AUP Informant 2 Out Now
In late 2007 I began working on the original AUP Informant. It was only a simple program, designed to work on my schoolís network alone. What we wanted was a way to show our usage policy and to automatically gather our pupilsí responses to it; so I pulled up a chair and set about coding AUP Informant.
For our small network it worked perfectly, even if it was a little rough around the edges, but then I was encouraged at the BETT conference to join EduGeek. Like many techs I read the forums from time to time but never got around to signing up and contributing but it was Diello who twisted my arm (gently, I should add!) and convinced me to start posting.
Soon after, I made the AUP Informant software available on the forums and was surprised by how many people were looking for this sort of tool. Despite the simplicity of the program I saw a rush of downloads which prompted me to carry on developing it. There were plenty of feature requests for things such as a second policy, a help window and actions such as logging the user off or restarting the computer if the user declined the policy. While it wasnít too hard to add these in, it became clear that the software wasnít designed to be extensible and I had plenty of help requests.
The trouble was that it was designed for one network, not the many variations that it was being used on. The configuration was stored in an XML file that needed editing by hand, the user responses were saved as hidden files in their network shares, to change any settings you had to redeploy the clients. It quickly became clear that I would need to start fresh and make AUP Informant 2 much more flexible and reliable Ė but how would I go about it and what did people really need?
I spent almost 3 months on surveys and talking to schools to find out what the priorities should be and this is what we came up with:
* Easy to deploy and configure with an MSI package available
* Improved reliability
* Better support for multiple policies
* Responses should be recorded centrally and not scattered around the network
And so here we are today, almost a year after the last AUP Informant release. Itís been a long road; longer than Iíd planned at least. Faced with my student fees I considered going commercial with the software and my degree studies put a stop to any development from May through June.
My financial situation is a little better now and I canít bring myself to charge for what is essentially a labour of love. So here it is, free of charge and free of ads Ė AUP Informant 2.0. Itís been taken back to the drawing board and written from the ground up Ė all 7000 lines of it- to be simpler, more stable, more flexible and feature rich.
I focused on deployment first of all, working towards a seamless method for both vanilla and CC3 networks. I think youíll really notice the difference when you try it out! Thereís no configuration file to edit, just an MSI installer for the server and a package for the client. The CC3 package wizard can convert the client MSI into a CC3 package without needing a package build machine, just a few simple steps and itís done. Whatís more, the client is less than 1MB when installed and even the server installation should take at most 60 seconds.
The server application helps you configure all settings through the user interface, no text editing required this time around. Any changes to your policy or options are reflected immediately and seamlessly pushed out to clients. Clients will also detect the server automatically so youíll never have to set the IP or hostname even if you move the server application. Itís now also a snap to define when the secondary policy is shown.
User responses arenít saved as files anymore (long overdue!) which helps reliability an awful lot. Instead theyíre saved in the server database where they are used to produce an overview chart and report data. If you can write SQL queries then you can even create custom reports and save them.
So I've rambled enough. Go grab a copy already! :)
DNS issues on your grab a copy link? :0
I'll be a new user of this, but looking forward to seeing it in action.
I moved the site to beefier hosting yesterday. If the DNS is still updating, you can view the project page here at AUP Informant for the moment.
For the downloads, replace the www.paulbeesley.com section of the URL with www.pbeesley.myzen.co.uk and it should work fine. DNS seems to have updated in most places and should be completely updated by the end of the day.
Hi Paul, Big thanks for all the hard work in trying to get this out intime for us all to install ready for the new term.. excellent work +rep
Originally Posted by bizzel
Looks awesome Mate, hope you're blummin' proud!
Question: what happens if the client is running on a laptop that is off the network? is there much in the way of erroring or hanging?
I'm using Server 2008 Enterprise and Windows 7 Professional.
The server works fine, but the client logs in the user (in this case an admin account) and comes up with the following:
Problem Event Name: CLR20r3
Problem Signature 01: aup informant 2.exe
Problem Signature 02: 126.96.36.199
Problem Signature 03: 4a953e94
Problem Signature 04: System
Problem Signature 05: 188.8.131.52
Problem Signature 06: 4a275e12
Problem Signature 07: 38a9
Problem Signature 08: 115
Problem Signature 09: System.Security.Security
OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.48
Locale ID: 2057
Any ideas what I can do to make it work?
Nope, won't hang. ;) It'll send one broadcast packet a minute looking for the server so it won't clog the network and it'll even display the AUP as soon as the laptop reconnects to the network as if you'd just logged on.
Originally Posted by Domino
Paul any chance I can send you a donation for your work, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your efforts.
Could be a firewall issue preventing communication or a security setting applied to the .NET Framework that prevents it accessing something it needs.
I updated the manual just now with the required ports so please give that a try and see if it helps. Also, browse to the program directory and try "Run as Administrator" - that shouldn't be required but if it solves the problem then I can make a change.
Originally Posted by mb2k01
Thanks very much, always a pleasure. I put up a donation page here: Donations
Originally Posted by PEO
Cheers Paul I will make a donation on friday when I get paid :D
How's this for strange...
Originally Posted by bizzel
It definately wasn't a firewall issue as it's off at the moment.
I browsed and did "Run as Administrator" and the application came up fine. Accepted the policy and logged off to see if it ran on startup - and it did!
I'll set another couple of stations up to see if I can recreate the error / cure!
Thanks, it does seem unusual. I'm off out for the afternoon so I'll try to reproduce this tonight and I will PM you tomorrow with my findings.
In the meantime, could you grab the workstation's Application event log and send it to me please? (I forgot to mention that's a new feature - proper, standard event logging on the client and server.) You can filter the event log for events from AUP Informant if you prefer.
Originally Posted by mb2k01
Wow Bizzel, amazing work and thanks for getting it out before the start of the new term.
I'll report back on how it goes on our Terminal Servers.
EDIT: Brief test on a Terminal Server and it looks like it is working as expected :cool:
That's 162 of 330 student workstations covered in 3 minutes flat :llama: