February 29, 2008
OpenAFS 1.4.6 upgrade
We have recently upgraded to OpenAFS 1.4.6 over spring break. After not having received any further reports of cache code of Finder crashing problems in OpenAFS 1.4.5, we are optimistic that the the improved reliability will continue with OpenAFS 1.4.6.
MS Office 2008 for Mac installer issues
Should you install Office 2008 for Mac on your personally managed machines, please beware that there are some known issues/problems with the installer that will result filesystem permissions problems.
We thought this installer issue was going to be resolved by the time we received our official distribution media, but this is unfortunately appears to not be the case. Consequently, you may encounter font problems and issues with other programs with font dependencies until you manually correct/repair some filesystem permissions.
For further info, you can check out the following articles:
Update: These articles are currently unavailable.
We do not anticipate this being an issue in our Mac loadsets because we will manually correct any inappropriate filesystem permissions that have gone awry via Microsoft's installer prior to its site-wide deployment.
February 28, 2008
Logout hooks vs. Startup Items
On Intel machines, we've had some difficulties with our startup items. Things like our print monitor pages, our HostNamer script that changes the machine's hostname, and the aforementioned SPSS License Activator don't run at startup, as they're run before the network is available. No matter what you do in the script—sleep, ping servers, etc.—any operation that depends on the network may not complete on an Intel Mac. To get around this, we've been making logout hooks that run these startup items, ensuring that they complete with network connectivity.
February 22, 2008
Updating PE boot image (boot.wim) drivers
I updated the drivers in the boot.wim file (the boot image which is loaded when you net boot a PC in our environment). To do this, I used a feature in the WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit).
A brief outline of the process is this:
1. Gather the drivers you will be adding to the .wim file and extract them.
2. On a machine with WAIK installed, open a PE Tools prompt.
3. Mount a .wim file for editing.
4. Inject the drivers from the command line using the peimg tool.
5. Unmount the .wim making sure to commit changes.
A good step by step article on this process with complete commands is here:
(or cut and paste: http://apcmag.com/5436/customise_windows_pe_2_0 )
February 20, 2008
I recently moved all of our printer transcripts from
~/transcript/mac/ccs/printers in an effort to clean up
~/transcript/. I also ensured that they were all using the most up-to-date PPDs, as all of our sites now have HP 4350s. Many of the transcripts still contained 4300 (or even 8150!) PPDs from the past.
Using NetBoot with Aluminum iMacs
We deploy our Mac loadset using Radmind, but to get a base image onto a new computer, we use a combination of NetBoot and Apple Software Restore. A station boots to the NetBoot server and then applies an ASR-ready disk image to the station's hard drive, which is then booted to for Radmind. We noticed that none of the new aluminum iMacs would boot to the NetBoot server, even though older Intel-based iMacs had done so just fine. Initially thinking that this was due perhaps to changes in hardware, we tried to create a new NetBoot image that would boot all of our Macs, but to no avail. Eventually, we stumbled upon some Apple documentation of the problem.
The solution in this case was to re-create the NetBoot image from scratch, since we don't want to upgrade it to Leopard yet. I re-installed OS X 10.4.11 on an aluminum iMac from the CDs it shipped with, then configured it with our NetBoot configuration. I used Mike Bombich's NetRestore software to create the new NetBoot image, and set it up on our NetBoot server to only apply to aluminum iMacs.
We now have two NetBoot images: one for aluminum iMacs, one for everything else. When we upgrade to Leopard, we'll be able to make one image that will boot all of our computers (unless, of course, this type of thing occurs with whatever Apple's next hardware upgrade is).
Our custom NetBoot build is as follows: there is a local user account set to log in automatically on startup. When that user logs in, a login hook runs an in-house program, NetBoot Assistant, which presents a menu and does not quit without a password. The default menu option restores the ASR image to the hard drive, then boots to the drive.
February 15, 2008
Fixing Server Monitor on 10.5.2 Non-Server Clients
With the release of 10.5.2, Server Monitor doesn't work on an upgraded non-server Mac. To get the new version of Server Monitor, you need a server that's been updated to 10.5.2. Then, it's a matter of copying the files. You need both the Server Monitor application and the IPMI tool. Use the following commands on the non-server Mac:
sudo scp -pr email@example.com:/Applications/Server/Server\\\ Monitor.app /Applications/Server/
sudo scp -pr firstname.lastname@example.org:/usr/bin/ipmitool /usr/bin
More information can be found on Apple's website.
February 06, 2008
Admin Desktop - disabling the Novell gina
In response to a question from a colleague, I put together a reg file with these two entries in it that can be imported onto a machine running the Novell client. The first sets the login gina back to the standard Windows one, and the second turns off the Novell gina. This is handy for folks that may want to occasionally use the Novell client, but don't want it trying to connect them on every login.
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Novell\Network Provider\Initial Login]
"Login When NWGina Not Loaded"="no"