is a small shell script that generates a self-extractable tar.gz archive from a directory. The resulting file appears as a shell script (many of those have a .run suffix), and can be launched as is. The archive will then uncompress itself to a temporary directory and an optional arbitrary command will be executed (for example an installation script). This is pretty similar to archives generated with ?WinZip Self-Extractor in the Windows world. Makeself archives also include checksums for integrity self-validation (CRC and/or MD5 checksums).
The makeself.sh script itself is used only to create the archives from a directory of files. The resultant archive is actually a compressed (using gzip, bzip2, or compress) TAR archive, with a small shell script stub at the beginning. This small stub performs all the steps of extracting the files, running the embedded command, and removing the temporary files when it's all over. All what the user has to do to install the software contained in such an archive is to "run" the archive, i.e sh nice-software.run. One recommends using the "run" (which was introduced by some Makeself archives released by Loki Software) or "sh" suffix for such archives not to confuse the users, since they know it's actually shell scripts (with quite a lot of binary data attached to it though!).
The makeself can be run in a graphical environment (clicking on it to run the file).
See also: Anaconda.