Using PackageMaker

Apple’s native format for packaging and distributing software is PackageMaker. Packages created with PackageMaker have a .pkg extension. When a user double-clicks on a package, the Installer application (/Applications/Utilities) is invoked and the installation process begins. These packages are bundles that contain all of the items the Installer needs.

You can also use PackageMaker to create metapackages for installing multiple packages. Metapackages, or bundles, contain meta-information, files, and libraries associated with a given application. Packages can also contain multiple versions of an application; typically, both Mac OS X and Classic versions.

PackageMaker documentation is available in the Help Viewer at /Developer/Documentation/DeveloperTools/PackageMaker/PackageMaker.help.

The basic components of a package are:

  • A bill of materials (.bom) binary file that describes the contents of the package. You can view the contents of a bill of materials with the lsbom command.

  • An information file (.info) that contains the information entered in the GUI application PackageMaker when the package was created.

  • An archive file (.pax) that contains the complete set of files to be installed by the package. (This archive file can be compressed, giving it a .pax.gz extension.) This is similar to a tar archive.

  • A size calculation file (.sizes) that lists the sizes of the compressed and uncompressed software.

  • Resources that the installer uses during the installation, such ...

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