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Question
I'm trying to create a bootable installer for High Sierra 10.13.6 under Catalina. To create the installer app I invoked the softwareupdate command this way:

sudo softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 10.13.6

Obviously the download started. Then after reporting a progress of about 60% it failed:

Downloading and installing 10.13.6 installer
Install failed with error: Update not found 

Any idea what went wrong here? Any advice is highly welcome.

Hardware-Software-Environment

MacBook Pro 2019 running macOS 10.15.4 Catalina. There is no encryption enabled.

Background
As discussed in the first two posts mentioned below you may start with the recipe from this article How to upgrade to macOS High Sierra. This provides you with theApp Store link. At least for me, when initiating the download from a MacBook Pro running OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan, this resulted in creating only the stub installer (as described, among others, in the references below).

References
These two posts, although somewhat more general, are closely related to my above question:

How do I download macOS High Sierra for offline install?

macOS High Sierra media installer

Discussing use cases of the option --fetch-full-installer of the softwareupdatecommand new in macOS Catalina
https://derflounder.wordpress.com/2019/10/28/downloading-macos-installers-with-updated-signing-certificates-on-macos-catalina/

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  • You can download the installer using links given at support.apple.com/downloads/macos using a command line tool that lets you pause and resume the download. wget for example. – anki Apr 13 '20 at 17:01
  • Thanks, that looks promising. At the first glance I recognize a lot of Security Updates. Do you think there is a full installer download available for High Sierra? – Johnmager Apr 13 '20 at 17:21
  • yes there are many: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacOS_High_Sierra#Release_history look for combo update – anki Apr 13 '20 at 17:25
  • @ankii, The link you provided does not offer the full installer of any version of macOS nor can one use wget (which is not a default manOS utility), to download the full installer of macOS as a single application bundle directly from Apple as if what's typically present in /Applications as when done from the App Store's download is complete. – user3439894 Apr 13 '20 at 17:25
  • @user3439894 it seems I had Xcode in my mind & I applied the same thing here. App Store is the way to go then. (also : brew install wget) – anki Apr 13 '20 at 17:27
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You are right - this seems to work only if the executing mac does support running the target OS. A download of 10.13.6 succeeds on MacMini7,1 and in a VM but fails on a MacMini8,1. Given that, it is likely you also get hardware specific builds if these are available for a given OS.

The installinstallmacos.py script lists all available options and does show Unsupported Board ID or Unsupported macOS version in cases that are not supported but it is able to download the installers from supposably the same source as the softwareupdate tool.

So either run softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer on compatible hardware, in a VM or use installinstallmacos.py.

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    Thanks for your answer. I agree with your considerations. To preserve them for the annals of computer science I'll restate them as Bussmann's conjeture : The softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer command is likely to create hardware specific builds if these are available for a given OS. – Johnmager Apr 27 '20 at 14:29
  • I also agree with your reference to Greg Neagle's installinstallmacos.py script. For details see my post of 2020-04-17 in this thread apple.stackexchange.com/questions/311763/… . – Johnmager Apr 27 '20 at 14:46

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