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Enterprise Mac Managed Preferences

Book Description

Many systems administrators on the Mac need a way to manage machine configuration after initial setup and deployment. Apple's Managed Preferences system (also known as MCX) is under-documented, often misunderstood, and sometimes outright unknown by sys admins. MCX is usually deployed in conjunction with an OS X server, but it can also be used in Windows environments or where no dedicated server exists at all.

Enterprise Mac Managed Preferences is the definitive guide to Apple's Managed Client technology. With this book, you'll get the following:

  • An example-driven guide to Mac OS X Managed Preferences/Client technology

  • Recipes for common use case studies and patterns

  • A targeted approach appropriate for any sys admin that manages Macs in an OS X or Windows environment

This is the only book that focuses on this facet of OS X exclusively. If you're a sys admin, this book will take away much of the pain of working with OS X client systems. Even better, both of the authors are very involved in the Mac community—Greg Neagle is part of the MacEnterprise steering committee, and Ed is the Executive Editor and an author for MacTech magazine and a member of the Apple Consultants Network.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. About the Authors
  3. About the Technical Reviewer
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. Preface
  6. 1. Why Manage?
    1. 1.1. Predictability Means Less Work over Time
    2. 1.2. Maintaining Company Policy
    3. 1.3. Removing Unused Functions
    4. 1.4. Keeping Your Sanity
    5. 1.5. Preference Delivery
    6. 1.6. Client Management Alternatives
      1. 1.6.1. Scripting
      2. 1.6.2. Managing Everything Else
        1. 1.6.2.1. Apple Tools
        2. 1.6.2.2. Open-Source Tools
        3. 1.6.2.3. Third-Party Commercial Software
    7. 1.7. Summary
  7. 2. What Is the Managed Preferences System?
    1. 2.1. How Did We Get Here?
    2. 2.2. Where Are We Now?
    3. 2.3. The Heart of Managed Preferences
    4. 2.4. What Can You Manage?
    5. 2.5. What You Will Need
    6. 2.6. Summary
  8. 3. Understanding Directory Services
    1. 3.1. What Are Directory Services?
      1. 3.1.1. Directory Services and Managed Preferences
    2. 3.2. Directory Services Supported by Mac OS X
      1. 3.2.1. Open Directory
      2. 3.2.2. Active Directory
      3. 3.2.3. LDAPv3
      4. 3.2.4. NIS
      5. 3.2.5. Local Directory Services
    3. 3.3. Directory Service Configurations
      1. 3.3.1. Local Only
      2. 3.3.2. Network Directory Service
      3. 3.3.3. Multiple Network Directory Services
    4. 3.4. Summary
  9. 4. Property List Files
    1. 4.1. What Are Property List Files?
    2. 4.2. Property List Example
      1. 4.2.1. Digging Deeper . . .
    3. 4.3. Working with Property List Files
      1. 4.3.1. Property List Editor.app
      2. 4.3.2. Creating a Property List from Scratch with Property List Editor
      3. 4.3.3. Command-Line Utilities
        1. 4.3.3.1. plutil
        2. 4.3.3.2. defaults
        3. 4.3.3.3. PlistBuddy
    4. 4.4. Cocoa for Scripters
      1. 4.4.1. Altering .plist Files in Memory
    5. 4.5. Summary
    6. 4.6. Resources
  10. 5. Writing a Property List for Management
    1. 5.1. Where Do Managed Preferences Reside?
    2. 5.2. Preferred Tools for Creating, Testing, and Deploying Managed Preferences
      1. 5.2.1. Using Workgroup Manager
        1. 5.2.1.1. Creating a Property List File
        2. 5.2.1.2. Displaying the Inspector Tab
        3. 5.2.1.3. Managing Non-Apple Preferences
      2. 5.2.2. The dscl Command
        1. 5.2.2.1. Choosing a Directory to Work with
        2. 5.2.2.2. Working with MCX
      3. 5.2.3. The defaults Command Refresher
    3. 5.3. Summary
  11. 6. Delivering Managed Preferences
    1. 6.1. Directory Choices
    2. 6.2. Delivery with Open Directory
      1. 6.2.1. Binding Mac OS X Clients to Open Directory
      2. 6.2.2. Accessing the Directory
    3. 6.3. Delivery with Active Directory
      1. 6.3.1. Binding Mac OS X Clients to Active Directory
      2. 6.3.2. Extending the Active Directory Schema
        1. 6.3.2.1. Adding Apple's Attributes
        2. 6.3.2.2. Creating an LDIF File
      3. 6.3.3. Importing the LDIF File
      4. 6.3.4. Managing Preferences in Active Directory
    4. 6.4. Delivery with OpenLDAP
      1. 6.4.1. Add the Apple Schema to OpenLDAP
      2. 6.4.2. Consider Indexing
      3. 6.4.3. Bind Mac OS X to OpenLDAP
      4. 6.4.4. Further OpenLDAP Considerations
    5. 6.5. Delivery Without a Centralized Directory
    6. 6.6. Help! I Can't Use MCX at All
    7. 6.7. Summary
    8. 6.8. Additional Resources
  12. 7. Local MCX
    1. 7.1. Delivery Without a Centralized Directory
    2. 7.2. Introducing Local MCX
      1. 7.2.1. Getting Started
      2. 7.2.2. Creating a Computer Group
      3. 7.2.3. Adding Managed Preferences
      4. 7.2.4. Extending the Managed Preferences to Other Machines
      5. 7.2.5. Local MCX Checklist
    3. 7.3. Advanced Local MCX
      1. 7.3.1. Dynamic Group Membership (or "Smart Groups")
      2. 7.3.2. Local MCX Issues
      3. 7.3.3. MCX in Alternate Directory Nodes
      4. 7.3.4. More Local DS Node Tricks
    4. 7.4. Summary
  13. 8. Compositing Preferences
    1. 8.1. Managed Preference Interactions
    2. 8.2. Preferences Precedence
    3. 8.3. Preferences and Group Hierarchy
    4. 8.4. MCXCompositor
      1. 8.4.1. Viewing Composited MCX Data with mcxquery
      2. 8.4.2. Viewing Composited MCX Data with System Profiler
    5. 8.5. Summary
  14. 9. Enforcing Managed Preferences
    1. 9.1. Management Frequency
    2. 9.2. Choosing a Management Frequency
    3. 9.3. Enforcing the Managed Preferences Configuration
    4. 9.4. Protecting Your Managed Preference Configuration
    5. 9.5. Summary
  15. 10. Preference Manifests and "Raw" Preferences
    1. 10.1. Preferences Overview
    2. 10.2. Importing a Preference Manifest
    3. 10.3. Working with Preference Manifests
    4. 10.4. Importing "Raw" Preferences
    5. 10.5. Third-Party Applications
    6. 10.6. Summary
  16. 11. Recipes
    1. 11.1. Finder Sidebar
    2. 11.2. Adding Preferences to Manage the Finder Sidebar
    3. 11.3. Login Window Preferences
    4. 11.4. Managing Bluetooth
    5. 11.5. Security Preferences
      1. 11.5.1. Screen Saver
      2. 11.5.2. Managing the Screen Saver in Snow Leopard
      3. 11.5.3. FileVault
        1. 11.5.3.1. FileVault for Mobile Users
        2. 11.5.3.2. FileVault for Local Users
      4. 11.5.4. Secure Virtual Memory
      5. 11.5.5. Managing iTunes
    6. 11.6. Managing Office 2008
      1. 11.6.1. Default Save File Formats
      2. 11.6.2. Microsoft AutoUpdate
      3. 11.6.3. Office Setup Assistant
      4. 11.6.4. Importing Office Preferences for Management
    7. 11.7. Summary
  17. 12. Managing Mobile Accounts
    1. 12.1. Mobile Accounts Review
      1. 12.1.1. Prerequisites
      2. 12.1.2. Definitions
        1. 12.1.2.1. Mobile Accounts
        2. 12.1.2.2. Portable Home Directories
        3. 12.1.2.3. HomeSync
      3. 12.1.3. Manual Setup of Mobile Accounts
      4. 12.1.4. Automatic Setup of Mobile Accounts
        1. 12.1.4.1. Configuring Managed Preferences for Mobile Users
        2. 12.1.4.2. Mobile Account Creation
        3. 12.1.4.3. Mobile Account Expiry
        4. 12.1.4.4. Managing Home Synchronization
        5. 12.1.4.5. Synchronization Management Strategies
        6. 12.1.4.6. Managing Synchronization Preferences Walkthrough
    2. 12.2. Limitations of Workgroup Manager's Preferences Overview
    3. 12.3. Using the Preference Details Editor
    4. 12.4. Summary
  18. 13. Troubleshooting Managed Preferences
    1. 13.1. Troubleshooting Triage
      1. 13.1.1. Triage Step 1: Did It Ever Work?
      2. 13.1.2. Triage Step 2: Machine- or User-Specific?
      3. 13.1.3. Triage Step 3: Simplify
    2. 13.2. Examining Delivered Managed Preferences
      1. 13.2.1. mcxquery
      2. 13.2.2. Managed Preference Interaction Example
      3. 13.2.3. System Profiler
    3. 13.3. MCX Caching
    4. 13.4. Troubleshooting Local MCX
      1. 13.4.1. No Managed Preferences Data
        1. 13.4.1.1. Directory Service Search Path
        2. 13.4.1.2. Local Computer Record
      2. 13.4.2. Wrong or Old Managed Preferences Data
    5. 13.5. mcxrefresh
    6. 13.6. One More Thing. . .
    7. 13.7. Summary