Make Snapins Using FOSS

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Revision as of 17:14, 16 January 2011 by Ssx4life (talk | contribs)
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Snapins are a feature of FOG, however I had a really hard time figuring out how to create them using free open source programs.

For this HOWTO I will be using Ubuntu 9.04 to create a snapin of Firefox 3.0.10 for Windows. The programs that I am using all have a Windows version so you can replicate what I am doing in Ubuntu in Windows if you are more comfortable with that.


  • The 7-zip program
  • A text editor
  • The 7-zip extra tar ball

To install 7-zip in Ubuntu type:

sudo apt-get install p7zip-full

Or trying to install it using the Add / Remove Programs GUI

Next we have to use 7-zip to pack the file. We use the -y switch for the self-extracting program.

7z a -y file.7z FirefoxSetup3.0.10.exe

Now we need to create a config file that allows installation after inflating the file. Open your favorite text editor I am using default text editor Gedit.

I create a new text document and put this into it:

Title="Firefox Installation"

Make sure that you save your file as UTF-8 encoded (default in gedit) and that it has the name 7zip.conf

Now download the 7-zip extra file from Source Forge. You need the 7zS.sfx file out of that archive.

Now put everything together:

 cat 7zS.sfx 7zip.conf file.7z > firefoxinstall.exe

or if you want in windows

copy /b file.7z + 7zip.conf + 7zS.sfx firefoxinstall.exe

You are now ready to test and deploy your snapin.

I purposely choose a really simple example. Firefox is deployed much easier than this just upload the Firefox executable file to your fog server and then pass the -ms switch to make a silent install. However this gives a great overview on how to create snapins in a Linux environment. For more complex installs I end up having to use a Windows box and a great program called AutoIT the procedure is basically the same. Use 7-zip to create a self extracting archive and have it run a AutoIT script to finish the install. In my opinion this is much easier than trying to use install right and yields better results. Your mileage may vary.

Please also note you can use open source software such as SFX Maker to complete the above process automatically.