Tag: Munki

MunkiReport and Python 2

Apple announced the deprecation of Python 2 with the release of macOS 10.15 Catalina in 2019, however MacAdmins have never known when it would actually be removed. The general expectation was with macOS 13 due out later this year, but Apple surprised us when it published the macOS Monterey 12.3 Beta Release Notes last week.

Open source projects have been planning for this eventuality, with many having already completed the transition to Python 3 by shipping their own version or using clever code to locate an appropriate version already installed.

MunkiReport is no exception, development of version 6 is well underway, but is not ready yet. Thanks to the quick work by a number of talented contributors to the project, an update to version 5 has been released to bridge the gap until MR6 with Python 3 is ready.

However there is a major change admins will need to account for, so read on for the details.

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Control the CUPS web interface with a Munki NoPkg

Back in September 2021 a colleague on the MacAdmins Slack was looking for a way to programmatically enable the CUPS web interface on macOS. I had recently completed my article “Allow standard users to manage printers with a Munki NoPkg” and realized I could easily adapt it to handle this task.

This isn’t something I use in production but read on for the details if you think it could be helpful in your environment.

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Configure MunkiReport groups with a Munki NoPkg

Historically I have always configured our MunkiReport Machine Groups with a configuration profile delivered via Munki. However starting with macOS Big Sur, the ability to manage profiles from the command line was removed meaning Munki can no longer install or remove them.

One option would have been to move these configuration profiles to our MDM as I did for our other profiles. However I didn’t want to duplicate the effort of managing computer group assignments in both Munki and MDM.

Since maintaining groups in Munki to aid in software deployments is still required, I decided to use NoPkgs to configure our MunkiReport Machine Groups. This way they will be automatically changed whenever a computer gets moved to a different group (via included manifest). Read on for the details.

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Allow standard users to manage printers with a Munki NoPkg

Employees at our company all use Standard (non-admin) accounts on macOS and install printers via Managed Software Center. By default this only gives them the ability to install and uninstall in MSC, but not manage queues or add personal printers at home in System Preferences.

Thankfully a simple command that can be run to allow standard users to have that ability has been around for years:

dseditgroup -o edit -n /Local/Default -a staff -t group lpadmin

(Variations of this script posted around the web include using everyone instead of staff and _lpadmin instead of lpadmin.)

In the past I have always enabled this feature with a payload-free package. However that didn’t present a way to confirm the setting is still active or provide an easy way to reverse it.

To solve those issues I decided to convert it to a Munki NoPkg with logic to do both.

Read on for the details:

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Installing AirPrinters “offline”

In my last post, AirPrint Generator, I noted that one of the potential issues with programmatically installing AirPrinters is that the client computer needs to be able to actively communicate with the printer at the time of installation. This quickly came up in discussion on the MacAdmins Slack.

As I outlined there, we can work around this by generating the AirPrint PPDs and Icons, packaging them up and deploying them to the client computers ahead of time.

This method presents several advantages, read on for the details.

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AirPrint Generator

MacAdmins have known for several years now that PPD files are deprecated and AirPrint is the way forward. However many of us have put off transitioning due to a lack of automated configuration options.

That all changed with the HP Printer Driver Certificate Fiasco of October 2020. With the first official remediation option being to reconfigure using AirPrint, this project suddenly moved up the to-do list for many admins, myself included.

Instead of continuing to make users sit through lengthy installs of HP’s enormous driver packages I decided to build on the work of others and create AirPrint_Generator. Read on for the details.

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Delete Zoom with a Munki NoPkg

Zoom Video Communications has been in the news again lately, and not in a good way. Shortly after Google and the U.S. Senate made the decision to ban Zoom from all their devices my company followed suit.

We didn’t have Zoom installed on a large percentage of our computers, but I still needed a way to remove it now and in the future. Utilizing information shared by other MacAdmins, and the official documentation, I compiled a list of all files Zoom installs across macOS and wrote a script to search and destroy.

If the details could be helpful for you please read on.

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Deploying Photo Mechanic 6 with Munki

Photo Mechanic 6 (PM), released last year, is a major overall to the venerable software used by photojournalists worldwide. It is now 64-bit for compatibility with macOS Catalina and includes a number of other changes from PM5.

Thankfully the ability to programmatically activate and deactivate is still there so only a few changes are needed in our Munki scripts.

What follows is basically the same as my post from last year, Deploying Photo Mechanic 5 with Munki, without all the background details, so read on if you want to see the changes needed to the scripts.

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Working around failed Apple software updates with Munki

For at least a year MacAdmins have been dealing with Apple security updates failing if they are not installed soon after being downloaded. This is especially apparent to Munki admins who have Managed Software Center (MSC) configured to install Apple updates. Munki will invoke softwareupdate to download updates as soon as they are detected but users can defer the installation via MSC indefinitely by default.

If enough time has passed when the user finally decides to allow the logout / reboot for the update it will silently fail. The computer will reboot and the user will find themselves at the login window thinking the update completed successfully. However an hour or so later softwareupdate will again detect the update, download it and MSC will prompt the user to logout and install the same update they think they had just installed.

This is not a great user experience and has led to some frustration here at the newspaper. I’ve written a script that works around this behavior, read on if you are interested in the details.

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Deploying Photo Mechanic 5 with Munki

Photo Mechanic 5Photo Mechanic (PM) has long been the software of choice for photojournalists worldwide. It has unrivaled speed for downloading, sorting and captioning images on deadline. I have been using PM for almost 17 years and it is an essential part in the workflow of our photographers here at the newspaper.

As our staff has grown so has the need to automate installations of software. In the past we simply emailed the registration information for PM to staff as needed. Of course this is an awful practice in regards to securing our paid licenses.

Thankfully we can programmatically activate and deactivate Photo Mechanic when employees install or uninstall the program via Managed Software Center (MSC). Read on for the details.

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