Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Portable Apps Suite and Wine

Mozilla Firefox, Portable EditionImage via Wikipedia
This month I'm running between 33 different classrooms with what seems like 33 different Windows XP setups, all in Korean. Getting around the mess is hard, so I've long depended on Portable Firefox to help me out. I installed it long before FF3 was out and have lived with FF2 because I didn't want to borrow someone's computer to get it up and running.

When I finally decided to upgrade, I though "Hey, why don't I just go whole hog and install the whole suite?" so I downloaded it and was ready to find an unused Windows machine when I realized that Wine might work for the install. After all, I have pretty good luck with installation in Wine, even if the program itself doesn't work. Sure enough, the portable apps suite installed fine (though it took almost ten minutes for the file copy) using Wine 1.1.17, and I was left with the question of whether the suite was installed properly or not.

Why not test in Wine? I left the "Launch Portable Apps" box checked and there in my notification area was the PA menu. Firefox worked, and I logged into my Google Apps and Zoho accounts, saved the passwords, and set my home page. Cool Player +? Sounds great. OO.o3? Works as slowly as ever. Sudoku? Fine. In fact, it all appeared to work.

What can I say but "Cool beans?"

An anectdote about the Portable Apps suite: I installed it a couple of days ago for another teacher who is sharing my material on Google Apps, and she had a Toshiba USB device already plugged in. When I taught her how to use PA by plugging the USB key in another computer, some Toshiba software came up, which she promptly closed. Later, when it came up again and she was slower closing it, it turned out to be a Toshiba-skinned portable apps suite with no apps installed and a wizard to install Firefox, OO.o, and the others. I guess PA is hitting its stride and being pre-installed in some USB keys. Note: After some investigation, this is probably be a branded installation.


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