Google open sources its Mac OS X deployment engine

Apple Online Store“Google has open sourced its internal software for deploying Mac OS X packages across a network,” Cade Metz reports for The Register.

“Known as Simian, the platform was built after Google’s Mac Operations and Security teams evaluated several Mac package deployment tools and failed to find one that suited their needs,” Metz reports. “After alleged Chinese hackers broke into Google’s internal systems in December of 2009, reports indicated that the company had decide to abandon Windows machines entirely and move its entire staff to Mac and Linux machines, and judging from our conversations with company employees, this is indeed the case.”

Metz reports, “According to Google, Simian is designed to deploy new or updated software to a single Mac or tens of thousands of Macs. It can push out security patches to Macs across internal networks or VPNs as well as machines on other networks. It can require the installation of some software packages while allowing others to be optional. And it can manage updates provided by Apple.”

More info and links in the full article here.


  1. Google’s Simian is an in-house solution for the deployment and maintenance of the Mac platform and the best and the brightest engineers will have an opportunity to evolutionize the process because its an open process, hence the name.

    Casper is the successful commercial solution from JAMF and I’m sure they’re well aware of Google’s needs and probably wished ’em luck in reinventing the wheel, when Google balked at accepting their services.

    But, we all know Google has never been one to deploy off-the-shelf solutions of software and would it surprise anyone that GMail probably started life as an in-house email solution?

    Google prides itself on its software engineers and their enormous wealth of corporate knowledge, so tossing out a protocol for normalizing Macintosh in enterprise is just one more proprietary solution that could find its way into the hands of the public, which probably concerns the folks over at JAMF.

    But I can tell you, the How Of It is not the issue, it’s the why, that is the single greatest impact facing JAMF. More enterprises are concerned with the percieved added cost of deploying Macintosh versus PCs. Money is the objection.

    JAMF commissioned a study from Clearworks, which yielded lots of useful data and they now use that study to deflect objections and address any concerns the CFO may have, I’m sure.

    The fact is, Google is so huge and so infused in millions of American lives, they’ve become a national security risk of the highest order, and when you’re receiving marching orders from the NSA, you don’t go outside for solutions.

    Google’s migration to Macintosh sends a message on so many levels, to the world that, Google is taking a serious stand to protect themselves, and by proxy, its clients’ privacy, so I say more power to them.

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