The new Winbuilder generation

Today was a great day. The new winbuilder generation was made available for the first time to the public.

It is a moment that I'm proud in watching. Was a long walk over over the last 4 years to reach the current state where we are able to provide the first WinPE builder in the world that is fully independent from Windows API.

A lot of work to implement native support for reading/writing:
- WIM archives
- ISO 9660 archives
- Link files (used for shortcuts)
- VHD containers formatted with NTFS
- Registry hives
- the details of Windows .exe files

For the first time, a builder combines all necessary components necessary to create a Windows PE boot disk in a fully independent manner.

Why does this matter?

Because controlling the aspects of building a boot disk introduces an amazing level of quality assurance in regards to the end result. We are now able to predict exactly how the builder will work regardless of the platform underneath.

But the new builder doesn't just introduce platform independence, it brings great features such as user interface abstraction. For the time, we have built an application that simultaneously supports three distinct types of user interfaces straight from the box. You can use the command line, use a normal GUI or even use a web browser if you wish. They are all equally relevant and empowered for controlling winbuilder either from an unattended process, or remotely across another computer somewhere on the network, or from your own desktop as traditional if so you wish.

There would be a lot to talk about in regards to changes, I'd just like to resume some of the other relevant points for the sake of succintness:
  • uses java-like language for other developers to write their plugins
  • we make available an app-store web service for uploading and distributing the plugins
  • plugins use a "hook" system that allows them being triggered according to specific system messages
  • settings for plugins use a nice a customizable HTML format
  • Windows, Mac OSX and Linux are supported as platforms
  • can automatically build a WinPE boot disk without needing user interaction
  • does not requires admin permissions
  • does not require installing any drivers
  • supports full translation of log messages to other languages

I'm really happy. Boot disks are generated in around 3 minutes with no fuss.

If you would like to try it out, it is available at

Have fun!

A trapped Nokia

And so the riddle ends. Microsoft made a deal to buy the Nokia phone division for an incredibly low price of 4 Billion euros.

Might help to note that the current CEO of Nokia was a Microsoft executive just three years ago. When he first arrived, I just hated to see his decision of throwing away the Meego operating system in preference of moving to a Windows phone OS.

You might not remember but Nokia was an early supporter of Linux based operating systems for cellphones, their machines were not only in front of the market as the software itself was already ahead of times.

Microsoft on the other hand, pushed their muscle and made nothing other than Windows CE. An operating system that resembled more of Windows 3.11 than a modern OS for handheld devices. It is sad. Sad that Microsoft never really understood that people have an opinion and a say about their technology preferences. As a big company, for sure they can make life harder on end-users to ensure they get squeezed but you won't get loyalty out of them that way.

It isn't surprising that when a valid alternative surfaces like Android, that people just jump in flocks. Now, through planting a trojan horse as CEO on Nokia and bringing it down to the knees we see MS acquiring the assets of the once largest cell phone manufacturer.

What Microsoft management seems to neglect is that good karma and reputation are based on what you do, these are not things that can easily be bought.

Through this awful chain of events, the former Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop has acquired a awful amount of bad karma. First for destroying the independence of Nokia as a software and hardware manufacturer, second for selling the phone division to Microsoft and jumping happily to their wagon.

Now tell me. Do you really think that people will support a windows phone built with such people in charge? I'd say plenty of analysts will say that people are like sheep which either don't know or don't care about these kind of things. But let me tell you, Nokia as a cellphone maker had a story of their own. Had emotions, had a spirit and a touch that made users feel quite connected to their adventures.

Microsoft has no such thing. Has Ballmer as (ex)CEO that bullies just about everyone and now a pretender to his throne (Elop) that literally buried one of the most shining cellphone makers in the world.

Maybe people are dumb indeed. With Internet access still being relatively free in the current day and age, there is plenty of information and the sympathies will not be high for Microsoft.

The price given for Nokia is a shame indeed. Just this week Verizon bought over half the stocks on their own company that were owned by Vodafone in a deal that was worth over 100Billion. Skype, the chat program bought over by Microsoft was done for a cost of 6 billion.

Not good, not fair for Nokia.

At least Elop is far away from the Finnish company now.

Nokia, how about starting a new phone division?