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Run Software Update from the Terminal UNIX
The brand-new software update 7-12-02 has been released, fixing the concerns about faked software updates. Quick response from Apple!

Additionally, by perusing the .bom file, I discovered it also installed a softwareupdate tool in /usr/sbin. This tool lets you run Software Update from the command line, which means you could run it remotely via SSH! This will be very useful for OSX network admins. For the full details:
 % man softwareupdate
[Editor's note: If you'd like to browse the .bom files yourself, it's quite easy. In the Terminal, just do:
 % cd /Library/Recepits/pkgname.pkg/Contents/Resources
% ls *.bom ## to find filename
% lsbom | less ## use name from above
This will show you everything which has been installed by the given update.]
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Run Software Update from the Terminal | 10 comments | Create New Account
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Software Update?
Authored by: Ezra Balaraj on Jul 16, '02 10:48:07AM

Surely you mean Security Update. Correct me if I am wrong.

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Re:Software Update?
Authored by: timrob on Jul 16, '02 11:43:37AM

Nope, He means softwareupdate.
Run software update from system preferences.
After the update is installed, just open a terminal and
type %softwareupdate or %man softwareupdate

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Re:Software Update?
Authored by: Greenfruit on Jul 16, '02 04:53:21PM

excellent, i can update my mac remotely ;-))

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any option to save updates?
Authored by: mithras on Jul 17, '02 06:53:51AM

In the GUI updater, you can select to save the update package before you install it. That's handy for archiving the updates to CD, or for installing on multiple computers while saving download time.

I wonder if there's even a hidden option to do that with the softwareupdate tool? It'd be a nice touch for the next rev, anyway...

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any option to save updates?
Authored by: bluehz on Jul 17, '02 12:31:05PM

man pages don't say anything about saving updates. This is a feature I use a lot and would liketo find a way to do this. Wonder if we could pipe it to a tar archive or something after it has completed installing?

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You can do it with .pkg installers before they start too
Authored by: ontangent on Jul 17, '02 04:39:04PM

You can look at what files a .pkg installer like the apple software updates (if you download them before installing) are going to install before they start too.

I think the option only becomes avaliable after you have oked the License though but then you can go to File:Show Files and it will give you a text listing of everthing it is going to install and in what folders on your drive (only saw this last week too, so I do not know how long it has been there).

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Run .pkg installs from terminal?
Authored by: moylek on Jul 19, '02 04:06:41PM

Anyone have any easy way of installing from .pkg files from the terminal?


Kenneth C. Moyle
-> Analyst, Research & High-Performance Computing Support
-> - (905) 525-9140 X24156
McMaster University - Hamilton, Ontario (Canada)

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Run .pkg installs from terminal?
Authored by: TvE on Apr 11, '04 01:31:22PM

man install I think...

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Run Software Update from the Terminal
Authored by: artemio on Apr 09, '04 07:09:16PM
As several users have already pointed out, you can perform software updates in the command line with the command
On the other hand, the Software Update program allows you to save to disk the update you're downloading by choosing "Install and keep" instead of just "Install". Although
man softwareupdates
does not list any similar options in the CLI utility,
softwareupdate --help
shows an additional option not mentioned in the man page, namely -d:

-d | --download Download (to directory set in InternetConfig) 
I've tried it several times and on several computers (all running 10.3.3). It always dies at 50% of progress with a "Bus error". The package, however, seems to be downloaded in full, only it's kept in the /tmp/ directory, and not moved to the download folder. Has anybody gotten this option to work?


Artemio Gonzalez

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Run Software Update from the Terminal
Authored by: dmackler on Apr 10, '04 07:00:34PM

I've had the same problem (and the same solution - to look in /tmp) since Panther came out. And this was with an archive & install.

I though it might have been my preferences for the download directory. As there is no longer an Internet Config, I changed the download directory both in Safari and in IE. It made no difference. I also changed it from a folder on my second (data) drive to my desktop (on the main drive) thinking it might be a problem going across drives. Still no difference.

And then I just gave up.


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