Why is the animation common control limited to RLE8-compressed animations?


The animation common control is very limited in the type of animations it can play. The animation must be in AVI format, it cannot have any sound, and it must be either uncompressed or use RLE8 compression. Why so many restrictions?

Because if it could handle other file formats, play sound, and support arbitrary codecs, it would just be a reimplementation of the multimedia animation control. (We saw this principle earlier when discussing why you can't do everything with registry values that you can do with registry keys.)

The point of the animation common control is to play very simple animations without the overhead and accompanying complexity of the full generality of the multimedia animation control. Think of it as the 1040EZ of animation. If your animation is comparatively simple and you don't need very much control over its playback at all, then go ahead and use the animation common control, which is designed to be a simple playback control for simple animations. But if your animation is complicated, uses an advanced compression scheme, or contains audio, then you've left the world of simple animations and need to move up to the full-sized 1040 form. There's no point adding support for everything to the simplified control, because once you've added support for everything, you have the complex control that the simplified control was trying to simplify!

Okay, fine, so the animation common control can't be a full-featured animation control or that would have defeated its purpose for existing. But why those specific limitations?

Because those were just barely enough features to play the animations that the shell team needed to play. The animation common control was written by the Windows 95 shell team, and it supports only enough features to be able to play the animations that the Windows 95 Explorer used. After the control was written, the shell team figured, hey, we already wrote it, we may as well do other people a favor and let them call it, too. The downside of this is that even though the shell doesn't use these simple animations any more, it still has to ship the animation control because other applications rely on it. What started out as a courtesy has turned into a support burden.

Comments (48)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Quite reasonable. Though I’m having a strong deja vu: http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2005/02/16/374397.aspx

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Raymond whines as much in person as he does on this blog.  Maybe Microsoft should just stop writing code altogether.  Voila!  No more (new) support burdens.

    [It’s actually the opposite. I whine on the blog because I don’t whine in person. It’s my outlet. (And also because the commenters here ask questions very different from the ones I get in person. In person, people don’t come up to me and say, “You’re an idiot and here’s why (followed by some scheme that won’t work).” Here, it’s pretty much a required element.) -Raymond]
  3. Anonymous says:

    I completely understand this, and would have expected no less. Except – why did you not incorporate support for animated GIFs? IMHO they are even more lightweight than AVIs, no?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Vilx – GIFs are also, or were back in the days of 95 anyway, patented. I’m suspecting this would be somewhat of an issue.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The compression was patented. Anyone could write a viewer. Well, I suppose that the specific AVI encoding was not patented. Still, animated GIFs somehow seem a more… appropriate choice for a lightweight animation. Better compression too. Although maybe in the good old days of Win95 the overhead of decompressing a GIF might have been too much as well. :P

  6. Anonymous says:

    @John: to be fair, had the shell team not made it available for general use, there would be screams about how Microsoft is using "secret APIs" to make sure their applications run faster than 3rd party applications, as is often the tinfoil-hat argument against Office and IE.

  7. Anonymous says:

    > Think of it as the 1040EZ of animation.

    Ah!, That explains everything!

    Is a 1040EZ similar to a Dutch “T-Biljet”  ? (I realise you don’t have a clue what that is, neither do I have a clue what a 1040EZ form is, a quick google shows it’s some kind of tax form but that’s it. Not really the best example ever to use on a website visited by people from all over the globe).

    [I thought the article was comprehensible even if you didn’t know what a 1040 or 1040EZ was. It was just a side analogy; if you don’t understand, you can either ignore it, or infer from context that the 1040 is more complicated than the 1040EZ. -Raymond]
  8. Anonymous says:

    @Vilx: I remember that somewhere around 1998ish or so, Unisys allowed people to write "viewers" (in your parlance) for free but expected royalties for GIF creator programs. Before that, I remember that the situation was unclear, to say the least. So even if the Windows shell would have only been a "viewer" of GIFs, it took a couple of years until Unisys officially announced that displaying GIFs from your program would be of no cost. At least this is what I remember.

    While we are at it: Is there any robust and free avi editor available somewhere, especially for the animation common control? I still use aviedit from my VC 4.0 CD. Aviedit is not really stable and it always takes me two hours or so to figure out which bmp variant it accepts from which program via the clipboard.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The 1040-EZ is a simplified US tax for. In english, "EZ" gets pronounced "Easy". If you don’t do anything complicated, like have investments, you can use this form. It’s like the "animation common control" of Tax Forms.

    Form 1040 is a more complicated version, used to handle all sorts of stuff. It’s like the multimedia animation control of Tax Forms.

  10. Anonymous says:

    We’re sorry Mr. Chen, but your post about the animation common control missed the April 15th filing deadline by 2 days.

    We’ll contact you shortly regarding penalties and interest.

  11. Anonymous says:

    @Vilx: GIF animation apparently didn’t exist in the early 90s, when Windows was being developed:

    http://fragment.nl/archive/2002/04/22/gif_history/index.php

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think the reason why we would have liked the animation control to show an AVI with any kind of compression is that it is so simple to setup for application developers.  Create the control, set the file, boom. It’s simpler in the same way that image lists are simpler than using GDI directly,

    Creating an MCI or video-for-windows player, is much more work.  I’ve always thought it was kind of silly of the shell team to create their own RLE video playback engine when Windows already has already a video playback API; it was bound to become obsolete quickly.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It’s a strange thing about animated gifs; I would have though that IE in Win95 would have supported them.  But in any case, it did support Gifs so this voids all of this patent discussion

  14. Anonymous says:

    The animations in Vista’s copy dialog look simple, and don’t have any sound – so I’m interested in why they’re not implemented using the animation control.

    [You forgot the other limitation: RLE8 compression. Those animations use more than 256 colors. -Raymond]
  15. Anonymous says:

    > I thought the article was comprehensible even if you didn’t know what a 1040 or 1040EZ was

    A bit of googling showed it was some kind of tax form, but googling for something like 1040EZ or any other number/letter combination usually gives a lot of bogus results. An less US-centric example could have been used, I bet there are lots of dialogs in Windows that have an ‘advanced options’ screen.

    > The 1040-EZ is a simplified US tax for.

    Ah, that explains a lot.

    >  In english, “EZ” gets pronounced “Easy”

    No, it doesn’t. EZ gets pronounced Ee-Zed. Not Eee-Zee , you’re confusing English with American.

    [“The point of the animation ocommon control is to play very simple animations… Think of it as the ABC of animation. … But if your animation is complicated… then you’ve left the world of simple animations and need to move up to the full-sized DEF form.” My hope was that from context, you can infer that ABC is a simpler version of DEF. No googling necessary. It’s amazing how some people lose the ability to infer a word’s meaning from context after about age 9. Either that or I didn’t provide enough contextual clues. -Raymond]
  16. MadQ says:

    @Shaun: Some of the information from that link is dead wrong. The 87 and 89 in the GIF specs refer to the years 1987 and 1989. GIFs were first supported by the CompuServe Information Manager (CIM) for DOS. In fact the GIF format was specifically created for CIM. I met the guy who invented the format in 1991. We had some interesting discussions and traded programming tips and tricks. The patent issue never came up, and IIRC neither he, nor anyone else at CompuServe was aware of the patent issue. Again IIRC, even UniSys was unaware that they held the patent at the time.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Ulric has the right idea.  The reason people get annoyed (too strong of a word?) by things like this is that the full-blown version has no resemblance whatsoever to the easy version.

    Sticking with the analogy: it’s like you fill out the US 1040EZ in one case, and then switch to a tax form from a different country (rather than the more complicated 1040) for the other case.

  18. Erzengel says:

    Aaargh! said:

    >  In english, "EZ" gets pronounced "Easy"

    No, it doesn’t. EZ gets pronounced Ee-Zed. Not Eee-Zee , you’re confusing English with American.

    Don’t be asinine. It was just said that 1040-EZ is a US tax form. Of course it’s using US-English. Just because you’re a hoity toity Englishman doesn’t excuse your inability to understand the concept of "context" and allow you to to bash a dialect of the language you use.

    Personally, I call United States English "American", much as you do. But that doesn’t negate the fact that American and English are merely variations of the same language, much as Mexican and Spanish are variations of the same language.

  19. Anonymous says:

    "What started out as a courtesy has turned into a support burden."

    Or to put it another way: in the maintenance programming trade, if you give your customers enough rope – they end up hanging /you/ with it!

  20. Anonymous says:

    In that case every Windows API that is not directly needed by the operating system itself could be characterized as a support burden. And if you’re really that concerned about it, there are several things that Microsoft could do. Like, stop shipping it with Windows, while still providing the redistributable in case a program needs it. Or like releasing it under the GPL. Since Microsoft isn’t doing anything like that, obviously Microsoft considers the control an asset rather than a burden.

  21. Erzengel says:

    I’m not a "hoity toity" Englishman. English isn’t even my native language.  It’s just that I was taught English and not American. My guess is that most non-USians who speak english were taught the UK variant.

    Then you were taught by a hoity toity Englishman, or have been taught sensibilities from the Englishmen that believe American is a bastardized language. From a linguistic standpoint, United States English is English, just as United Kingdom English is English. Neither are the original, that would be Old English. Get off your pedestal.

    English is the syntax, structure, grammar, and most of the vocabulary. The only difference between UK English and American English is in significant portions of the vocabulary. That is not enough to classify it as a separate language.

    The thing is: you’re making assumptions about the knowledge of the readers, which is always dangerous, especially when talking about things that are very specific for a certain country or culture. My point is that natural languages are ambiguous enough as it is without adding further sources of confusion.

    You seem to have missed a point Raymond has harped on many times:

    THIS BLOG IS FOR FUN!

    It is not a technical whitepaper from Microsoft Corporation. There is no Microsoft Linguistic Team translating it into every language in the world.

    Raymond lives in the US. He speaks in US-English. He uses US-Cultural references. This is how people talk, they use their experience to create points of reference. Demanding that he respect your culture just makes things harder on him, and makes him less likely to post on the blog.

    You can’t expect him to eschew his own culture, just as I cannot expect you to call a "dustbin" the more sensible "trash can" (assuming that’s what your UK teacher taught you to call the place where your trash goes). It’s not dangerous, it’s the way people talk. If you don’t want to have to learn US culture, stop reading US blogs!

    Personally, I enjoy learning things about other cultures. Even if it would be the Japanese Tax Form, or other similarly mundane things.

    If you don’t understand a colloquialism, ask. If you get an answer, don’t berate the answerer.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Ahh yes Vista has shiny colourful animations when copying. Cheers for the reply Raymond.

    Oh and I am English, and for the most part I think US English makes more sense. Americans spell it how it sounds, which is how it should be really. I like your phone numbers too. If you want a Pizza, take a guess and dial 555 PIZZA. We can’t do that.

  23. Anonymous says:

    > It’s amazing how some people lose the ability to infer a word’s meaning from context after about age 9. Either that or I didn’t provide enough contextual clues.

    I can infer the meaning of a word from the context just fine. But that doesn’t mean every reader can. There are lot’s of people in IT that have a limited grasp of the English language. Yes, It may be nitpicking but as a programmer you’re supposed to do that, it should be part of how your brain works. It should be a conscious effort *not* to nitpick.

    I was just pointing out an aspect of your post that may make it a little less comprehensible for people without the same cultural background you have. Especially considering this blogs international audience. No need to get all defensive about it.

    > Just because you’re a hoity toity Englishman doesn’t excuse your inability to understand the concept of “context” and allow you to to bash a dialect of the language you use.

    I’m not a “hoity toity” Englishman. English isn’t even my native language.  It’s just that I was taught English and not American. My guess is that most non-USians who speak english were taught the UK variant.

    The thing is: you’re making assumptions about the knowledge of the readers, which is always dangerous, especially when talking about things that are very specific for a certain country or culture. My point is that natural languages are ambiguous enough as it is without adding further sources of confusion.

    [News flash: Reading requires some effort from the reader, too. Don’t expect to have everything spelled out in mind-numbing detail. This is a blog not a book. I made sure the article made sense even if you didn’t know what a 1040EZ was. Any further explanation would have detracted from the point of the article. Don’t make me bring back the nitpicker’s corner. This is all my own fault. I started caring about non-US readers in the first place. If I hadn’t made the effort to be comprehensible outside the US, then there would be no expectation that all cultural references be explained with sufficient detail so that they are equally comprehensible to all regardless of cultural background. What started out as a courtesy is now a support burden. How about if I had written “If you don’t know what a 1040EZ is, don’t worry. It’s not important.”? -Raymond]
  24. Anonymous says:

    Pfff guys, I thought the 1040EZ was a simplified Atari console from ages gone by, and I still understood what Raymond was trying to make clear.

    I wish we, at my place of work, would make simplified controls too instead of having these gargantuan things for which you have to set 15 properties to make them do even the simplest of things because they can do so (too) much.

  25. Dean Harding says:

    "My guess is that most non-USians who speak english were taught the UK variant. "

    I would say that might be true in Europe, but it’s definitely not true in Asia (most Japanese or Koreans, for example, who speak English do so with an American accent)

    I’m Australian, by the way, so I tend to side with the British, too. Still, I understood the whole "EZ is pronounched like ‘easy’" thing. I thought that was pretty obvious, actually. Raymond is American, and it would seem silly for Raymond to write "EZ is pronounced like ‘easy’ *in America, where I am from, where this blog is hosted and where the U.S. tax forms I am referring to are used*" seems rather superfluous.

  26. Anonymous says:

    The analogy was fine.

    I’m from England, hadn’t heard of the forms before, but still understood the post perfectly well.

    (I was born in the US but we emigrated when I was five and I doubt I had much contact with tax forms in those early years. :) )

  27. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to apologize for being taken in by the Troll. I had assumed it was an honest question, and not simply an attempt to stir up pointless, off topic debate.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I’m English, but grew up watching Sessame Street on American Forces TV (in Germany just to make it even more cosmopolitan) – it took me an awfully long time as a child to figure out why the last letter of the alphabet had two names. We aren’t generally very good at remembering that our language has changed since you guys left, but I’m not sure that justifies the phrase "hoity toity", which I personally think is a bit rude and frankly showing the same cultural prejudice as the people you are railing against.

  29. Erzengel says:

    but I’m not sure that justifies the phrase "hoity toity", which I personally think is a bit rude and frankly showing the same cultural prejudice as the people you are railing against.

    Just for the record, the "hoity toity" is aimed at Englishmen that believe their language is superior and denigrates American English as "Not English". Such airs is pretentious and haughty, the definition of "hoity toity".

    If you accept that American English is a form of English, then you aren’t being pretentious, and therefore are not a "hoity toity Englishman".

    The adjective attached to the front of a noun is intended to narrow down the parameters, not be applied to all of that noun. He’s not just (taught by) an Englishman, he’s (taught by) a pretentious and haughty one.

    I don’t believe all English are hoity toity. Nor even most. Just ones that selectively choose to denounce various dialects of English as Not English because it’s Not Their English. I have the same problems with any American that thinks American English is the One True English.

  30. Anonymous says:

    >  How about if I had written “If you don’t know what a 1040EZ is, don’t worry. It’s not important.”?

    Then I would have asked why you included the reference, if it’s not important ?

    > You seem to have missed a point Raymond has harped on many times:

    >

    > THIS BLOG IS FOR FUN!

    Exactly! And I assume you don’t think nitpicking is fun ?

    > Pfff guys, I thought the 1040EZ was a simplified Atari console from ages gone by

    Same here, I used to be an Atari user ‘back in the day’, in fact, I have a Mega ST 1 sitting about 1.5 meters (that’s 1.64 feet for you non-SI types) from where I sit. But then I realized that 1040EZ was not an Atari type number (they did have a 1040 ST and 1040 STe, which were not consoles but desktop computers by the way).

    [“I would have asked why you included the reference, if it’s not important ?” I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was only allowed to mention important things. You must hate sunrises. “And I assume you don’t think nitpicking is fun ?” I’m sorry this wasn’t clear from context. Allow me to clarify: This blog is for my fun. I do not consider nitpicking fun. -Raymond]
  31. Anonymous says:

    "Then I would have asked why you included the reference, if it’s not important ?"

    Objection!  Badgering the witness.

    (That’s a reference to the US court system that some people will find humorous in how I injected it into the conversation.  You see, in US courts, you have a prosecution and a defense.  The Prosecution is trying to prove that the defendant (the one accused of a crime) is guilty.  The defense is trying to prevent the prosecution from doing so.  In court, a judge presides over the whole thing.  To prove guilt, the prosecution and defense call witnesses to the stand.  A witness can be someone who says they saw or heard some aspect of the crime, or an expert who has knowledge important to the case.  A case is what you call the reported crime incident.  The stand is where a witness sits, adjacent to the judge, to be questioned by both the prosecution and the defense.  While either side is questioning the witness, the other side can object to a line of questioning on some legal basis.  See, the line of questioning to a witness is supposed to get the facts known, not have a debate.  You question the witness to present facts to the court only, and the witness doesn’t offer opinion or argument.  When the prosecution or defense provoke an argument from the witness, the other side can object to the judge, meaning that the judge can put a stop to the line of questioning.  In US television shows, you’ll often see the objectioner stand up and shout "Objection!  Badgering the witness" to object to a statement that’s clearly meant to provoke argument.  So I hope by this explanation you non-US readers can see how hilarious my one-line comment was to this ceaseless badgering of Raymond.)

  32. Anonymous says:

    @Aaargh!: "And I assume you don’t think nitpicking is fun ?"

    No. I think it’s childish and pedantic and a waste of time. And it detracts from the initial point of the post it is commenting on, which decreases its value.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I am glad those restrictions existed because otherwise people would have been loading up complete movies for their custom file-copy animations!!  

    When memory and disk-space became plentiful it would have been nice to support uncompressed RGB.

    But, requiring compression probably resulted in far fewer custom animations, meaning faster overall system responsiveness!!  Brilliant!!

  34. Anonymous says:

    English is not my native language, I don’t have any idea of what 1040EZ is, and I understood the article just fine.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I’m an American and I understood exactly what was meant by 1040EZ and "full-sized 1040 form".

    Unfortunately, I had a very, very hard time understanding my actual full-sized 1040 form…

  36. Mike Dimmick says:

    We should probably add that it was done that way – I assume – so that Windows 95 could fit into 4MB of RAM. Big complicated animation control undoubtedly = more code.

  37. scorpion007 says:

    @Reginald Wellington III:

    Haha! Perfect response.

  38. Anonymous says:

    "I’m an American and I understood exactly what was meant by 1040EZ and "full-sized 1040 form"."

    Obviously, EZ means "extra zmall".

    "Like, stop shipping it with Windows, while still providing the redistributable in case a program needs it. Or like releasing it under the GPL. Since Microsoft isn’t doing anything like that, obviously Microsoft considers the control an asset rather than a burden."

    A programmer might (just) understand why something is broken and might (just) be able to know how to fix it. Your grandmother (eg) would not and might tend to blame Microsoft.

    Once you release something into the wild, it’s hard to take it back because you really can’t know how/where/when it’s being used.

  39. Anonymous says:

    “Like, stop shipping it with Windows, while still providing the redistributable in case a program needs it. Or like releasing it under the GPL. Since Microsoft isn’t doing anything like that, obviously Microsoft considers the control an asset rather than a burden.”

    Erm. Both of those require even more effort. The former means that you now need to host and explain this little download somewhere within Microsoft.com, and make sure that it’s pointed to from appropriate places, and field questions from developers demanding why Microsoft are trying to sabotage third-party code by removing it, etc. etc. The latter adds all of this PLUS the need to review the code to make sure it’s safe to release without horrible cascading licensing or patent issues PLUS the inevitable nightmare of the Slashdot types going “omg Microsoft Windows released under GPL”.

    [Also: What if two different apps come with different versions of the same distributable? How do you hotfix a bug in a redistributable? (Those CDs with the buggy redistributable are going to be around for a loooong time.) If the source code is released, how do you ensure that everybody recompiles with the latest security fix and issues patches for their application? -Raymond]
  40. Anonymous says:

    [Also: What if two different apps come with different versions of the same distributable? How do you hotfix a bug in a redistributable? (Those CDs with the buggy redistributable are going to be around for a loooong time.) If the source code is released, how do you ensure that everybody recompiles with the latest security fix and issues patches for their application? -Raymond]

    Unix answer (yes I know you have roots in unix land): bind the app to libx-3.so and change the symlink for that to the new, patched version, then do the same for app B that wants libx-4.so. There are probably analogous solutions in windows land with manifests, but I’m not really an expert there.

    [And then you install an application that installs its own copy of libx-3.so, which overwrites the symlink to the patched one. Now you just regressed a security hotfix. And this doesn’t help the second case (where somebody recompiled the buggy code). -Raymond]
  41. Anonymous says:

    "What started out as a courtesy has turned into a support burden."

    I’m curious, the phrasing of this indicates that perhaps Microsoft made a mistake?  Is it your opinion that MS shouldn’t have let others use the control, or is this just part of the expected cost of API development that Microsoft’s been learning about forever?

    As a side question, do you have any information about when it really "clicked" with Microsoft as a whole how big their support burden for legacy APIs would be?  I know that’s a real vague question, it may not even have an answer.

  42. Anonymous says:

    [And then you install an application that installs its own copy of libx-3.so, which overwrites the symlink to the patched one. Now you just regressed a security hotfix. And this doesn’t help the second case (where somebody recompiled the buggy code). -Raymond]

    Applications don’t install libs, they depend on libs, which are installed separately. Additionally, libx-3.so is a symlink, and never a so. There is one command that creates the symlinks, so no overwriting there. Basically, the unix setup works better than windows – it may be worth stealing some ideas instead of taking potshots.

    [It may “work better”, but is it easier to use? I just want to install a program and then run it. I don’t want to have to go determine its dependency chain and go install all the pieces it depends on. -Raymond]
  43. Anonymous says:

    [It may “work better”, but is it easier to use? I just want to install a program and then run it. I don’t want to have to go determine its dependency chain and go install all the pieces it depends on. -Raymond]

    wow raymond, you’re out of the loop. when you say “yum install someapp”, it goes and finds the app and all the deps for you, and presnts you a list of things it wants to do. You say yes, it installs, and you use the app. Installing apps on linux is miles better than anything on windows.

    [And what about people who don’t have a live internet connection? Does it work for applications installed from a CD? -Raymond]
  44. Anonymous says:

    [And what about people who don’t have a live internet connection? Does it work for applications installed from a CD? -Raymond]

    it can use whatever you want as a repository, but non-connected installs are sort of a fringe case in unixland. We are getting fairly far from my point, though, which is that linux has done package installation really well, and windows might stand to learn from them. Hearing about dll-hell in 2009 feels quaint.

    [As you may recall, the original question was “Why doesn’t Microsoft make the library available as a redist?” Answer: Because of all the CDs which contain the redist (“repository on CD” as you call it). Windows software vendors typically do not have the luxury of assuming everybody has a live high-speed Internet connection with no bandwidth charges. Proposing solutions that assume a live high-speed Internet connection with no bandwidth charges makes for an interesting thought experiment but doesn’t solve the problem. -Raymond]
  45. Anonymous says:

    [As you may recall, the original question was “Why doesn’t Microsoft make the library available as a redist?” Answer: Because of all the CDs which contain the redist (“repository on CD” as you call it). Windows software vendors typically do not have the luxury of assuming everybody has a live high-speed Internet connection with no bandwidth charges. Proposing solutions that assume a live high-speed Internet connection with no bandwidth charges makes for an interesting thought experiment but doesn’t solve the problem. -Raymond]

    Yum is just a convenient way to get packages to you. It typically has a highspeed connection behind it, but you can pull from a CD if you want to; it isn’t hard, just nobody cares to do that. There is absolutely no reason you can’t package a bunch of updates on a DVD and tell yum to install updates for whatever you already have.

    The packaging system solves dll hell without so much as a beerfart. Arguing over the distribution method is just grasping at straws, since that part is easy to separate out.

    Addressing distribution directly, this is the future for software distro, so making the requisite software to enable CD-based updates may only have a lifetime of 5-10 years. Since linux isn’t really set to take the desktop by storm, it may not make sense to pursue, but feel free if you’re bored. It really is easy to separate out – I can even send you use cases and sequence diagrams off the top of my head.

    [This works great provided everybody uses the standardized installer. Unfortunately the world isn’t like that. Windows has had a standardized installer for years but most apps don’t use it. One common application install problem is some custom installer that overwrites a newer version of a redistributable DLL with an older version. -Raymond]
  46. Anonymous says:

    [This works great provided everybody uses the standardized installer. Unfortunately the world isn’t like that. Windows has had a standardized installer for years but most apps don’t use it. One common application install problem is some custom installer that overwrites a newer version of a redistributable DLL with an older version. -Raymond]

    The standard installer doesn’t live on the install media, and the part of this layercake that fixes dll symlinks is part of the OS, and everybody does use that.

    Meanwhile, using the standard system means you get package updates automatically. Much preferred to the 3-4 app-specific updaters on windows.

    [The standard installer has come with Windows for quite some time, but people still choose not to use the standard installer. Windows Update updates redistributables. It’s the same thing, but for some reason, on Windows, nobody uses it. -Raymond]
  47. Anonymous says:

    [The standard installer has come with Windows for quite some time, but people still choose not to use the standard installer. Windows Update updates redistributables. It’s the same thing, but for some reason, on Windows, nobody uses it. -Raymond]

    If I had an app of some sort (such as the adobe pdf reader), would I be able to push that through WU? I haven’t seen anything except MS stuff in there, so I assume it’s either not available or people are avoiding it for some reason.

    [I’ve seen non-MS stuff there (e.g., an updated smartcard reader driver) but it’s pretty rare. People are simply avoiding it. This stopped having anything to do with RLE8 encoding about 10 comments ago… -Raymond]

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