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Old 02-09-2011, 11:03 PM   #1
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Question Distributing Contents for Linux like in Android & iOS?

I'm currently designing a Linux-based system. Users of the system will be allowed to download contents, i.e. programs, from the Internet. The contents will be distributed in zip packages given special extension names, e.g. .cpk instead of .zip, and with zero compression.

I want to give users the same experience found in iOS and Android, in which contents are distributed in contained packages and run from there.

My question is that can I make my Linux system to run programs from inside the packages without unzipping them? If not, then is there another approach to what I'm after in Linux?

Please note that I don't want to extract contents into a temp folder and delete them after execution because that might take longtime, specially for large contents. That will also double the storage space requirements for running the contents.

Thank you in advance.
Old 02-09-2011, 11:31 PM   #2
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This could get really hairy, but the first thing that popped into my mind would be to use logical volume management (LVM); for each package you install, you create a new LVM partition specifically for that application and unpack the contents of the package to that partition. Should the user wish to uninstall the application package from the system, you just simply delete the LVM partition.
Old 02-09-2011, 11:32 PM   #3
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Look at dpkg or yum.

Most Linux applications are considerably larger than an Android .cpk (just as most Windows applications are considerably larger than that. Try squeezing Office 2010 into a .cpk ).

But there's nothing that says you can't package a trivially small app with Yum or Dpkg, and there's nothing that says you can't launch it as part of your initial install.

It actually might be ideal for your purposes.

Just a thought
Old 02-10-2011, 12:01 AM   #4
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Actually I want to stay away from Windows and Linux methodology of download->installing->run and take the Mac OS X, iOS and Android approach of download->run. Just a single package that contains everything in one file.

Moreover, in Windows/Linux, the user needs to keep two inistances of the same program to be able to copy it to another system. One instance is the installed program and another instance is the installable package. I want the user of my system to keep only one instance and be able to copy it to other systems and run it immediately there. Just like .app in Mac OS X.
Old 02-10-2011, 05:06 AM   #5
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It sounds like what you may want to do is create static binaries. These compile your program and all libraries into one file, instead of having the libraries in separate files that are then dependencies of the executable.

Including things like icons, images, sounds etc in the static binary may be more complicated however, if indeed it's possible.
Old 02-10-2011, 07:24 AM   #6
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The static binaries sound interesting. Any hints please about including other sources such as icons, etc.?

I looked at and thought of using ext2 disk images and just mount them before execution?


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