Our Open-Source Software Tools
For over 20 years, we’ve participated in several in-person and online communities with very talented industry leaders with whom we connected at MacWorld and Mactech conferences, Apple training camps, and Apple Consultants Network meetings here in Los Angeles. The goal was to understand how to better serve Apple customers.
This international community has become solidified via the Mac Admins Foundation, a non-profit foundation who exists to “advance the global community of people who manage Apple devices at both large and small scales.” We’ve gained so much over the years because of the relationships we have with folks from across the US, Australia, Canada, the UK, Mexico, Germany, and the Czech Republic, that we wanted to help the foundation with its mission.
To that end, we decided to become a sponsor of the foundation and volunteer as part of their mentorship program to help aspiring Mac Admins as they continue their training and career development. We also volunteer our time to help answer questions and offer ideas in the Mac Admins’ Slack community.
Since we’ve worked with a huge international community for so long, and have adopted many open-source tools shared by others, we were inspired to create some amazing software tools of our own.
Because we support teams of up to 300 employees, their company cultures and technical needs vary. After years of looking, we couldn’t find some solutions that were flexible enough to fit the diverse needs of our client base, so we decided to make our own. They are called Renew and Baseline.
Both tools are MDM agnostic and can be customized to fit just about any environment. We’ve decided to give back by making Renew and Baseline open-source, freely available to Mac Admins everywhere, to thank our friends and colleagues for fostering such a collaborative community. We wouldn’t be where we are without their contributions, so we wanted to pay it forward to the next generation.
Onboarding new staff members, especially when fully remote, can be achieved more effectively when the IT Admins don’t have to physically touch the device to prep it for the user. Baseline allows you to ship a new computer, or reset an existing one back to a clean starting point, without needing to get your hands on it. This is often called zero-touch deployment.
There are many commercial tools out there that offer Apple device admins the ability to create a zero-touch or light-touch workflow, but you must be willing and able to fully adopt their methodology, and many of these tools don’t scale down to fit the needs of small business environments for various reasons.
Baseline offers a more flexible and customizable tool that’s MDM agnostic and can even be used without an MDM tool to automate faster and more consistent deployments of macOS devices.
Supporting remote workers has become integral over the past few years, as have cloud-based remote management tools. For those remote tools to work reliably, and for security patches to be properly installed, users need to restart their workstations regularly.
Renew is a simple tool that encourages users to restart their workstations on a regular basis with customizable reminders. This software can be delivered via MDM (and other methods) and is self-sustaining, running locally without any other tool controlling it.