Comments on: PalmSource Creates New PalmSource Application Installer

PalmSource today introduced PalmSource Installer, a new Palm OS application installation technology designed to streamline the online and over-the-air (OTA) download and install process of Palm OS applications onto Palm Powered smartphones and other wireless devices. As part of PalmSource’s effort to make software titles more easily accessible for end users, PalmSource Installer can minimize the complexities commonly associated with loading software by providing one-touch software download and install functionality for Palm Powered smart mobile devices.
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Calroth @ 9/27/2004 10:01:11 PM #
It allows you to make software packages. You install these packages. You can install them from your desktop, with the desktop installer app, so the files will HotSync over. Or, if you have wireless, you can install them straight to your Palm, with the device client.

Packages can install desktop components (like conduits or manuals) when installing from the desktop. It would be supremely cool if packages could install desktop components when run from your Palm - sort of like a reverse HotSync - but I don't know if this is in the scope of the project.

There doesn't appear to be Mac/Linux support, which is consistent with the direction that PalmSource appears to be taking.

This goes some way towards addressing one of the main gripes that Bruce Tognazzini has with the Palm interface - they're hard to load software on to. Unfortunately, Tog probably uses a Mac... See the article at

RE: Notes
bcombee @ 9/28/2004 12:19:39 AM #
One of the goals of this is to enable installing an app on the device, having the PalmSource Installer notice the change, and it pulling down the desktop components on the next sync. I don't remember if this is in the beta, but its a scenario we've been talking about.

Ben Combee - PDA programmer weblog
RE: Notes
Patrick @ 9/28/2004 12:49:18 AM #
So, this helps with downloading and installing the software. Has any thought been put into helping with the software registration process as well?

This business of activating a program by typing in a twenty character hex string is kinda silly, don't you think? Providing infrastructure to support software registration that is point-and-click is every bit as much needed as download/install tools, IMO.

RE: Notes
bcombee @ 9/28/2004 1:29:06 AM #
Registration is a much more complex activity. It's something we've been thinking about, but we don't have good solutions in that area right now. However, there are some solutions -- for example, PocketPurchase is a really nice system for handling registration, including supporting on-device purchasing of programs and content.

Ben Combee - PDA programmer weblog
RE: Notes
Patrick @ 9/28/2004 2:36:39 AM #
Glad to hear this issue is being considered. However, I strongly, strongly disagree with you that Pocket Purchase is a "good system". I'm sure it is considered quite good by software sellers but there has been a significant backlash against this service by its users, I would say.

In these days of adware, spyware, trojans and worms, folks are very, very antsy about any software that calls home without an explicit request by the user, as PP once did (and perhaps still does, I don't know). Do not underestimate the contempt and distrust that is held by customers against such pushware. For my part, I have completely and utterly erased all vestiges of WordSmith from my T3 because it used PP, and I will not re-install it until BlueNomad produces a new version in which they promise that no equivalent system is included (which is very likely never).

Please do not pattern your solution after PP. I highly suspect it will be despised.

RE: Notes
Strider_mt2k @ 12/4/2004 8:51:06 AM #
Unfortunately, just the opposite seems to be the trend.

While it hasn't been published, my guess is that PalmSource is grooming the PalmOS to be just that, a nickel here and dime there, pay-as-you-go supporter that will turn an operating system that poeple loved and cherished in to one that serves mostly it's creator.

Hey, look at all the freeware stuff people swear by instead of some pay apps. That can't ride well with the money people at PS at all.
There is a market to crack there!

In the future you may not pay for those old apps, but darn tootin' you'll pay for newer ones, or for access to the older ones, or the time spent doing it.

Installers like this aren't the cause, but they are an indicator.

I fear the Palm OS is being subverted into something sinister.
Thus all these hagups and problems with the new OS.
Are ANY of them related to features designed to help the end user?

This is just an opinion of mine based on what loose research I do for my own jollies. Your milage will most likely vary.

Some more info on the PalmSource Installer...

cdunphy @ 9/28/2004 3:48:09 PM #
I have been pushing for this project for well over a year, and I am thrilled that it is at last out in public. This has been my own personal passion for the longest time because I am so excited about how huge the potential benefits for both users and developers will be.

To address some of the Mac concerns I have heard from people:

1) Right now the public preview release is PC only, but we've been planning Mac support from the beginning and we hope to have "official" announcements around how this will look soon.

There is already a sneaky way for Mac users to get into .PSI files that we designed in from the beginning. The file format is actually compatible with .zip, so on a Mac you can just trick the Mac into thinking the .PSI file is a .ZIP and you can open up the file and get at the raw PRC's. You will miss out on the whizzy auto-install features, but it will be pretty much no different than todays download of ZIP files experience.

Mac users - try this out - and let me know how it works for you. I would love to get feedback on how to write this up as a clear "Mac Tutorial" so that users can make this work until we have something better.

RE: Some more info on the PalmSource Installer...
kpr @ 12/4/2004 6:47:50 AM #
I gave this a try using Mac OS 10.2 and StuffIt Expander 6.5.1, and it WORSK!!!

I downloaded the .psi file from your demo page:

Thank you for not creating a new compression format!

Offline installing

mulate @ 10/14/2004 5:31:42 PM #
I have a question for which I don't know if there's an answer already implemented or planned.

I became interested in applying the PalmSource Installer to substitute the self-extracting executable I use to distribute my Palm OS Software (I didn't create the program for creating self-extracting executables, so I get charged for it).

The users of my software get new databases uploaded to their PDA's each day so that they can go to work selling products. The advantage of the self-extracting option is that AFTER the hotsync process, the self-extractor is automatically executed. The advantage is that the process is done offline (after HotSync) so the computer which creates and uploads data is free just after uploading the executable and while a user is executing the self extractor another is executing hotsync.

Testing the PalmSource Installer I notice that the self-extractor and installation is done DURING hotsync, so it results in a much more time-consuming process than the other option I have.



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