LiberKey Portable Applications
June 4, 2011 10:17 AM   Subscribe

LiberKey is a system for installing and keeping updated over 300 free programs (both open and closed source) on a Windows machine. All of the programs are portable meaning that they can run directly off a USB key without installing anything additional on the computer (this is very useful if you’re working on a computer where you don’t have administrative rights). The programs are organized into the following categories: audio, CD/DVD, education, file management, games, graphics, internet, networking, office, security, system utilities, and video. One great feature Liberkey has is the ability to temporarily change file associations. Here is the full list of programs available.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear (14 comments total) 63 users marked this as a favorite
I love the idea of this -- but how long before ""LiberKey does not contain any virus, malware or spyware!" turns into "LiberKey does not contain any viruses or malware!"

How many of these free applications are riddled with ads? And then the ad revenue isn't paying the bills, you bet the "or spyware" is gonna be first to go (cf. Digsby's ham-handed hijacking of your CPU for who-knows-what parallel processing customer).
posted by chimaera at 11:00 AM on June 4, 2011

And yet Linux distributions continue not doing so, chimaera.
posted by jaduncan at 11:01 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Indeed they do, jaduncan. Do you think LiberKey is being created and distributed by volunteers under a GPL license? Somehow I doubt these guys are doing this for the good of the ecosystem.
posted by chimaera at 11:07 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I’ve been using LiberKey for quite a while, and I can’t recall running into any ads (in the programs that I’ve used). I don’t know much about the Linux world, but in the Windows world there is lots of free closed-source software.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear at 11:15 AM on June 4, 2011

Yeah, it's like someone's trying to invent a package manager for Windows... Except you don't get to choose the packages!

It illustrates well the problems with non-free software; package managers are an awesome and simple way to distribute and update software, and it's unfortunate that licensing and companies' need to charge people for upgrades keeps such a system from working in the non-free software world.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:20 AM on June 4, 2011

in the Windows world there is lots of free closed-source software.

There's actually a fair amount for Linux as well. Under Ubuntu, one can add a special repository full of closed-source software which will be checked for updates. This software includes a few major pieces of software (adobe flash player and adobe reader) as well as some small-scale software that someone, somewhere, wants to get paid for. I remember finding a modem driver that was pay-software about six years ago... Modems were already almost completely obsolete, so it was a pretty specialized piece of software.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:24 AM on June 4, 2011

Portable Apps is also a thing.
posted by box at 11:24 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've preferred PortableApps over LiberKey for a long time; PortableApps just seems less spammy somehow, and they make it a point to open-source all their own code and encourage open source development (although they do include some closed-source apps in their catalog). However, I might give LiberKey another try, if the catalog looks good.

Meanwhile, I can highly recommend PortableApps as being not only an awesome set of applications but also a fantastic community for development and maintenance of those applications.
posted by koeselitz at 11:29 AM on June 4, 2011 [5 favorites]

If free as in speechware is tres important to you, Cygwin Portable might make a better environment.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:16 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I found Liberkey too invasive and then had trouble getting rid of it. It still shows up in my context menus.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:45 PM on June 4, 2011

And if you use cygwin, get mintty to use as your shell window, rather than cmd.
posted by orthogonality at 7:37 PM on June 4, 2011

Ooops, looks like I linked to a dead project. Anyway, here are some instructions for getting regular Cygwin onto a USB drive.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:05 AM on June 5, 2011

I was very surprised when *my friend* told me all about how there were people making portable versions of commercial software. He tells me you can get things like a 99% functional version of Illustrator that sits in a single executable that runs from a USB stick in 160Mb.
If I asked him, he'd probably tell me to go look on a torrent site.
posted by bystander at 3:50 PM on June 5, 2011

I have used Liberkey for years and like that all the apps are updated together, which saves lots of time. I place the Liberkey installation in my Dropbox folder which is synchronized and backupped automatically across different systems. On a new system I only need to install dropbox to get the last version of these applications and utilities with my preferences.
posted by Akeem at 1:26 AM on June 6, 2011

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