10.0.10 Discovering Mac software in BigFix Inventory

With BigFix Inventory version 10.0.10, software discovery is extended on Mac endpoints or computers. The discovery is based on catalog-less mechanism and catalog entries are created automatically based on discovery results and algorithm/logic for Mac discovery.

Mac application packages have well-defined naming convention and versioning, but vendor of an application is not normalized. BigFix Inventory includes an algorithm to determine and normalize the names of software vendors for Mac software packages. This feature replaces the previous method of software discovery. All catalog definitions including signatures created by “Automatic Signature creation for installed software on Mac Computers” and dependent discovery are removed during upgrade.

To be able to use new Mac software discovery:
  • Update “Initiate Software Scan” action to version 10.0.10
  • Update “BigFix Inventory Server” to version 10.0.10

Before upgrading

As Mac OS package discovery is improved, current catalog and software discovered for Mac OS machines are removed during the application upgrade. The data is replaced with data imported during new software scan. As the data is removed, application upgrade may take longer than usual if there are Mac software and machines in the environment.

The time required for upgrade is estimated by the following query:
select count(*) / 20 from sam.software_components c
join sam.publishers p on c.publisher_id = p.id
where p.name = 'Unclassified Mac Software'
Note: Stop old actions and start new actions using updated version of “Initiate Software Scan” fixlet. The result of this fixlet produces package data for Mac OS machines in a format that is accepted by BigFix Inventory Data from old format is still shown on Package Data panel, but no longer on software inventory reports, like Software Classification.

New features

The new features are listed below:
Vendor name
The new package scan for Mac OS provides information about the package vendor. Additionally, during data import, vendor names are normalized to avoid duplicate vendor names. For example, “HCL America” is normalized to “HCL” and “International Business Machines” to “IBM”, etc.
Extended usage data
The new package scan for Mac OS includes improvements for usage signatures generation. As a result, number of software components with the ability to report usage is higher than in previous implementation.
Package categories
To further improve the Mac software reporting, a “category” of the package has been introduced. In current implementation each package on Mac is classified as “Application” or “Other”. Only the entries categorized as “Application” are promoted to Catalog and reported under Software Classification.

It is also possible to promote entries classified as “Other” by manually creating the signature from the Package Data view. It is recommended to adjust signature to include any patch for given software and normalize Publisher and Software Name.

New catalog hierarchy
Components discovered on Mac machines are bundled to one product having release number ‘*’ instead of numbers depending on package version. The change is also applicable to 'product_release' column in api/sam/v2/software_instances REST API. It does not affect license calculations.
Component version is limited to two numbers, for example, 1.2 where the whole version string is present in Component Detailed Version column.