Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Software Available for Humanity

I've mentioned previously in this blog many impressive pieces of free software. Now while the Google and RMS argue over the meaning of free I proposed a new project: Software Available for Humanity or SAfH, (pronounced safe).

This would be a cross between freshmeat.net (yes I'm showing my age) and PortableApps with a dash of http://directory.fsf.org/
Each program would be one of the best at what it does without any agenda. I don't mind which opensource licence it is under but using BSD/MIT/LGPL would count as being better than GPL, (though still good) and hence rank that piece of software as being better.

Criteria: Nothing bad and certainly no evil.
Listing: platform, Program, function, md5sum (why aren't hashes in a standard form of filename.hash with the string inside of  "{md5}blah filename" so that we can build binary verification into download applications?), version, filename, date added, date replaced, [ list of download locations], author(s), homepage, labels.

Then when someone is looking for "a win32 program to remap keys" they will end up with

{"platform":"win32","prog":"SharpKeys","function":"Remap keyboard;Make certain keys on a keyboard act like other keys", "hash":"{sha1}6b19f64804fb8df3a246303e46307f013993f544", "file":"sharpkeys35.msi", "version":"3.5", "added":"2012-02-14 09:00:00", "url": {
 "codeplex.com","http://sharpkeys.codeplex.com/downloads/get/319724"
}, "author":"RandyRants", "homepage":"http://www.randyrants.com/sharpkeys/", "labels":"keymapper, remap keys, win32, act like another key"}


If we have an API (or just an invisible json string in the HTML) then it should be easy to have a sort of ninite.net application that searches for and installs software. Mix that with SpiderOak, (to remember which applications to install) to backup your data, then you could rebuild your desktop with a single click.

I've noticed that some good honest decent programs in portable apps, like IObit Unlocker Portable don't mind where you install them, (and finally have a sane default install path of CWD) while the corporate lures object to being installed in C:\Program Files\. This would fall into the category of "bad". Not exactly evil, but not "for Humanity". 

When it comes to functions, there is almost always a free version that is faster and certainly with 99% less, "you could 'upgrade'" be that "we have a new version", (Google Chrome, I'm looking at you doing your "silent updates" that seem to freeze older computers) or "buy the full version to get that additional functionality".

The problem now is linking the users, (humanity) with the best free options.
(And listing the functions that are yet to be written.)

Do you have a killer app that you with was on the list? I would not mind how specific its functionality because the search would only match to the users requirements, (so a single scripts that just removes win32.trojan.ransom.834 would be fine if it did just that and nothing else.)

I would start with (for win32):

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