ARD includes a very handy script called kickstart (/System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart), to configure the Remote Desktop agent, which is also what Leopard's Screen Sharing uses. This is important because Murphy says that you will always first need to connect to a recently installed machine and only then discover the ARD agent is off. With the kickstart agent, you can configure user access to Remote Desktop through an ssh connection, and turn the agent on.

Unfortunately, it never worked for me. I have tried to use kickstart on at least 4 separate occasions (always on Tiger systems), and it never did what I wanted. Tonight, I used it on a 10.5.1 system, and in about 5 minutes I had access (manually tunneled through ssh, no less). It would have been faster if the kickstart command was simple (it's somewhat involved), or if I wasn't determined to configure access controls before turning on ARD. It's easy to configure ARD access via System Preferences:Sharing, but bad practice to enable services without access control configured.

Hoo-rah!

To learn about kickstart, use sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -help. If WordPress won't let you read that whole line, try copying it into another program. Apple's Apple Remote Desktop Administrator’s Guide includes some helpful examples.

We also use an UID 0 account, which doesn't appear in System Preferences:Sharing, so I tend to create the account, set the UID, remember ARD, and curse as I discover I can no longer enable ARD access to that account without restoring the UID -- quite a nuisance. Since local accounts are now stored in .plist files, adding our UID 0 account and giving it ARD access should both be much easier now.