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Is there a corresponding utility similar to the Windows Zip-to-Exe utility?

I would like to compress an archive with a flash presentation (containing a lot of files), and make it executable in Mac, so it starts with a single click.

Is it possible?

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2 Answers

Yes it is possible. Is it worth the extra time to achieve what you want? You'd have to be the judge. My research hasn't turned up any point-and-click solutions so you'd need to use some standard UNIX tools to get the job done. It might take some effort, but you could do it yourself for free :D If you're only going to need this once or twice, what I mention below might not be worth your time unless you are comfortable with command-line tools.

One option that I would use if I were in a pinch for time would be makeself. makeself is a command-line tool that strings together common UNIX programs to achieve the type of result you've mentioned in your question. I've seen this archiver used by companies that distribute software for Linux. The tools necessary for makeself to run are available on your Mac by default.

makeself will compress a directory into a self-extracting archive. It will optionally run a script of your crafting after extraction. If your presentation can be started by clicking on a single file in MacOS, then this script would be as simple as the command open FILENAME.

So your solution could be as simple as a putting the appropriate commands into a post-extraction script and running makeself on the directory you wish to compress.

As a quick example, suppose you have a directory of lots of html files that you would like to compress. When the file is decompressed, you'd like the file index.html to be opened in Safari. The following would get the job done:

makeself /path/to/html_directory self_extract_html.sh "Example" open index.html

What would result is a self-extracting archive named "self_extract_html.sh" which (when double-clicked) would extract the files and launch Safari to view the index.html file in the unarchived directory.

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As far as I remember executable zip archives are not what you imply: by executing them you don't start a compressed executable file in the archive but you simply uncompress the zip file: in other words the unzip program is packaged with the zip file.

Now: on Mac OS the system is able to unzip an archive natively you don't need to use tool or to embed it with the archive. A double click will uncompress it on any Mac.

I don't think that there is a tool that allows you to execute a compressed executable:

  • this would be a security issue: you don't have a way to check the content of the zip file before executing it

  • there should be a standard way to decide which executable inside the archive should be executed

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The exe-zip files created by 7-zip do indeed just unpack the files in the compressed archive. However, they also have the opton to automatically run one of the files that were just unpacked. So while you are kind of correct, there is more functionality there then you allude to. –  Fake Name Jun 23 '12 at 8:30
And yes, it has all the security issues of running any executable file. The fact that it chain-uncompress-and-loads another executable is irrelevant. –  Fake Name Jun 23 '12 at 8:31
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