AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI 1.5.0 – the final major updates

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Today I have released my seemingly annual pre-JNUC post-new macOS updates to both AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI, these are likely to be the last major updates to the apps & quite possibly the last updates to the apps ever.

Below is why I have updated the apps, & why this is likely to be their last update.

Mojave Support

Well, AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI have always allowed for creating NetBoot Images (read:NBI’s in this context) which are not tied to the OS of the Mac running AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI.

This is due to AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI creating NBI’s from a pre-built OS.dmg.

So AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI can be used on Mojave to create NBI’s for older OS’s.

In testing, the previous versions of AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI would fail due to AppleEvents such as the below & TCC.

As the “tell application Finder” command was in a try block, AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI seemingly hit the error before any TCC prompts.

This was resolved by moving to more Objective-C calls, such as the example shown below, for the same result as the AppleScript shown above.

These changes mean that you can still run AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI on Mojave to create 10.7+ AutoCasperNBI NBI’s or 10.10+ AutoImagrNBI NBI’s.

So there is a little want there.

#darnkmode

A major draw to Mojave is Dark mode.

Dark mode support can be as simple as compiling an application via Xcode 10 if your app uses all native UI elements.

Which both AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI do:

But NetBoot is dead?

Pretty much!

A few months ago, Apple posted this KB. In which they detailed the numerous services which were to be removed from Server 5.7.1 (which has since been released), as well as alternatives.

The “Net Boot/Net Install” service was included, with BSDPy & NetSUS being touted as the alternatives.

The first alternative, BSDPy, was created by Bruienne. But he’s now at Apple so cannot contribute/maintain the project anymore.

The second alternative is NetSUS. I’m a “maintainer” of NetSUS. I say “maintainer” (in  quotes), as I’ve not contributed a line of code & instead the awesome Duncan McCraken has taken NetSUS from strength to strength.

So, I can still NetBoot Macs?

Ish…

If you have an old copy of Server.app running or one of the above alternatives spun up which Macs can you NetBoot?

Macs which ship with a T2 chip cannot be NetBooted, as per this kb.

And with all the extra security features that the T2 chip brings, it’s only a matter of time before all Macs ship with a T2 chip.

So, there might be some Macs available at the time of writing which can NetBoot, but I’d be surprised if there was NetBootable Macs being sold in 1-2 years.

Ok, restorable DMG?

Whilst both AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI can create a restorable DMG for restoring to a USB stick etc, these DMG’s are HFS as this is the file system supported by NetBoot.

HFS is not the default file system for Mojave. Mojave’s default file system is APFS. So use the restorable DMG feature with caution.

Ohhh, so imaging is not dead?

Well… Since High Sierra’s move to APFS, imaging hasn’t really been a thing for APFS compatible Macs.

Not all Macs that were High Sierra compatible were compatible with APFS, but under Mojave all are.

So, imaging is only viable if deploying a HFS OS.

If looking to deploy High Sierra (to a APFS compatible Mac) or Mojave you need to move to away from Imaging to Installing.

Apple also doesn’t recommend imaging, with all their recommended methods are based on installing the OS.

Apple doesn't recommend or support monolithic system imaging as an installation method. The system image might not include model-specific information such as firmware updates.

Ok, what do I need to Install the OS?

Apple has some steps listed here.

If you’re looking to NetBoot to install an OS, you need a couple of things:

  • The app which deploys the installer needs to support startosinstall
  • Your booted OS needs to have SIP disabled

Sadly, as NBI’s created with AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI are NetBoot images. They cannot be used for installation based workflows due to:

  • SIP is enabled (this might be a possible change, but I have yet to have found a working method)

The resultant restorable DMG is a copy of these NBI’s & so has the same restrictions.

Also, as mentioned, the app which deploys the installer needs to support startosinstall. Jamf Imaging does not support startosinstall, but Imagr does.

If you’re wishing to NetBoot then install an OS, I’d recommend Imagr & the NetInstall creation workflow detailed here.

Why not kill the apps off?

It’s been a helluva ride sing releasing AutoCasperNBI some 4 years ago.

Who’d have thought a conversation during a CCE, then a want to prove some mates wrong & a MacBrained Hackathon would have lead to this.

There is still some (limited) value in the apps, even if just to myself.

So i’ll keep them running for a few more months yet.

One thought on “AutoCasperNBI & AutoImagrNBI 1.5.0 – the final major updates

  1. Thank you for all your hard work on these. I’m still using AutoCasperNBI and JAMF Imaging to deploy our applications and settings to Mojave. Moving to DEP can be slow for a large business, so I have to get by as I can until then. I definitely appreciate the one last version!

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