Join 3,423 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


We don't need no stinkin' macs!
December 15, 2007 4:50 AM   Subscribe

I need help in stopping my campus IT group from their hostile tolerance of macs to outright banning of them on campus though a multi-platform environment is supported in the rest of the university system. Long explanation to follow...

I can refute portions of it outright however, I am not a Novell network person and I do not want to tip the faculty's hands in further negotiations. We are being steamrolled by IT because we have no networking backgrounds to refute their arguments credibly. In essence, it is being stated that Novell cannot handle multi-platform environments. Here are the main points I am not sure how to answer:


• Non Centralized Users accounts
o Each Mac requires that the staff accounts are made on the local machine. On the PC workstations accounts are made on the servers, and when the faculty or staff logs on an account is made for the user. Each user needs their account manually generated; additional users will not be able to login to the machine until a local account is made. If the primary user is gone and the machines needs to be accessed an account needs to be made on the MAC for additional people to access it.
• No common shared drives with the PC workstations
o Documents need to be emailed, or copied to external media to be shared.
o An additional server is needed to handle file shares for Publications – to provide file sharing for additional Mac users, additional servers will be necessary and additional costs incurred for managing and maintaining these servers.
 Accounts on this server must be manually created, and passwords manually synced. The accounts on the server and the accounts on the Mac workstation are not the same. When a user changes their password they need to be changed in both locations.

• Printing
o No central tracking is available.

• Hard drive Data Security Issues
o In case of stolen laptop privacy issues could be a concern. If a hacker has physical access to a computer no matter what the operating system is MAC, Windows, or Linux the system will become compromised.
o In the coming months a product called PointSec is coming to encrypt the hard drive of Laptops. We are required to utilize this software across all university systems. This product is not available for Mac users.
• Assets Management
o Macs do not work ZenWorks Assets management system, that is being deployed to help with managing the university’s computer assets and software licensing.

The new Intel based Macs can dual boot Windows or Mac OS. For years people have been duel booting with Linux and Windows. Dual booting does have issues. For the Mac to be truly integrated into the University computer network it will need to booted into Windows while on campus.
Some of the main possible problems with dual booting are:
• The hard drive needs to be partitioned, and if the sizes are not set right one OS can run out of disk space.
• When booted into MAC the OS can only natively read files from the Windows partition. For example a word document that was last edited while in Windows and saved to the My Documents folder will need to be saved to the Mac partition for the edits to be saved.
• Windows does not natively read the MAC OS file system. Reading a file that is saved to the MAC partition is not possible.

Using an emulator such as VMware or Parallels does work well. A Windows XP license will need to be purchased, causing additional cost to the university. The problem with accessing the files from each OS still occurs even if one of these tools is utilized.


I am so sorry for the length but I just don't know what to do in putting together an argument of this nature. There has been no demonstrations or machine put up. Most of the other arguments, not shown, can be countered with "its on the university portal" but the networking questions are beyond me.

Campus uses Novell including web client and ZenWorks.

Thanks for all your help. If you want the whole document or want further details. please use this email: macsoncampus@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Technology (22 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Seems like the IT group has a variety of good reasons to not support macs on the network. They studied the case, discovered a number of issues that would require extra hardware to be bought and extra work to be done to support macs along with incompatibilities with the existing software.

I have worked tech support, I have worked as a system admin. When I hear you say that you are being steamrolled, and then follow it up with "we have no networking backgrounds to refute their arguments credibly", it seems you are responding emotionally and not logically. You actually have no idea if their arguments are actually credible, but you assume they're not and want to refute them. I'm sorry, but I can see the sense in what they say. For example using Zenworks asset management to ensure all software is properly licensed is completely defeated by having macs on the network, which would all need to be audited manually (or with yet another product).

The reasons are sound, and you don't really have the knowledge or skills to argue against them in good faith. I understand you want your mac, but the only way to have it on the network will be to contravene the network and security policies of your university. I don't recommend that, and it's likely that the network administrators are on the lookout for it.
posted by splice at 5:13 AM on December 15, 2007 [5 favorites]


Seriously, why do you care? What does it matter if the University switches completely to PCs? Even if it costs more, it's not coming outta your pocket, so why should you care?

You should figure out the answers to these questions, in business terms, not because "you hate PCs" before going further, 'cause these sort of Mac vs. PC fights tend to be ugly. So decide why you want to do this and if you want to expend the effort in turning this around. If you do want to continue this, post this question to Macintouch.com, asking for counter arguments. The site has an excellent track record of finding reasonable ways to win this battle.

Finally, decided if this battle *can* be won by reason and if not, then what will work. From what I've seen of these battles, they tend to boil down to someone "just doesn't like Macs" or is thinking of the mac experience from 5 or 10 years ago and thinking nothing has changed, or all to often, IT departments don't want to support another platform.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:13 AM on December 15, 2007


I read this as a damning indictment of their network, not the Mac. Netware is obsolete. It's extremely solid, and I loved it to death, but it's obsolete and needs to be replaced.

Every limitation they list here is a limitation of their choice of networking software.

That said, if they're not willing to replace Netware, then OS X will take extra work for them to support. IMO, that's the kind of work that an IT group should be doing; IT is supposed to adapt to the needs of the users, to the degree possible within the constraints of security and business requirements. It's not supposed to be the other way around. They're there to make your life easy, and if they're not doing that, you're not getting your money's worth from your IT budget.

This entire screed is basically, "It takes us an extra server and an extra five minutes per Mac to support them." They're just using a lot of words to disguise that fact.

I'll bet if they used a Linux server, they could mount a Netware volume and printer and re-export both to the Macs. That's the sole real beef in this entire document. Being unable to solve this problem transparently does not speak well of them.

-- An IT guy

On preview: after Brandon's comment, I realize I may have misunderstood... this may not be about STUDENT OS X machines, but rather UNIVERSITY OS X machines. My comment above mostly stands; they should be able to integrate the two with some thought, but yeah, disparate networks are harder to support. It can make a lot of sense to homogenize your servers and provided client workstations, because it lets you use cookie-cutter parts to swap in and out.

If they're refusing to support STUDENT OS X machines, then I think they're a ridiculously bad IT group. If they don't want to have OS X servers and client workstations that they have to service all the time... well, that's not so bad. I think it would be nice of them to do, and if it were my group we'd offer as many OSes as we could, what with it being a learning environment and all. But that's a judgement call, and they may be under-staffed to do that extra support.
posted by Malor at 5:21 AM on December 15, 2007


For example using Zenworks asset management to ensure all software is properly licensed is completely defeated by having macs on the network,

If, as the original poster said, the software is still being deployed, I'd ask why software was chosen that specifically doesn't work with current computers on the network. There may or may not be a valid reason (i'm not a system admin).

o In the coming months a product called PointSec is coming to encrypt the hard drive of Laptops. We are required to utilize this software across all university systems.

Again, the original poster wrote "though a multi-platform environment is supported in the rest of the university system", so there's a conflict here. Are multi-platform environments really supported, even though this new PC only software is coming? This question needs to asked and answered.

o Documents need to be emailed, or copied to external media to be shared.

Honestly, this sounds like complete and utter bullshit. Either they don't know something, are lying or the servers they're using are specifically ignoring the mac, which begs the question of why they were bought in the first place.


Another point to ask yourself is "Who does IT answer to?" and what does that person look for from the IT department? If IT is answers to Vice President X and X's main goal is keep costs below a certain level, then you'll need to argue how forcing Macs out will drive the costs above that level.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:31 AM on December 15, 2007


I think your strongest case may come from the point they haven't addressed at all--they serve an academic institution and for some disciplines the best software is for Macs only. The two that come to mind are graphic design and genetics/molecular biology. By not supporting the academic mission of the institution, your IT department is failing at their primary function. All of the arguments above will help you, but ultimately a bunch of angry geneticists going to the dean may help more.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:44 AM on December 15, 2007


• Non Centralized Users accounts
o Each Mac requires that the staff accounts are made on the local machine. On the PC workstations accounts are made on the servers, and when the faculty or staff logs on an account is made for the user. Each user needs their account manually generated; additional users will not be able to login to the machine until a local account is made. If the primary user is gone and the machines needs to be accessed an account needs to be made on the MAC for additional people to access it.


Wrong.


• No common shared drives with the PC workstations

Not true at all. Macs can access Windows network shares without any difficulty.

o Documents need to be emailed, or copied to external media to be shared.
o An additional server is needed to handle file shares for Publications – to provide file sharing for additional Mac users, additional servers will be necessary and additional costs incurred for managing and maintaining these servers.
 Accounts on this server must be manually created, and passwords manually synced. The accounts on the server and the accounts on the Mac workstation are not the same. When a user changes their password they need to be changed in both locations.


These three points are all predicated on the assumption that Macs don't work with Active Directory and can't access Windows network shares, which are both wrong (see above).

• Printing
o No central tracking is available.


Wrong.


• Hard drive Data Security Issues
o In case of stolen laptop privacy issues could be a concern. If a hacker has physical access to a computer no matter what the operating system is MAC, Windows, or Linux the system will become compromised.


Fair point.

o In the coming months a product called PointSec is coming to encrypt the hard drive of Laptops. We are required to utilize this software across all university systems. This product is not available for Mac users.

PointSec costs money. TrueCrypt can also encrypt entire disk partitions and is open-source. Using TrueCrypt instead of PointSec would save beaucoup bucks. TrueCrypt currently supports Windows and Linux, and the next release will support OS X.

• Assets Management
o Macs do not work ZenWorks Assets management system, that is being deployed to help with managing the university’s computer assets and software licensing.


Novell claims otherwise.

The new Intel based Macs can dual boot Windows or Mac OS. For years people have been duel booting with Linux and Windows. Dual booting does have issues. For the Mac to be truly integrated into the University computer network it will need to booted into Windows while on campus.

Wrong. See above.

Some of the main possible problems with dual booting are:
• The hard drive needs to be partitioned, and if the sizes are not set right one OS can run out of disk space.


Fair point, but modern hard drives are typically way bigger than a university workstation is going to need - especially if most data are kept on network servers.

• When booted into MAC the OS can only natively read files from the Windows partition. For example a word document that was last edited while in Windows and saved to the My Documents folder will need to be saved to the Mac partition for the edits to be saved.

Wrong.


• Windows does not natively read the MAC OS file system. Reading a file that is saved to the MAC partition is not possible.

Not natively, true. But easily done using some of the savings from using TrueCrypt instead of the proprietary CheckPoint thing.

Using an emulator such as VMware or Parallels does work well. A Windows XP license will need to be purchased, causing additional cost to the university. The problem with accessing the files from each OS still occurs even if one of these tools is utilized.

Largely irrelevant, given that there's no compelling reason to set up the Macs as dual-boot machines in the first place, and given the existence of the cross-filesystem access software linked above.
posted by flabdablet at 6:08 AM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


but ultimately a bunch of angry geneticists going to the dean may help more.

Actually, the head of the genetics department, especially if they're on good terms with the person the IT department answers to, would help the most.

Also note that while flabdablet may be technically right in his refuting of IT's points, it may not matter, because it would force the IT department to radically change, which could ripple through the entire school (i.e. potentially cost a lot) as opposed to just swapping out some computers in one or two departments. Looking at the big picture, it might be easier, quicker and cheaper just to have those few departments change, which would free up some manpower hours in IT (ooo, cost less!), allowing them to focus on other things the person the IT department answers to feels IT should be concentrating on. So you've got to make the case that letting macs stay on the network is good not just department X, but will actually improve or help the big picture.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:23 AM on December 15, 2007


I worked for a university IT department for a few years, and to be this sounds like one back-asswards IT department. As an academic institution they should be attempting to open up computing to the community in the service of both curriculum and research. They should be facilitating the university mandate, not attempting to hinder it. Staying on top of technology is a major priority to... any university I've worked with. (Sometimes to a fault, but that's another thread.)

IT folk who are restricted to work with obsolete technology are typically not happy IT people. It's unlikely that they'll be attracting the best and brightest tech staff with this mentality.

Might they be doing this as a way to pressure the executive to put more money into IT? If you get a sense that this is a kind of political gambit, maybe you'd be able to join forces with them to lobby for more IT funding.

University administrations understand money talk, sometimes to the near-exclusion of all else. They also understand things that risk their reputation and risk student enrolment.

Maybe another tack would be to talk to other equivalent or local institutions about how in specific they deal with multi-platform networking.

Maybe getting students involved and aware of these plans will help, as students are typically resistant to this kind of dictum from the university. Plus, if there's a laptop program in place, many will probably not like being forced to buy a particular manufacturer's hardware and software.

The truth is, this kind of networking is not only possible but is the norm in higher education. It's that simple. I can only imagine it will become more and more necessary in the academic millieu, and thus, by reinforcing an infrastructure that can manage only Windows, they are incurring further costs for themselves in years to come. They're also harming the university's ability to attract the kind of students and staff they rely on to stay relevant.

I know that if this happened in the institution I worked for, I would be very opposed.
posted by loiseau at 6:43 AM on December 15, 2007


I think there are multiple issues here:

1) IT refuses to have macs on campus which probably includes students and faculty. Now, if they are unwilling to support any platform but PCs then people are being given no choice nor chance to choose which leads to

2) academic freedom. I know that seems kind of excitable but think about it, you are a researcher and your machine of choice is disallowed. Many people don't like being handicapped in getting things done which why the OP cares though it is not their "dime" but hey, what if it is their "dime" or their department's? How does this change the dynamic?

Also, the trend in doing online courses and having off campus adjunct faculty means multi-platform. Is IT refusing to help faculty and students who do not toe their OS line off campus? There is a definite chilling affect.

3) Learning environments. Well, if an IT group banned Linux on all machines on campus many would be howling at the OS injustice. Be fair, why can't students and faculty be able to have a multi-platform/multi-OS environment to learn and work in? We do work in a multi-platform world and depending on your major and field, the Windows/XP/Vista world may not be as pertinent. Also, banning an OS on campus to faculty and students? What next, pencils?

Is IT hampering an environment for a sense of control? Also, after emailing the OP this is the ONLY campus of a large university system that is not supporting OSX for faculty and students, which makes it odd, no?

On to the Technical:

1) Novell sells a multi-platfom product that seems to take care of some of IT's issues;

2) IT's arguments that:

Non Centralized Users accounts
o Each Mac requires that the staff accounts are made on the local machine. On the PC workstations accounts are made on the servers, and when the faculty or staff logs on an account is made for the user. Each user needs their account manually generated; additional users will not be able to login to the machine until a local account is made. If the primary user is gone and the machines needs to be accessed an account needs to be made on the MAC for additional people to access it.
• No common shared drives with the PC workstations
o Documents need to be emailed, or copied to external media to be shared.
o An additional server is needed to handle file shares for Publications – to provide file sharing for additional Mac users, additional servers will be necessary and additional costs incurred for managing and maintaining these servers.
 Accounts on this server must be manually created, and passwords manually synced. The accounts on the server and the accounts on the Mac workstation are not the same. When a user changes their password they need to be changed in both locations.


is moot, according to OP (email from OP) since all Mac users use the university web based portal just fine to access their mail, and share folders and files. So, mac users have been functioning fine not having local accounts; OP was confused about IT's reasoning since they (mac users) access and share files fine on the university network through the web client with everyone, PC people included;

3) Printing --- errr...I thought OSX did fine in doing IP printing. But heck, you could just make the faculty department buy a local printer for their desk and not use a network printer;

I am running behind on the Chrismanukkahwali shopping but I am looking forward to reading this thread.
posted by jadepearl at 7:03 AM on December 15, 2007


this is the ONLY campus of a large university system that is not supporting OSX for faculty and students, which makes it odd, no?

That makes it extremely damn odd and the IT department needs to be put under the spotlight so they can throughly explain why they are banning Macs when others in the University system are not.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:54 AM on December 15, 2007


The university has software that they must use that does not support macs. So why are you pushing it onto them to support it?

I run a library network and its much easier if all the computers ran the same os.

The IT department might get really bad funding and cant afford to get newer equipment and software that can work with macs.

Also is this bannignstudents from using it or just as staff and computer labs?
posted by majortom1981 at 7:54 AM on December 15, 2007


I happen to work for campus IT in a large university. My particular department uses Novell, Zenworks, and iPrint. We manage computer labs with about 700 PC's and 200 Macs. In fact, because of Bootcamp, the number of PC's we own has decreased every year!

Non Centralized Users accounts: Each Mac requires that the staff accounts are made on the local machine. On the PC workstations accounts are made on the servers, and when the faculty or staff logs on an account is made for the user. Each user needs their account manually generated; additional users will not be able to login to the machine until a local account is made. If the primary user is gone and the machines needs to be accessed an account needs to be made on the MAC for additional people to access it.

This is not true. Certainly, I don't go around to all our 200 Macs and create 90,000 users every night.

OS X can use eDirectory (NDS; Novell's native directory) for its authentication if you take a little time to figure out how OpenDirectory (OD; OS X's native directory) maps its objects/attributes to NDS. There's some documentation out there, but basically I just sat down with the Directory Access application and had it within an hour.

The first time you login to a Mac it will autocreate your user account from a combination of "/System/Library/User Templates/Non_localized" and "/System/Library/User Templates/[your localization].lproj>" (usually English). So IT can even customize it if they want.

Getting user information from the directory is easy.... group information a little harder. And actually managing machines (using OS X's Workgroup Manager) is near impossible. But if you just care about letting people login, then it's certainly doable.

No common shared drives with the PC workstations: Documents need to be emailed, or copied to external media to be shared. An additional server is needed to handle file shares for Publications – to provide file sharing for additional Mac users, additional servers will be necessary and additional costs incurred for managing and maintaining these servers.

This is not true. Novell Storage Services (NSS) is one of the best network file systems I've ever used. It supports something called "namespaces" so that a volume can always support all the features that a client expects. Let me explain.

Windows hasn't traditionally had a very rich metadata set for files. You have the create/modify/access times plus a few attributes: read only, hidden, system, and archived. For NSS, the LONG namespace provides this.

Mac OS, on the other hand, supports a very rich set of metadata. You have the normal create/modify/access times, plus this whole thing called the Resource Fork. Inside the resource fork a programmer can store any extra data he wants (file icon, current cursor position, etc, etc). For NSS, the MAC namespace provides this.

The cool thing is that a volume can contain files in both namespaces. Which namespace a file is in is determined by which namespace it was last saved in. If someone opens your mac file using the LONG namespace, then the resource fork gets wiped, which can cause issues for Macs. But that matters less and less with OS X because Apple has discouraged the use of resource forks.

Point is: both Windows and OS X users can see and work on the same files. I do it daily. Also, NetWare has supported AFP for as long as I can remember. I don't, however, know what the SUSE support for it is.

Accounts on this server must be manually created, and passwords manually synced. The accounts on the server and the accounts on the Mac workstation are not the same. When a user changes their password they need to be changed in both locations.

This is not true. See my first point, Directory Access can be pointed at NDS.

Printing: No central tracking is available.

This is kinda true and kinda not. Novell's native printing solution is called iPrint (or on NetWare, sometimes Novell Distributed Printing Services; NDPS) and is based on the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP). OS X natively supports IPP, and can print to Novell printing servers. I wouldn't keep my job long if we lost this ability!

The problem will be if they're doing authentication and auditing of the print jobs. With IPP, OS X just sends along the username of the current user. IPP doesn't care, and there's no extra authentication. So if you can create ANOTHER account on your Mac, one that doesn't really exist, then you could print for free! That's like perpetual motion or something.

Our solution around this is an extra authentication step. Users have to walk to a kiosk and authenticate again to "release" their print job. I don't recommend this solution. It took me months to write and debug the code, and the NetWare servers it runs on crash sporadically during high loads. I'm looking at ditching iPrint as soon as I can, but right now I don't have the time (and the current system works well enough as is).

There's also something called Secure IPP for Novell. I don't know what this is or how it works, but it might solve the authentication issue.

Finally, Novell does have an iPrint client for OS X. It can push down drivers and create printers just as well as the iPrint client for Windows. Your IT knows about this, they have to see the Mac/Linux tab for drivers when managing broker objects in iManager. They're just ignoring it.

Hard drive Data Security Issues: In case of stolen laptop privacy issues could be a concern. If a hacker has physical access to a computer no matter what the operating system is MAC, Windows, or Linux the system will become compromised. In the coming months a product called PointSec is coming to encrypt the hard drive of Laptops. We are required to utilize this software across all university systems. This product is not available for Mac users.

Don't know about this. We don't do this.

Assets Management: Macs do not work ZenWorks Assets management system, that is being deployed to help with managing the university’s computer assets and software licensing.

We don't use Asset Management to track our software licenses, so I can't speak to it. We use a product called Sassafras KeyServer, and it supports tracking on OS X and Windows machines (and has for a long time).

The new Intel based Macs can dual boot Windows or Mac OS. For years people have been duel booting with Linux and Windows. Dual booting does have issues. For the Mac to be truly integrated into the University computer network it will need to booted into Windows while on campus. Some of the main possible problems with dual booting are:
  • The hard drive needs to be partitioned, and if the sizes are not set right one OS can run out of disk space.
  • When booted into MAC the OS can only natively read files from the Windows partition. For example a word document that was last edited while in Windows and saved to the My Documents folder will need to be saved to the Mac partition for the edits to be saved.
  • Windows does not natively read the MAC OS file system. Reading a file that is saved to the MAC partition is not possible.


Not true! Not true! Not true! One way to support Windows on a Mac is to use Bootcamp. The other way is to use virtual machine software. Parallels makes a product, and so does VMware. I like VMware better, it's a more stable and mature product, but I use Parallels for most of my work.

Neither OS needs to run out of disk space with virtual machines. Neither OS needs to be denied access to files. With both you can share folders into the guest OS (Windows) or simply drag and drop files between the two.

Both products also support a mode called Coherence or Unity. This lets your Windows applications appear to be applications running in OS X. It's pretty slick, and I'm sure you can find some screencasts of it in action.

And if you decide you want the best of both works (virtualization and bootcamp) then both products let you use a bootcamp partition as a virtualization guest. Sometimes you need to boot into Windows natively when you're doing heavy graphics work (say... playing games!). But for most daily tasks (using IE, Office, etc) doing virtualization is just fine. I use iPrint and the Novell Client daily inside virtualization and they both work great.

Hope this answers some of your questions.
posted by sbutler at 8:32 AM on December 15, 2007


"That makes it extremely damn odd..."

Uh, not really. Different campuses of universities do not, as if by magic, share any and all network upgrades enjoyed by their peers.


There seem to be a lot of angry mac users here, but I'm not sure that we have enough information to really answer the question. Sure, you can talk about open source solutions like TrueCrypt... but the #1 requirement for large entities like universities is not features -- it's support. If they don't already have the expertise required to support TrueCrypt, it's not even close to "free".

You're going to have to get down to the dollars and cents on this one. Find out where the costs are coming from. This doesn't sound like a "someone just hates macs" situation, this sounds like a situation in which IT is trying to avoid spending a huge portion their budget just to placate a certain, disproportionate subset of the faculty.
posted by toomuchpete at 8:36 AM on December 15, 2007


Here at the University of Cambridge, the Public Workstation Facility consists of computers running Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Linux, all served by Novell servers. It's definitely possible. It was their choice to pick an asset management system that doesn't work with Macs, and the argument that you all need to use the same drive encryption software is silly—they can get something for the Macs too. You shouldn't have to pay for their poor choices.

Other people have commented on how you should drop the "OMG IT = Mac-hostile Windows fanboys" attitude and recognize that supporting a heterogeneous environment is a real issue and a real difficulty for them. You are doing yourself a disservice by casting their argument in this way, and decision-makers will not respect you if you refuse to recognize this. This will cost them real money and staff time. Either they will need a larger budget or the quality of their Windows provision will go down because they are supporting Macs. That said, I think in a academic environment such heterogeneity is to be expected. Academic freedom and all that.

A technical rebuttal may not be the best idea, other than to point out that their statements are inconsistent with what Novell claims about their software and what others do in the wild elsewhere. Instead, you should point out that their insistence on this is a hindrance to the core mission of the university, which is research and teaching, not IT. Get a list of software you must use that only runs on Mac.

Find out what your peer institutions do. Say that while you understand the difficulty this causes, everyone else seems to manage. Surely University of Anonymous's IT department is as capable as Anonymous State University's?
posted by grouse at 9:02 AM on December 15, 2007


Re: Drive encryption. You can enable encrypted home folders (where by default non admin users are only allowed to save stuff) that even have a universal back door key (great for IT departments) that cannot be read if the drive is mounted by another user.

The home folder is an encrypted expandlable aes-256 (IIRC) disk image that is mounted at users login.

Leopard features native folder redirection, so you can configure the clients to save scratch or temporary files outside of the encrypted folder (or their music, etc.).

What will the art and graphics and possibly film departments at the university do? These are departments that OS X is the accepted standard in the classroom, and in the workforce. Even a very large software company in redmond has Final Cut Pro workstations in their video editing lab (I know this because I set them up).

Let alone what the science fields can use.

Of the biggest thing that can help you is possibly getting in touch with your Apple Rep (call apple's higher ed sales division, tell them your IT department wants to throw out your macs and never buy anything apple again, that should get their attention). They may be able to bring out an Apple Engineer (if they have their act together) and give you guys more information specific to your needs about what can be done, and possibly how to do it.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:36 AM on December 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


A list of relevant applications that are available for Mac, some of which are also available for other platforms, which you might possibly use someday maybe is not really helpful. You need a list of the essential applications that you already use that you can't replace.

Make this about how the reality of your existing work will be disrupted by this restriction, not about advocacy for Macs.
posted by grouse at 10:40 AM on December 15, 2007


Another (ex) IT person chipping in; to translate their arguments into normal speak, what they mean is they already know what to do and how to do it with PCs and the cost involved to learn it/hire someone qualified to add your mac(s) is prohibitive. I'm sorry but making this into an anti-mac situation is only going to get their backs up, which is going to result in stalemate. Far better to follow hydropsyche's lead on what macs do that you can't do with what your IT dept provides.
posted by gatchaman at 1:18 PM on December 15, 2007


[a few comments removed -- rants about how apple sucks belong in the 'can you tell me how apple sucks" thread, not here]
posted by jessamyn at 2:02 PM on December 15, 2007


• Hard drive Data Security Issues
o In case of stolen laptop privacy issues could be a concern. If a hacker has physical access to a computer no matter what the operating system is MAC, Windows, or Linux the system will become compromised.

Well a laptop is a personal machine kind of by definition, and then it would be up to the end user to implement the apple disc encryption if the IT people required it. This whole thing smells of the "computers are there for the IT staff, not the user" syndrome that is all too common.

Anyway I work in a university, and you can take my unix based systems out of my cold dead hands (I find unixeyness much more useful for my research and I'm in a social sciences field, so it's not just science/engineering types who feel this way). There was a push from the IT director a few years ago to get rid of the macs on campus, but that push died when he left. Meanwhile the only faculty where the "we don't want no stinking macs" rule still applies seems to be the one I work in. Fortunately I just use my laptop on the wireless network and laugh at the sorry state of the windows desktops there (login problems, stupid disc quota rules &c).
posted by singingfish at 2:14 PM on December 15, 2007


Just to echo some of the points above, I'm a ZENworks administrator for a large, multi-agency advertising company. Needless to say, we have a huge Mac population and (as sbutler and others explain) it is very possible to integrate Macs into a Novell infrastructure. We do, however, spend a not insignificant amount of money making that happen...quite possibly more than the entire IT budget of the average university. So from a bottom line perspective, your IT department's decision may be perfectly logical.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:05 PM on December 15, 2007


Anon, I spent many years in academic IT, and I agree with loiseau and others that your situation sounds very unusual. Policies this restrictive are common in the corporate world, but they're pretty rare in academia.

Obviously you prefer to remain anonymous, but it's hard to comment sensibly about this without knowing a little more about your institution, so perhaps you could ask one of the moderators to post a followup for you.

It would be best if you could tell us the name of the school; we might be able to glean something helpful from their IT department's website.

If that's not possible, can you tell us more about the place? It sounds like you're a regional branch campus of a larger state university. If so, what services and facilities do you share with the parent institution? How big is the parent school, and how big is your campus? How old is your campus? Is it a specialized, single-field campus? Does it have research pretensions? Does it offer primarily service courses for students transferring out?

The more details you can provide about your environment, the easier it will be to figure out what's going on here and what might help you influence the situation.
posted by tangerine at 9:25 PM on December 15, 2007


I have no insight into the requirements for Macs you list, but I would suggest that you might be able to find support from your school's physics and math departments, some of the members of which are going to be very upset if they are no longer allowed to use Linux boxes on the campus network (if my interpretation of the question is correct). Not just I-can't-use-my-favourite-OS upset, but my-work-is-being-hindered upset.
posted by ssg at 6:40 PM on December 16, 2007


« Older Why does root beer smell like ...   |  My predecessor's creditors are... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.