[Windows] Chocolatey brings Linux-like command line software installation to Windows

c1Windows is lacking what some Linux users sometimes take for granted, and that is package management (aka installing programs via command line). If you’re set in your ways and you refuse to switch to Linux to use package management, you can rest assured that Chocolatey may be for you.

WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO

Main Functionality

Chocolatey is a command line based package management system for Windows. In other words, Chocolatey allows users to download and install programs on Windows using command line (like Linux).

Pros

  • Tons of software to choose from (700+ and counting)
  • Cinst command has a search function and an installation function (very similar to aptitude search and aptitude or apt-get install on Linux)
  • Very simple installation — done by typing the following into command prompt:
    • @powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy unrestricted -Command “iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString(‘http://chocolatey.org/install.ps1′))” && SET PATH=%PATH%;%systemdrive%\chocolatey\bin
  • Commands are easy to understand; full list of supported commands available on GitHub

Cons

  • Not as robust as Cygwin
  • Searching could be better
  • Somewhat pathetic command processing (compared to Linux)

Discussion

c2We reviewed this application in the past, but this time the review is being written by an advanced Linux user. So expect a lot of criticism, because I don’t like it too much.

This program may look really neat to someone who doesn’t deal with terminal commands every single day, but for me, this program is pretty meh. Yeah, you can install programs via command line, that’s great. I don’t really find myself caring about the essence of this program too much. The reason I choose Cygwin on Windows over this program is that it not only gives me excellent package management, but it gives me the Linux experience also. With Chocolatey I feel like its a cheap ripoff of something so much better. When it comes down to it, Cygwin is just better on all counts.

All that aside, Chocolatey is very neat. I guess. You can type ‘cinst’ to install a package. I don’t really see this as something that Windows even needs. I also don’t understand why, if you really wanted package management, you wouldn’t be using the chain of FREE operating systems (all of which have something new to offer) to satisfy your package management needs.

Before I get into the meat of this review, let me take a bit of time to talk about the neat aspects of Chocolatey. It was pretty handy to be able to type Cinst program and be able to search the database for packages that I could then install, and I also appreciated that the commands weren’t stupidly complicated to remember.

I understand that the developers wanted an ‘apt-get’ on Windows, but please, there is really no need. I might sound a bit harsh when I say this, but this is the exact problem when it comes to Windows. Windows is not designed to do this, the users do not want this in the first place and if they do they should just install one of the many Linux distributions available. It has severe limitations that will just cheapen the experience. I understand that you’re trying to improve it, but couldn’t you just take a look at the already successful Cygwin project? A project that already has a ton of packages to choose from?

I get it, this is for ‘Windows software’. When you take that into consideration it is a step in the right direction. Still. I wouldn’t even bother with something like this. If this is an ‘apt-get’ for Windows, its probably the most basic I’ve ever seen. It’s like the backend to a software store. I just cannot begin to like it very much, and at the end of the day I’m installing software using one of the most pathetic excuses for a command line on an operating system. That is just my opinion on the matter. I know that people are different, but for me, this is a ‘no thank you’ on all accounts.

CONCLUSION AND DOWNLOAD LINK

This program is great if you’re one of the few people that refuse to try Linux out and yet want the benefits that Linux can bring. Chocolatey can also be very attractive to those who are Linux users that are not very interested in Cygwin. This program is at least worth a try. You never know, you might like it… even though I don’t.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 0.9.8.20 

Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8

Download size: Unknown

VirusTotal malware scan results: Unknown

Is it portable? No

Chocolatey homepage

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3 comments

  1. Shawn

    I usualy make batch files and use wget from what I can see from what I’ve tested there are 2k worth of apps to retreive the downfall in un-installing them correctly as the program seems to leave lots of un-marked files in the primary folders.

  2. Jim Van Damme

    Windows software installation was always pathetic and/or scary to me. I’m not sure having a terminal box helps. Do they maintain these packages, update versions, and clean the malware?