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Apple Releases Remote Desktop 3 96

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the under-hyped-tools dept.
Dan Uricoli writes to tell us MacFixIt is reporting that today Apple computer has released remote desktop 3 " Some of the new or updated features include; a Remote Spotlight search, Dashboard widget, Curtain mode, user history reports, and more.
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Apple Releases Remote Desktop 3

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  • Heh (Score:2, Funny)

    by Moby Cock (771358)
    In a related story Microsoft announced that Windows Vista Remote Desktop will ship in 18 - 24 months.
    • More like 5 years ago.
    • In a related story: Enterprises still not using Mac OS machines.
      • Re:Heh (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gEvil (beta) (945888)
        Yeah, but a lot of schools do. And this program (and ANAT before that) are godsends for anyone administering a large amount of Macs.
        • My gf was a teacher in an inner-city school last year. Apple and the school administration worked out a deal where they outfitted her room with 30 eMacs -- she became the de facto computer admin. "Great," I thought, "This could be a good opportunity for the kids."

          ARD did not come with the eMacs. The school would not pay for it. When _I_ saw the price tag, I obtained it through ... other means. Given that these kids were 7th graders, her ability to shut down every computer when class was over (as well

          • by jdray (645332)
            Chances are that Apple would have come up with some sort of "Educational Discount" if they didn't already have one for the situation you describe. If they're giving her $10K worth of hardware (arbitrary guess), they may have popped for $500 worth of software for the asking. Did she ask them?
            • Yeah, we tried the Apple store here in town, but didn't have the contract number to verify that she was going to use it for school purposes. The DC public school system was too disorganized to be able to get her the number we needed. All around, it was a disappointing experience.

              As the poster below notes, it's a low price per machine, at the $300 Educational Discount price. Nevertheless, it's still steep. I can dream, can't I?

          • by gozar (39392)

            ARD did not come with the eMacs. The school would not pay for it. When _I_ saw the price tag, I obtained it through ... other means. Given that these kids were 7th graders, her ability to shut down every computer when class was over (as well as perform other functions like upgrades, monitor which websites they were surfing, etc.) was invaluable.

            If the admin was $100, I would have bought it myself and taken the tax write-off, no questions asked. Heck, I'd even consider getting it just for my own personal

      • by ktappe (747125)
        Enterprises still not using Mac OS machines
        Is that so? Then why did this major bank just buy 2500 Macs? [yahoo.com]

        -Kurt

        • Did you read the article? It's a marketing gimmick.

          "It makes (Aozora) look young, it makes them look hip, it makes them look like a challenger brand."

          • by ktappe (747125)
            Did you read the article? It's a marketing gimmick.
            I wouldn't have posted it if I hadn't read it. Twice.

            And if you had read it yourself, you'd realize that it's not possible for it to entirely be a marketing gimmick. This is 2500 employees with only a Mac on their desks. What, are they all supposed to be just taking up space or do you suppose they're doing real work? If the latter, then the Macs are functional, not gimmicks.

            -Kurt

    • "In a related story Microsoft announced that Windows Vista" ... "will ship in" 8 - 12 "months."

      The Remote Desktop software that's built into Vista is essentially the same as the Citrix based 'Hydra', formally known as Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition, which was released in 1998. It has clients for Windows CE, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003, and can also be accessed through a web browser.

      Apple's Remote Desktop soft
      • Re:Heh (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moof1138 (215921)
        ARD was the a rebranding of Apple Network Assistant (ANA) with OS X compatibility. Early versions of ARD were ANA compatible. ANA has been around since at least '95, I'm not sure of the original release date, I only recall the first time seeing it in '95. The 2.0.1 update came out in '96, so the original version was out well earlier than that for certain.
  • by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:43PM (#15107104) Journal
    Using ARD as a VNC server was "challenging" enough that everyone just installed the open source osxvnc instead.

    Improvements were in order.
  • I notice this costs money and is priced by how many computers it can manage. Is this the Mac equivalent for Windows Remote Desktop or is this more of an administrative tool?
    • by NoodleSlayer (603762) <ryan&severeboredom,com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @02:09PM (#15107324) Homepage
      This is a full-fledged adminstrative tool.

      You can observe multiple computers, send UNIX commands to Mac OS X clients. (3.0 is 10.3.9 and Tiger only if I remember right), install packages on multiple computers, copy files to multiple computers, shut down, wake up, sleep, restart, search for files, install packages.

      And new in 3.0 (Deuce) is remote spotlight searching, user history reports, and some automator and applescripting for (albeit limited) automation. There's also some nice UI improvements, things like being able to save task templates and remote drag-and-drop (drag a file from the computer you're controlling onto your desktop and vice versa) and remote clipboard (copy-and-paste)
    • On the product page, the pricing was "per administrator" with two levels (1-10 systems or unlimited). If you have nine systems and two administrators, you need two licenses, each costing $299. If you have three administrators and fifty systems or five hundred systems, you need three licenses, each costing $499.

      For enterprise-class software, it seems like a bargain to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is still hundreds of dollars. While Microsoft's Remote Desktop product is still free with most versions of Windows, and Linux still comes with Remote Desktop like functionality still universally built in. And heck, even on OS X you can rig something for free if you're willing to muck about with configuring VNC.

    I can't help but think this is taking Apple Remote Desktop from something that would be a great and useful tool to something ignored and forgotten. Apple doesn't seem to realize that "mac network
    • That was my first thought as well? WTF? VNC and RDP are Free!

      But...Look deeper and you'll see if offers moree than just basic remote access. http://www.apple.com/remotedesktop/ [apple.com]

      When you consider what comes built into Active Directory and XP I agree it seems a bit odd to pay for this. But on the other hand look at it this way, the unlimited Edition is only $499. Compare that to how much a few hundred Macs cost and this becomes a no brainer.
      • Using ARD to do tasks like install packages over the network is much easier then in Active Directory or any Linux counterpart. That is to say its more intuitive.

        And there's things like Multi-Observe that you don't see in other tools.

        Plus combine this with a OS X Server and then you can use things like Remote Set Startup Disk to reimage and entire lab at once. Its a very handy tool, although its a very niche market. Its mostly used by school administrators and admins in graphics design houses and other simil
        • Using ARD to do tasks like install packages over the network is much easier then in Active Directory or any Linux counterpart. That is to say its more intuitive.

          Having deployed multiple different software packages throughout an AD network, I don't really know what you're talking about. It doesn't get a whole lot easier than "add the package to the MMC snapin and it installs on the next login".

          There's also SMS if you have more extensive needs.
    • by mstahl (701501) <marrrrrk&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @02:09PM (#15107321) Homepage Journal
      Those networks that are mac-only are likely small and running on a shoestring budget.

      I don't know where you've been looking for mac-only networks but obviously you have never stepped foot inside a company in the creative industries. Photography, design, print, and graphics happen almost exclusively in mac-only environments (such as the one I work in). Our IT department (and likely many, many others in similar companies around the world) uses ARD to remotely install software so that a technician doesn't have to come over from the other building just to sit and wait for installs to happen.

      In addition, ARD is used extensively in mac-only computer labs on University campuses everywhere. It can be used to allow a single person to sit at a desk in front of the lab and read questions from users in the form of administrator messages. It saves the trouble of having to search in a lab for someone who needs help and it allows an administrator to better multitask while helping students.

      Don't assume that just because you personally don't have a use for something that it's useless. If there weren't a multitude of sites that used ARD version 2 and were all willing to purchase licenses for it, Apple wouldn't bother to come out with a third version.

      • Photography, design, print, and graphics happen almost exclusively in mac-only environments

        Sounds nice, but our company is also a publishing one, and we have a handful of macs and hundreds of XP boxes. Not that I prefer it this way, but that's how it is. We had a "Can anybody do it better than Mr. Gates?" VP in charge of the IT group for about three years and, well, here we are.

        Actually, for the drones working in sales, Macs would be more trouble than they're worth.

        "I can't find my Start button!" Oy...

      • In addition, ARD is used extensively in mac-only computer labs on University campuses everywhere.

        Bingo. I work in such a lab (actually, several labs scattered around a university campus), and we use ARD all the time to remote-control machines, remotely launch UNIX utilities, and remotely gather information. ("I can't remember off the top of my head if the Theatre Lab machines have enough RAM for this app...")

        I'm personally looking forward to ARD 3. Curtain Mode is going to be such a nice improvement

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @02:16PM (#15107392)
      I use ARD 2 faithfully it is a great product that was WAY more capabilites than windows remote desktop, I can manage and view the screen of up to 72 workstations at a time (great for a school envirnment), I can roll out software updates to all clients with one click, run shell scripts on 2000 OSX computers with one click.

      I look forward to using ARD for doing things such as dynamicly rolling out software, for example you can say "Make sure all eMacs with 512MB ram or greater install office 2004 when they boot up on the lan" and from that point on any computer fitting that description (with ARD enabled) will autmaticly download and install office 2004 from the admin machine. (yes I know you can do this with AD, but until now I havn't seen anything that can do it nicely on a MAc) I can run software usage reports to collect data on all applications that are run on the network over a given time period great for making recomendations on what software is used enough to purchase updates for and what software is hardly being utilized. I can copy a file or a string of text on a client (or admin machine) than paste it on the other ARD3 will send the copy / paste data back and forth (this I have not seen anywhere).

      With ARD I can run a small script to collect all client computer information (location, computer name, printers, mac addy) than when I re-image a school full of computers run another script that configures all the machines. imaging, than configuring 150 computers in a day complete with their proper names and default printer configurations is incredibly powerful and because the machines are Macs I can do it all from a single image no mater what mix of iMacs, eMacs, G5 towers etc.. are in the system.

      I could go on but I have to go order my copy of ARD 3.

    • by DevilPen (829588) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @02:21PM (#15107442)

      The administrator portion of ARD is not meant for the user that wants to control his Mac desktop from another computer on the same network. It is meant for the administrators of those Macs on the network. Not just to take control of the desktop remotely, but for generating hardware/software reports, pushing out files, removing files, performing mass installs of packages, etc...

      The client portion of ARD is free. Beginning with 10.3, the client was included with the OS. It is also available for download from Apple's website. You do not need ARD administrator in oder to control a Mac that has the client enabled. In the client there is a setting to enable VNC access. After doing so, that computer can be controlled just like any other computer running a VNC server.

      I do not work in a Mac only environment. But ARD has proven valuable enough for each member of our staff to have their own licensed copy. It saves quite a bit of time when trying to manage ~2000 Macs spread out over the nine buildings in our WAN.

      I do agree that the $499 price is a bit much, considering the major incompatibilities between releases. The main problem is that all those running ARD administrator must be upgraded at the same time. The reason being that a v2 admin cannot fully interact with a v1 client. Once the v1 client is updated (free) to v2, a v1 admin cannot fully interact with the v2 client. Heck, a v2.2 and v2.1 don't even play nice together. I haven't used v3 of the admin yet, but I am not holding my breath for this to change.

      • I've always heard otherwise -- that there is no free version even just to drive the remote machine without administration or metrics.

        Would you mind pointing me to the download of the free client? I did some googling and only came up with this [apple.com], which requires the admin software.

        Thanks very much, VNC is quite tedious to use given its latency.

        • ARD uses VNC for remote desktop administration. VNC server takes no time at all to enable on your machine. It is simply an option in the control panel.
        • As the other respondant has noted, you don't need to install anything; it's already installed in OS X 10.3+; just open the preference pane and configure it.
          • As the other respondant has noted, you don't need to install anything; it's already installed in OS X 10.3+; just open the preference pane and configure it.

            WTF! You mean that all this time, I was fighting with osxvnc for NOTHING?!

            *runs over to the Mac running 10.4*

            Wow. Indeed this works quite well from the Win32 VNCviewer. I always believed you had to buy ARD to do this (and then only control Macs from other Macs, not cross-platform like I'm doing now with VNC).

            Thanks a bunch, even though you now make me fe
            • WTF! You mean that all this time, I was fighting with osxvnc for NOTHING?!

              Wow! I assumed the same thing. Especially given that the Control Panel for it specifically mentions that it is for use with ARD. I never bothered looking into that control panel because I was not willing to buy ARD, since it seemed expensive to me (I incorrectly thought it was just an Apple remote desktop client/server) and I don't really want to control remote control between my old clamshell iBook and Mac mini.

              But this is great! I a
        • The link you posted is correct. The note at the bottom of the page stating that client v2.1 can only be managed by admin v2.1 applies only to managing the client with the ARD admin software. Once the client is installed, VNC access can be turned on by opening the "Sharing" preference pane, selecting "Apple Remote Desktop", clicking the "Access Privileges" button to the right, and finally checking the box in the resulting window that reads "VNC viewers may control screen with password:". The ARD service m
      • ~2000 Macs!!! Where do you work and how can I work there too?
    • Nobody manages PCs with exclusively RDC. You go out and buy SMS, Tivoli, BMC or whatever to distribute software and take inventory. The only problem with this tool is that it doesn't integrate with other, enterprise-wide tools.
    • Remote Desktop IS built into MacOS X, you just need to purchase the client if you want advanced functionality. If you're content with simple remote desktop you can point any old VNC client at it and it works just fine. Just go under Sharing and then Apple Remote Desktop and select your Access Privileges. There's an option that says "VNC viewers may control screen with password". Now, I would NOT suggest using VNC over the wide area network unless you're forwarding it over SSH, but the functionality is t
    • As an admin for a 100 mac network, I ordered my copy today. Seriously, if you've got a real IT department it should be easy to scare up $500 for a license. Adobe CS is twice that, per seat, if you don't get a discount from somewhere. This tool has great value and seeing how I need but a single copy the price isn't that much to ask. If it really bothers you, there's VNC solutions for the mac that are far cheaper and even free.

      What I'm pissed about is ARD2 Admin doesn't work with the intel macs, but ARD3
    • Those networks that are mac-only are likely small and running on a shoestring budget.

      We're not Mac-only (the AutoCAD-using departments require a fair number of Windows boxes), but my college uses ARD with a network of a few hundred Macs, which we spent more than a few shoestrings on. ARD is invaluable, easily worth the price. Heck, it even saved us the cost of a KVM switch (and KVM) for our rack of Xserves.

      As an example of how it's more than just a VNC or Windows Remote analog, we recently encountered

    • The similar Microsoft product is SMS [microsoft.com], not Remote Desktop. The Apple-compatible product similar to Microsoft's Remote Desktop is VNC [realvnc.com].
      • The similar Microsoft product is SMS, not Remote Desktop.

        Yes, and it should be noted that SMS retails for $1,219 for one server with 10 client licenses - significantly more expensive than ARD at $499 for unlimited clients.
  • See the one in the lower right of the picture here [apple.com]? winxp.apple.com... Yet, no where does it specify that ARD works on Windows machines.
    • ...except right below the picture where it says:
      ...your entire network -- not just Macs -- you can also view and control the screens of any Virtual Network Computing (VNC)-enabled computer, including Windows, Linux, and UNIX.
    • In the paragraph directly beneath that picture: Thanks to screen sharing, you can observe one, 10, even 50 screens in action simultaneously, allowing you to closely monitor your network. And that's your entire network -- not just Macs -- you can also view and control the screens of any Virtual Network Computing (VNC)-enabled computer, including Windows, Linux, and UNIX. When a user needs assistance, you take control of any individual screen and view the remote desktop in full-screen mode.
  • by bogie (31020) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:57PM (#15107225) Journal
    "Don't want your admin tasks to be seen? No problem, turn on the new Curtain Mode to block the local user's view of their desktop. This is perfect when you're updating a public display."

    It would of course be fun to have a curtain drop on the user's screen. Fix what the user screwed up and then have the curtain and "house lights" go up with a ta-da! sound. The mystery of how IT performs its functions is safe.
    • by Ryan Amos (16972) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @02:50PM (#15107632)
      Mystery? You mean the fact that I have to sacrifice newborns to Steve Ballmer get my exchange server to not crash once a week?
    • "Pay no attention to the sys admin behind the curtain!"
    • by babbage (61057)
      Yeah. That's the One True Path to a Rewarding IT Career. On one hand, you can make your job seem like "magic", so that every time you do some stupid trivial fix for someone, it's mysterious and inaccessible. This is great, because it makes you seem like a miracle worker, but on the inside it gnaws away at your soul having to do the same monotonous grunt work all the time. Plus, if they ever catch on that these fixes are trivial, you've just tricked your way out of a job. On the other hand, you can make pl
    • Actually, my impression was that curtain mode was using the fast-user-switching sort of functionality to be able to log in and work while the user is logged in and working without interfering with each other's session. At least, I hope so, because that would be really useful.
  • by wazzzup (172351) <astromac@fas[ ]il.fm ['tma' in gap]> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @02:10PM (#15107327)
    Oh wait...there is no upgrade pricing.

    That sucks.
    • Apple doesn't do upgrade pricing.
    • Not just that. There is some confusion at versiontracker.com comments by people who already own 2.x (PPC) version and bought a Mactel laptop.

      I don't know the "remote desktop" scene too much but I think 3.x client is needed for Mactels and if you already own 2.x, you need to buy 3.x and there is no "upgrade" even for that spesific, Apple created situation.

      I am not sure since these days it is like impossible to get "real, sure" info in Mac scene. There are Apple zealots, Anti Intel zealots and Mactel zealots
  • Curtain -> Locks the client and hides from view the client's screen while you control the client computer. Widget -> using Mac OS X Tiger's Dashboard, to provide an easy way to observe the screens of client computers. You dont have to have ARD3 open to use the widget. The Application Usage -> reports that have been in use (any user account on the client) and chronology of when applications were active.
  • Ok, maybe I'm just dumb, but isn't this just a glorified VNC client and maybe server? I mean, all this stuff about putting the remote computer to sleep, waking it up, remote spotlight search, etc. is stuff I do all the time using a free vnc server and client. The only real differences I see is that this has the ability to not just lock the remote user out, but to make your actions invisible. Also, the screenshot shows that you can manage multiple computers at once. So it seems to me that unless you really n
    • It's a lot more than that. Read the other comments.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's a good bit more than VNC. Today, for instance, I used ARD2 to find all instances of a certain file on 35 computers, installed the 10.4.6 update via package to three, checked the version of Adobe Illustrator installed on 5 computers to know how many upgrades to order, copied a binary and some libraries to a system directory on 35 Macs, ran "uptime" on those 35 computers without using a shell script, did a text chat with a user who doesn't have a phone to interactively resolve an issue, copied fonts to a
    • Some of the features are that you can automate a login to all the Macs on your network and run an installer once to all the machines, or send UNIX commands to all the systems at once, or do a Network Spotlight search on all the machines, or send text messages to all the networked machines. Plenty more, please read the article.
  • Still trying to figure out if this the the big 30th anniversary surprise everyone insists Apple is going to release? Or was it Boot Camp, or the recent OSX 10.4 update and iPod volume control. I can't tell. Did Apple even remember it was their Anniversary? Or, did they ignore it like everybody else and feverently working on their Invisi iPod?
  • by jht (5006) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:15PM (#15108405) Homepage Journal
    For those who are Apple consultants (like me), Specialists, or other folks with ASW (Apple Sales Web) access, it's already been posted there as a .dmg file with a pair of serial numbers that expire at year-end. One caution, though - I installed the update over a copy of 2.2 that I'd done the Rosetta hack on to make it run on my MacBook Pro - after I installed the new version it would not recognize my existing version's application password. I had to re-enter the ID and passwords for all the various Macs I manage - fortunately I had almost all of them written down!

    Interestingly, installing the same update on my older PowerBook didn't cause any problems, and the whole list imported properly. Not a super big deal overall, except ARD gives you no way to save the usernames and passwords for transfer (moving the .plist doesn't work). I only have 40-odd machines to keep track of, but this could be an issue for folks with more who already put the older version on an Intel Mac.

    That said, it is definitely an improvement on the older version. And, unlike most older ARD revs, it manages older client versions just fine. You give up the new encryption feature when you do so (no biggie if you connect via a VPN anyway), and I don't know what else yet, but it's reasonably slick thus far.

    For those of you wondering "why does Apple charge for this when Windows gives you Remote Desktop for free?", ARD is not really analogous to Windows' Remote Desktop. To get what Windows gives you, just use any VNC viewer with the built-in VNC client on the Mac. ARD is intended for network administrators, and the remote control features are almost a bonus. Package management, reporting, and all that sort of fun stuff is what you get with ARD.
  • Is there a keyboard shortcut (yet) to go into / out-of full-screen mode? 90% of the time I don't want/need/use full-screen mode, but I find it odd that I have to disconnect, go into preferences, choose the Control/Observe tab, change the option, and re-connect ... all to get into / out-of full-screen mode.

    Every other type of application that gives you a remote has some settable option to do this...

    Am I missing something (ARD 2.2)?
  • I started using ARD 2.2 about 3 weeks ago and I love it. So I was keen to get hold of the latest version, however after visiting the UK Apple store and talking to customer services I find not only is there not a free or min cost upgrade for recent purchases, but there isn't an upgrade path of any kind. I think someone at Apple has forgotten something. Mark
  • by Pete Johnson (687637) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @11:56PM (#15118797)
    For all of you who are shrieking about how outrageously overpriced ARD seems to be, compared to the "free" Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection or VNC, a few important points that nobody else has managed to mention:

    VNC only does ONE thing: it allows remote control of machines graphically (screen sharing). In order to do any of the things one might wish to do to a remote machine, you have to SEE its desktop and perform those tasks as if you were actually sitting at the other computer. There is no way to perform tasks simultaneously on multiple remote computers, or to simply send instructions to the remote computer, except by controlling it and manually performing them using mouse/keyboard just as you would if you were sitting there. The VNC protocol is essentially bitmapped and everything being done - every frame of every screenful of data - has to be transmitted continuously, and all you get is a mirror image of the remote computer's screen.

    RDC is functionally similar to VNC, with the following additions:

    (1) In addition to screen sharing, you can also optionally map your printers and disks so that they appear on the remote computer while you're controlling it, so you could, for instance, print a work document and send it to your printer wherever you happen to be at, or put a software installation CD in your drive wherever you happen to be at, and then install that software onto the remote computer because it would also appear in its My Computer as an available drive. Likewise, you can map sounds on the remote computer to yours so that you can hear them.

    (2) The RDC protocol is (for lack of a better term) vector-based, meaning that instead of transmitting the remote computer's screen image pixel-by-pixel, this is all performed using the RDC display language. To use an anology, if VNC is a bitmapped inkjet printer, RDC is a postscript printer. This makes the RDC protocol much faster, and remote control is significantly snappier and more responsive as a result. This also means that the desktop you are controlling does not need to be appear identically on both machines; consequently, if the remote computer has a giant widescreen monitor and you're connecting to it on a laptop with a much smaller screen, you don't have to choose between everything being scaled down in size to fit or having to scroll around in order to view the total desktop area; the placement of the taskbar and desktop icons will be adjusted to fit your screen's size.

    Comparing RDC and VNC, they mostly have the same features and work the same way: whatever you need to accomplish on the remote computer has to be done by screen sharing and performing the tasks as if you were sitting at the other machine.

    Apple Remote Desktop is a VASTLY different product.

    First of all, yes, ARD does have a screen sharing capability, just like VNC and RDC, and apparently uses a VNC server as the underlying mechanism. The ARD client component has been a standard part of Mac OS X since Panther (10.3) and can be installed on any other machines free of charge. So any Mac can BE controlled remotely either right out of the box or by installing the client which doesn't have a cost. Any Mac can CONTROL another one with any VNC client, without purchasing any copies of the full ARD product for either machine. Of course, if you do have the full ARD product, it allows you to remotely control any other computer that either has the ARD client OR is running the VNC server, including *nix and Windows machines.

    However, beyond screen sharing, ARD does a ton of other things that neither RDC or VNC do at all, period, including:

    (1) A huge number of tasks can be performed on a remote computer simply by transmitting commands to that computer -- NOT by viewing its screen and then manually performing the task. This includes everything from shutting a machine down to installing software packages and executing UNIX commands and shell scripts. NONE of these tasks require you to actually view the remote computer's sc

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