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About the Cowry Project

The goal of the Cowry project is to promote the use of Mac OS X style bundles (see "What is a bundle?" below) as a universal means of software packaging and delivery. Simply put, software shouldn't need to be installed, let alone scattered out into many different places in the file system. The user should be free to put an application (or other bundle) anywhere she likes and have it "just work".

What is a bundle?

Technically, a bundle is a folder (a.k.a. directory) with a certain extension and a standard content layout. That folder is presented to the user as if it were single file, its actual content is hidden from the user.

On Mac OS X, applications are bundles containing everything that belongs to the application — executable code, libraries, icons, help texts, localizations, and so on. Such an application is self-contained and can be installed simply by copying it to the hard disk with the file manager (called Finder). Bundles are also used for other code artefacts and even for some document formats.

What does the name mean?

In the real world, Cowries are tropical marine snails that produce decorative shells. The name was chosen for several reasons:

Cowry's application icon shows a cowry of the species "Cpyraea tigris". The document icon for .cwz files shows a "Lyncina leucodon". The icons are based on photographs by Felix Lorenz (used with his permission). For more information on Cowries, visit his website

Goals and Ideas

Read on for more information about the goals of the Cowry project.