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Presented by Francis Beaumier, IT Specialist, Brown County Library, at WiLSWorld 2016 on August 2nd, 2016.
Our public computer setup is fairly typical: Windows computers kept off of the private network and thus disconnected from any central management. We runfreezing software to keep the machines at a known state and keep software updates off because they wouldn’t stick anyway. Fast forward a few months and Firefox, Flash, and Java are all several versions out of date. And the customers are starting to notice: Facebook requires a newer version of Flash for the new selfie cam feature, Java refuses to run code on an assessment site because it knows it’s outdated, and Gmail kindly points out that the version of Firefox in use is now no longer supported. Learn how we put an end to this madness by creating a simple patch management system built on PowerShell, PHP, MAKEMSI, Orca, and a little bit of AutoIt, VB, and Batch file scripting. You will see how we progressed from sharing four updates to seven machines to serving half a GB of updates (including Acrobat Reader, Adobe Air, Firefox, Flash, Java, Paint.NET, Shockwave, Skype and more) in six different update “channels” county-wide, all on a $0 budget. All of our source code will be made available to you and discussed in enough detail during the presentation that you’ll be able to get up and running quickly at your own library. We’ll discuss our approach to dealing with small hard drives and fickle Internet connections. You’ll learn some of our missteps along the way. You’ll get to know our current system’s quirks and limitations. Finally, I’ll discuss some techniques and workarounds for getting even the most stubborn patches installed.