Munki, Computer Labs Policy & Best Practices


This article provides information for managing Mac computer labs using Technology Services' Munki Mac Endpoint Management system.


  • Munki Mac Endpoint Management

Affected Customers

  • University of Illinois IT Pros leveraging Technology Services Endpoint Services' Munki Mac Endpoint Management


Specifying Static Versions of Packages

In the normal course of business, the Endpoint Services (EPS) team is continually making available new or updated packages for the use of our clients. However, we recognize that many labs prefer not to change the version of some or all of their packages during the course of a semester. In order to allow for this flexibility, the EPS team has developed the following best practices to keep packages at a specific version:
  • Each lab manager should create an included manifest that includes software packages that they would like to manage in the lab.
  • For any package that the lab manager wants to keep up to date automatically, they can use the pkginfo file’s “name” key in the manifest. For example: <string>openoffice</string>.
  • For any package that the lab manager wants to keep at a specific version, we suggest that they include the version in the name key by including a dash and the version number in the manifest. For example: <string>openoffice-4.1.4</string>.
  • There are some pkginfo files that use the keys “requires” and/or “update_for” to chain together dependencies and updates. If lab managers want to keep the dependencies for a package at a specific version, they can create a separate and specific pkginfo file for that package. Lab managers will then need to include the name-version keys for dependencies in the "requires" or "update_for" sections of the pkginfo file. The EPS team recommends that units append “_lab” to the package "name" key. For example: <string>openoffice_lab</string>.
    • The EPS team will also create or update "_lab" packages for units upon request.
  • These pkginfo files will use the same pkg installation files found at the global level to reduce file duplication.
Sample of a "_lab" pkginfo:
<key>requires</key> <array> <string>openoffice_writerextension-1.7</string> </array>

More information on dependent packages in pkginfo files can be found on the Munki Wiki.

Scheduling Updates to Only Run During Certain Hours

Lab managers who wish to have Munki only run during certain hours of the day can install the global package Munki Time Window (name key: "munkitimewindow"). By default, Munki Time Window will force Munki to only run between 1am and 5am. If this time window does not suit the needs of a unit, in addition to the base package, lab managers will need to install a preference file that specifies the hours during which Munki should be allowed to run. The EPS team has provided a handful of pre-built preference packages at the global level. Units may also submit a request to the EPS team asking for the creation of an additional preference package if the existing packages do not meet a unit's needs..

More information can be found on the Munki Time Window Wiki.


Keywords:munki lab endpoint macos   Doc ID:80740
Owner:Drew C.Group:University of Illinois Technology Services
Created:2018-03-08 16:54 CDTUpdated:2018-04-12 16:13 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois Technology Services
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