Setup.exe suggestions

Lavrentiev, Anton (NIH/NLM/NCBI) [C]
Wed Feb 28 20:19:00 GMT 2024

Hi All,

I already tried to bring this up, but it looks like it was either ignored or just slipped
through the cracks...

I have a few suggestions that IMHO would make Setup a teeny-bit user-friendlier.

Having to (re-)install Cygwin is probably the most dreaded action for everybody, and
dealing with Setup is not to be taken light-heartedly when you have to go through
thousands of packages.  The version upgrade would probably be the only exception,
which is rather seamless.

There are a few challenges with Setup interactions...

For new installations, it'd be great to have the most suitable (in most cases, the most
recent) version shown as the first selection in all those pulldown version lists in
the "New" columns.  The logical order would be "the preferred (latest) version",
"the version previous to that" ... "test version(s)", and then all the actions like
"Uninstall"(grayed out), "Skip" (checked) etc coming last, so that one doesn't have to
hover different distances when selecting the packages.

There's always a challenge to reinstall Cygwin from an earlier setup (esp. a different
host).  The recipe to make a package list from a cygcheck dump and then to stuff it
into the -P argument of Setup does not seem always doable, because there's an obvious
restriction for how long the command line can be.  My list of packages (which is still
a tiny fraction of "everything") does not simply fit in there!

So the suggestion is to allow the @ syntax for at least the -P, -x options:
if there's only one argument given that starts with @, treat the rest as a file name,
which contains the list...  If there's a problem accessing that file, add the entire
argument 'as is' as a "package", and the package name verifier should catch that as
an error later.

For existing installations, in the "Unneeded" view it'd be best to have the packages'
"New" dispositions as "Uninstall" rather than "Keep", which they presently have showing
by default.  So that one does not have to go through (sometimes quite many) packages in
that view to mark them all.  If someone wants to retain some, it's easier to change
those few back to "Keep".

IDK how difficult it is all to implement -- I have no intimate knowledge of the
Setup code, but at least the package list files do not sound too complex...

These suggestions come from my personal experience with this utility, so your mileage
may vary.

The "patches welcome" suggestion in return is well understood.  I just thought there
might be folks with better understanding of the code, before me trying to jump in.


Anton Lavrentiev
Contractor NIH/NLM/NCBI

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