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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Nullsoft open source installer (NSIS 2.12) released

What is Nullsoft open source installer and why do I need it?

An installer is the first experience of a user with your application. Slow or unsuccessful software installations are the most irritating computer problems. A quick and user friendly installer is therefore an essential part of your software product.
NSIS (Nullsoft Scriptable Install System) is a tool that allows programmers to create such installers for Windows. It is released under an open source license and is completely free for any use.

NSIS creates installers that are capable of installing, uninstalling, setting system settings, extracting files, etc. Because it's based on script files, you can fully control every part of your installers. The script language supports variables, functions, string manipulation, just like a normal programming language - but designed for the creation of installers. Even with all these features, NSIS is still the smallest installer system available. With the default options, it has an overhead of only 34 KB.

A brief list of companies/applications using this installer:

Winamp (audio player)
SHOUTcast server, plug-ins (music streaming system)
Google (Gmail, Picasa 2, Google Talk, Video)
ATi (just as a wrapper)
DivX (video codec)
Kaspersky (antivirus)
Intel C Compiler (free evaluation version)
City of Heroes (commercial MMORPG game)
Sun Java Web Start
UC Berkeley (computer security CD for campus residents)
Trolltech

The latest version can be downloaded Here
An example install script can be found Here

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