Saturday, July 21, 2007

PortableApps 1.0

U3 is a great technology that happens to annoy the peas out of me. The idea behind U3 is great; install applications on your removable device (usually a USB thumb drive) and run them anywhere with your customized settings in place. And the good thing is, this technology works pretty well, except that it's a nuisance!

First of all, U3 runs as a separate program, which means it's useless for applications where it's most useful, which to me is on systems that have access control and don't allow you install or run foreign programs.

Secondly, U3 installs as a separate CD-ROM drive, and it's horrible to have a boss looking on as you plug your thumb drive into his precious computer and suddenly see the U3 splash screen because he has AutoRun enabled, freaking him out.

Worst of all, U3 is proprietary technology, so the inherent security risks presented by allowing foreign programs to AutoRun can't be detected or fixed by the masses.

Good news though - PortableApps is the open source equivalent of U3!

There are several bundles that you can download with preselected programs; I chose the "Base Edition" which lets you choose precisely which applications you want to have installed.

Speaking of installation, it was a breeze, with a solid GUI that guides you through the process.

Some limitations exist though; you can only add applications that are hosted by PortableApps, although since it's open source you can hack any other open source application to work with PortableApps.

However, for me it's a great alternative to U3, and highly recommended.

Check out the full listing of the applications that are ready to use: Application List

Official Site: