a well established system – although RiscPkg wasn’t a direct port of something from the Linux world,  which really wouldn’t have worked at all well for RISC OS. However, over the years RiscPkg (and idea of the packaging project itself) has received much criticism, sometimes being accused of trying to shoehorn Linux paradigms into RISC OS. With PackMan, Alan is trying to develop something to use the RISC OS Packaging Project format and repositories, but which is more user friendly and suited to the RISC OS way of doing things.