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31 January 2011, 09:55

Google releases Mac OS X deployment engine

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Google has released Simian, a Mac OS X package deployment engine, as open source. Simian allows enterprises to deploy new or updated software to Mac platforms, push security patches, manage Apple-provided updates and report on the status of deployment. Simian can also force immediate mandatory installation of some packages onto systems.

Developed after Google's Mac Operations and Security teams were unable to find an existing solution which met their needs, Simian uses Google's App Engine to host the deployment system and a Munki-based client. Munki is a set of tools for OS X administrators which can handle the installation of packages: it can handle Apple package format, Adobe CS3/4/5 "Enterprise Deployment" packages and drag and drop disk images.

Future versions of Simian are planned which will offer deeper integration with Apple's Software update, more configurable forced installation, alternative storage for packages (which are currently held in App Engine's Blobstore), an enhaced reporting interface and support for digitally signed packages. Simian code is licensed under the Apache Licence 2.0 and other content is under a CC-3.0-BY licence; the code can be downloaded from the project's Google Code site.


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