Packaging Scientific UNIX software for Mac OS X

John Martellaro

Senior Marketing Manager
Apple Computer, Inc.
Revision History
Revision 120 April 2001jm -


Many Mac OS X users are enthusiastically porting their favorite Unix tools and utilities to Mac OS X not only for themselves but also to share with the rest of the Apple science community. This HOWTO provides some guidelines for how to distribute tools you've created. While some of the email addresses and such are aimed at scientific applications, most of these tips do apply to any UNIX software

Table of Contents

The Steps

The Steps

  1. Check with the original source code developers or documentation to be sure that you are complying with the terms of their license.

  2. Do some testing of your precompiled binary under the latest version of Mac OS X. Pass it around to your colleagues for their assessment.

  3. If all goes well, create a package. Either a .tar.gz, .pkg.sit or a dmz.sit file as appropriate. Include in the root:

    • Your own README

    • All the required source code

    • Your Makefile

    • The precompiled binary

    • A folder containing

      • The original docs for the software

      • Original READMEs

      • Any original license or notification docs

  4. Your README file should contain:

    • Your name

    • A short description of what the software does.

    • Your permanent e-mail address (Yes, fame requires some publicity!)

    • Makefile and installation notes if required

    • Known issues and workarounds if required

    • A URL if you've created a home for this port on the Internet. For example:

  5. When the package is ready, post it in the appropriate Mac OS X category at After posted, it will have its own URL there.

  6. Notify the Apple SciTech team with an e-mail both at <> and <>. Provide the software title, short description, and the Softrak URL.

  7. Finally. (Yes, fame requires administrivia!). Post information about the port in Apple's Macintosh Product Guide (MPG) here: Where it asks for the product URL, use the Softrak URL created when you posted it there. This step is very important because the MPG is a searchable database.

  8. Optionally, you may want to notify the Apple mail lists ( and as well as other Macintosh news organizations on the Internet.

Happy porting!


Copyright © 2001 by Apple Computer, Inc.

This material has been released under and is subject to the terms of the Common Documentation License, v.1.0, the terms of which are hereby incorporated by reference. Please obtain a copy of the License at and read it before using this material. Your use of this material signifies your agreement to the terms of the License.