The Casper Remote application allows you to immediately perform remote management tasks on computers, such as installing packages, running scripts, and binding to directory services. All of these tasks can be performed via policy in the JSS, however Casper Remote allows you to initiate them immediately.
To get Casper Remote (and Composer, covered seperately) on your machine, first make sure your machine is enrolled, then open up the Self Service application, in your Applications folder. You will be able to find the Remote application under SCI – Casper Remote and Composer.
A guide on how to use the Self Service application can be found here
Opening up Casper Remote
You will find Casper Remote in the /Applications/Casper Suite/ directory. Double click to open it.
- The JSS Address is: https://jss.auckland.ac.nz:8443
- And tick the “Allow untrusted SSL certificate”
- Click save
Next, login using your UOA credentials.
Logging in can take some time, but eventually you will be presented with the front screen
*Ignore the SITE button in the top right of this image. It can only be seen by Casper Administration Leads – it won’t be visible to you.
You will only be able to view computers within the Science Faculty. Generally it is a good idea to ignore the groups – in most cases these are setup to target policies at machines without particular pieces of software. This stops people installing software over the top of existing software.
What can you use it for?
As mentioned previously, using the groups is not necessarily the best way to navigate. Use the search field at the top right of the window. Type in some part the name, with it highlighted, it dosen’t have to be ticked, you can click screen share at the top left. This will initiate Screen Sharing, exactly the same as normal Screen Sharing, just secured over SSH.
Pushing Packages/Scripts/Accounts etc.
In most cases you will be pushing out to only one machine, however you have the option of choosing many. Just search for the machine, then click the checkbox next to it. Then select the tab that suits what you want to do.
Here you can select one or many packages to push to the clients you selected earlier. There are some important things to note on this screen.
- Action: Here you can choose to install or uninstall a package. If the uninstall option is missing, create an AskIT job and assign it to the OneMac Technical Team.
- Fill User Templates: This is the same as filling the “Default User” in Windows. Sometimes an application e.g Firefox, creates a folder in your home directory, where it stores history and bookmark information. Filling the User Template makes sure that any NEW users that logon to the machine will receive the directory. Not ticking this box when the application requires it may result in undefined behaviour (the application may not work). If this box is ticked, its generally a good idea to leave it ticked.
- Fill Existing Users: CAREFUL. If the application is already installed, then it may have created folders in the users home directories. Using Firefox as an example again, lets assume its created directories and users have saved bookmarks and history information in these folders. If you tick this box, it will overwrite these directories with fresh copies from the install REMOVING THE SAVED BOOKMARK/HISTORY INFORMATION. Only tick this box if the application is new to the machine, or you know what you are doing.
- Information Field: You will notice just underneath the package list, there is some information listed, in this case “Created from the original package, updated and command line tools installed, plus registration”. If you notice something pop-up here, READ IT! In some cases, packages have dependencies. A good example is Adobe Creative Cloud. This requires two packages to be installed, and a script! The information here should help you figure out what to install.
- If you are installing a DMG, it is a good rule of thumb to tick Fix ByHost Files in the Advanced menu (covered later).
For now, ignore the rest of the options on this page.
How to choose a package (What does the naming convention mean?)
At this time, the packages in Casper look a little messy. However, the most important parts to note are that UOA prefixed packages are tested by the Casper Administration Leads (CALs) and SCI prefixed packages are tested by either Dominic, Keith or Lei. Just because a package is available doesn’t mean that its safe to use. The only way you can be sure at this time, whether or not a package is in production, is to head along to the onemac website and view this page.
This tab is very similar to the Packages tab – it allows you to push out scripts from a list. In this example, I don’t need to select anything, TextMate doesn’t need any scripts, however if you were installing Creative Cloud, you would select this here. As you can see again, there is an information field to let you know more.
Ignore this field for now – CAPS comes as packages. There is a SIT_InstallCapsQueues.sh script that you can find underneath the scripts tab, which will work for all scan card printers. In the future, direct print packages will become available underneath the packages tab.
Self explanatory, you can add dock items to the dock!
This menu manages LOCAL users. In most cases, this menu will be unused. Active Directory users will login as normal, this might be useful to reset the Science IT admin password, or perhaps give a visitor access to a machine for a period of time. On pressing the + button, a familiar menu will appear. Standard support users won’t be able to add machines to the domain from here.
By default, “Restart if a package or update requires it” is ticked. So be careful! Make sure you read the package information, it should let you know if it requires a reboot. You don’t want the user lose their work! If at all worried, make sure to change this option to “Do not restart”.
Have you tried turning it off and on again? Don’t ask anymore, ask the person to save their work and just reboot the machine remotely. You have several options, however be warned, “Restart Immediately” means, IMMEDIATELY, do not save your work, do not pass go.
If someone is logged in, and you arn’t on the phone with them, it might be a good idea to wait for a period, and display a message to them, you have the option of doing that here also.
The main reason for coming to this menu is to update a machines inventory or “Fix ByHost Files”, as mentioned earlier. It is generally a good idea to update the inventory after installing an application, this updates it in the system, making sure that it knows a new set of applications or configurations have been installed. It does do this automatically, but at a very low frequency.
Finally, CHECK, DOUBLE CHECK, TRIPLE CHECK!
With great power, comes great responsibility. A couple of misclicks and you could make a couple of people, or a lot of people, have a very very bad day.
Fortunately, JAMF have given us an easy to see view of what we are doing! Check the left hand side bar! It will list everything you are doing, and what machines you are doing it to. For this image I chose a bunch more machines and packages to make things interesting.
Now click Go!
The next window will show a list of machines, and the current action. You can see machines that are not available, and the ones that have completed successfully. At the end you can view a log to see exactly what happened during the process.