Resolved Premise of a custom time machine backup / preconfig system

Discussion in 'macOS' started by itsmrjon, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. itsmrjon, Jun 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011

    itsmrjon macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    So I am looking for advice insights from some of the more advanced mac users here.

    The story:
    ---
    I am a recent migrant to the mac world from Linux, predominantly working in the programming / computational fluids side of science. As some of you may know, one of the beauties of linux is the ability to distribute preconfigured builds (for example CAELinux which comes preinstalled with an entire engineering tool kit). After playing around with my mac's, I've started dabbling in the way which time machine/migration assistant work, and they appear to be possibilities for doing such things as distributing preconfigured packages in bulk.

    This was a very useful feature in linux, since our entire lab/workforce was able to have all utilities installed and preconfigured from scratch without the need to manually go through installing them.

    The concept:
    ---
    Create a "time machine backup" that contains preconfigured/setup builds of tools like gfortran/MPI/VisIt/OpenFOAM/etcetera (all open source software similar to CAELinux) as well as all their dependencies.
    Then use migration assistant to install all these on a system in a single step.

    Perhaps start something like the equivalent of CAELinux but for OSx

    Now obviously said distribution would be void of any paid or licensed software, in fact a majority of the packages I am considering are linux ports which many of us are starting to use on macs (but are sometimes incredibly difficult to get working/configured properly)

    The questions:
    ---
    Am I crazy?
    Is something like this feasible?
    Could you think of better alternatives of doing such a thing?
    Do you want to join me on my crazy project?
     
  2. Bear macrumors G3

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    #2
    I think the software you're looking for is "Apple Remote Desktop". I believe it does what you want.
     
  3. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #3
    Remote Desktop simply allows remote access to a computer, not the copying of files in the manner in which the OP wants.

    This is how I'd do it: Make a brand-new, fresh install of OS X on its own partition on an external drive, using a retail disc. Set up that copy of OS X exactly how you want it. The install will not be machine-specific. You can then use Migration Assistant to copy what you need to an existing user or use CarbonCopyCloner to clone the drive to another one in a Mac and have a fresh install set up the way you want it.

    This would be easier and more flexible than using TimeMachine.
     
  4. itsmrjon thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Would said method be able to copy all necessary dependancies while excluding the operating system itself?

    If I were to do this, I need to do it in a fashion in which I can distribute the package without violating/infringing upon any copyrights.

    and thanks for taking the time to reply =)
     
  5. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #5
    It depends on how the dependencies are handled, and what you mean by the term. In my experience, dependencies have always had to do with Linux, I've not heard the term used in OS X unless referring to applications I have to build from source.

    When cloning the drive, you're creating a complete copy of the OS. So, if you want to do it perfectly legally, you'd have to buy a valid license for each copy or look into volume licenses. I don't really know how Apple handles that.

    For Migration Assistant, I'm not sure how deep into the system it goes. If the dependencies required are all in the user's home folder, I think you should be good to go. If they're in the system Library or the System folder, I don't know if it will copy that or not. Best bet is to play around with it. But, it wouldn't copy system files (at least not ones you don't have a license to). For example, I don't believe Migration Assistant would upgrade your OS in the process.
     
  6. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
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    #6
    Really? check out Apple Remote Desktop.

    To the thread starter... read that link, it might answer your questions and tell you if it does what you want.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #7
    Actually Apple's remote desktop is a robust application for maintaining Macs remotely. Don't confuse screen sharing built into OSX with apple's remote desktop app.
     
  8. Mactasia macrumors member

    Mactasia

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    ARD is perfect for distributing pre configured packages to as many Macs as you would like. I do it on a daily basis.

    Do you have to build the packages you require, or are they ready to go?
     
  9. itsmrjon thread starter macrumors regular

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    Chicago
    #9
    By the term 'dependencies' I do mean it in the linux sense.
    For example, the software OpenFOAM is compiled from source, and carries dependencies on LibPy, gcc, and gmake.

    This is the case for most of the software I am attempting to distribute, and as many people who work with source know, it can be very time consuming to set up all dependencies and compile from source.

    I had no idea ARD was so robust. I'm going to look into it as an option.

    As mentioned above, the packages are distributed as source (I don't know if the correct term in the mac world for that would be package, pardon my terminology but I'm a long time *nix guy).

    The question for the ARD proposers would be, is ARD an effective method of distributing the software where I only have to build on a single machine and deploy on many? Also it would appear that taking this route would require me to be present to do such deployment (which I would rather shy away from).

    Thank you everyone for the responses and suggestions!
     
  10. Mactasia macrumors member

    Mactasia

    Joined:
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    Location:
    UK
    #10
    ARD can install .pkg files to remote machines, but it won't compile these for you. You will first have to compile your application and then turn that in to a .pkg. Something like InstallEase will do that for you (and it's free).

    InstallEase works by taking a snapshot of the HD before you have installed the application and then afterwards, recording the changes and building a .pkg out of it.

    So in answer to:

    Yes it is excellent for this.

    ARD does allow you to schedule deployments, but obviously the remote machines have to be on.

    I hope i've understood what you are trying to do and explained well enough to help.
     
  11. itsmrjon thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 11, 2011
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    Chicago
    #11
    OMG! I love you right now

    I think installease alone will do everything I need it to do. I'll just compile everything on my base machine, turn it into a single .pkg, and distribute that for end users to install

    it completely omits the operating system - solves the issue of compiling - and solves the issue of simplified distribution

    THANK YOU! :D
     
  12. Mactasia, Jun 12, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011

    Mactasia macrumors member

    Mactasia

    Joined:
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    Location:
    UK
    #12
    Pleased to help ;)

    I often write guides for my website (check url in my profile) and I have one for InstallEase coming up soon!
     
  13. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
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    Terra
    #13
    I stand corrected. I had no idea it was so powerful. I knew it had to be more robust than Screen Sharing, but I didn't know it did all that. Cool beans.
     
  14. itsmrjon thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago
    #14
    I'll definitely check it out! May help me with my transition from Linux to Mac... There are a few things I love, and there are a few I hate (until I find solutions for them).

    I think we all picked up some pretty valuable stuff from this thread...

    I should start more like it :D
     

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