Home > Mac administration, Mac OS X > Free tools for the budget-minded Mac admin

Free tools for the budget-minded Mac admin

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


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.

  1. February 4, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Good list🙂 You can add Fusion Inventory ( http://www.fusioninventory.org ) to send inventory report on a GLPI server ( http://www.glpi-project.org/spip.php?lang=en )

  2. February 4, 2015 at 4:48 pm


  3. February 4, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    radmind is open source and used for OS X “Software management and deployment” and used by many sites. And gives a tripwire functionality that is missing from all the other tools you have listed.


    • Simon Andersen
      February 5, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Is radmind still usable with modern day OS X? Website doesn’t seem to be updated since Tiger?

      • February 5, 2015 at 7:19 pm

        No, radmind runs on the OS X 10.9 “Mavericks” & OS X 10.10 “Yosemite”. We are using it to maintain the file system on 800 computers running OS X 10.9 “Mavericks” and we have it working on OS X 10.10 “Yosemite”, but waiting on Apple to flushout some critical bugs and updating our backend scripts & code to fully support the new OS. There have been unofficial updates, but currently they are in process of moving the project to other maintainers that will actively update & support it.

        Watch their web site for more details.


  4. cashxx
    February 4, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    “CocoaPacketAnalyzer” in place of wireshark and “AngryIPScanner”

    • Brian LaShomb
      February 5, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Wireshark as of v1.99.1-0-g4c229ca (preview release) has a native gui now, no more X windows.

      • cashxx
        February 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm


  5. Brian LaShomb
    February 5, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    If you are going to mention puppet, you need to include the managedmac module by Brian Warsing. https://github.com/dayglojesus/managedmac

  6. Nic
    February 6, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    If you’re looking for a syslog server … take a look at logstash with elasticsearch and kibana.


  7. March 29, 2015 at 12:53 am

    What about anti-virus and/or malware/adware removal?

    • Patrick Mullen
      March 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Have you tried Adware Medic (http://www.adwaremedic.com)? I used it all the time at Uptown and it works awesome.

      It’s from the folks that do thesafemac.com, which no matter how awful the website looks, was a pretty good resource when this stuff first started hitting. They’ve stopped updating their script (but it’s still useful if you have an old OS and want to get some malware that’s been around for a while) and now focus all their updates on Adware Medic.

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