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I have OS X server set up as a directory server with portable home directories. I'd like to guarantee the 3-4 client Macs all have the same applications and versions installed without having to manually install everything. All I can find is documentation on how to set up the update server.

Do I need to get Remote Desktop 3 to be able to do what I want?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are a variety of tools that'll let you manage client software centrally: Apple Remote Desktop, radmind, filewave, Puppet, JAMF's Casper suite, ... as well as the option of scripting it yourself. However, all of these will involve a fair bit of up-front effort and/or expense; for only 3-4 clients, it's generally easiest to just manage the computers manually.

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There's also StarDeploy (stardeploy.com) and munki (code.google.com/p/munki) for managing a software repo that the client macs connect to and download/install software from. –  snk Jan 4 '11 at 1:59
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