chapter  36

Software Distribution

WithSteven Marks

The rapid development of automated software distribution systems is being driven by the explosive growth of PC networks. The systems under management have quickly grown both in size and in complexity, beyond the ability to manage by traditional means. Software distribution systems have developed out of the need to manage what has become unmanageable. A software distribution system consists of a number of modules, rather than a single system, which interact to provide a means of managing user workstation configurations. The system automates the tasks of installing, configuring, and updating user workstation configurations. The distribution module of the system automates the task of applying changes to workstation configurations. The kind of changes necessary to manage sophisticated operating systems such as Windows 95 or NT must be much more sophisticated than in earlier operating systems. An interesting variation of a full software distribution manager is a product from Intel called Configuration Manager.