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About supported package-delivery formats for software distribution

Client Management Suite for Mac

Apple extensions for software packaging and distribution can complicate some Symantec Management Platform tasks that are carried out by Notification Server.

See About managing Macs with CMS

The Apple Mac OS X GUI presentation of DMG, PKG, MPKG, and APP extensions can introduce confusion for you and other Windows administrators. Confusion can arise particularly when you need to manage Mac OS X software from Notification Server: Perform transfer tasks, software import tasks, and software delivery tasks with a software push initiated from an OS other than Mac OS X.

However, Notification Server has built-in functionality to import software for Mac OS X in its repository. From that repository you can schedule distribution of the software through Quick Delivery, a Managed Software Delivery policy, or an offline task.

This topic describes the packaged software presentation under Mac OS X. It explains how DMG, PKG, MPKG, and APP files and directory extensions do and do not relate to Windows file formats and extensions. This information helps you understand how Symantec solutions and the agent platform support Apple software distribution.

Software Management Solution in Altiris Client Management Suite 7.5 from Symantec supports the following delivery media for Mac computers:

  • Apple Disk Image: DMG

    A DMG is an archive similar to a Windows ISO

  • Installation packages: PKG and MPKG

    These installation packages are most closely related to Windows MSI files.

  • Application bundles: APP

    Mac application bundles have no Windows equivalent.


Windows file formats

Related Mac file formats



Mac OS X files with ".dmg" extension are Mac OS X disk image files (DMGs). A DMG is a Mac OS X proprietary format CD/DVD ROM image. A DMG is similar to an ISO file and to Apple CDR files. It represents an upgrade to Mac legacy IMG files.

To store Mac software on the Windows NTFS file system, Symantec requires that you first compress the software application files into an Apple DMG. You can create a DMG using utilities that are bundled with Mac OS X. One such example is Disk Utility.

After the application is compressed into a DMG, you mount the DMG on a Mac in the same way you mount a CD-ROM drive.

The key DMG characteristics or features that are not available in ISO are as follows:

  • Are in over-the-Internet distribution form for Mac OS X software.

  • Behave like disk volumes.

  • Can be mounted to a mount point on Mac OS X.

  • May contain multiple partitions with Apple's proprietary HFS+ filesystem.

  • Are convertible to ISO images using Mac OS X Disk Utility.

The key DMG characteristics or features that set it apart from ISO are as follows:

  • Preserves the extended attributes of the packaged software.

  • Allows secure password protection.

  • Allows encryption.

  • Allows compression.

  • Can be an image of an optical disc.

    The actual HDD ISO 9660 is primarily used for optical disc imaging.

  • Apple-proprietary format specific to Mac OS X.

    ISO 9660 is a cross-platform non-proprietary standard.

DMG files are regular files and are presented that way in Finder.

The power of DMG files is that they can be transferred between various operating systems, preserving all the attributes of the enclosed application or data.



A PKG is an Apple installation package. This package can be a file package with the .pkg extension or a file package with the .mpkg extension. Installation packages contain products or product components. The products or components are known as the package payload. The installation package also contains the installation information that the Installer application and the Remote Desktop use to place product files on a file system.

A PKG can be a file or a folder.



An MPKG is an Apple metapackage. A metapackage is an installation package that contains other installation packages. These other installation packages are usually component packages. A metapackage delivers the products that include multiple components. The metapackage gives users the installation options that let them select the components to install.

You can combine multiple packages into a metapackage.

Before you transfer one or more metapackages to another Mac, Windows, or other computer, you must roll it into an archive. You must roll metapackages into an archive to preserve the directory structure, permissions, and other attributes during the transfer. Archives include TAR, ZIP, TAR.GZ, or TAR.Z.

An MPKG can be a file or a folder.


Application bundles do not have a Windows equivalent.