OS X Server Software Updates

After a few miserable attempts at getting OS X Server to handle Software Updates for local machines, I finally figured out what the problem is: Apple’s documentation.

In the System Imaging and SW Update Admin guide it says:

Pointing Unmanaged Clients to a Software Update Server
Use the defaults command in Terminal to point unmanaged client computers to a specific Software Update server. To point unmanaged clients to a specific software update server:

  1. Open Terminal on the unmanaged client.
  2. Enter the following command:

defaults write com.apple.SoftwareUpdate CatalogURL http://host.domain.com:8088/

(Replace the sample URL with the URL of your Software Update server.)

This is wrong!

You can’t simply point at your user’s SoftwareUpdate plist, you have to point at the system’s plist! The correct example then, is:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate CatalogURL http://host.domain.com:8088/

That works for OS X 10.4. For 10.5 and 10.6 there is more to do. See a later entry for the rest of the story.

You can check your work with this line:

defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate

Jul 29, 2008 6:22 PM

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