View Full Version : A systems admin rants about update services

08-01-2002, 03:32 AM
Just seen the press release for the IS and Red Bend partnership and just wanted to add a few pennies worth to the subject.

From the press release : The InstallShield-Red Bend partnership will enable software developers to effectively and efficiently manage, create, and deploy software updates using a co-developed solution that provides seamless integration between the most advanced and professional installation development environment and the most cost-effective and powerful delta-update solution available today.

It is all very well to sell the idea of developers of applications to be given a tool to do this but it has to be balanced with the duty to provide to the people who manage the desktop environment within companies the ultimate control of how this happens for the machines they manage.

I work for one of the worlds largest banks and my partner works for a company with less than 20 staff yet we both are responsible for delivering to our employers a stable and managed desktop environment.

I do not want updates I have no control of being delivered for the applications I have validated and configured to the company’s requirements.

Microsoft learnt there lesson with the provision of an internal to the network management system for both recording application crashes and notification/installation of updates for Office and Windows XP and policies to control the user interaction with the system. Please do the same as you develop this solution otherwise it will just become another of those 'services' blocked at the firewall by any sensible organisation.


Chris Woerner
08-01-2002, 03:11 PM
Hi Scotty,

I appreciate your posting and I have a couple of comments.

First, the Red Bend partnership really has nothing to do with the Update Service. Red Bend will allow software vendors to create small updates - conceptually similar to MSI patching. The integration mentioned is between our authoring tools (liike Professional) and the Red Bend technology. The updates created using the Red Bend product may or may not be deployed with the Update Service.

However, I do understand your point. Enabling users to update their own software can conflict with a managed desktop environment. Let me tell you what we have done to accomodate this.

First, we have built an "off switch". Meaning, you can turn off the Update Service via a setting on the desktop. So, if you are repackaging an installation for distribution that uses the Update Service, you can add a step to the repackaging to disable the Update Service. Alternatively, it can be manually disabled on the desktop. That should prevent updates from being run without your control. Agree?

The second (and more difficult) part is how to get those updates to you (network management), so you can validate them before releasing them. We don't have that problem solved yet. But I am open to ideas.

Thanks again for your post.