Just as I was laying out the current status with regards to binary distributions, Allard Katan released a Windows binary installer of 2009.2.0 and uploaded it to the project’s Sourceforge page. I quickly fired up my ailing Windows XP partition to test it.
It is still based on the old 0.7.0 installer that I wrote more than two years ago. My verdict upfront: not official release quality if you ask me. The devil lies in the details.
The most serious issue is Enblend/Enfuse. Because Windows does not have a package manager, the Hugin installer must ship runtime dependencies with the actual Hugin binary. Enblend/Enfuse is a mandated runtime dependency, and a moving target. Compare the images on the right.
The first one are six layers, simulating six images to be blended into a 360°x180° full spherical panorama.
The second one is the blend by Enblend-3.2 as shipped with this installer. The third one is the blend by Enblend’s pre-release 4.0. All using default settings. This installer ships with an outdated version of Enblend.
Unlike Enblend/Enfuse which is a mandated dependency, a control point generator is not mandatory.
Ippei Ukai has introduced an elegant modular plug-in solution for control point detectors for 0.8.0 on OSX, and the Windows version should be updated to a similar mechanism. It’s only a few lines in the installer. But it requires understanding for the process.
There are good reasons not to include control point detectors with Hugin binary distributions: Patents. U.S.-based Linux distributions such as Fedora/Red Hat and Debian steer away from distributing Autopano-SIFT-C because of the patents. And the SURF algorithm, used by Panomatic is restricted by a European patent. I personally would have not uploaded a binary installer with control point detectors to Sourceforge.
Last but not least: the release notes are unclean. They are simply copy & pasted from the source code release notes. To me this is a warning about the quality of the installer. This shortcut may not be critical, but how many other corners have been cut? In my opinion this installer’s quality is closer to an unofficial snapshot than to an official, long term supported release. There are plenty of such snapshots around the net, some of them linked from the download page of this blog. It’s the beauty of the GPL: the code is set free and others can do almost all they want with it.
I do not endorse this installer. But if it makes other users happy, let it be. When I wrote the community charter, I meant it. My opinion on the Windows installer is unimportant. I am anyway not using Hugin on Windows. Even if I disagree with Allard, I gave him full access rights so that he can go ahead and do what he thinks is right with the Windows installer. And I don’t regret it. I wrote the installer when I had an interest to understand the process of building an installer for Windows, and even if I am the original author of the installer, it does not belong to me. I’m happy if you like it as-is. Just don’t complain that it does not match up to the binaries on OSX or on Linux, it is a known bug and limitation.