Why Share?

This post was originally going to be titled “why open source”, but after I received my feedback following my talks at Penn State MacAdmins, I decided to expand it a little.

Ever since I thought I had something that someone else my be interested in hearing, I’ve wanted to give back to the Mac admin community. As someone who’s worked in the commercial sector, this might seen a bit strange. I mean, we’re basically giving away what makes pebble.it money, right?

To a certain extent, that’s 100% correct. The vast majority of what we’ve done over the past few years is open source - lunacy!

One developer or a hundred?

Usually when I make a script or some other tool, it’s because I have a need for it. That means I’m going to have to write it anyway. Then OS X Spinal Tap 10.11 comes out and breaks my script. I might not find out until I actually come to deploy the OS if it’s working. When I open source it, I’ve hopefully got many people using it and willing to file bug reports. If I’m really lucky I might have someone willing and able to contribute code to fix it.

Something that might have taken me weeks to get around to fixing can be sorted in days.

The most important reason of all

I doubt anyone reading this has never been helped by anyone. Whether it’s blog posts from the likes of Rich Trouton, looking at code by Greg Neagle, or one of the many posts on Mac Enterprise, there are scores of people offering their knowledge and expertise, asking for nothing in return. Sharing helps our community thrive; without people able to support OS X in the enterprise, OS X won’t be deployed to the enterprise. In short, it’s the right thing to do.

Restricting access to OS X 10.10

We’re as excited as anyone about Yosemite at pebble.it - I’ve been running it as my day-to day OS since Developer Preview 2. However, Apple changed the game a little bit when they announced the Public Beta Program. What was previously only available to members of the paid developer program, is now available to all. If you want to keep your users to stay on the stable version of OS X until you’ve tested it, Apple have published a profile that will restrict access to unreleased versions of OS X. Their suggestions for deploying this are either Profile Manager (which isn’t suitable in any environment) or emailing it to users and asking them to install it (which is incredibly optimistic!).

If you are using a tool that can install packages, such as Casper, Apple Remote Desktop, or our preferred method Munki, you fortunately have a better option. Using Tim Sutton’s Make Profile Pkg, you can make a package that will deploy your preferences. First off, you’re going to need to install the command line tools for Xcode. Everything preceded with a $ should be typed into a terminal window.

$ xcode-select --install

Once you’ve got the tools installed, we can get Make Profile Pkg downloaded:

$ cd ~/Desktop

$ git clone https://github.com/timsutton/make-profile-pkg.git

And assuming you’ve downloaded the profile from Apple and have left it in your Downloads directory:

$ cd ~/Desktop/make-profile-pkg

$ ./make_profile_pkg.py ~/Downloads/HT6311-BlockYosemiteBeta.mobileconfig

And you get a package out of it! Or, you could just use this pre-built one.

Sal hits the Docker Index

Pepijn Bruienne has just released his Dockerfile to set up a Docker Container for Sal, the open source version of the pebble.it Client Dashboard.

What is Docker?

Docker is an open-source project to easily create lightweight, portable, self-sufficient containers from any application.

Essentially, it’s the modern way to distribute applications that run on Linux - rather than shipping a whole virtual machine like you would in the old days, you get only the parts that make that application unique.

Big thanks to Pepijn for making it even easier to get up and running with Sal.