Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Oslo, Norway, to participate in an OS X workshop for the various public universities in Norway. The idea is for the universities to cooperate on developing best practices and procedures for managing OS X machines in the Norwegian universities, and this workshop was a step toward that goal. I was invited to participate to provide a different perspective and share some of my expertise in/knowledge of/experience with various aspects of Mac OS X management.
The first day of the three-day workshop was conducted in Norwegian; but that was my “recover from jet lag day”, so I did not meet up with the workshop participants until the evening at an Irish pub — The Dubliner. Topics and tools covered that day included DeployStudio, InstaDMG, and Puppet. While the workshop participants explored these things, I explored the city center of Oslo. I particularly enjoyed the National Gallery and standing inches from works of art like Rodin’s The Thinker and Munch’s The Scream.
The following days of the conference were conducted (mostly) in English. I spoke a lot the second day, presenting on topics like the systems environment at my place of business, managing clients using MCX, the Apple package format, packaging tools, and of course, Munki. Other presenters looked at The Luggage, Joe Block’s packaging tool and Gary Larriza’s recipes for The Luggage. There was also a mention of pymacadmin.
The third day, the workshop participants broke into smaller groups and attempted to create things based on what we had discovered and learned the previous two days. For example, one group created a customized install of Adobe CS5 Design Premium and another group worked on a customized install of Microsoft Office 2011 (excluding Outlook, Communicator, and Messenger). Still other groups created packages to install a Norwegian (Bokmål) language dictionary and a customized install of Adobe Acrobat X (minus the web plugin).
In all of the tasks that involved creating customized installs of existing packages, we avoided repackaging, instead choosing to use ChoiceChangesXML files or editing the Distribution files (and for the Adobe CS5 suite, using AAMEE 1.2 to build the installation “package”).
All of these packages were tested for automated install using Munki, which was gratifying and terrifying at the same time. Live demonstrations in front of people is always where unexpected bugs show up, but Munki was (mostly) well-behaved this time. We discovered some complexities and pitfalls of modifying packages, using PackageMaker, and using Munki with customized installs.
I think overall, the workshop was a success. Participants learned about some of the management tools available to OS X administrators, got some “hands-on” opportunity to work with these tools, and began the process of figuring out how they could help each other by sharing techniques, processes, and even share actual packages if possible.
Evenings were spent sampling Oslo restaurants. I had excellent dinners at Kampen Bistro and Oslo Spiseforretning. On Friday, I had a chance to visit the broadcast facilities of NRK, the Norwegian National Broadcasting network, and the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, where the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships are being held this week and next. http://www.oslo2011.no/ has more information.
Lunch at the Holmenkollen Restaurant included reindeer steak, which was excellent.
Thanks to Thomas Hansen from the University of Oslo (UiO) for inviting me and serving as an excellent host. Also thanks to Jan Ivar Beddari from the University of Bergen, Anders Bruvik and Frank Paul Silye of UiO, Dag Tore Antonsen from NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) for guiding me around the city and sharing some of their time. I enjoyed my conversations with many of the other workshop participants as well! It’s always interesting to get new perspectives, as well as discuss the common challenges we all face.
I’m hoping to meet up with many of my new Norwegian friends again at MacSysAdmin 2011 in Göteborg (Gothenburg), Sweden.
One of the more popular posts on this site has been this one on managing Microsoft Office 2008.
Microsoft Office 2011 is now available to volume license customers (and soon to everyone). We’re not yet deploying it at my organization, so I haven’t done much work with it. But others have — so if you are looking for some information on managing Office 2011, check out:
At the bottom are new keys added in iTunes 10:
Each of these take a boolean value.
Previously there was a single “disableCheckForUpdates” key that, when set to True, would disable both checking for updates to iTunes and checking for updates for iPhone/iPod/iPad devices. Now you can be more granular in your management.
In this book, Ed Marzcak and I cover Apple’s Managed Preferences, or MCX from a practical standpoint. We discuss how Managed Preferences work, what they can manage, and some of the options you should consider. We cover several implementation scenarios, including Active Directory schema extension and even Local MCX. We also provide several step-by-step “recipes” for managing specific applications and features of Mac OS X. Written with Snow Leopard in mind, most of the examples and discussion is also applicable to Leopard, and in some cases, to Tiger as well.
Earlier this week, I outlined some changes to my Local MCX implementation. I moved all of my computer and computergroup records (that existed solely to hold MCX data) from the Default local DS store at /var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default/ to a newly created node at /var/db/dslocal/nodes/MCX/.
In order to make this new local node do anything useful, you have to add it to the authentication search path. In this post I used Directory Utility to perform this task. That’s great when you’re doing your initial testing, but not terribly useful when to need to roll this change out to hundreds of machines (or more!). Continue reading “Yet again with the Local MCX”→