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fair-ground/Fair 0.9.0
A CLI tool (fairtool for macOS & Linux) and runtime library (swift iOS & macOS) to manage Federated App Index Repositories (FAIRgrounds)
⭐️ 10
🕓 2 weeks ago
iOS macOS watchOS tvOS linux windows android
.package(url: "https://github.com/fair-ground/Fair.git", from: "0.9.0")

The fairtool is a cross-platform (Linux & macOS) command-line utility for managing an ecosystem of apps. It is powered by the Fair package, which is a zero-dependency cross-platform (Linux, macOS, & iOS) set of Swift 5.6 modules.

The Fair package is used to create and maintain app distribution networks such as appfair.net, as well as the end-user applications that utilize them such as the App Fair.app.


The functionality of the Fair module can best be illustrated by the capabilities of the fairtool, which is a command-line utility for macOS (12+) and Linux. The easiest way to get started with the utility for Homebrew users is to run the commands:

% brew install fair-ground/tool/fairtool

==> Tapping fair-ground/tool
==> Downloading https://github.com/fair-ground/Fair/releases/download/0.4.51/fai
==> Installing fairtool from fair-ground/tool
==> Pouring fairtool-0.4.51.arm64_monterey.bottle.tar.gz
🍺  /opt/homebrew/Cellar/fairtool/0.4.51: 6 files, 10.4MB

% fairtool version

fairtool 0.4.51

Alternatively, if you have a Swift 5.6 compiler installed, you can build and run from the source:

% git clone https://github.com/fair-ground/Fair.git

Cloning into 'Fair'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 43471, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (4455/4455), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (525/525), done.
remote: Total 43471 (delta 3755), reused 4454 (delta 3754), pack-reused 39016
Receiving objects: 100% (43471/43471), 12.90 MiB | 13.17 MiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (39783/39783), done.

% cd Fair

% swift run fairtool version

Building for debugging...
[61/61] Linking fairtool
Build complete! (9.94s)

fairtool 0.4.52

fairtool artifact info file.app

The "app info" command will examine a macOS .app folder or an unencrypted .ipa file or url and output a JSON representation of the contents of the app's Info.plist along with the entitlements embedded within the app's primary executable.

// fairtool artifact info /System/Applications/Calculator.app
    "entitlements" : [
        "com.apple.security.app-sandbox" : true,
        "com.apple.security.files.user-selected.read-write" : true,
        "com.apple.security.network.client" : true,
        "com.apple.security.print" : true
        "com.apple.security.app-sandbox" : true,
        "com.apple.security.files.user-selected.read-write" : true,
        "com.apple.security.network.client" : true,
        "com.apple.security.print" : true
    "info" : {
      "BuildMachineOSBuild" : "20A241133",
      "CFBundleDevelopmentRegion" : "English",
      "CFBundleExecutable" : "Calculator",
      "CFBundleHelpBookFolder" : "Calculator.help",
      "CFBundleHelpBookName" : "com.apple.Calculator.help",
      "CFBundleIconFile" : "AppIcon",
      "CFBundleIconName" : "AppIcon",
      "CFBundleIdentifier" : "com.apple.calculator",
      "CFBundleInfoDictionaryVersion" : "6.0",
      "CFBundleName" : "Calculator",
      "CFBundlePackageType" : "APPL",
      "CFBundleShortVersionString" : "10.16",
      "CFBundleSignature" : "????",
      "CFBundleSupportedPlatforms" : [
      "CFBundleVersion" : "223",
      "CTIgnoreUserFonts" : true,
      "DTCompiler" : "com.apple.compilers.llvm.clang.1_0",
      "DTPlatformBuild" : "13E6049a",
      "DTPlatformName" : "macosx",
      "DTPlatformVersion" : "12.4",
      "DTSDKBuild" : "21F64",
      "DTSDKName" : "macosx12.4.internal",
      "DTXcode" : "1330",
      "DTXcodeBuild" : "13E6049a",
      "LSApplicationCategoryType" : "public.app-category.utilities",
      "LSApplicationSecondaryCategoryType" : "public.app-category.productivity",
      "LSHasLocalizedDisplayName" : true,
      "LSMinimumSystemVersion" : "12.4",
      "NSMainNibFile" : "Calculator",
      "NSPrincipalClass" : "NSApplication",
      "NSSupportsSuddenTermination" : true
    "url" : "file:///System/Applications/Calculator.app/"

The info property contains a JSON-ized form of the contents if the Info.plist. The entitlements array contains the entitlements extracted from the binary. Note that in the case of multi-architecture binaries (such as a "universal binary"), one set of entitlements will be output for each processor architectures in the Mach-O binary.

fairtool artifact info url.ipa

The fairtool can also output the same information for an unencrypted iOS .ipa file, either a local file or a remote URL:

// fairtool artifact info https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/latest/download/Cloud-Cuckoo-iOS.ipa
    "entitlements": [],
    "info": {
      "CFBundleName": "Cloud Cuckoo",
      "CFBundleIdentifier": "app.Cloud-Cuckoo",
      "CFBundleVersion": "469",
      "CFBundleShortVersionString": "0.9.108",
      "CFBundleExecutable": "Cloud Cuckoo",
      "CFBundleIcons": {
        "CFBundlePrimaryIcon": {
          "CFBundleIconFiles": [
          "CFBundleIconName": "AppIcon"
      "AppSource": {
        "developerName": "Fair Apps <[email protected]>",
        "fundingLinks": [
            "localizedDescription": "Help fund upcoming challenges and new additions to the whimsical and award-winning “Cloud Cuckoo” game. Fun for all ages!",
            "localizedTitle": "Support the development of “Cloud Cuckoo”",
            "platform": "GITHUB",
            "url": "https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo"
        "localizedDescription": "Chase on the Cuckoo around the screen! This is a silly little game for the App Fair.",
        "subtitle": "A whimsical game of excitement and delight",
        "versionDescription": "Bug fixes and performance improvements."
      "BuildMachineOSBuild": "21F79",
      "CFBundleSupportedPlatforms": [
      "DTCompiler": "com.apple.compilers.llvm.clang.1_0",
      "DTPlatformBuild": "19C51",
      "DTPlatformName": "iphoneos",
      "DTPlatformVersion": "15.2",
      "DTSDKBuild": "19C51",
      "DTSDKName": "iphoneos15.2",
      "DTXcode": "1321",
      "DTXcodeBuild": "13C100",
      "ITSAppUsesNonExemptEncryption": false,
      "LSApplicationQueriesSchemes": [
      "LSSupportsOpeningDocumentsInPlace": true,
      "NSAppleEventsUsageDescription": "AppleScript can be used by this app.",
      "NSAppleScriptEnabled": true,
      "NSAppTransportSecurity": {
        "NSAllowsArbitraryLoads": true
      "NSHumanReadableCopyright": "GNU Affero General Public License"
    "url": "https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/latest/download/Cloud-Cuckoo-iOS.ipa"

fairtool JSON output

Most of the fairtool's informational operations will output well-formed JSON. This is so it can be used in conjunction with other tools.

One such tools is the popular jq utility, which can be used to format, filter, and re-structure JSON. For example, to examine an app's "*UsageDescription" properties (which will give insight into which privacy-sensitive operations the app is capable of performing), you might run:

% fairtool artifact info /Applications/Signal.app | jq '.[].info | with_entries(select(.key|match("UsageDescription")))[]'

"This app needs access to Bluetooth"
"This app needs access to the camera"
"This app needs access to the microphone"

Another useful application might be to download and check the version of an online app download. For example:

% fairtool artifact info https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/latest/download/Cloud-Cuckoo-macOS.zip | jq '.[].info.CFBundleShortVersionString'

downloading from URL: https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/latest/download/Cloud-Cuckoo-macOS.zip
extracting info: https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/latest/download/Cloud-Cuckoo-macOS.zip


Multi-line JSON output

When the fairtool command outputs JSON, it does it as a single top-level array with one element for each command line argument. This allows the output to be produced as each (potentially slow) resources is acquired and analyzed.

For example, the following command may take some time to complete:

% fairtool artifact info /System/Applications/*.app | jq '.[].info.CFBundleName'

"App Store"
"Time Machine"

The end result will not be printed until the command has completed, since jq is waiting for the entire array before it will process the command.

You can, instead, "promote" the JSON output from an embedded array to the straight output of raw JSON objects using the -J flag, which will then enable jq to process them as they are produced.

Contrast this command with the one above:

% fairtool artifact info -J /System/Applications/*.app | jq '.info.CFBundleName'

The output will be the same, but the latter command with the -J flag will output each element in turn as it is downloaded. This can be especially important when checking potentially slow access to online resources, or when processing may archives at once.

fairtool source create

The fairtool source create command will analyze the information from fairtool artifact info and generate an App Source Catalog JSON blob. This catalog format is supported by app installation tools like The App Fair on macOS and AltStore on iOS.

The tool has the following options:

% fairtool source create --help 

OVERVIEW: Create a source from the specified .ipa or .zip.

USAGE: fairtool source create [--verbose] [--quiet] [--promote-json] [--catalog-name <name>] [--catalog-identifier <id>] [--catalog-source-url <url>] [--app-localized-description <desc> ...] [--app-version-description <desc> ...] [--app-subtitle <title> ...] [--app-developer-name <email> ...] [--app-download-url <URL> ...] [<apps> ...]

  <apps>                  path(s) or url(s) for app folders or ipa archives

  -v, --verbose           whether to display verbose messages.
  -q, --quiet             whether to be suppress output.
  -J, --promote-json      exclude root JSON array from output.
  --catalog-name <name>   the name of the catalog.
  --catalog-identifier <id>
                          the identifier of the catalog.
  --catalog-source-url <url>
                          the source URL of the catalog.
  --app-localized-description <desc>
                          the default description(s) for the app(s).
  --app-version-description <desc>
                          the default versionDescription for the app(s).
  --app-subtitle <title>  the default subtitle(s) for the app(s).
  --app-developer-name <email>
                          the default developer name(s) for the app(s).
  --app-download-url <URL>
                          the download URLfor the app(s).
  -h, --help              Show help information.

An example of the catalog output is as follows:

// % fairtool source create https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/download/0.9.91/Cloud-Cuckoo-iOS.ipa

  "identifier": "CATALOG_IDENTIFIER",
  "name": "CATALOG_NAME",
  "apps": [
      "bundleIdentifier": "app.Cloud-Cuckoo",
      "developerName": "DEVELOPER_NAME",
      "downloadURL": "https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/download/0.9.91/Cloud-Cuckoo-iOS.ipa",
      "localizedDescription": "LOCALIZED_DESCRIPTION",
      "name": "Cloud Cuckoo",
      "permissions": [
          "type": "usage",
          "usage": "NSAppleEventsUsageDescription",
          "usageDescription": "AppleScript can be used by this app."
      "screenshotURLs": [],
      "sha256": "01398e19555b65b7c457d02e68d0e0ca34cf078867a674aee019a7f28da70d64",
      "size": 5118243,
      "subtitle": "SUBTITLE",
      "version": "0.9.91",
      "versionDate": "2022-06-30T20:23:12Z",
      "versionDescription": "VERSION_DESCRIPTION"

Default properties for source create

Properties such as subtitle and developerName will be derived from the app's Info.plist's property named AppSource, which is expected to be a dictionary keyed by the corresponding property names.

An abridged example of an Info.plist with the AppSource property:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
        <string>A whimsical game of excitement and delight</string>
        <string>Chase on the Cuckoo around the screen! This is a silly little game for the App Fair.</string>
        <string>Fair Apps &lt;[email protected]&gt;</string>
        <string>Bug fixes and performance improvements.</string>
                <string>Support the development of “Cloud Cuckoo”</string>
                <string>Help fund upcoming challenges and new additions to the whimsical and award-winning “Cloud Cuckoo” game. Fun for all ages!</string>

With that metadata embedded in the .ipa, the fairtool source create command will have enough information to generate a more complete catalog entry.

The benefit of this method is that the app artifact alone is sufficient for the creation of a catalog without requiring any additional sources of metadata.

// fairtool source create https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/download/0.9.99/Cloud-Cuckoo-iOS.ipa

  "identifier": "CATALOG_IDENTIFIER",
  "name": "CATALOG_NAME",
  "apps": [
      "bundleIdentifier": "app.Cloud-Cuckoo",
      "developerName": "Fair Apps <[email protected]>",
      "downloadURL": "https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/download/0.9.99/Cloud-Cuckoo-iOS.ipa",
      "fundingLinks": [
          "localizedDescription": "Help fund upcoming challenges and new additions to the whimsical and award-winning “Cloud Cuckoo” game. Fun for all ages!",
          "localizedTitle": "Support the development of “Cloud Cuckoo”",
          "platform": "GITHUB",
          "url": "https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo"
      "localizedDescription": "Chase on the Cuckoo around the screen! This is a silly little game for the App Fair.",
      "name": "Cloud Cuckoo",
      "permissions": [
          "type": "usage",
          "usage": "NSAppleEventsUsageDescription",
          "usageDescription": "AppleScript can be used by this app."
      "screenshotURLs": [],
      "sha256": "8a3903588bece74c00bef1329f9dd6cc9684e78be049b1b4e2325ce07d78e085",
      "size": 5162625,
      "subtitle": "A whimsical game of excitement and delight",
      "version": "0.9.99",
      "versionDate": "2022-07-03T04:51:21Z",
      "versionDescription": "Bug fixes and performance improvements."

fairtool source verify

The fairtool source verify can be used to check the validity of the apps in a JSON catalog.

For example:

% fairtool source create https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/latest/download/Cloud-Cuckoo-iOS.ipa > catalog.json

% fairtool source verify catalog.json

    "app": {
      "bundleIdentifier": "app.Cloud-Cuckoo"
      "sha256": "56e748bf053aff8612702ba9f1aa13031ef0c29313cc4047e3176b9ba8526686",
      "size": 5136274

If, for example, the resource at the downloadURL no longer matches the SHA256 checksum or file size, the catalog's validation errors would look like:

    "app": {
      "bundleIdentifier": "app.Cloud-Cuckoo"
      "size": 5136274,
      "sha256": "56e748bf053aff8612702ba9f1aa13031ef0c29313cc4047e3176b9ba8526686"
    "failures": [
        "type": "size_mismatch",
        "message": "Download size mismatch (5136274 vs. 5052688) from: https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/latest/download/Cloud-Cuckoo-iOS.ipa"
        "type": "checksum_failed",
        "message": "Checksum mismatch (56e748bf053aff8612702ba9f1aa13031ef0c29313cc4047e3176b9ba8526686 vs. 07e74b8db6eed309a6cdc92e40d5f7b7fd00922126f8ff49085516dd052ffa3a) from: https://github.com/Cloud-Cuckoo/App/releases/latest/download/Cloud-Cuckoo-iOS.ipa"

App Source Catalog

The format of the catalog and the meaning of the various properties is described at https://appfair.net/#app-source-catalog.

fairtool online

An experimental web service with a subset of the fairtool's functionality is available at: https://fairtool.herokuapp.com.

This service can be used to inspect the properties of .app .zip and .ipa URLs online, as well as generate default catalog entries for application artifacts.

Fair Swift Modules

The fairtool is powered by the Fair package, which is a zero-dependency cross-platform set of modules written in Swift. There are four top-level modules in the package:


The FairCore module is the lowest-level set of data structures and algorithms shared throughout the package. It supports macOS 12+, iOS 15+, and Linux (Windows is close, but needs a fix for missing zlib; Android is TBD).

Some notable types that are used throughout the Fair* modules are JSum and XOr.

FairCore also contains utilities for zip file handling and XML parsing.

See the documentation for FairCore.


The FairApp module contains the necessary functionality for building and distributing an app on a fair ground such as appfair.net. FairApp depends on FairCore.

Important types are AppCatalog, which is a serialized form of the App Source Catalog format, AppBundle, which is an abstraction of the packing of an iOS or macOS app.

See the documentation for FairApp.


The FairExpo module provides a cross-platform set of networking protocols, such as utilities for interacting with a GraphQLEndpointService, getting metadata from the HomebrewAPI, and creating and verifying App Source catalogs with the https://fair-ground.github.io/Fair/documentation/fairexpo/appcatalogapi.

FairExpo depends on FairApp.

See the documentation for FairExpo.


The FairKit module contains optional SwiftUI Views and enhancements, such as a SwiftUI WebView.

FairKit depends on FairApp.

See the documentation for FairKit.

Swift Package Manager

In order to add the Fair module to an existing package named "App",

// swift-tools-version: 5.6
// The swift-tools-version declares the minimum version of Swift required to build this package.

import PackageDescription

let package = Package(
    name: "App",
    platforms: [ .macOS(.v12), .iOS(.v15) ],
    products: [
        // Products define the executables and libraries a package produces, and make them visible to other packages.
            name: "App",
            targets: ["App"]),
    dependencies: [
        // Dependencies declare other packages that this package depends on.
        // .package(url: /* package url */, from: "1.0.0"),
        .package(url: "https://github.com/fair-ground/Fair", from: "0.5.0"), 
    targets: [
        .target(name: "App", dependencies: [
            // platform-native support for Fair apps (macOS, iOS, Linux)
            .product(name: "FairApp", package: "Fair"),
            // low-level data structures and utilities (macOS, iOS, Linux)
            .product(name: "FairCore", package: "Fair"),
            // optional networking utilities (macOS, iOS, Linux)
            .product(name: "FairExpo", package: "Fair"),
            // optional SwiftUI enhancements (macOS, iOS)
            .product(name: "FairKit", package: "Fair"),
        .testTarget(name: "AppTests", dependencies: ["App"]),


Until version 1.0 is achieved, minor and patch releases can and will break source compatibility. If this causes problems, pin your dependency to a specific version. Binary compatibility is never guaranteed.


This software is released under the GNU Affero General Public License with an exception that permits it to be used in apps that are distributed through restrictive channels, such as a commercial App Store. For more details, see the LICENSE.AGPL and LICENSE_EXCEPTION.FAIR files.


Stars: 10
Last commit: 2 weeks ago
jonrohan Something's broken? Yell at me @ptrpavlik. Praise and feedback (and money) is also welcome.

Release Notes

2 weeks ago

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