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April 5th, 2000

[12:30 PM] Apple's Auto-Update System Leaves Some Users Disappointed
by Kyle D'Addario

Update: We have posted a follow-up report on this issue.

Apple's first big test of the much hyped auto-update feature at the system wide level, the Software Update control panel, has apparently left many users wondering what went wrong. Postings on news groups and forums across the web all report the same problems with the control panel. Users either find that the Software Update program gives an error claiming that there is no internet connection, or that there are no updates available. In most cases, especially with the release of OS 9.0.4 late yesterday, neither error message has been accurate.

No Mac Observer staff members were successfully able to obtain the latest OS release via the Software Update control panel, and were forced to use the more traditional file download method. While this in itself is not a major issue, some sites have reported that the Software Update control panel is the only way to get OTHER mission critical updates once 9.0.4 is installed. While there are no confirmed reports that this is the case, what is known is that once installing the OS update, the Software Control panel still fails to function.

If Apple has indeed designed the upgrade from OS 9 to 9.0.4 to be conducted via the Software Update control panel, in whole or part, users are currently being left with a full version of Apple's latest and greatest OS remaining just out of reach.

The Mac Observer Spin: Software auto-update features are becoming a critical part of any good software application developed today. While the concept remains a novelty at this point, soon users will be shocked when special effort is needed to have the most current versions of critical applications on their drives. Apple is again at the forefront of such thinking with the Auto Update feature. As of now, it seems that the program just plain does not work. As one Mac Observer staff member pointed out, "Funny how their alliance with Akamai, which is supposed to help offer localized server content, can't fix this problem. Among their many problems, at least Microsoft manages to have enough servers up to handle the load, in my experience." Apple needs to jump on this issue and make it a non-issue before too long. With things going so well for Apple, any news out of Cupertino is big news...bad news is no exception.

If you are able to use the Auto Update control panel successfully, please let us know.


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