There was a lot of talk at VMworld last month about AppVolumes. Project A2 demonstrated VMware’s vision to use AppVolumes to deploy apps to traditional “fat client” Windows desktops (in addition to being able to use it to deploy to VDI and RDSH-based desktops).
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So that got me thinking.. Should VMware release their AppVolumes packager for free so anyone (including software vendors) can package their apps in that format?
This concept could be extended to all application packaging vendors. (FSLogix, Liquidware Labs, etc.)
Of course to use an app packaged this way, you’d need to have their agent installed on the target desktop. And then you’d have to think about how licensing works. (I assume the client agent would be what’s licensed then?) So this isn’t a large scale, lets-replace-the-MSI type concept, but in terms of these vendors trying to get traction for their products, it could be interesting if they made their packagers available for free so vendors and anyone else who wants to provide pre-packaged versions of their apps ready to go and simple to consume for customers.
This is something we originally talked about with Microsoft App-V (and even before that with Softricity) ten years ago. At that time I thought the App-V package format would replace MSIs. "With the benefits of App-V, why would anyone ever want to use an MSI?” (Again, this was ten years ago. I didn’t know… :)
Of course today’s modern app packagers work differently than MSIs and App-V packages. Some of them lend themselves more to this concept than others. (Some are more like sets of rules that hide installed apps versus “full” packages.)
And there are lots of logistics to figure out about support, client agent installation, and use cases.
So maybe it’s not a great idea.
Still, though, making the packager available for free could be a good idea? It would encourage as many people as possible to package their apps in that format. More people using the same format is good for everyone. Makes sense, I think?