IRC and the Mac admin community

March 3, 2015 Leave a comment

One of the interesting developments of the past few years has been the use of IRC by the Mac admin community to get more of us “together” in the same place to ask questions and get help from each other. For me, it’s been an invaluable resources in solving problems as many pairs of eyes can look at a particular issue and arrive at a solution (or even multiple solutions.)

For those interested in joining the conversation, here are the two IRC channels on Freenode that you’re most likely to find me in:

##osx-server: http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=#%23osx-server

#jamfnation: http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=%23jamfnation

If you’re new to IRC, I recommend reading Tom Bridge‘s A Field Guide to IRC, available from AFP548.

Categories: Mac administration

Deploying Sophos Enterprise Anti-Virus for Mac 9.2.x

February 26, 2015 6 comments

With the release of Sophos Enterprise Anti-Virus 9.2.x, Sophos changed how their enterprise antivirus solution for Macs was installed. While previous versions of Sophos Enterprise used an Apple installer metapackage, Sophos has now switched to using an application to install their enterprise antivirus software.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 7.48.51 PM

This switch was a problem for Mac admins who wanted to deploy Sophos Enterprise Anti-Virus 9.2.x, as the previously-available installer package had simplified the task of deployment. The new Sophos Enterprise Anti-Virus 9.2.x install application added further complexity by storing many of the installer’s files and other components outside the application in a separate Sophos Installer Components directory.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 7.50.06 PM

However, after doing some research and testing, it looks like it is possible to repackage Sophos Enterprise 9.2.x for deployment. For more details, see below the jump.

Read more…

AutoPkg slides from the January 2015 MacDMV meeting

February 21, 2015 Leave a comment

The January 2015 MacDMV meeting on Saturday, January 24th was quite the event, between having to move from our planned meeting place due to a fire and figuring out the best way to give Keynote presentations while gathered around a table at the Silver Diner for an impromptu brunch. All obstacles were overcome though, and I was able to collaborate with Jennifer Unger on a talk about AutoPkg.

For those who want a copy of the AutoPkg talk, here are links to the slides in PDF and Keynote format:

PDF: http://tinyurl.com/MacDMVAutoPkgPDF

Keynote slides: http://tinyurl.com/MacDMVAutoPkgKeynote

Categories: MacDMV

Oracle’s Java 8 Update 31 has been updated to …. Java 8 Update 31

February 13, 2015 8 comments

Oracle has released a new update for Java 8, but this update has an interesting wrinkle. Oracle has put out a new build of Java 8, but didn’t bump the version number from Java 8 Update 31. So folks who had previously installed Java 8 Update 31 may receive a message to update to Java 8 Update 31 from their current version, which will also be Java 8 Update 31.

This may lead to some confusion.


Update 2-16-2015: It appears that the update feed for Java 8 Update 31 has been updated to reference 1.8.31.13 (aka Java 8 Update 31 build 13):

https://javadl-esd-secure.oracle.com/update/mac/au-1.8.0_31.xml

There’s no information available on why the change was made. My speculation is that Oracle decided that updating the Sparkle feed for Java 8 Update 31 so that it was no longer providing Java 8 Update 31 build 15 as an update for Java 8 Update 31 build 13 was the best way to help avoid future confusion over updates for Java 8 Update 31.

It looks like 1.8.31.15 (aka Java 8 Update 31 build 15) is still the version being provided through the Java download site:

https://www.java.com/download

I checked the update feeds for Java 8 Update 20 and Java 8 Update 05 and both of those feeds are still providing 1.8.31.15 as well:

https://javadl-esd-secure.oracle.com/update/mac/au-1.8.0_05.xml

https://javadl-esd-secure.oracle.com/update/mac/au-1.8.0_20.xml

Unfortunately, there is still no information available about Java 8 Update 31 build 15 and how it differs from Java 8 Update 31 build 13.


java_8_update_31

Build numbers for the two Java 8 Update 31 releases

January’s Java 8 Update 31 (released on January 20, 2015): Java 8 Update 31 build 13

February’s Java 8 Update 31 (released on February 10, 2015): Java 8 Update 31 build 15

If you have Java 8 Update 31 installed, you can find out which build you have by running the following command in Terminal:

defaults read /Library/Internet\ Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin/Contents/Info.plist CFBundleVersion

If you have Java 8 Update 31 build 13, the following string will be returned:

1.8.31.13

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 12.39.10 PM

If you have Java 8 Update 31 build 15, the following string will be returned:

1.8.31.15

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 12.30.22 PM

Following installation of Java 8 Update 31 build 15, I tested on a 10.10.2 Mac against the following sites:

My work’s Juniper VPN

Oracle’s Java Test page: https://www.java.com/en/download/help/testvm.xml

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 12.09.11 PM

Java Tester’s Java Version page: http://javatester.org/version.html

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 12.08.47 PM

In all three cases, the Java applets on those sites launched and worked without issue using Java 8 Update 31 build 15 (though the javatester.org applet needed to be whitelisted.)

Categories: Java, Mac administration

Certificate authority expiration and Apple software updates

February 10, 2015 2 comments

A while back, there was an issue when the certificate Apple used to digitally sign installers expired. This issue was handled by Apple in a couple of ways:

  1. Reissuing installers signed with an updated certificate
  2. Adding the -allowUntrusted function to the installer command line tool

In the past couple of weeks, Apple has released new versions of a number of updates, which are now available for download by folks running Apple’s Software Update service or third-party tools like Reposado. Most of these updates were for older OSs where Apple has since stopped providing new updates. When these updates were checked, there didn’t seem to be any difference between the “old” and “new” versions of the installers.

So why is Apple pushing new copies of the updates to Mac admins’ software update servers? The answer appears to be again in the digital signing of the updates. For more details, see below the jump.

Read more…

Free tools for the budget-minded Mac admin

February 4, 2015 10 comments

In the ##osx-server IRC room, a question that comes up fairly often from new Mac admins is one similar to this:

I’m on a tight budget. Are there any free tools that I can use to help manage my Macs?

There are a lot of free tools available to Mac admins, a number of which are community-built open-source tools. Here’s a list of free tools to get started with:


Update 2-4-2015: Tom Bridge has put together a list of free or cheap Mac sysadmin tools.



Imaging and machine building

Installer package building and development

FileVault 2 recovery key management

Mac management

NetBoot

OS installation and upgrades

Software management and deployment

Know of any more free tools to help manage Macs? Got a favorite that you think is missing from the list? Let me know in the comments.

Installing the Xcode command line tools on 10.7.x and later

February 2, 2015 5 comments

A number of Mac admins need to provide the Xcode Command Line Tools for the Macs in their environments, either as part of building machines or afterwards. To help with this task, I’ve developed a script that will download and install the Xcode Command Line Tools on Macs running 10.7.x and higher. See below the jump for more details.

Read more…

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