Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

As you may have noticed, we’ve been working on building some links between the App Store and patch management tools such as Casper, FileWave and Munki. We’ve been looking at policy-based management of apps as well. In this semi-new world of signing and stores and the such, there’s actually a good bit you can ascertain about an app both inside the app as well as inside metadata OS X keeps about the app. I’ve discussed signing (apps and packages) in the past, but let’s look at using some commands to help us out with some tasks. The first command is to determine some information about apps that are on the computer. Spotlight keeps a fair amount of information about these apps and can be invoked using the mdls command. Running the command with no additional parameters looks like this (I’m gonna’ use iMovie in these examples, although note that there are spaces in a lot of app names and paths as you start scripting things – so use IFS rather than trying to use traditional array): mdls /Applications/ This results in output similar to the following (I’ve stripped out a few fields as they consume a lot of space and aren’t super pertinent to what I’m trying to do here):
kMDItemAlternateNames = ( "" ) kMDItemAppStoreCategory = "Video" kMDItemAppStoreCategoryType = "" kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier = "" kMDItemContentCreationDate = 2011-09-28 08:04:34 +0000 kMDItemContentModificationDate = 2012-09-22 02:13:45 +0000 kMDItemContentType = "" kMDItemDisplayName = "iMovie" kMDItemExecutableArchitectures = ( i386 ) kMDItemFSContentChangeDate = 2012-09-22 02:13:45 +0000 kMDItemFSCreationDate = 2011-09-28 08:04:34 +0000 kMDItemVersion = "9.0.8"
To just ask for one of these attributes, run the command along with the -name option in addition to the metadata attribute you’d like returned. For example, to see the bundle ID (kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier), use: mdls /Applications/ -name kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier /Applications/ Now, if you’d like to just quickly ascertain what apps on the system came from the App Store, use the mdfind command, along with whatever of the attributes matches what you want to know. Running mdfind for kMDItemAppStoreHasReceipt of 1 would look like the following and would result in a list of all apps on the system that came from the App Store: mdfind kMDItemAppStoreHasReceipt=1 Blacklisting all apps that are part of a specific category (and with regard to customer requests, that category seems to always be Games) is something we get a lot of banter about with customers. To determine this information for apps, you can run mdfind on kMDItemAppStoreCategory for Games: mdfind kMDItemAppStoreCategory=Games You could then dump the contents of those into something that can blacklist apps (or whitelist based on other categories). Now, version control is another hot topic at various organizations. To see the version type of a given app, use the -name option with mdls kMDItemVersion mdls /Applications/ -name kMDItemVersion /Applications/ Then you can track the version of the app and take action through other ways to remove old versions and force users to upgrade. The mdfind command can also be leveraged to find apps that have escaped their traditional homes of /Applications and /Applications/Utilities, with the ability to obtain a full list by querying for kMDItemContentType of app bundles, as follows: mdfind kMDItemContentType="" Loading a list of apps (output from `mdfind kMDItemAppStoreHasReceipt=1` or `mdfind kMDItemAppStoreCategory=Games`) into an array and then querying each one of them for more information is pretty trivial beyond the steps we’ve already taken. This information can then be fed into some kind of Managed Prefs script to deny or allow access to various objects or an admin could even chmod the bundle, mark it as invisible, poison it (keep in mind, if you alter it you’ll break the signing), etc in order to get some desired outcome. You can also use defaults to read a users file for the AppleID field to see what AppleID is currently logged into the AppStore, providing another variable that can be reported on: defaults read /Users/cedge/Library/Preferences/ AppleID And yes, it’s worth noting that users from another account or a system image, etc can be used to download apps so this one isn’t exactly certain but the purchaser isn’t stored anywhere within the bundle nor is it permissioned in a way that we can use to find the purchaser that way. There’s still a bit of a gap right now with regards to some of these technologies that Mac SysAdmins are managing. The consumeristic technologies such as App Stores are here to stay. We’re kidding ourselves if we think that we won’t be able to buy certain apps via Volume Licenses and have pkg installers for too much longer. Apple has made no indication that they’re dropping the results that can be obtained with a simple installer command, but with forcing signing on certain objects, gatekeeper and other technologies it’s hard to say what the future will really have in store for us. Getting to a point where we can report on elements of the App Store and hopefully eventually deploy objects through the App Store should continue to help bridge these factors, but I still see the need for additional binaries from Apple to be introduced to get the rest of the way there (or at least expose a method to me so I can go in there and buy an app through the method).

November 19th, 2012

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, Uncategorized

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One of the first things many Apache administrators end up with in their bag of tricks is a piece of code for redirecting a website to another place. 301 redirects are usually better, but a basic redirection page is also very helpful in a number of situations. The following example code can be saved as an index.html page and will redirect traffic from one site to another. A common use of this is to redirect an http site to an https site. In this example, we’ll place this index page in the web directory for on an OS X Lion server. The server runs a site for already and so this page is simply meant to redirect users to the https version of the site:   <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> <HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE> Secure Redirect</title> <meta http-equiv="REFRESH" content="0;url="> </HEAD> <BODY> You will now be redirected to </BODY> </HTML>   Above, we create an HTML tag, a heading tag, a title tag and finally the meta http-equiv refresh. The content used between the body tag is simply to inform a user who might happen to see this site what is happening. Simply copy this into an html file and you’re off to the races. If using OS X Server, you can drop into /Library/WebServer/Documents by default, to redirect users elsewhere.

July 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Ubuntu, Unix

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