mingw would be a welcome addition to AS ppm, if it installs as easily as you say. I am running 5.10 of ActiveState's installation, and its ppm is just awful. When you start it, it runs for two or three minutes in a single-threaded state that doesn't even yield to events, meaning that the window doesn't even redraw and can't be moved while it's busy.
I know ppm can handle multiple repositories; often that's the only way to get certain binary modules.
Maybe I should give it another try.
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