Application packaging (or re-packaging) is the process of creating a meta-program that in turn automatically installs software across multiple computers. The meta-program typically includes a set of default properties for the applications it installs. Application packaging can help enterprises manage growing volumes of software for desktop and server systems efficiently. By streamlining software configuration and deployment, application packaging can help reduce application support and management costs.
In software, a package management system, also called package manager, is a collection of software tools to automate the process of installing, upgrading, configuring, and removing software packages for a computer's operating system in a consistent manner. It typically maintains a database of software dependencies and version information to prevent software mismatches and missing prerequisites.
Packages are distributions of software, applications and data. Packages also contain metadata, such as the software's name, description of its purpose, version number, vendor, checksum, and a list of dependencies necessary for the software to run properly. Upon installation, metadata is stored in a local package database.
Package management systems are designed to save organizations time and money through remote administration and software distribution technology that eliminate the need for manual installs and updates. This can be particularly useful for large enterprises whose operating systems are based on Linux and other Unix-like systems, typically consisting of hundreds or even thousands of distinct software packages; in the former case, a package management system is a convenience, in the latter case it becomes essential.
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