Book Update – Moving to zsh v3

I have pushed an update for the “Moving to zsh” book.

Just a few changes and fixes that have accumulated over the past two weeks. Much of this has been from feedback of readers. Thanks to everyone who sent in their notes.

The update is free if you have already purchased the book. You should get a notification from the Books application to update. (On macOS, I have seen that it can help to delete the local download of the book to force the update.)

If you are enjoying the book, please rate it on the Books store, or (even better) leave a review. These really help, thank you!

Also, please recommend the book to friends, co-workers, and anyone else (not just MacAdmins) who might be facing the zsh transition as they upgrade to Catalina.

The changes in v3 are listed here. This list is also in the ‘Version History’ section in the book. There, you will get links to the relevant section of the book, so you can find the changes quickly.

  • Added a section explaining how to work with upper- or lower-case strings in zsh scripts
  • Added a section explaining the differences in the read built-in command
  • Clarified the section on Connected Variables
  • Fixed file names in the table for Configuration Files and added a note for how to use configuration files with python environments
  • As usual, several typos and clarifications (Thanks to many readers)

Book Update – Moving to zsh v2

I have pushed an update for the “Moving to zsh” book.

The book is barely two weeks out but I had a few more things to add. The nice thing about self-published digital books is that they can updated quickly and often. I expect more updates over time as I continue to learn more about the subject.

As usual, the update is free when you already own the book.

If you have already purchased the book, you can go to Apple Books application on your Mac and choose ‘Check for available Downloads…’ from the ‘Store’ menu. I have seen the Mac Books app be really slow (or even completely blind) in picking up updates, you can accelerate the process by removing the local download and re-downloading the book. In iOS tap on your iCloud account icon next to ‘Reading Now’ and then choose ‘Updates.’

If you have not yet purchased the book, go get it on Apple Books!

The changes are listed here, but you can also them in the ‘Version History’ section in the book. There it links to the relevant section of the book, so you can find the changes quickly.

  • Learnt about is-at-least and updated ‘Sharing across macOS and zsh versions,’ accordingly
  • Added a section on zmv
  • Added a note to keep changes to the PATH variable up-to-date across multiple shells
  • More feedback from proof readers. (Thank you!)

If yo have read and enjoyed the book, please leave a review on the Apple Books store!

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale

It is Thanksgiving week in the US, which means that all real-world and online retailers are luring buyers with all kinds of crazy sales.

Here at Scripting OS X, I keep the book prices low all year round. My latest book “Moving to zsh” is US$9.99 all the time.

I also just permanently lowered the price on “macOS Installation.”

Nevertheless, starting today and up to Dec 3, I will also put “Packaging for Apple Administrators” and “Property Lists, Preferences, and Profiles for Apple Administrators” on sale!

And not just for US readers, but on all regions where the books are available in the Apple Books store!

Happy Thanksgiving!

New Book Release Day: Moving to zsh

My new book: “Moving to zsh” is now available on the Apple Books Store!

The book should be useful for anyone who uses macOS Terminal and is wondering what the change of the default shell in Catalina means and how to best handle the transition. The book describes the motivation for Apple (and the user) to “move to zsh” and how to get the most out of the new shell.

It is based on the series of blog posts that I posted from June through August, but reworked and expanded with more detail and more topics. Some of the information from my MacSysAdmin presentation also made it into the book.

The blog series added up to about 11K words, and the book, in its current form, is more than 22K words. Compared to the series, I have added images, movies, clarifications, more examples, and several new sections and appendices.

This books explains:
– why Apple is changing the shell
– implications for infrequent and expert Terminal users
– how to move from bash to zsh
– configuring zsh to be more productive
– moving scripts from bash to zsh

And this will certainly not be the end for “Moving to zsh.” Like my other books, I plan to update and add to it after release as well, keeping it relevant and useful.

This is my first book that is not targeted mainly at MacAdmins. I believe this book will be useful for any Mac user that uses the Terminal frequently: Developers, web admins, scientists, and other power users. Please help spread the news by sharing this post and the book link with friends, co-workers, and across social media. Thank you!

Go get “Moving to zsh” on the Apple Books Store!

Book update: macOS Installation v5

There is a new update to my book “macOS Installation!”

It contains lots of updates regarding Catalina, and the usual list of typos and other fixes.

As usual, the update is free when you already own the book.

If you have already purchased the book, you can go to Apple Books application on your Mac and choose ‘Check for available Downloads…’ from the ‘Store’ menu. I have seen the Mac Books app be really slow (or even completely blind) in picking up updates, you can accelerate the process by removing the local download and re-downloading the book. In iOS tap on your iCloud account icon next to ‘Reading Now’ and then choose ‘Updates.’

If you have not yet purchased the book, I have good news for you: I have lowered the price!

Why did I lower the price? Let me explain…

This is the fourth update for “macOS Installation.” It might be its last.

When I first published the book in June 2018, I promised updates until the Mojave release. There have now been two updates beyond that: one for the Mojave “Spring” update, and another one for Catalina.

The format of the book had the original intention to help MacAdmins learn about and deal with the strange, new post-imaging world that came with the High Sierra and T2 Security chip. I like to believe it did that quite well. But since then, the releases of Mojave and Catalina have added more layers of complexity and information on top of that.

The post-imaging world isn’t new anymore. It is still strange, complicated, and sometimes hard to navigate. However, I feel that the book’s format would have to change to keep being a useful guide. Obviously, such a re-structuring is a massive effort and would pretty much result in a new book. Maintaining and updating a book is a lot of effort, re-writing it even more so.

Thus the decision that this might be last update for “macOS Installation.” Depending on how disruptive the changes in the Catalina “spring” update will be, I might update for those, but I am not planning to update the book for 10.16 next year.

I might work on some new book on macOS deployment and management in the future. However, I have a few other topics I want to publish before I do that, so that might be a while.

Charles Edge’s and Rich Trouton’s new book should be a great successor to “macOS Installation”:

  • Rich Trouton’s and Charles Edge’s “Apple Device Management: A Unified Theory of Managing Macs, iPads, iPhones, and AppleTVs”: pre-order on Amazon US, UK, DE (Affiliate Links)

“macOS Installation” should remain useful for the life time of Catalina, which, depending on your deployment practices should be another one to four years, more if 10.16 and 10.17 do not drastically change everything again.

Readers who bought the book 16 months ago got several updates for free. I believe free updates are one of the great value propositions of self-published digital books. Most computer related information changes quickly these days and being able to update digital books is a great way to extend their lifetime, usefulness, and value.

My plan to not further update for “macOS Installation” thus lowers its value a bit, and to reflect that I am lowering its price in the store.

That said, I am convinced the book is still very helpful and full of useful information as it is, so if you have not bought the book yet, this is your chance!

Changes in this version (you can also find this in the book in the ‘Version History’ section):

  • added “Moving to zsh” to More Books and updated links to new Apple Books format
  • extended the explanation on FileVault and the Secure Token
  • added Catalina System Volume Layout description
  • added instructions to block the macOS Catalina download
  • added an explanation for the expiring installer certificates from October 2019
  • updated download links for Older macOS Versions
  • added notes to NetBoot-based Installation regarding its further demise and the removal of System Image Utility from Catalina
  • added information on new softwareupdate features in Catalina to macOS Installer Application
  • added a section on new Catalina features
  • added a description of new stub Installer application behavior with startosinstall
  • added link to new SecureToken documentation
  • updated text and tables to reflect the 2019 iMacs
  • clarified reboot behavior of Mojave and High Sierra with Custom Packages
  • added a list of MDM commands that require DEP
  • now using the term ‘conventional’ Macs to refer to non-Secure Boot or pre-T2 Macs
  • many typos, minor changes and clarifications

New Book: Moving to zsh

You might have seen this coming. My next book will be called “Moving to zsh” and will cover the new default shell on macOS and how to switch to it from bash.

It is based on the series of blog posts that I posted from June through August, but reworked and expanded with more detail and more topics. Like my other books, I plan to update and add to it after release as well, keeping it relevant and useful.

The book is progressing nicely, but not yet ready. I have put it up for pre-order on the Apple Books Store.

There is a lot of interest on the topic since the release of Catalina and I wanted to let everyone know, that after the blog series, a hands-on training class, and my presentation at MacSysAdmin, I still have more to add to the topic. I set the expected release date to December 31, 2019. “Before the end of the year.” (Like the Mac Pro.) I have hope that it will be done sooner than that, but we will see.

When I have more information, you will, as always, read about it here.

Packaging Book Update: v1.10

I have updated my book “Packaging for Apple Administrators”!

It contains lots of fixes, some new parts and updates with regards to macOS Catalina.

This book is now nearly three years old and if you bought it at the very beginning you have gotten eight updates for free!

(Historic sidenote: v1.1 was just a quick fix to remove some placeholder text, so that was the first version on the iBooks Store.)

If you have already purchased the book, you can go to Apple Books application on your Mac and choose ‘Check for available Downloads…’ from the ‘Store’ menu. In iOS tap on your iCloud account icon next to ‘Reading Now’ and then choose ‘Updates.’

Changes in this version (you can also find this in the book in the ‘Version History’ section):

  • added a note on the spkg command line tool for Suspicious Package
  • updated the list of Considerations for Installation Scripts with regards to packages used in Recovery and zsh
  • updated script code across various scripts to match my updated coding standards
  • added a note on zsh in About this Book
  • changed the sample script in the Payload-Free Packages section to enable Screen Sharing instead of SSH because of changes in macOS Catalina security
  • added information on Notarization to Packages and Gatekeeper
  • added a note on the new Catalina read-only system volume in Testing the Package
  • fixed some mis-spellings and inconsistencies
  • fixed some broken links in Recommended Reading
  • changed to new ‘Apple Books’ nomenclature
  • fixed a dead link in ‘Installation Scripts’

Go get it in the Books store!

Book Update: macOS Installation v4

The third update to my book “macOS Installation for Apple Administrators” is available.

If you have already purchased the book, you can get the update in the Apple Books application on your iOS device or Mac.

While I was putting this book together, macOS High Sierra was very much a moving target and I had to update and change sections frequently, sometimes while they were being written. Thankfully, the changes to macOS deployment and installation have calmed down somewhat since then. While Mojave and the new Mac hardware have brought some changes, they are not as disruptive as High Sierra, UAMDM and the iMac Pro were.

Originally, I made a commitment to update the book up to the macOS Mojave release. This is the book’s first post-Mojave update. I am planning at least one more update to cover any changes the Mojave “Spring Update” might bring.

Once we know more about macOS 10.15 after WWDC, I will decide on the book’s further future. As I have outlined in my 2018 review/2019 outlook post, I don’t expect dramatic changes this year, so it will probably make sense to keep the book going for the lifetime of 10.15.

It is quite likely that the deployment workflows outlined in “macOS Installation” will serve MacAdmins well for the foreseeable future.

This update received quite a bit of new content. I have rewritten and expanded many sections. The book is now eleven pages longer than the third version and sixteen pages longer than the first release. I have added many more links to external pages, tools, posts and support articles where they are available.

The update is free when you have already purchased the book. Unfortunately, the “updates” area seems to have gotten lost in the Apple Books app re-deisgn. You can just follow the link to the Apple Book store and the app should tell you that an update is available.

If you don’t have it yet, buy it now and get all future updates for free!

Here is a detailed list of most of the changes, which you can also find in the ‘Version History’ section of the book itself. (The version history in the book is linked to the actual changed section for easier reference.)

  • added description of the new –downloadassets option when creating external installer drives
  • updated description the –preservecontainer option in Erase Installation
  • updated descriptions of Secure Boot in various locations to reflect the Mac models introduced in October 2018
  • added an overview table for which current Mac models have Secure Boot and their minimum OS Versions
  • added links to the support pages for more versions of macOS in Older macOS Versions
  • moved and extended the section on Hardware Specific Systems and Installers
  • added downgrading limitation to Erase Installation
  • added description of fdesetup list to the FileVault section
  • added description of Twocanoe’s MacDeployStick to Sideloading Packages
  • added Manual Enrollment by IT to Manual Enrollment
  • added EraseInstall application to Restoring macOS
  • added link to support article with supporting servers to Device Enrollment Program
  • several typos, changes and clarifications

Books Sale for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

My three books will be on sale from now, over Black Friday, through Cyber Monday (Nov 26). This is a great chance to pick the books up at a few dollars or euros less:

Prices shown are for the US Apple Books store, but the prices in all regions where the books are published will be reduced.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US and happy deal hunting to everyone!