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Software distribution

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Title: Software distribution  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Rolling release, Free software license, Software distribution, Shovelware, Software
Collection: Software Distribution
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Software distribution

Software distribution is the process of delivering software to the end user. This is not to be confused with a distribution, or distro, which is collection of software components built, assembled and configured so that it can be used essentially "as is" for its intended purpose.

Software distribution is often the closest thing to turnkey form of free software. It may take the form of a binary distribution, with an executable installer which can be downloaded from the Internet. Examples range from whole operating system distributions to server and interpreter distributions (for example WAMP installers). Software distribution can also refer to careware and donateware.

In recent years, the term has come to refer to nearly any "finished" software (i.e. something that is more or less ready for its intended use, whether as a complete system or a component of a larger system) that is assembled primarily from open source components.


  • Examples 1
  • Distribution support 2
  • Free software distribution tools 3
  • Commercial software distribution tools 4
  • Distribution tools for mobile devices 5


Examples of software distribution include:

  • Floppy disks
  • Compact Disks
  • DVDs and Blu Ray
  • Online services such as Valve's Steam or EA's Origin
  • HTTP and related protocols
  • Sneaker net

Distribution support

Technical support is a key issue for end-users of distributions, since the distribution itself is typically free and may not be "owned" in a commercial sense by a vendor. Depending on the distribution, support may be provided by a commercial support vendor, the developers who created the distribution or by the user community itself.

Free software distribution tools

GNU Autotools are widely used for which consist of source files written in C++ and the C programming language, but are not limited to these.

Commercial software distribution tools

  • LANDesk Management Suite provides software distribution for Windows, OS X, and Linux.
  • Dell KACE provides remote administration, software distribution, and software installation to any Windows, Mac, or Linux desktop or server.

Distribution tools for mobile devices

Distribution of software to small mobile devices such

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