Distribution package dialog help [Web console]

This section describes the Distribution package dialog in detail.

Using the Distribution package dialog

The Distribution package dialog (Distribution > New) stores information in the database that describes the package that you want to distribute. The data contains the settings necessary to install a specific software package, such as the package name, any dependencies or prerequisites, installation options, and so on. Once created, this information is called a "distribution package."

Before using this dialog, put the package on your distribution server. You'll need to browse for the package and provide information on any package prerequisites or additional files. Once you've created a distribution package for your package, you can associate it with a delivery method (Distribution > Delivery methods tab) to deploy it to devices.

About the Package information page

Use this page to enter the package name and your package's primary file. If your package consists of a single file, add it here. If your package has multiple files, add the main file in your package, for example, the file that starts the install. You can add supporting additional files on the Additional files page.

To use the file browser, type a Web share or file path in the box next to the Go button. Clicking Go displays the destination in the Primary file box. You can continue navigating there. When browsing for the file, double-click the file you want to be the primary file. This adds the filename to the package path next to the Go button.

  • Owner: The name of the person who originally created the package. You can't change this field.
  • Description: The description you enter here appears in the Distribution packages and Delivery methods trees and dialogs. Make the name descriptive but not too long, since you'll have to scroll to see longer descriptions.
  • Primary file: The main file in this package.
  • Browse: Starts browsing the path you entered next to the Go button.
  • Up: Goes up one folder level from the current location you're browsing.

About the Install/Uninstall options page

Use this page to specify the script type. You have several options depending on the package you're deploying. Not all package types have these options.

  • Install: Specifies that you want to use an installation package to install software.
  • Uninstall: Specifies that you want to use an installation package to remove software. When this flag is set, the script removes everything that was installed with the installation script.
  • Command line: (Not available for SWD packages). The command line you want passed to the primary file you specified. Software distribution automatically adds the basic parameters for the type of package you're distributing. Only add parameters here if you want to change default behaviors.

Using the SWD package options page

Use this page to set what happens when an SWD package is already installed on a device. If you have applications that aren't responding to a normal package heal, the full reinstall option might work better. Healing tends to take less time than a full reinstall.

When you create an SWD package, you can create it with or without a package installation interface that users see. If the package has an interface, you can choose whether the package installation status dialog appears on top of their existing applications or whether there should be a solid blue installation background that masks the desktop while the package is installing.

  • Heal (repair) the package: This option only updates registry keys and replaces program files that the agent detects as different than those in the installation package.
  • Perform a full reinstall of the package: This option completely reinstalls the package, replacing all files and recreating all registry keys.
  • When feedback is enabled, override the above setting and let the user decide: Allows users to choose between heal or reinstall. You can enable feedback in the Delivery method properties dialog's Feedback page.
  • When feedback is enabled, display the background screen: Displays the solid blue background screen. You can enable feedback in the Delivery method properties dialog's Feedback page

About the Additional files page

If your package consists of multiple files, you can add them on this page. To use the file browser, type a Web share or file path in the box next to the Browse button. Pressing the Browse button displays the destination in the Available files box. You can continue navigating there. Select files in the Available files box and click >> to add them to the Additional files list. This adds them to the package.

  • Add additional files...: The additional files you want to be part of your package.
  • Auto detect: This option is available for MSI packages. It parses the primary MSI file for external file references and adds those automatically.
  • Arrows: These arrows add and remove selected files from the Additional files list.
  • Browse: Starts browsing the path you entered next to the Go button.
  • Up: Goes up one folder level from the current location you're browsing.

Using the Dependent packages page

Dependent packages are packages that must already be on the device in order for the package you're configuring to install. If they're not on the device, dependent packages are installed automatically. MSI and SWD packages are detected automatically through the appropriate registry keys on the device. For other package types, the package detection method depends on what you select on the detection page.

  • Available packages: Lists the packages you have created using the Distribution package window. Select the packages you want to be dependent and click >>.
  • Dependent packages: Lists the packages you've selected to be dependent.
  • Arrows: These arrows add and remove selected files from the Additional files list.

Note: Private packages are not available to be used as a dependant package due to the possible changing of package ownership. If someone creates a private package that depends on other private packages, and then transfers the top-level package to someone else, deployment would fail because the lower level packages are private to someone else.

Using the Prerequisites page

The prerequisites page allows you to specify prerequisites for package installation. You can do this through a query or through an additional file/program that runs on devices and returns an errorlevel code. A non-zero code prevents the package from installing.

Prerequisites run on devices in the target list. If a device on the target list fails a prerequisite, the package won't be installed on it. The failure details are in the distribution task's log.

Prerequisites are especially useful in organizations where one person creates packages and another person distributes them. The distributor might not be aware of package system requirements that the creator does know about. In cases like these, the package creator can create a query that includes package requirements like operating system or amount of memory.

For the additional file option, you can select a file that's in the package's additional files list. You can then specify a command line you want the file to run with.

  • Choose a query: Select an existing query that you want to use to filter targeted devices. If you choose an LDAP query or LDAP targets, make sure that this is for the re-deployment of agents. If you use an LDAP query or an LDAP target for the initial deployment of an agent, the attempt will fail.
  • Run additional file: If you want to run a file on devices, check this option.
  • Choose an additional file: Enter the file you want devices to run. This file is run before any other package files.
  • Command line: If the file you specified needs a command line, enter it.

Using the Detection page

Use this page to detect packages or applications that weren't installed through Management Suite. You can use these detection methods:

  • File exists
  • File version
  • File size and/or checksum
  • File date
  • Registry key exists
  • Registry value exists
  • Matching registry value

You can add multiple criteria. When you select a criteria from the list, the options for that criteria appear below the list. Enter the necessary information and click Add. Repeat as necessary. A match on one or more criteria prevents the package from installing.

Using the Accounts page

Use the Accounts page to select the type of user account to use to distribute the package.

  • LocalSystem account: The account of the device.
  • Current user's account: The account of the current user. A user must be logged into the device, or the distribution package task will fail.

Using the Shortcut page

Use the Shortcut page (virtualized application packages only) to place a shortcut to the distribution package on the desktop or the Start menu. Managed devices use an application shortcut icon to run the virtualized application executable. If you check Start menu, you also can enter the Programs folder name that will contain the shortcut. The folder path you enter appears under All programs.

  • Name: Type a name for the shortcut that will appear on the desktop or the Start menu.
  • Desktop: Select to place the shortcut icon on the desktop.
  • Start menu: Select to place the shortcut icon on the Start menu.
  • Programs folder name: Type the Programs folder name that will contain the shortcut. The folder path you enter appears under All programs.

Using the Uninstall association page

Use the Uninstall association page to associate an uninstall package to a software deployment policy package. This will automatically uninstall the software from the client when the machine or user is removed from the target list or query. Note: Uninstall packages are only used with policy-based deployment.

  • Type: Select the type of package you want to use to uninstall the package. The Available distribution packages list will display only the packages of the type you specify.
  • Current: The currently selected package.
  • Set: Makes the package selected from the Available distribution packages list the Current package.
  • Clear: Removes the Current package from association with the uninstall of the package.

Understanding the distribution package types

Software distribution supports these package types:

Linux

The product supports RPM deployment to supported Linux platforms. Scripting is not supported. Linux packages (RPM) files can be stored on a web server and need to have anonymous read access. UNC paths as described in the network server configuration are not supported for Linux distribution.

MSI

These are packages in the Windows Installer format. You must use a third-party tool to create MSI packages. These packages consist of a primary .MSI file and can include supporting files and transforms. Transforms customize how MSI packages are installed. If your MSI package consists of multiple files, make sure you add all of them in the Distribution package dialog.

Executable

In order for an executable package to be used by software distribution, it must meet the following criteria:

  • The executable must not exit before the installation is complete.
  • The executable must return zero (0) for a successful installation.

As long as the executable meets these two criteria, any executable can be used for installing the package. You can include additional files for executable packages.

Batch file

Batch file packages are based on a Windows/DOS batch file. You can include additional files for these distribution packages. The successful completion status of the batch file package is based on the value of the errorlevel system environment variable when the batch file has finished running.

NOTE: Using batch files in tasks on Windows 95/98 devices
In Windows 95/98, when command.com launches a batch file that contains a Windows executable, the batch file will launch the executable and continue executing commands in the batch file without waiting. The core will receive a result when the batch file ends, not necessarily when the Windows executable ends. In this case, the core won't know if the Windows executable ran correctly and it will report a successful completion if the rest of the DOS commands ran successfully.

If the batch file launches a DOS executable, the batch file will then wait for the executable to finish before continuing on. For DOS executables, the core will receive a result when all processes have ended.

Macintosh

Any Macintosh file can be downloaded, though Management Suite won't download directories. Install packages (.PKG) can contain directories. They must be compressed. If the file downloaded has an extension of .SIT, .ZIP, .TAR, .GZ, .SEA, or .HQX, Management Suite will decompress the file before returning. (Users should make sure that Stuffit Expander* has its "check for new versions" option disabled; otherwise a dialog may interrupt script execution.)

LANDESK Application Virtualization:

LANDESK Application Virtualization uses Thinstall technology to virtualize an application, storing it in a single self-contained executable file with the application and the .DLL/device driver dependencies. When run, virtualized applications run in an isolated environment without making changes to the Windows installation they are run on.

Virtualized applications run on locked-down devices without requiring additional privileges.

Virtualized applications generally consist of one or more executable files. Software distribution can be used to deploy virtualized application executable files to managed devices. Any of the software distribution delivery methods are used with virtualized application packages, including the Run command from the source. When deploying a run from source virtualized application package, managed devices use an application shortcut icon to run the virtualized application executable file over the network.

Windows Script Host Package (.WSF):

Windows Script Host Packages (WSH) are Microsoft Software’s new alternative to batch files but are often used to automate similar tasks such as mapping drives, copying files, or modifying registry keys. The WSH files are most commonly used with Jscript (.JS) and VBScript (.VBS). One major advantage of the Windows Script Host package over the .bat package is that they allow the user to combine multiple languages into a single file by using the language independent file extension (WSF). These packages are often can be created in notepad, HTML editor, Microsoft Visual C++, or Visual InterDev.

SWD package

These are packages built with the legacy LANDESK Enhanced Package Builder (installed separately). Although the Enhanced Package Builder is no longer shipped with Management Suite, LANDESK Software continue to support the distribution of files having been created with it. They are executable files that have properties that uniquely identify them as software distribution (SWD) packages.

Resetting package hashes

The software distribution agent on managed devices, SDClient, uses the MD5 hash algorithm on packages to verify the package and additional files are downloaded correctly. When a distribution package is first scheduled, Management Suite downloads the files and calculates the hash values associated with the primary file and any additional files used by the distribution package. If the hash stored with the package doesn't match the hash value SDClient computed on the target device, the download isn't considered valid. If you make any changes to the package outside of Management Suite, such as updating the package contents, you need to reset the hash, or any scheduled tasks using the updated package will fail.

Moving/copying packages

You can move or copy distribution package definitions, such as a package that delivers an executable to a set of targeted devices. If the settings of the package are what you want for another package that will deliver a different executable, select the package you want to clone, click Move/copy, click the destination, and click Move or Copy, depending on what you want to do. Moving or copying a distribution package only moves or copies the distribution package settings, not the actual files you are distributing.

New group

You can create custom groups for the package types My distribution packages, Public distribution packages, and User distribution packages. Only an administrator can make changes to User distribution packages. With custom groups, you can group related packages such as Microsoft Office 2003 MSI package with a Microsoft Office 2003 executable package. Groups and subgroups can go to at least 20 layers deep. To create custom groups for public distribution packages, you must have a Software distribution configuration right.

To create a custom group

  1. In the left navigation pane, click Distribution.
  2. In the left pane, click the Distribution package type in which you want to create the group.
  3. Click New group on the toolbar.
  4. Type a name in the Group name text box, and click OK.

After you have created a custom group, you can move or copy packages or other groups into the group by selecting them from a list and clicking Move/copy on the toolbar. You can move/copy packages or other groups from all package groups except User distribution packages.

 


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