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At the end, it looks like it's just a regular sh script:

[USER@MACHINE ~/Desktop/D] head -2 truecrypt-7.1-setup-x86 

but @the scripts end:

[USER@MACHINE ~/Desktop/D] tail -2 truecrypt-7.1-setup-x86 
                                                                                                                                                        Sd  hz=��H����)n�_�������48�,4�M�x�w��z�Mp��)�Ѩa=2a��0ۙI
                                                                                               /�/���o���hV���R�`���nʂ�a��ۛ=~{#��FV����35�5Y;k��D��[mK����9 *lY��hD�:��{n����۝�$^�'���w�!$��Ĝ������*�����!'�?����?����?�+�L#(+�V

well.. binary data.. how??

[USER@MACHINE ~/Desktop/D] file truecrypt-7.1-setup-x86 
truecrypt-7.1-setup-x86: POSIX shell script text executable
[USER@MACHINE ~/Desktop/D] 

How could the file contain ASCII + binary data too? The script is launched as a script, but ends with binary data? How can they do that?? How can I keep a "hello word" binary at the end of a script? [and launch the binary part from the script?]

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Looks like a shar or some variant thereof (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shar#). –  Ulrich Schwarz Dec 21 '11 at 7:15
Creating such a file is not difficult: cat script_text_file.sh binaryfile > file_that_contains_both.sh As far as invoking the binary from the shell, that I don't know. If the binary is compressed data, extraction may not be too hard if the extraction program "opens itself" and waits to perform decompression until it sees a header, which could be made not to appear until the binary part starts. –  ultrasawblade Sep 5 '12 at 14:31
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3 Answers

The only difference between text and binary is how you interpret it. *nix tends to not interpret them, so mixing them in this manner is fine; the text part of the script can extract the contents of the binary part of the script using various commands.

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This is a common trick I see in installers. Usually the binary part is an archive and the top has the commands to extract it.

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"How could the file contain ASCII + binary data too?"

Simply because ASCII text is just a subset of binary data.

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