Tracking Software Updates

By: richard - Revised: 2010-12-21 Chen

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Tracking Software Updates by Richard Glaser
This presentation focused on tracking software updates on Mac OS X using different software and utilities.

Mac OS X Software Update

Mac OS X Software Update is a free built-in Apple Inc. Solution in Mac OS X. It provides incremental updates of Mac OS X and apple software and its part of CoreServices in Mac OS X. It supports update scheduling and command line. It does not support 3rd party software updates.

Command Line:

- List all available updates
softwareupdate --list

- Install all updates
softwareupdate --install --reg

- Install required updates
softwareupdate --install --all

- Install one or more updates
softwareupdate --item [update_name(s)]

- Ignore update
softwareupdate --ignore [update_name(s)]

Mac OS X Software Update Server

Mac OS X Software Update Server provides admin control on how and when clients get updates. Mac OS X Software Update Server can be setup on a managed/unmanaged clients, and non-apple hardware.

Adobe Application Manager

Adobe Application Manageri is a free with adobe software which provides list of adobe software updates. It does not support scheduling, supports upate individual or multiple software.

There is also a Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition which allows customization installation of Creative Suite apps. It support silent installs, installation using packages but it has many problems and issues.

Microsoft AutoUpdate

Microsoft AutoUpdate is a free microsoft solution for updating microsoft office and provides scheduling updates. It does not support command line.

MacUpdate Desktop

MacUpdate Desktop is a solution from and has a $20 annual fee. It supports Mac OS X, and 3rd party software updates. It also supports Widgets, Screen Savers, Preference Panes and Plug-ins. Features are automatic installer for downloads & installs updates select software and watch lists for getting notified about new updates. It does not support command line nor track Unix software updates nor open source software.

Mac App Store

Mac App Store is an Apple Inc. Solution and is free with Mac OS X. It will be similar with the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It will be available on January 6th, 2011.


MacPorts is an open source solution and supports open source software updates. Here is the GUI from Porticus:


Fink is an open source solution. It supports Darwin, Mac OS X and Unix open source software. Here is the GUI from FinkCommander: