SLW 20: WinGet with Demitrius Nelon

Demitrius Nelon

My guest today is Demitrius Nelon who joined Microsoft in 2019. He is responsible for the Package Manager for Windows, better known as WinGet.

Demetrius talks about his personal background and career journey, mentioning his service in the U.S. Navy and his work at various technology companies, including Microsoft, VMware, and Amazon.

Prior to the employment of Demitrius Microsoft started to work on a Package Manager, primarily targeted on developers. They were inspired by the software of an independent developer from Canada named Keivan Beigi. His AppGet tool led Microsoft on the path to their own implementation. Keivan was a guest on the Sliding Windows in episode 18.

Initially named AppInstallerCLI, due to its positioning under the umbrella of Microsofts sideloading application named AppInstaller, Scott Hanselmann recommended to change the name to WinGet which became popular fast.

WinGet was initially (also) considered for use on servers but was only deployed on Windows Desktop due to evolving business requirements. Today, many admins complain that WinGet is not available everywhere.

Compared to Chocolaty WinGet eliminates arbitrary code by using a declarative syntax called a manifest.
Demitrius discusses the security precautions taken to ensure the safety of the manifests and the considerations for vendors hosting the manifest and installer without independent verification.

This episode provides in-depth insights in the development of WinGet so far, its inner struggles and the many visions of the developing team. Of course, we also discuss the necessity of PowerShell cmdlets, the integration of native commands utilizing argument completers and the long wishlist of the Microsoft’s customers embracing such an overdue, long awaited tool.

The interview was recorded in Prague on June 22, 2023.

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Show Notes


00:00:00 Intro (This Is Who I Am by Rewob)
00:01:15 about Demitrius Nelon
00:04:57 The Evolution of Windows Package Manager aka WinGet
00:09:11 Winget’s Potential
00:11:12 Winget Internals
00:14:30 Manifest Creation and Vendor Adoption Challenges
00:34:51 Windows Store, Acceptance, Recognition, Security boundaries
00:41:13 Efforts to bootstrap Winget on Windows Server
00:45:10 Community-built tools like Winget UI
00:52:14 A Linux-like tool for Windows
00:54:51 WinGet and PowerShell
01:06:43 Configuration as Code and Desired State Configuration
01:12:48 WinGet, Linux, WSL: Better together?
01:15:49 Outlook: Employees, Community, future Features
01:21:20 Farewall/Outro

Bonus content


Rewob: This Is Who I Am