"Perhaps it's just me, but it appears that softwareupdated became more stable around macOS 13.4. Is it still causing crashes or hangs on your Macs? What about in Sonoma? Has Apple officially addressed these issues?
Do we still need to use 'launchctl kickstart -k system/com.apple.softwareupdated' in a policy nowadays? Is this still a common practice?"
I have not had any issues with Softwareupdated in a very long time. Typically issues with daemons are cause by long uptimes, I have had a policy in my environment that forces a reboot at 14 days uptime for years now. Bad user behavior is the root cause of many issues.