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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS & MSI in Technical; Problem is not everyone is the same. BSF was planning on "fixing" that. It's a problem of your damn if ...
  1. #91

    matt40k's Avatar
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    Problem is not everyone is the same. BSF was planning on "fixing" that. It's a problem of your damn if you do and your damn if you don't.

    It's progress, lets get the most out of and hope they keep going and upgrade the rest of the older bits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    MSI isn't flexiable enought. You can report who's installed it without messing about with it. SMS isn't free. SOLUS3 p1 basically is a "My network place" scan, P2 uses AD.

    I people would actually be happy that they are doing something positive. Not every school has SMS, not every school as a domain. SOLUS3 isn't costing the schools anything and will allow a single tool to pushing out SIMS to the desktops\servers across the school\LA.

    It's going to far better than if they create MSI's.

    (SOLUS3 agent is actually an MSI by the way, I believe they looked at creating MSI for all the apps, but it wasn't flexiable enought - couldn't cope with the multiple installs)
    So write the reporting tool. Noone's saying they can't wrap the MSIs in another tool for people who haven't got domains. So the only real question is: is it really impossible to make an MSI, or do they just not have a clue?

  3. #93
    p858snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    @matt40k
    The problem is all that functionality they've added just replicates what I already have in a way that won't integrate with my existing reporting / deployment.

    Reporting and audit (GLPI/OCS) doesn't require SMS and many, many schools do have domains.

    They've made SIMS easier to deploy if you don't already have anything in place, but if you do it's just another tool that won't get used and isn't really I'd been hoping for.

    It drives me mad that every software company under the sun thinks it's a great idea to have their own auto-update app rather than tying into existing infrastructures*.

    (*yes, this is partially a Windows problem).
    You can install a MSI without a domain you know? And most schools already have a wider auditing system in place to manage it centrally than dependent based on what apps want to implement it.

  4. #94

    matt40k's Avatar
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    I seem to keep hitting this wall. People don't seem to fully understand what's SOLUS3 P2 will be able to do, are people ignorant of what Capita has achived, what they doing?

    They've made an MSI, but MSI can't cope with multiple installations, so it won't be suitable for the all the current setups.

    Accept that there are 22,000+ schools not all with domains etc and SOLUS3 will be a massive improvement.

    Creating a MSI wrapper \ repacking is what, an hour's work? If this was truely the answer to everyones problem, why hasn't anyone published something (other then RM)?

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    Accept that there are 22,000+ schools not all with domains etc
    How about accept that it's well over 10 years since MS made the guidelines for what nice Windows apps should do and that a significant proportion, probably the majority, of those schools do have domains and make in this order:

    1) It work with standard Windows deployment, GPO config etc.

    2) Your own exciting (probably buggy) deployment system for everyone else.

    It *is* infuriating when vendors only do the second one... that something is better than something that's not brilliant now, doesn't make it inherently good.. and definitely not at that price.

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    j17sparky (19th July 2010)

  7. #96

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    I seem to keep hitting this wall. People don't seem to fully understand what's SOLUS3 P2 will be able to do, are people ignorant of what Capita has achived, what they doing?

    They've made an MSI, but MSI can't cope with multiple installations, so it won't be suitable for the all the current setups.

    Accept that there are 22,000+ schools not all with domains etc and SOLUS3 will be a massive improvement.

    Creating a MSI wrapper \ repacking is what, an hour's work? If this was truely the answer to everyones problem, why hasn't anyone published something (other then RM)?
    Your argument is hitting a wall because it doesn't hold water!

    MSI is the standard way of installing things on Windows, be it in a domain environment or not. Using the argument that some schools won't use domains is like me saying some schools don't use MS Office. Yes, some don't but they are a minority.

    What do you mean by 'MSI can't cope with multiple installations'? I'd guess SQLExpress and its MSI installer would disagree with that. There's no reason why it can't work with multiple installations.

    Reinventing the wheel, with non-standard systems, in order to appease a minority of customers (lets face it, most schools will have a domain based network) is bizarre, plain and simple. MSI and its back-end infrastructure has been around for 10 years, so there is no excuse not to have migrated to it in that time.

  8. Thanks to localzuk from:

    j17sparky (19th July 2010)

  9. #97
    AyatollahPies's Avatar
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    I for one, am looking forward to seeing SOLUS 3 P2 in action.

    The demos I've seen show it to be just what my LEA is looking for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Your argument is hitting a wall because it doesn't hold water!

    MSI is the standard way of installing things on Windows, be it in a domain environment or not. Using the argument that some schools won't use domains is like me saying some schools don't use MS Office. Yes, some don't but they are a minority.

    What do you mean by 'MSI can't cope with multiple installations'? I'd guess SQLExpress and its MSI installer would disagree with that. There's no reason why it can't work with multiple installations.

    Reinventing the wheel, with non-standard systems, in order to appease a minority of customers (lets face it, most schools will have a domain based network) is bizarre, plain and simple. MSI and its back-end infrastructure has been around for 10 years, so there is no excuse not to have migrated to it in that time.
    and you are forced to have ms office as well you cant use open office which for most people is more than enough and a free to boot.
    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    I seem to keep hitting this wall. People don't seem to fully understand what's SOLUS3 P2 will be able to do, are people ignorant of what Capita has achived, what they doing?

    They've made an MSI, but MSI can't cope with multiple installations, so it won't be suitable for the all the current setups.

    Accept that there are 22,000+ schools not all with domains etc and SOLUS3 will be a massive improvement.

    Creating a MSI wrapper \ repacking is what, an hour's work? If this was truely the answer to everyones problem, why hasn't anyone published something (other then RM)?
    Its not like you cant run an msi by double clicking on it same as a .exe installer it just does things in a standard way so it can be removed properly. An msi on its own may not do it all BUT with an appropriate transforms creater (like say smartboard provide for their doftware or adobe provide a free one for theirs as well) means you can put any options required in (im assuming the problem is telling it to use %nameofserver% and wheter sims is mapped as s: or f: and creating / using a correct connect.ini file. But id be happier for the moment if they just got rid of the 16bit stuff (that looks like its still there from win 3.11) thats still in there so it would work 100% on 64 bit platforms as im trying to set up any new pc as win7x64 and sims is one of the few programs stopping me (and a lot of the others i want to get shut of anyway for being poor)

  11. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    MSI isn't flexiable enough.
    Like others on this thread, I too have worked with MSI files in the past, both repackaging existing apps and authoring my own and have never found MSI to be inflexible (indeed, I was constantly surprised, when creating custom transforms, at the creativity of MSI authors). It's something of a learning curve to begin with but that's because it is so flexible. MSI's have the ability to self heal, to install on first use, to accept patches, to be customised with transforms prior to installation or to run custom scripts or code at any point during the installation. (going out on a limb now..) I find it hard to imagine any scenario that an MSI could not be made to cope with.

    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Not every school has SMS
    No, but larger schools will. Or they will have their own deployment tools and the last thing they need is another tool/method. I agree with other others here in that when I kick off a workstation build I want to know that everything else will be taken care of. Not have to think about lots of other deployment tools I need to use to finish the build. An MSI is not a pre-requisite for this, but some form of silent installer is. MSI can be used in this way as well as for GPO install.

    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    not every school as a domain
    This is the one are where having an automated deployment tool might help, but if they don't have a domain, how will the tool remote log on to all the PCs to install the agent? Without a common security authentication architecture, that's not always going to work. But even so, as others have said, why not deliver the MSI and the deployment tool as independent things to give us the option?

    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    It's going to far better than if they create MSI's.
    Have you actually read any of the posts on this thread??? (sorry). I no longer even work with SIMS installations in schools but have been closely involved in the past, I too find it extremely frustrating that Capita seem to think that they know better than most of the rest of the industry. I could be wrong about this but I had thought that for an application to get the Microsoft seal of approval ('designed for Windows' or whatever, it had to be delivered in Windows Installer format).

    Perhaps Capita have researched this (presumably that's why Phil participated here in the pas) and found that (despite this thread), most customers do not want MSIs and prefer the automated tool and/or that MSIs really cannot provide the flexibility they require. If so, perhaps they would share their findings and hopefully shut us all up once and for all.

    (sorry matt - rant over - nothing personal)

  12. #100

    matt40k's Avatar
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    How did we get on to how SIMS is based on a Microsoft technology and thus uses MS Office? Surely the arguement should be a Microsoft for not proving OpenOffice support?

    SOLUS3 P2 is happening, love it, hate it, it's happening. Can we keep the negative comments (ie buggy deployment system) UNTIL we've got it. Then it'll be try and spot the bug before me lol

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    What do you mean by 'MSI can't cope with multiple installations'? I'd guess SQLExpress and its MSI installer would disagree with that. There's no reason why it can't work with multiple installations.
    I think it's something to do with the fact MSI put entries into reg and SQLExpress has a transformation method, which adds extra steps that would over overcomplate the problem, I don't fancy running the setups installer before actually installing SIMS. I believe.

  13. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    SOLUS3 P2 is happening, love it, hate it, it's happening. Can we keep the negative comments (ie buggy deployment system) UNTIL we've got it. Then it'll be try and spot the bug before me lol
    Or before my colleague .............. LOL

    Nope! - it ain't a competition.
    It'll depend on what days we are working this hols and when the various 'bits' are actually released. Though we have planned for the scheduled dates! He has to take servers down this hols, for maintenance work tho', so we may not be able to respond immediately!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 28th July 2010 at 09:27 AM.

  14. #102
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    It certainly looked very, very good on the Webex yesterday! It may be we won't be looking at it until next Wednesday. Our Exam Officer has requested no upgrades, patches etc on the Server until her Exams Admin is complete. And, having done that job (as weel as many others in SIMS) for many years, I can sympathsise!
    That then only gives us 3 days before the next Conference Call. And I won't be in school from the Tuesday until 1st September!
    Hopefully my technical colleagure, who happens to be off this week!, will be able to sort out the Server Deployment and contribute to the Conference call.

  15. #103

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Time to drag this up again I think!

    I've just come to the point where I'm building a set of silent installers for Fog for imaging our machines. And once again, I am in need of an MSI.

    SOLUS3 is all fine and dandy, but I want ALL my applications to be deployed via the same method. I don't want to have to set up random different applications to use their own random distribution system! Imagine if all software did that? We'd never get anything done. Even our anti-virus, which has a standard 'remote push install' way of deployment allows for msi deployment instead.

    So, can someone please provide me with a logical reason that Capita *still* don't use MSIs, 5 years later? (Imagine, a GPO to deploy the MSI, and then GPO to deploy any MSP patches. With MST transforms providing all the settings needed. It'd be bliss!)

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    SOLUS3 can patch the executables.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    SOLUS3 can patch the executables.
    i dont think that was the argument i think the argument was why cant sims be deployed in the same standard way as a large percentage of other windows software (so gpo msi+mst). If every bit of software had its own deployment toolkit rather than using the tools ms gave us nobody would ever get much done we would all have to learn a new installer system every time a new bit of software arrived. Its not a matter of which is better is about maintaining a standard infrastructure with standard software so there is less to go wrong and its easier to track down/fix if it does

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