Public Domain

I’m a big fan of Munki (pronounced monkey, /ˈmʌŋki/, m ah nk ee, or Mung – KEY) an open-source project started by Walt Disney Animation Studios to deploy software and packages to Mac OS X and MacOS based clients. It is written mostly in Python, and it provides a nice way to enforce software installation and/or updates. And since it offers a Mac App Store like Client experience a lot of optional installations (e.g. self-service).

One of the things that I find very useful: You can use scripting as pre- and post-installation parts to customize everything. A few years ago (yep, I use this software for a while now) I started to build several packaged for others. Then the fist enterprise came along and asked me to help them out with an existing Munki installation, during that project, I created a lot of new packages and tweaked most of the existing ones.

Now, a couple of projects and years later, I found, that many still have issues creating packages with customization.

Here is my approach, and I try to stick with it whenever possible: Use packages that you can get from the Vendor, or the Project (if open Source). Even better: Establish an AutoPKG process and work with overrides!

Then use the power of shell scripts to tweak and customize. I’m a scripting guy! I know.

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Exchange Server

Microsoft Released Cumulative Update 6 (KB4012108) for Exchange 2016 today.

This Cumulative Update contains the following:

Download:
Exchange Server 2016 Cumulative Update 6 (KB4012108), Download, UM Lang Packs

The Announcement indicates, that this Release supports .Net 4.7, but the Exchange Support Team is still doing some tests, and you should not install it on your Exchange Servers now.
I leave .Net 4.7 on my WSUS Servers for Exchange and I also blocked the installation in the Registry. Just in case!

A sad thing: There is still an issue on my Windows Server 2016 based Exchange Servers!

But the good news: My Workaround still works!

I recently published a new PowerShell Module to Maintain Exchange Servers. I used the ExchangeNodeMaintenanceMode to install Cumulative Update 6 for Exchange 2016 on my Servers.
These servers are test systems, and I highly recommend you to do the same.
Or wait at least a few days, or even better a few weeks before deploy it to you regular Exchange Servers. Just in case, this release has some surprises.

You will find my ExchangeNodeMaintenanceMode Module on GitHub and on the PowerShell Gallery! This is my first Gallery Module, by the way.

Microsoft also Published Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 17 (KB4012114), Download, UM Lang Packs!

Skype 4 Business

The April 2017 release brings Peer-to-peer file transfer capabilities to the MacOS Client of Skype for Business. That was one of the most missed and requested features on the MacOS platform.

Skype4B Peer-to-peer file transfer

Skype4B Peer-to-peer file transfer

But before starting to party hard, because you missed that feature to… There is one (big) drawback: It is a Skype Online Feature! No on Premises, at least for now.

Here is the announcement:

Peer-to-peer file transfer is enabled for Skype for Business Online. Users can now send and receive files while in a chat session by clicking the paper clip in the chat message input box. They can also drag files directly from the Finder to the chat message input box.

See the “Peer-to-peer file transfer is enabled for Skype for Business Online“?

And here is a picture from the same Mac, only with my on Premises User is used:

No Peer-to-peer file transfer on Premises

No Peer-to-peer file transfer on Premises

The April release also contains a few interesting improvements. The complete list can be found on the what’s new in Skype for Business 2016 page of Microsoft.

Skype 4 Business

After installing the latest Skype for Business Client on MacOS Sierra, the Status message is pre filled with the word Note.

Skype 4 Business Status field

Skype 4 Business Status field

All contacts see me, without any Status message. If I click on the field, the status message is, then set to “Note“, even if I then click somewhere (not OK).

Skype 4 Business Edit field

Skype 4 Business Edit field

The contacts now see me with the personal status message “Note“.

Skype 4 Business now note is set

Skype 4 Business now note is set

The Skype for Business on Premises Server is Version 2015 with CU4. The Client is the latest Release and seems to be the same on the latest Insider Fast Ring (Version 16.7.196).

I just found that because several of my contacts had the Status message “Note“, all of these have a Mac. All Windows Clients (Where the default is “What’s happening today?“) act normal. If I click on a Windows Client in the field, nothing is set.

Tested the same with Skype for Business Online (Part of Office 365 E3), with the same result.
I tested that with several MAC’s and different Skype Client Versions (See above). Anyone an idea what happened here?

I want to transfer more and more logic away from Group Policies towards Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC). There are several reasons why i think that DSC is much better than my old (and complex) group policy constructs, but the main reason (at least for me): I can manage DSC clients that are domain joined, not domain joined, or even Azure Active Directory domain joined the same way.

This is also something I use for Edge servers (like Skype or Exchange); they are not domain joined. And if you have more than one that should do exactly the same, this is where DSC could become a life saver and make your life very easy.

I play around with several DSC Push and Pull server instances, but I wanted to have the same set of DSC resources available on all of them. At least until I know which to keep to reduce my own logic.

I use the DSC Script Resource a lot. I do a lot of checks and implemented a lot of logic and flexibility within a lot of Script Resources.
However, this is the wrong way to use DSC! At least, in my opinion!

There are some very cool ready to use DSC resources available, and this reduces the script resource usage (or what I did: abuse). Why should I keep my own logic when someone else created nearly the same as a central and maintained DSC resource?
I know: I’m lazy!

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