Microsoft Windows Package Manger sherlocked AppGet

 Microsoft Windows Package Manger sherlocked AppGet

Microsoft’s Build conference introduced a number of new developer focused and some consumer related technologies, like Fluid Components, Edge gaining Pinterest integration, Project Reunion merging UWP/Win32 apps into just ‘Windows Apps’, A Glimpse of Edge for Linux and Windows Subsystem for Linux gaining GUI apps and GUI support, among many others. There was an announcement that one its face seemed less glamourous but potentially is a much bigger deal.

Microsoft introduced a new Package Manager, that is similar to Linux package managers. It’s a tool that enables bulk install of apps, that greatly reduces time when setting up a new PC. It downloads and installs apps from a centralized repository, on GitHub, which Microsoft owns.

Today, the developer behind AppGet, published a detailed account of how he believes he was sherlocked by Microsoft.

He started with how a Microsoft employee by the name of Andrew, reached out to him via email saying, “Keivan, I run the Windows App Model engineering team and in particular the app deployment team. Just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for building appget — it’s a great addition to the Windows ecosystem and makes Windows developers life so much easier. We will likely be up in Vancouver in the coming weeks for meetings with other companies but if you had time we’d love to meet up with you and your team to get feedback on how we can make your life easier building appget.”

He then explained how he was excited that his hobby project had been noticed by Microsoft. The first meeting was on August 20th on Microsoft’s Vancouver campus. In attendance was Andrew and another engineering manager, who were in the same product group. Keivan said, ” I had a great time; we talked about the ideas behind AppGet, what I thought was broken about the current package manager systems in Windows and what I had planned for AppGet’s future. We went out for lunch and talked a bit more about AppGet, Windows Phone, and a few other things, but the outcome of the meeting as far as I understood it was, what can Microsoft do to help? I mentioned some Azure credit would be nice, getting some doc on how the new MSIX packages work and if they could fix a few issues I had with some of their download links.”

He then explained how he was excited that his hobby project had been noticed by Microsoft. The first meeting was on August 20th on Microsoft’s Vancouver campus. In attendance was Andrew and another engineering manager, who were in the same product group. Keivan said, ” I had a great time; we talked about the ideas behind AppGet, what I thought was broken about the current package manager systems in Windows and what I had planned for AppGet’s future. We went out for lunch and talked a bit more about AppGet, Windows Phone, and a few other things, but the outcome of the meeting as far as I understood it was, what can Microsoft do to help? I mentioned some Azure credit would be nice, getting some doc on how the new MSIX packages work and if they could fix a few issues I had with some of their download links.”

A week went by and Keivan received this email from Andrew, ” It was a pleasure to meet you and to find out more about appget. I’m following up on the azure startup pricing for you. As you know we are big fans of package managers on Windows and we are looking to do more in that space. My team is growing and part of that is to build a team who is responsible for ensuring package managers and software distribution on Windows makes a big step forward. We are looking to make some significant changes to the way that we enable software distribution on Windows and there’s a great opportunity (well I would say that wouldn’t I?) to help define the future of Windows and app distribution throughout Azure/Microsoft 365. With that in mind have you considered spending more time dedicated to appget and potentially at Microsoft?”

Keivan went on to say, “Initially, I was a bit hesitant; I didn’t want to go to Microsoft to work on Windows Store, MSI engine or some other app deployment-related stuff. Shortly after, I was assured that I would spend all my time on AppGet. After about a month of prolonged email back and forth, we came to the conclusion that the arrangement will be very similar to an acqui-hire; Microsoft would hire me, AppGet would come with me, and they would decide if they wanted to rename it something else, or it would become Microsoft AppGet.”

He said that during the discussions, he was unclear on what his role would be at Microsoft, or what his responsibilities would be. He said he tried to clear those questions he had up, but never received a clear answer.

“After another few months of again very slow email conversations, I was told that the acqui-hire process through BizDev would take a very long time, Keivan said. An alternative to speed up the process would be just to hire me with a “bonus” and then work on migrating the code ownership after the fact. I didn’t have any objections, so we scheduled some meetings/interviews in Redmond.”

He arrived in Redmond on December 5th to have a full day of interviews. He said he met with four people during a number of interviews and the last meeting was more about “what we should do once this is all over and how we would migrate AppGet’s process and infrastructure to be able to handle Microsoft’s scale.”

Ghosted for 6-months

Keivan said he received an email from Andrew just earlier this week after a 6-month Ghosting by Microsoft.

Hi Keivan, I hope you and your family are doing well — BC seems to have a good handle on covid compared to the us.

I’m sorry that the pm position didn’t work out. I wanted to take the time to tell you how much we appreciated your input and insights. We have been building the windows package manager and the first preview will go live tomorrow at build. We give appget a call out in our blog post too since we believe there will be space for different package managers on windows. You will see our package manager is based on GitHub too but obviously with our own implementation etc. our package manager will be open source too so obviously we would welcome any contribution from you.

I look forward to talking to you about our package manager once we go live tomorrow. Obviously this is confidential until tomorrow morning so please keep this to yourself. You and chocolatey are the only folks we have told about this in advance.

Regards

Andrew

“I waited until the next day to see what this new package manager was going to be like. When I finally saw the announcement and the GitHub repositories, I was shocked? Upset? I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at, Keivan said. When I showed it to my wife, the first thing she said was, “They Called it WinGet? are you serious!?” I didn’t even have to explain to her how the core mechanics, terminology, the manifest format and structure, even the package repository’s folder structure, are very inspired by AppGet.”

“Am I upset they didn’t hire me? Not really, after visiting the campus, I wasn’t too sure I wanted to work for such a big company, also moving from Canada to the U.S. wasn’t something I was too excited about. Also, throughout the process, at no time I assumed this was done deal. Am I upset that Microsoft, a 1.4 Trillion-dollar company, finally got their act together and released a decent package manager for their flagship product? No, they should’ve done it years ago. They shouldn’t have screwed Windows Sotre as badly as they did.”

Keivan Beigi

“I didn’t create AppGet to get rich or to become famous or get hired by Microsoft, said Keivan. I created AppGet because I thought us Windows users deserved a decent app management experience too.”

He ended his post with, “Live and Learn.”