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#8602 - 02/26/10 03:47 AM iLife Support 9.0.4
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Software Update has been offering me this d/l for a while, but Apple has not yet either posted or even documented it other than in the SU pane...

Quote:
Provides system software resources that are shared by iLife and other applications. This update improves overall stability for the Media Browser and iPhoto slideshows. It also provides compatibility between Aperture 3 and the Media Browser.

The update is recommended for all users of iLife ’09, iWork ’09, and Aperture.

The d/l, itself, is interesting in that it yields the following folder hierarchy (and I'm not even certain what to install):
  • iLife Support
    • iLife Support.dist (alias points to iLifeSupport902-9.0.4.dist)
    • Packages
      • iLifeMediaBrowser_215.pkg
      • iLifeSlideshow_11.pkg
      • iLifeSupport902-9.0.4.dist
Has anybody got a clue what it's all about?

Also, I don't remember ever running into this before; is either the format or secrecy a common occurrence?

Thanks.
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#8606 - 02/26/10 10:50 AM Re: iLife Support 9.0.4 [Re: artie505]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
The precise question isn't clear.

But i think 99% of "what it's all about" is (apparently) already known to you:
>> This update improves overall stability for the Media Browser and iPhoto slideshows.
>> It also provides compatibility between Aperture 3 and the Media Browser.


--

EDIT: perhaps the "format" part of your question is about flat packages?
(the lone comment at the end there links to google's page on the eXtensible ARchive format).


EDIT: oh cool... i never knew this. On a whim, i inquired about "xar" in Terminal:
$ man -k xar
xar(1) - eXtensible ARchiver
:
:


So we can make our own compressed archives in xar then. I compressed a folder to test it out (xar -c -f sample.xar foldername), and double-clicked the resulting sample.xar file (wondering if OSX would expand it like it does for zip files). Guess what happened? Pacifist launched and displayed the contents!



Edited by Hal Itosis (02/27/10 12:02 AM)

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#8607 - 02/27/10 01:13 AM Re: iLife Support 9.0.4 [Re: Hal Itosis]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Sorry for being unclear...
  1. I've heard of updates that were released only via Software Update, but this is the first one I've actually bumped heads with; I'm wondering why it has been released in this manner?
  2. iLifeSupport902-9.0.4.dist does not run in the d/l'ed format, apparently because it cannot find the two packages it is supposed to install; is the lack of a free-standing updater maybe the result of this potentially confusing format?
  3. I don't recall ever running across an Apple update that was not accompanied by at least minimal release notes; is this instance as unusual as I think it is?
Thanks for the link to the flat-package article (which I remember perusing when it was published), but I'm not certain of its applicability to this post.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#8608 - 02/27/10 09:22 AM Re: iLife Support 9.0.4 [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

I've seen the same sort of folder hierarchy several times, always when choosing Download Only from Software Update's Update menu. I've been unsure how to proceed in such cases, and I haven't been able to find any information which even describes this situtation, let alone offers instructions.

Researching the issue, I found some interesting information at Mac Dev Center: Software Delivery Guide: Managed Installs, particularly the sections on Metapackages and Distribution Packages.

Given the absence of any Apple-included instructions on how to install software which arrives in the format under discussion, I wonder if the top-level folder—in your case, iLife Support—is itself actually a metapackage which has somehow become unbundled?

I investigated one of my archived downloads, iTunes 7.6.2, whose folder structure is similar to yours; in addition to iTunesX-7.6.2.dist, the Packages folder contains iTunesX.pkg, iTunesAccess.pkg, and AppleMobileDeviceSupport.pkg. I'm guessing I simply double-clicked iTunesX.pkg and iTunes 7.6.2 was installed without the other two packages being involved.

From the linked document, under Distribution Packages:

Originally Posted By: Mac Dev Center
The central part of a distribution package is the distribution script. This is a JavaScript-based script file that contains all the information that defines an install experience...

...Distribution packages differ from metapackages in these areas:

...Installer ignores installation properties specified in the contained component packages (installation properties are specified by the distribution script). [my emphasis]


The emphasized text suggested an explanation as to why I was able successfully to install one of the component packages of the (unbundled) metapackage: each of the component packages contains its own installation script. So I looked at iTunesX.pkg's package contents, and sure enough, there was iTunesX.dist!

Seeking corroboration for my theory that the top-level folder was meant to be a .mpkg bundle instead, I googled on "iTunesAccess.pkg"; the first result was a Betalogue post; one of the comments included a link to this MacFixIt article.
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#8611 - 02/27/10 12:09 PM Re: iLife Support 9.0.4 [Re: artie505]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Originally Posted By: artie505
Thanks for the link to the flat-package article (which I remember perusing when it was published), but I'm not certain of its applicability to this post.

When i let Software Update (on my lowly PowerBook G4 running 10.5.8) do a 'Download Only' of the iLife 9.0.4 item which appeared in the SU window, the only thing to arrive in my Downloads folder was "iLifeMediaBrowser_215.pkg" -- which itself is a flat package.

So, its applicability came about as a result of my trying to guess what you meant by "format". (it seems uncertainty breeds uncertainty wink ).

EDIT: thankfully, it looks like dkmarsh has pieced the puzzle together nicely.

--

More info i dug up since last time: Although hosted by google-code now, xar had its roots in OpenDarwin (may it rest in peace).




Edited by Hal Itosis (02/27/10 12:59 PM)

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#8616 - 02/27/10 03:07 PM Re: iLife Support 9.0.4 [Re: Hal Itosis]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
...the only thing to arrive in my Downloads folder was "iLifeMediaBrowser_215.pkg"...

Same here with a Software Update Download Only download (PPC mini, OS x 10.5.8). I'm guessing that like me, you don't have iLife '09 installed, and that that's why neither of us had iLifeSlideshow_11.pkg included in our downloads. (See Malcolm Rayfield's post in this Apple Discussion thread on iLife Support 9.0.1.) Meanwhile artie's MacBook shipped with iLife '09 installed, and that's why he got the .mpkg (or what should have been a .mpkg, anyhow).

iLife Media Browser, OTOH, seems integral to the OS, or at least there's a Unix Executable at /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/iLifeMediaBrowser.framework/Versions/A/iLifeMediaBrowser, and a folder full of plug-ins at /Library/Application Support/iLifeMediaBrowser/.

That Flat Package Editor is kind of interesting.
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#8688 - 03/03/10 01:12 AM Re: iLife Support 9.0.4 [Re: dkmarsh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Further to both your and Hal's much appreciated input:

I experimented with my d/l and found that double-clicking on either "iLife Support.dist (alias)" or "iLifeSupport902-9.0.4.dist" elicited a pop-up declaring that "The Installer could not install the software because there was no software found to install."

I then double-clicked on "iLifeMediaBrowser_215.pkg" and "iLifeSlideshow_11.pkg," individually, both installed forthwith, and Software Update no longer tells me that I need to install iLife Support 9.0.4.

Voila! (I assume.)

This requires input from somebody with far more under-the-hood knowledge of OS X than I begin to have, but it seems that within the "download and install environment" the .dist package can find the two "subsidiary" packages to which it points, but once the entire package has been d/l'ed to one's desktop it loses that ability.

I wonder if this-all gives us some insight into why Apple eliminated the download options from Snow Leopard's Software Update, leaving only the install option.

I guess I'll have to update my backup to 10.5.8 to see if it d/l's the package in the same manner or if, perhaps, it includes some sort of intermediate functionality.

Stay tuned.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#8689 - 03/03/10 03:35 AM Re: iLife Support 9.0.4 [Re: artie505]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Nope... Nothing different in 10.5.8.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#8691 - 03/03/10 04:39 AM Re: iLife Support 9.0.4 [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
...it seems that within the "download and install environment" the .dist package can find the two "subsidiary" packages to which it points...

The .dist file is not a package; it's an XML file (36 KB in the case of the iTunesX-7.6.2.dist file that I referred to in my own case above). Just for grins, if the update downloads in the same form on your backup, take a peek at it using Quick Look. If that works the way it did in my case, you'll see that the document consists of the Apple Software License Agreement followed by a collection of JavaScript functions such as InstallationCheck, ShouldAutoUpdate, and currentReceiptExists.

The .dist file, IOW, is simply an installation script, which tells Installer how to choreograph the user interface events of the installation of the (meta)package within which the .dist file resides. However, in the cases under discussion, there is no "outer" package, only a folder. It's my hypothesis that that folder (iLife Support in your case) is really an "unbundled" distribution package, as described earlier. If that's the case, your download wasn't missing any of its constituent parts (and thus you were able to install the two packages); it was only missing the "glue" by which the "outer" package should have been displayed as a single, clickable .mpkg icon.

The real problem with this type of scenario is that since the .dist script is now no longer overriding the individual installation scripts contained within the individual packages, in those cases in which the installation sequence matters it's possible for the user manually installing the packages to get the sequence wrong.

As for how it is that the distribution metapackage becomes "unbundled," I'm not sure. The Mac Dev Center's About Bundles -> Bundles and Packages -> How the System Identifies Bundles and Packages is worth a look.

(I experimented by removing the .mpkg extension from GoogleEarthPlugin.mpkg, the one archived .mpkg I had available, and the metapackage became a folder, as expected, but that's not conclusive; it only demonstrates that removal of the extension can be a cause of "unbundling," not that it's the cause in the cases under discussion. Perhaps Hal will contribute an explanation of the "package bit," which I lack the time to investigate at the moment. In any event—according to my hypothesis—something in the Download Only process changes the package to an ordinary folder. It's not inconceivable that this flaw occurs frequently enough that it provoked Apple into removing the Download Only option in Snow Leopard, but we'll likely never know. The option reportedly still exists within softwareupdate from the command line.)
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#8710 - 03/03/10 11:31 PM Re: iLife Support 9.0.4 [Re: dkmarsh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> The .dist file is not a package; [....]

"Package" was a "slip of the fingertips, not of the mind;" I knew (instinctively, from the "Failure" pop-ups) that the .dist file (It was 12k.) was not a package, but, in typing, I reacted to the icon rather than to the knowledge.

[aside] Apple is now using the same icon for .pkg, .mpkg, and .dist (I think they're all) files; isn't that pushing the limits of the Apple Human Interface Guidelines? [/aside]

> The real problem with this type of scenario is that since the .dist script is now no longer overriding the individual installation scripts contained within the individual packages, in those cases in which the installation sequence matters it's possible for the user manually installing the packages to get the sequence wrong.

After pondering the correct installation sequence I defaulted to running the bigger package first so I could piggyback the smaller one while it was still running; I GUESS I got it right (Edit: if, in fact, there was a "right" and "wrong").

All in all, though, I think we're pretty much in agreement about what's going on with the d/l's in question. (Excellent research job, by the way.)

PS: > Just for grins, [....]

QuickLook never occurred to me, and now that I'd like to take a look it's too late...my un-updated backup has been paved over with an updated one.


Edited by artie505 (03/03/10 11:38 PM)
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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