Author Topic: Any good free setup tools for win/linux/mac  (Read 5774 times)

Michael Collier

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Any good free setup tools for win/linux/mac
« on: September 16, 2011, 01:09:32 am »
I'd like to try producing a setup.exe equivalent for linux and mac but not sure how to go about that?

Can anyone suggest a free tool that will let me wrap up my application files into something that people can download and install in the same way I do for windows?

I'm still getting my head round the linux file system, so if there is a tool available that can produce a setup, but also help out deciding where files should be placed then that would be very helpful to me too.

Thanks in advance,


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Re: Any good free setup tools for win/linux/mac
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2011, 02:38:36 am »
Linux application installers tend to be distribution specific. Each distribution tends to do it "their way." Most, but not all, use one of the more common varieties of package management systems, such as RPMs or debs. But even in those cases, there are differences in implementation between distros. Some use esoteric systems that are unique, or nearly so to that distribution. At least one distro builds everything from source on the user's machine. Building an RPM, deb, or other package requires a fair bit of distro specific knowledge.

Applications can also be installed via scripts packed in a "tarball" with the app. It's a more generic way of doing it.  A lot of applications are packaged that way. Writing the scripts and knowing what to put with them requires a good bit of Linux knowledge.

A very simple single file app can sometimes be installed simply by the users by putting it in the right directory and giving it execute permission.  If ithe app uses a config file, it can be coded to write it's own when it first starts up. FP provides the GetAppConfigDir function to query the system on where the config file(s) should reside.

Your best bet would be to get with someone familiar with Linux and ask him to write the installer scripts for you. Pack up the whole thing in a tarball, and hope for the best.

I hope this helps. It's about the sum total of my knowledge on the subject, outside of my own distro's package installation tools.


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Re: Any good free setup tools for win/linux/mac
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2011, 03:06:52 am »
Per their page:
InstallJammer is a multiplatform GUI installer designed to be completely cross-platform and function on Windows and most all versions of UNIX ...

However, in August, the author / developer decided he was not going to support the application any longer.

There is a forum that appears to have activity.

I've used this for my windows app installation and it worked well.


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Re: Any good free setup tools for win/linux/mac
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2011, 07:22:57 am »
I'd go with what rails said: the quickest way to reach a lot of Linux users might be try to create a tarball with install script - you might be able to pick apart some existing examples.

As for OSX, Lazarus apparently creates the app bundle for you. A lot of OSX programs put that inside a .dmg disk image, along with a readme, and something like a symlink to the application folder (not in front of OSX right now, sorry).
That might be fairly easy to do with the built in tools (disk imager, or whatever it's called).

For Windows, Inno Setup works for me (try the quick start package on their site): easy to understand, customisable with Pascal scripting if you want, works on a huge variety of Windows releases, no need for Windows Installer to be present (though that's probably only relevant for Windows 98/Windows ME ;) ).

***Modified to clarify Inno Setup is great, not only for 98/ME ;)
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 07:09:01 pm by BigChimp »
Want quicker answers to your questions? Read

Open source including papertiger OCR/PDF scanning:

Lazarus trunk+FPC trunk x86, Windows x64 unless otherwise specified


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Re: Any good free setup tools for win/linux/mac
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2011, 04:03:23 pm »
Everything that you need to learn is explained here:

cross-platform installers are horrible, use the correct tools:

*Inno Setup for Windows
*Deb and RPM packages for Linux
*DMG disk image + app bundle for Mac OS X


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