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Turns out this is a polkit issue, although I’m not sure if it is strictly a polkit issue (very likely) or some kind of polkit/NX Connect interaction issue (much less likely). I temporarily edited the /usr/share/polkit-1/actions/org.freedesktop.packagekit.policy file (permanent edits to this file is not the recommended approach to solving such problems!) and set the <allow_any>,<allow_active>, and <allow_inactive> settings to “yes” for actions <action id=”org.freedesktop.packagekit.package-install”> and <action id=”org.freedesktop.packagekit.system-update”>. This permitted PackageKit to run the system updates (although it hung at the last clean-up step, probably because I hadn’t changed the <package-remove> action). I tried adding an override rule .pkla file to the /etc/polkit-1/localauthority directory, but that didn’t work for some reason or another.
So it doesn’t look like a NoMachine issue. I might recommend, however, that upon completion of the install, the nx-connect server package echo a note to the console suggesting the user check the statis of their polkit files for administrative. This would give them a hint where to start looking when things don’t work as expected. Thanks!