For our July “Staff Pick” Project of the Month, we selected winPenPack, a portable software collection. Creator Danilo Leggieri shared some thoughts about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.
SourceForge (SF): Tell me about the winPenPack project please.
Danilo Leggieri (DL): winPenPack is an Open Source project that deals with portable software, both natively portable and portabilized by means of X-Launcher, our portable program launcher. These apps can be grouped into suites or can be used also as standalone portable programs, adapting with end users’ preferences.
With winPenPack, any USB flash drive ceases to be a simple data storage device and becomes a self-contained environment, within which programs and files are homogeneously integrated.
Portable applications included in the winPenPack suites do not require any installation, do not leave their files or settings on the host computer, and can be easily transferred to another computer through any external device, such as a removable hard disk drive or a USB flash drive.
All you have to do is connect a USB flash drive to any free USB port on your host PC, and you will have your collection of pre-configured and ready-to-use programs instantly available, grouped in categories and executable through a user-friendly menu interface similar to the Start Menu, the winPenPack Menu. It will be exactly as if you are working on your own PC, with web browsers, e-mail clients, image and drawing editors, chat clients, multimedia tools, PC maintenance and security tools, school and development tools, and others.
SF: When did you start this?
DL: Our project started in November 2005. Me and a couple of “web friends” expanded the project and our community grew up very quickly. Since that date, we have issued about 20 new releases and hundreds of Open Source portable applications. Actually, the project is well known in Italy and is growing also abroad. All our collections/suites are regularly distributed also in bundle with some IT magazines. The community of users has grown over the years and has actively contributed to the growth of the whole project. The site currently hosts various projects created and suggested also by forum members, and is also used for bug reporting and users suggestions.
SF: What is the main idea behind winPenPack?
DL: winPenPack philosophy is well summarized by our (very restrictive) definition of “portable software”: a portable program can’t simply be a “no-install” program, but must also be able to save its settings into his own folder (or a user-definable folder), does not write settings or leave other data in user folders (e.g. into c:UsersTheUserNameAppDataRoaming or c:Documents and SettingsTheUserName) or into the registry, must be able to run from a USB pen drive and can perform path normalizations moving around different PCs (where the pen drive could be installed with different drive letters). Obviously, all of these programs can be executed also from hard drives, greatly simplifying recovery operations of all programs (and their preferred configurations) when reinstalling the operating system.
SF: How can others get involved with the winPenPack project?
DL: Becoming members of the “Developers” group (if skilled enough), and/or participating in the development of winPenPack components is not so difficult. In any case, first of all any candidate must be a passionate supporter and lover of portable/made portable software. Our doors are always open for anyone who wants to passionately participate by developing portable software based on winPenPack technology (X-Software).
The contribution can be made also in other different ways. Of course, we allow everyone to make their contribution in the manner and quantity that seems most appropriate to his/her abilities and knowledge. Some possible helps are: constructively participating in forum threads, assisting the Team in supporting the activities of moderation and user support, suggesting new portable programs (as specified in our submission procedure) and/or testing the portability of those currently present, writing new FAQs and/or translating in English the existing ones, translating portions of the site pages, writing tutorials and helping us to extend and improve all documentation, and so on.
Last but not least, we want everyone to remember that winPenPack is a completely free software developed by volunteers who offer their work for free, and it will remain so in the future.
[Category: Open Source]