(UPDATE: If you’re interested in a Snow Leopard upgrade process, please see this post for updated instructions.)
adminertia : an admin at rest tends to stay at rest and an admin in motion tends to want to return to rest as soon as possible.
When Leopard was first released, I was almost grateful that it didn’t work reliably with Active Directory since that flaw provided me with a valid excuse for not having an upgrade procedure ready to roll when upgrade requests started trickling in from my users. I knew that by the time Apple got around to releasing an update that made Leopard work well with AD, the number of requests would have increased significantly. I needed to have a method of handling them in a timely manner.
Walking around the building with an installer DVD or a FireWire drive in hand doesn’t exactly rank as timely, nor does it rank as anything close to what I want to be doing with my time. NetBooting from a copy of the installer DVD is a slightly better option, but that would require applying a handful of OS and security updates after the initial install in order to bring each computer up-to-date. NetBooting with a NetRestore set created with Mike Bombich‘s (otherwise) excellent software is not an option because it can’t upgrade a computer, only overwrite it.
Because I have chosen not to use Radmind in my environment, it seemed my options for creating a more or less automated upgrade to take Macs running 10.4.x directly to the latest version of Leopard were severely limited. After much despair, head scratching, and a little behind-the-scenes investigation, I discovered that Leopard’s System Image Utility could be wrangled to accomplish my goal.