Waving the Green Flag

I love this time of year. This is where the rubber meets the road for people who manage Macs and iOS devices. Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is going on in San Jose, after a kickoff yesterday with a banner keynote and a fascinating state of the union.

Last night, we talked about this in a Flashcast Episode of the Mac Admins Podcast:

This is open season for engineering. This is where I find immense satisfaction in my chosen profession. We have so much to do between now and the release of macOS 10.15 Catalina in the Fall, and there’s a lot that we’re going to have to deal with between now and then. Here’s what my questions are, right now:

  1. What is the practical effect of a read-only system container from the Admin’s perspective? This appears to be a fully-abstracted development in the security story, and that represents a huge win for the security of the platform.
  2. What are the ramifications of modern authentication methods for automated device enrollment? Is this a place where, once we’ve performed a successful authentication, we can use what’s returned from the OIDC endpoint to generate a user account?
  3. What all do I need to know about the deprecation of bash and other scripting tools included with the OS as default? Most organizations are already pushing their own toolchain, how’s this fit into the picture?
  4. What does the gating of fdesetup behind PPPC-style controls mean for things like Crypt?
  5. How are the new Device Management controls going to be used in real-world situations?

There’s a lot more to think about as we get into sessions this week. I’m excited. This appears to be a huge win for the Mac Admins community, and there’s so much in here that I’m excited to get rolling. While I won’t be upgrading my daily driver to Catalina for a bit (it’s okay to laugh at me, I’ll probably be upgraded by Friday), I am looking forward to setting up the lab and getting deep into the guts of the new security and device management features.

As much as things can be broken during development releases, and feature choices can feel like frustration in the moment, as beautifully-crafted workflows that represent the culmination of effort and intention fall apart, this is where the work begins anew. We get new tools. Better tools. I can’t look at System Extensions and the new security endpoint protection frameworks and not see the possbilities.

At times like this, we get to invent our own future.

Let’s get to it, shall we?