New Browser definitions added to PRS

New Browser Definitions

We have recently added definitions to our Product Recognition Service for versions 23-25 of Firefox, versions 29-30 of Google Chrome, and version 11 of Internet Explorer. If you have these versions installed at your site, you should automatically receive the new product definitions. However, your Products window may be filtered to hide Ignored products, in which case these new definitions which are ignored by default won’t be visible. Check the earlier post, What the Ignored Status means for Products, for a complete explanation of why some definitions are initially hidden.

Why we create ignored definitions for browsers

While the majority of K2 Administrators do not routinely look at audits or usage of browsers, it is common enough that we want to provide browser definitions for those who need them. We don’t attempt to publish these definitions the moment a new browser version is released for two reasons. First, we prioritize working on commercial products that are widely managed using K2. Second, several common browsers are releasing new “major version” updates on an almost monthly basis.

Why we set browser definitions to Ignored

In the earlier post, we explained:

Normally, importing a product definition from PRS forces program variant mask changes to align with what is needed by the new product definition. Ignored products don’t finalize program association – so they don’t force a mask change.

Since we know that some K2 administrators prefer to treat all versions of Firefox as a single program, we did not want to force a program variant mask change every time a new version of Firefox is released (which can be as frequently as once a month). Also, we did not want Audit Products reports to automatically start including all browsers, without an Administrator specifying that they care about these browsers. Setting the Sassafras definitions for browsers to Ignored achieves both of these goals.

Administrators who don’t care about browsers whatsoever don’t have to take any action at all, they can simply Ignore the Ignored products. Administrators who have created their own product definition with mask full left can continue managing all browser versions at once. Administrators who want to report on browsers by major version (either in Audit or Usage reports) can move the browser definitions from Ignored to Unreferenced, and optionally create Policies as needed.

Precise installed versions

Sometimes K2 Administrators will want to know exactly which versions of software are installed – it is not enough to know the major version installed. This would generally be for a Patch Management process. Historically, this could be done in K2 using the “Version Installs” button inside a program details window, and looking at installs of one single version at a time. Alternatively, the variant mask for the program could be set to “full right”, causing each distinct version to be treated separately throughout the interface. The downside to changing the mask is the then in order to log or control usage, the Administrator would have to continually ensure that any new versions were being configured in a policy.

In a recent version of KeyConfigure, we added a new Option to Audit reports – “Report on exact versions instead of variants”. This new checkbox can be found in the Options pane of the Report Builder window. This is a great way to temporarily look at exact versions that are installed, without changing any configuration settings.

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