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I'm looking for some advice or suggestions on how to "manage" a small number of Mac computers in a mostly Windows 2003/2008 environment. We have about a dozen Macs used by the web team and I'd like to be able to process queries to find out things like software installed, versions, etc as I would with something like Psinfo against Windows computers. Something I can run from a XP workstation or Windows 7 workstation and that is non-intrusive would be great. I have lots of experience with Windows based machines but none, or next to none, with Macs. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.

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3 Answers 3

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Apple Remote Desktop does much of what you want, but you need a Mac to run it from. They are scriptable via perl, python, or ruby, but you'll have to install your platform of choice on your Windows box.

As far as the installed applications, you'd have to walk the filesystem for .app bundles, but the Mac doesn't have an all-encompassing Registry like Windows. (Though you may be able to query Spotlight, the search database.)

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Yep, that's pretty much what I'm looking for. Now, how do I get my management to pay for it? : ) –  Mitch Dec 13 '10 at 14:25
    
Beyond the scope of the question <wink /> –  gWaldo Dec 13 '10 at 19:38
    
Tell them that it's necessary for the well-ordered running of the network infrastructure. If they don't know any better, make up some scare-mongering that (rightly) keeps the Windows security product market alive (things will break, intrusions, lawsuits for using unlicensed software, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria...) –  gWaldo Dec 13 '10 at 19:40

About this Mac > More Info > Software > Applications

Run that with the Activity Monitor open, so you can check where are the binaries or execs.

Maybe you can write your own script for all Macs. If not, well it's just a small number and I don't think that applications change that often. (weekly?)

Hope it helps.

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Thanks for the input but that looks like something that requires me to walk to the Mac? I need this to be a remotely run to avoid "bothering" the Mac people if possible. –  Mitch Dec 12 '10 at 18:47
    
Just ran the activity monitor. The executable is: /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/MacOS/AppleSpell . Imma try to find the log file now so i can point it out 4 u. cheers. –  misterte Dec 12 '10 at 19:39
    
nope. couldn't. goes beyond my skills. goog luck though. –  misterte Dec 12 '10 at 19:59

SpiceWorks might be able to do what you need. The SpiceWorks monitoring application runs on a Windows system and should be able to query any IP addressable device. (I've never used SpiceWorks; just heard about it.)

"Unofficial" documentation on monitoring Macs.

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