How does Radmind relate to/work with/compete with Apple Remote Desktop?

By: Richard Glaser - Revised: 2006-05-31 devin

Radmind allows management of the file system. ARD does give many useful features like remote control, inventory and reports, locking screens, etc. that radmind doesn't offer and isn't meant to support. I view it as a useful companion package to radmind instead of a replacement or competitor.

ARD 2 only allows installation of package installers, doesn't work with Vise, InstallAnywhere, etc. To use ARD, you either need to capture third-party installation and re-package it as a package installer or distribute the installs file system items.

ARD 2 can't un-install or track installation. Package installer, create a install "log" in /Library/Receipts, but that doesn't take into account installer scripts. With radmind you can track installation, and create a installation in the form of the overload. Then you can easily uninstall the installation by removing the overload from command file.

ARD 2 doesn't do file system maintenance, it will allow you to copy files to client, or install package installer, or startup from a NetInstall server, which you can re-image your boxes with Apple Software Restore. Radmind at its core runs as a tripwire and can detect file system modifications and reverse those modifications.

So, you could have a security issue(s) with a machine, from a user that has hacked area's of the file system, or due to bug, security hole or admin mistake. With radmind, these modifications would get reversed, and with a script you can define a policy that if these directories get modified, run radmind then and there, or run radmind every day off hrs or logout, etc. ARD will not reverse or detect file system modifications.

IMHO, ARD and radmind are good companion products. ARD is great for remote control support, asset management, reports. And radmind for file system maintenance, it fills the package/patch management hole. It can track installation, detect insecure settings like world writes, SUID/SGID, and correct them more easily, capture installation and distribute it, we can have granularity and control to distribute or not distribute applications/OS updates per client, or remove them due to licensing, HD space issues, or compatibility, etc. You can't get this level of control and functionality from ARD or ASR.