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Apple’s Installer doesn’t do uninstallation. It could, since a certain amount of metadata is left around, but that could be extended to something truly useful and Apple-like in its simplicity.

I have an idea which I think will fill this gap in a really neat fashion, and which will have benefits for both end users and developers. I’m working on this idea right now (doing actual bona-fide unit tests for it too!) but I’d like some more data from the world at large. In that vein, I’d like to know what people are missing in the current uninstallation landscape on the Mac, both users and developers.

Some possible areas to consider:

For Users:
  • Ancillary files (plugins, templates, preferences, anything that’s not a document) hanging around, which are of no use without the application.
  • Temporary files or caches which might stay until the OS feels like making some space. etc.
  • Ideal user experience?
    • How much interaction overhead would you be willing to put up with?
    • Conversely, how automagical could the process be without giving you the ‘did it even do anything’ heebie-jeebies? To developers:
For Developers:
  • How interested would you be in something which could clean up all those ancillary bits?
  • How much work would you be prepared to put into describing these things?
  • If you could build the engine into your app directly (perhaps like Sparkle or Growl), what would it be worth to you, if anything?

Please ping @alanQuatermain with responses.

There are more questions, and more concerns, and more wishes I’m sure. You know more of them than me, so let me know: what would you like to have?

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