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O/S Deployment Thread, Ninite-like tool for deployment via snap-ins in Technical; I am able to run Ninite as a Fog Snap-in, but it appears that the only way to run this ...
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    Ninite-like tool for deployment via snap-ins

    I am able to run Ninite as a Fog Snap-in, but it appears that the only way to run this completely unattended is to upgrade to the Pro version. There is a "Finish" dialog at the end of the installation that prompts you before moving on to the next FOG snapin.

    Is anyone else using this tool (or something similar) to chain together some of your more basic and common installations with FOG? I like the idea of simply checking off apps as an initial deployment tool, but it might not be that practical for upgrades.

    Or does everybody pretty much just roll their own individual Snapins to keep things modular? Again, looking for best practices type of advice for a small (~100 PCs) 3 basic image setting.

    -Eric

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    morganw's Avatar
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    You could use AutoIT to launch the install, wait for the final window, then automate keyboard commands to press the 'Finish' button.

    Something like this...
    Automation with AutoIT Tutorial: Part 2 | Technibble

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    ssx4life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaynard View Post
    I am able to run Ninite as a Fog Snap-in, but it appears that the only way to run this completely unattended is to upgrade to the Pro version. There is a "Finish" dialog at the end of the installation that prompts you before moving on to the next FOG snapin.

    Is anyone else using this tool (or something similar) to chain together some of your more basic and common installations with FOG? I like the idea of simply checking off apps as an initial deployment tool, but it might not be that practical for upgrades.

    Or does everybody pretty much just roll their own individual Snapins to keep things modular? Again, looking for best practices type of advice for a small (~100 PCs) 3 basic image setting.

    -Eric
    I'm more than happy with helping you out on this one. The best solution I have for you is to repackage the installer as an .msi or check to see what command line switches are available to make it fully silent. (either .msi and commands or .exe and .mst)

    Also look into app deploy's packager... which is free - AppDeploy.com - The Application Deployment Information Center

    I use appdeploy as a resource when it comes to installing updates and packing + installing applications which can well... be a bit of a pain in the butt.

    If you have any application that is "larger" in nature I suggest looking into SFX Maker to package the final contents of the installer and make it a single stand-alone .exe that can be uploaded to the fog snapins.

    Check my video's on youtube for a guide on how to do this - YouTube - Kanal von SSX4life

    **edit**

    Is this software by chance freeware or open source? Any chance I could take a look at the installer for you to see what might be possible with this application for you? If not that's fine, just trying to help

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    ssx4life's Avatar
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    to be more specific.... you may need MSI repackagers (which can cost money depending on the tool used) Hope I pointed you in the right direction.

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    morganw's Avatar
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    I use .cmd files for silent command line installs...

    Free Windows Installer - MSI Installer Tool
    ...and the unregistered version of this to make an MSI if I need one. It also has a repacking wizard although I (try to) only use that to investigate which registry keys are modified by an installer.

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    morganw - I was thinking of doing that, but then I starting to second guess myself and question if I shouldn't just be building individual Snapins for each product.

    ssx4life - Once again, you come to the rescue with good advice. I have actually been making good use of AppDeploy.com as well as putting SFX Maker to work creating installers for several apps I would have installed from CD in the past. Personally, I wouldn't mind giving up a little control if it's gonna save me some time, but if I have to invest in adding in an AutoIT script then I'm probably going to need to wrap that with SXF and that seems like it might just be more work, which is obviously what I am trying to avoid

    Anyways, I think after reflecting on it some more, FOG Snapins = Ninite-like functionality only from locally based files. I wonder if anyone has given any thought to allowing admins to optionally point to the latest files on a vendors website. Sort of like packages on Linux based machines?

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    ssx4life's Avatar
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    I do know that for open sourced applications such as Firefox / open office we could make a community repository for Fog that lets you download the files directly and run them as snapins. Something I've though of doing for awhile, just comes down to time.... something that I always seem to be short of .

    Let me know if you need more help, I'm always willing to give my opinion (granted it's not always right..... but no one ever is) ^_^

    lemme know

    i've also thought about going 1 step further with having a website (drupal based) that does something similar to what autopatcher was forced to do when vendor's got mad at users re-distributing their file(s) in different formats (M$ comes to mind here)

    Select your vendor
    Select the software package
    Select what you want it to do (silent with status / fully silent / etc.)

    System will then download the package off the vendors site / ftp to the users desktop and include the needed .mst or command line switches.

    Something that could be done fairly easily, but i'm not the best at C# programming. If we get enough of a community drive I'm sure it's possible (hell anything is possible with enough push)
    Last edited by ssx4life; 8th June 2010 at 09:44 PM.

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    I just think that it is somewhat inefficient to have to config the same basic installs on each unique FOG install. Granted, I think that the functionality for doing so should be there for advanced installations or those who choose to use it, but I think that the "package" concept just make sense.

    I can understand vendors not being crazy about their files being re-packaged, but perhaps their is a way to handle this like you suggest by "wrapping" the installer in command line options. Sort of like SFX meets FOG snapins.

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    morganw's Avatar
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    I think this would be useful but would have to offer a flexible build of the wrapper. Some people might want the to use SFX style self extractors and packages that included icons, I decided to use MSIs to install (to give an easier option of an uninstall) and Group Policy Preferences to generate icons / remove icons on computer startup.

    It would be high maintenance as well, someone would have to keep updating the wrapper blueprints for each software revision.

    The AppDeploy repackager tool allows you to share MSI blueprints but i'm not sure how popular the tool is. To be honest I think that until there is an opensource application virtualisation system there will always have to be a lot of duplicated effort because everyone's needs are slightly different.

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    morganw - I guess I just figured that re-imaging would be my "uninstall" since these are shared PCs that I am managing and there is no real need to persist any of the data, but I am concerned about the impact that strategy might have on bandwidth.

    I agree it would no doubt be high maintenance, but if there was a way to easily share flexible wrapper "blueprints" then it could be a crowd-sourced effort.

    I check on AlternateTo.net and found a handful of free apps like VMWare's Thinap, but none are open source. I will check into the AppDeploy tool.
    VMLite VirtualApps Studio alternatives - AlternativeTo.net

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    Quote Originally Posted by emaynard View Post
    I check on AlternateTo.net and found a handful of free apps like VMWare's Thinap, but none are open source. I will check into the AppDeploy tool.
    VMLite VirtualApps Studio alternatives - AlternativeTo.net
    An alternative to AlternativeTo.net is:

    Link: Wakoopa - Discover software & games

    Might be worth a look when looking for ideas?

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    Quote Originally Posted by emaynard View Post
    I am able to run Ninite as a Fog Snap-in, but it appears that the only way to run this completely unattended is to upgrade to the Pro version.
    According to their website, the free version is for personal use only. You would have to upgrade to the Pro version to use it in a school environment.

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