What Does Distribution Mean?

Distribution (distro) is a process of delivering software from a developer to the end user. Software distribution ranges from OS server distribution to interpreter distribution.


Techopedia Explains Distribution

Software is distributed in bundles containing required files, instructions, configuration settings and management settings used to deploy a system application.

There are four types of bundles, as follows:

  • Directive bundle: Performs multiple system actions.
  • File bundle: Copies or installs system files.
  • Imaging bundle: Performs actions prior to an OS boot.
  • Windows bundle: Created for distributing Microsoft Windows software patch (MSP) packages, Microsoft Windows Installer (MSI) packages or other Windows based applications to Windows systems.

A bundle is assigned to a system or users. When a bundle is assigned to a user, it is available for access by all users, regardless of user system. When a bundle is assigned to a system, it is accessible to all users that log into the assigned system.

The distribution phase is followed by unpacking and installation, and package management tools are available for software package installation.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.