Portable Delphi 2007 for Win32 - Part I.5

It's been a while since I started this project and, despite the long period with no posts, it hasn't been forgotten. But a few factors helped to prevent me from completing it as of yet. First I was in bed for a few days from some nasty flue, then I got up before being ready which eventually led back to bed for a few more days, and by then I had a ton of work to catch up with. Factor that with running into some problems with some of my other "thinstalled" applications and not being happy with the Thinstall price tag (which I'm only using because it's registered to the company I'm working for: there's no way I could justify spending 5 grand in a piece of software!), and then you're starting to see the picture. Today I had a bit of time and, after having found another virtualization suite, one that is free for personal use, I decided to give it a spin.

Even though it has some design flaws that would make it improper to make a "Portable" Delphi, it could be a nice tool to create a semi-portable Delphi and I may be back to it in a couple weeks or so. But, for the time being, here are the main disadvantages I found in Altiris SVS in a couple hours of use:

- Requires the engine to be installed first (admin rights);

- Requires the packages to be "imported" which is kind of an Install in that it expands the package over to the virtual redirection folder;

- Does not allow an easy way to configure *where* the local changes are stored so it's not trivial to carry your settings with you;

- If you want the redir folder to be stored elsewhere other than C:\fslrdr you need to use the command line to manually invoke MSI installer and pass some parameters;

- You're "forced" to work in their chosen locale, that is, my Windows XP is English but, because my location and keyboard are Portuguese, I have the regional settings set to Portuguese. If I want the software to be in English as ALL my programs are, I have to overwrite some of it's files, namely copy the .DLLs from the 1033 folder over the ones in the 1046 folder. (I hate dumb programs that try to be smart!)

- I also ran into a weird bug: after restoring another semi-clean ghost of my C: drive, and having installed the SVS client (and after the mandatory reboot), I decided to try a "bold" move: double-click an SVS package that I had created earlier. It started to "import" it or so it seemed, but in no time I was rendered with a useless Admin console:


Not even a cold boot sorted it out! I had to restore the ghost image again and re-install SVS again and then I could use the "Import from Archive" option. And I was able to successfully import the VERY same package. Kind of weird of them to create file associations and then have them screw things up so badly!

So, I'll keep my original idea and, in the next few nights and in the next weekend I will go back to resume my work on Thinstalling Delphi 2007. It's a shame as Altiris' SVS product was priced just about right: Free for Personal Use! Download license from here and setup from here if you want to give it a spin.

BTW: Don't get me wrong on this "negative" feedback: Altiris' product does look promising and it even may have a few advantages (other than the price!) over other similar packages. It's just inadequate for my current project of creating a Portable Delphi. If I get to "play" with this product a bit more, I may come up with a more rounded review focusing also the pluses. It won't be in the next couple weeks due to lack of time and other priorities, such as finishing the Portable Delphi! :)