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Re: Emacs Installer for MS Windows

From: Lennart Borgman
Subject: Re: Emacs Installer for MS Windows
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 21:21:04 +0200

I have been struggling a bit with the installer. First I want to thank you
for all suggestions. I have tried to take a look at most of them.

Further down you will find a summary of my personal view of some different
installers for MS Windows. I decided to use Inno Setup. I had already done
some work with it, it is free, it has good scripting capabilities (which I
needed in this case).

Now I would like some suggestions. I hope you do not mind. First about where
to install Emacs. On ms windows most programs are installed in "c:\program
files\" as I guess you know. I see some alternatives (which I illustrate
with where emacs.exe is found):

A) "c:\program files\emacs\bin\emacs.exe
B) "c:\program files\emacs-21.3\bin\emacs.exe
C) "c:\program files\emacs\emacs\bin\emacs.exe
D) "c:\program files\emacs\emacs-21.3\bin\emacs.exe

Which one would you prefer? What about using "c:\program files"?

I include gnuclient and wonder where to put these exe-files. Currently I use
a structure like C) and put them in "c:\program files\emacs\w32bin". I also
put a copy of 7za.exe from 7-zip here to be able to unpack tar.gz files.
(With permission from the author of course.)

The installer also adds some elisp files that are ms windows specific or at
least specific for ms windows users. Where should I put these? Is site-lisp
a good place or should I use a separate directory not to mix it with the
users own or downloaded lisp files?

I have found it most easy to start up these scripts in site-lisp/default.el.
Default.el is run after .emacs which means I can use customization without
having to worry about the order in .emacs.

It may sound a bit strange but the installation script has now grown rather
large and I am thinking about where to put it. I must make it a bit more
pretty so someone else than me can understand it but after this I want to
upload it. I would like some suggestions of a preffered location.

Let me then make a summary of my reading on ms windows installers. Just if
someone else should need it for something. (There is nothing else than this
below in this mail.) I took a little dive into the Win32 Installer Sea. As
far as i swimmed I saw three alternatives:

1) Inno Setup: Free, open source, copyrighted. (Not GPL. See license for
details: http://www.jrsoftware.org/files/is/license.txt.) Win32 only. Well
proven. Multilingual installations. Standard Windows 2000/XP-style or
"classic" installer wizard interface. Small footstep, easy to use for all
common tasks (file copying, checking admin privs, making shortcuts, adding
registry entries, choosing tasks, running programs after install,
uninstallation etc). The more common tasks are made in an INI-file like
syntax. Object Pascal script for more complicated tasks. LZMA/Zip/Bzip
compression *** I know this one fairly well ***

2) NSIS (Nullsoft Scriptable Install System): (Not GPL. License:
http://nsis.sourceforge.net/features/license/.) Very similar to Inno Setup.
Maybe not so well proven yet? Script syntax described by some as "more
arcane" (I tend to agree here). Some additions: web installation, plug ins.
*** I do not know this installer ***

"For windows setup projects. I would highly recommend Inno Setup.
http://www.jrsoftware.org/ It doesn't have the plugin architecture of NSIS,
but you can write code in Object Pascal, which is a little less arcane than
the pseudo assembler of NSIS."

Comparing Inno and NSIS again:

3) Wix. I found it to be to much trouble taking a closer look at this. I did
read most of the blog that David Kastrup mentioned that was released under
CPL (not GPL) from MS:
<URL:http://blogs.msdn.com/robmen/archive/2004/04/05/107709.aspx>. The
advantage seemed to be use of XML, but I did not see very good scripting
facilities (but maybe they are there).

There seem to be a free version that existed before MS released this.
According to what I read the free version (which I can't remember the name
of right now) seemed to be able to do all that the MS version could do and a
bit more.

- Lennart

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