[SLED] Managing Secondlife Workstations without admin access

Trevena, Stan Trevena.S at monet.k12.ca.us
Thu Feb 1 21:36:53 PST 2007


MSI is the way to go.  We have centralized management of our desktop.  An MSI could easily be pushed out and installed using admin rights.  Anything beyond distributing MSI files to institutions is a kludge and will hinder the wide spread adoption of SL in large networks.  Not many sites make their users full time admins..  
 
Stan Trevena
Modesto City Schools
http://pacificrimx.wordpress.com 

________________________________

From: educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com on behalf of Francis
Sent: Thu 2/1/2007 8:59 PM
To: SL Educators
Subject: Re: [SLED] Managing Secondlife Workstations without admin access



Kim FLINTOFF wrote:
> OK.. here's something to think about..
>
> The source code for the browser is now open-source... there's a task that
> should keep a few people busy... adapt the current source code into an MSI??
>
>
> It shouldn't be too tough for the real l337 sledders!! 

The open-source SL client is not of the same version as the main grid.

> The flash drive solution seems to be your best option in the short term...
> and probably the cheapest - bugger knowing if they have access - buy a box
> of cheapy 512Mb thumbs (about $10 each in bulk wholesale quantities) and
> load them up with SL... and sign them out to students.. have a standalone
> machine that is constantly ready with any SL updates and students can amend
> their install on the thumb at their leisure.... make it their responsibility
> - we spoon feed too much...

When I think about it, I'm not even sure the flash drive solution will
work properly. The flash drive (like the network share install and the
rebuilt MSI redistribution) make the assumption that all the SL upgrader
does is change files in the Program Files\Second Life folder.

That assumption isn't always true - which is why we had the disastrous
upgrade this Wednesday. (The last 3-4 upgrades worked just fine with
this method)

Also, I can't accept this as a solution. This is a ridiculous answer to
dealing with poorly behaving software.

> Ok... medication kicking in...  seriously - when the obvious solutions don't
> work look for radical/innovative/absurd/unreasonable/ possibilities..
> amongst them will lie your real solution...

Is there honestly no way to convince LL to simply make a better behaved
installer?

LL will have to solve this problem eventually if SL is going to be
successful on the scale they want. It would be better if that was
sooner, rather than later.


--
Francis

> Just because something becomes non-standard shouldn't deny its possibility.
> I've managed a breakthrough at my uni by challenging every "reasonable
> policy" response.  Once you get a chink then you can bring in the demolition
> tools!
>
>
> Kim Flintoff
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com
> [mailto:educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com] On Behalf Of Francis
> Sent: Friday, 2 February 2007 9:42 AM
> To: SL Educators
> Subject: Re: [SLED] Managing Secondlife Workstations without admin access
>
> Hi Kim,
>
> Thanks for your suggestions. Let me discuss the issues with each of them
> in brief:
>
>  > [SLED] Installing & running SL within academic local area networks
>
> This deals with installing SL on a flash drive, on a wholly separate
> machine, and then carting around your flash drive to whatever machine
> you need.
> This isn't feasible - we cannot assume that the students have
> administrative access to a home machine somewhere, that can install
> Second Life.
>
>  > [SLED] Frequent update issues?
>
> Idea 1: Installing SL in a network drive somewhere.
> This is vaguely what the MSI that we're building will accomplish -
> updating files. This is not always successful - SL seems to want to mess
> with things not just in its program installation directory. (Registry?
> Profiles?) This is why our system broke yesterday - SL wanted to update
> something that was not reflected in the program directory.
>
> Idea 2: Temporarily grant administrative access to people.
> The computer facilities people don't want to do this. And they're right
> to think so - Granting administrative access to people (such as clueless
> students and professors) tends to break things.
>
>  > [SLED] Accessing SL from centrally managed computers
>
> Idea: Again, going to the flash drive idea. Unfeasible for reasons
> mentioned above.
>
> So to summarize, there are no feasible solutions there.
>
> I really think the solutions I've proposed in my original email would be
> best for everyone if we can convince LL to spend the time to do things
> right.
>
> The administrative people tell me that MSI's are really ideal. They can
> update hundreds of machines simultaneously all from a central location.
> This is how well behaved software gets distributed in a managed
> environment - things like Microsoft Office can get patched on hundreds
> of machines because they're using this standard installer format.
>
>
> --
> Francis
>
> Kim FLINTOFF wrote:
>> HI Francis, there have been a couple of solutions to this discussed in
>> recent weeks...
>>
>> One from Stan: he uses "a group in Active Directory that has the
>> administrative rights required to update SL."
>>
>> Another from Tom - who uses an installation on thumb drives..
>>
>> Seek out these threads in the archive:
>>
>> [SLED] Installing & running SL within academic local area networks
>> [SLED] Frequent update issues?
>> [SLED] Accessing SL from centrally managed computers
>>
>> You should find some possible solutions there.
>>
>> Cheers
>>
>>
>>
>> Kim Flintoff B.A., Grad. Dip. Ed., M.Ed.
>> PhD Candidate
>> QUT Creative Industries: Performance Studies
>> Sessional Lecturer
>> ECU School of Education and Arts: Contemporary Performance / Drama
> Education
>> ---------------------------
>> mobile/sms:  +61  0403 530726
>> landline/vmb:  +61 08 9444 3893
>> email:  k.flintoff at qut.edu.au or k.flintoff at ecu.edu.au
>> skype:  kimbowa
>> Blog: http://dramanite.com <http://dramanite.com/> 
>> Second Life avatar: Kim Pasternak
>> Second Life home: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Maceday/112/144/149/
>> Group Owner: Drama Educators in Second Life (DEISL)
>> project egroup: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/onlinedrama/
>> MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kimboaus
>> MySpace Group - Australian SecondLifers:
> http://groups.myspace.com/ausslers
>> CREATEC Profile:
>> http://createc.ea.ecu.edu.au/researchers/profile.php?researcher=ksflinto
>> Professional Associations: IGDA (Perth), AoIR, DramaWest, WACOT
>>
>> "I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not a
>> preparation for future living."
>> John Dewey
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com
>> [mailto:educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com] On Behalf Of Francis
>> Sent: Thursday, 1 February 2007 6:02 PM
>> To: SL Educators
>> Subject: [SLED] Managing Secondlife Workstations without admin access
>>
>> Greetings,
>>
>> The back story: I'm teaching a class on video game development using
>> Second Life as a platform. We have a lab in my university with Second
>> Life installed on the machines. The students (and the instructor, me ;)
>> don't have admin rights.
>>
>> Has anyone dealt with this problem before? Are there any easy solutions?
>>
>> What the computer support folks have been doing up until now is
>> dissecting the bi-weekly patches to Second Life, and repackaging the
>> files as an MSI. (Microsoft's standard installation package, supposedly
>> very easy for systems administrators to work with)
>>
>> For whatever reason, today's patch wasn't compatible with our update
>> process, so the computer support folks had to go in and update a few the
>> labs by hand. I got an earful about how Second Life's installer is so
>> lousy while this was going on.
>>
>> I promised them I'd look into this more, so here I am.
>>
>> So from our end, we've got two potential solutions, both of which
>> require LL to change what they do.
>>
>> 1) As far as we can tell, what the installer does is that it checks if
>> the current user is an administrator or not, and then exits if we aren't
>> an admin. What would be better is if the installer would check if it has
>> *sufficient* permissions (such the ability to read/write into C:\Program
>> Files\Second  Life) before throwing up its arms and exiting.
>>
>> This way, the user of each workstation could simply update themselves
>> instead of requiring an administrator to come along every two weeks.
>>
>> 2) Package up SL as an MSI. Apparently this is a very easy format for
>> administrators to deal with, and can be installed on many machines
>> remotely across the network. This is essentially what the admin staff
>> over here does.
>>
>> Suggestions? Comments? Where to go from here?
>>
>>
>> --
>> Francis
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