CSE software distribution involves how to make the software available to users and all its related activities - distribution methods are impacted significantly based on the software's user base size, end-user expected expertise, software complexity, software maturity, licensing and distribution rights, etc.
CSE software distribution focuses on how to make CSE software available to target end-users. Providing a portable installer is one important form of software distribution (sometimes a software artifact that represents a tested, released version of a software product is itself referred to as a distribution. This use of the term is narrower than the focus of this what-is document). Software is also commonly distributed using a package manager or app store. Another key form of software distribution is deploying software on a target platform where users can access it. Examples of this include deploying on a large supercomputer at a computing facility or containerizing the software.
The distribution of CSE software is handled differently by different software projects. Which method or methods of distribution are used depends on many factors, including staffing available for distribution, user base size, the number of supported platforms, software licensing terms, how complex or error-prone the installation process is, and the number of configurable parameters when installing the software.
Who performs what roles in CSE software distribution also varies from project to project. For example, a software project team might deploy the software on a target platform. Alternatively, the staff at a computing facility not directly associated with any software projects might deploy a large collection of software on a target platform to all users at their facility using the installers and instructions provided by the software development teams. Similarly, if the software licensing terms allow it, a user will sometimes create an rpm or equivalent for the distribution of a CSE software project on some particular Linux distro.
Also included under the general topic of CSE software distribution are other activities related to making the software available to users, such as testing an installer, or providing users with easy access to other software required to run the CSE software project.