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Getting started with Munki
Updated Aug 11, 2014 by


Simple getting started info.


See DemonstrationSetup for a walk-through of setting up a functional Munki client and server on a single machine; no separate web server needed. This is a quick and easy way to get started with Munki, and is a recommended starting point for people new to Munki.



The Munki client and admin tools requires Python 2.5 or higher with Objective-C Python bindings, which is included by default in Mac OS X. Munki is supported on Leopard through Mavericks. The upcoming Munki 2 will drop support for Leopard.

To see how to report cases where Python dependencies are broken, see ReportBrokenClient.

Web server

A basic Munki server is simply a web server. You do not need the munki tools installed on the server. You can set up a Munki server on any platform that supports a web server. You can use OS X client, OS X Server, Linux, Windows or even a NAS appliance as a Munki server. You are simply setting up a filesystem on a web server for clients to access.

A machine to administer your Munki server (Mac OS X 10.5+)

This machine will use the Munki admin tools to create pkginfo files, catalogs and manifests. This machine must be running Mac OS X and it needs the munkitools.mpkg installed. You can also use your Munki server for this (if the server is running Mac OS X or Mac OS X Server) but it's not required. Installing the munki tools prompts a reboot so maybe your server isn't the best choice depending what other services it hosts. Common choices for an admin machine: The Mac you do your day to day work on, a spare Mac, your Munki server (if it's running OS X).

User / Client Machines (Mac OS X 10.5+)

These are your users machines that you want to install updates and packages on via Munki. munkitools.mpkg must be installed on all client machines. munkitools.mpkg contains 4 sub packages: app, core, launchd and admin. The admin package is not required for your clients, but it's much simpler to just install the whole package.

The easiest way to start is by downloading the current packaged release here:

The installer package installs the munki command-line tools in /usr/local/munki/, and the GUI Managed Software in /Applications/Utilities/.

Then follow the walkthrough here: DemonstrationSetup to setup a demo Munki server and client.

Key tools

Admin tools:

munkiimport: A tool that helps an admin import software installation packages into the Munki server. See munkiimport for more info on this tool.

makepkginfo: A lower level tool. Given an installer package, creates basic pkginfo (metadata) for it. The admin should edit this and add to this metadata - if it was all automatically discoverable, we wouldn't need the separate pkginfo metadata file in the first place! See makepkginfo for more.

makecatalogs: Builds Munki catalogs from pkginfo files generated by makepkginfo or munkiimport. See makecatalogs for more.

manifestutil: A tool for manipulating manifest files. See manifestutil for documentation.

Client tools:

managedsoftwareupdate - checks with the server and retrieves current manifest(s); walks though the manifest(s), downloads catalogs, retrieves detail on individual manifest items and then builds a list of items that need to be installed, and a list of items that need to be removed. More info here: managedsoftwareupdate

Calling managedsoftwareupdate --installonly - installs or removes items.

GUI application:

Managed Software Located at /Applications/Utilities/Managed Software

This app is used to notify the user that there are updates to be installed, and ask them to log out to have them installed, or notify them that they will be installed at next logout. It also provides visual progress feedback during installs, even over the loginwindow.

Users can also run this app to trigger a check for available updates; if there are no available updates (in InstallInfo.plist) when it is launched, it will run a check and return the results.

Demonstration setup of Munki server and client

See DemonstrationSetup for a walkthrough of setting up a demo Munki server and client.

Where to go for more info and help

If, after working through the demonstration setup, and reading the documentation here, and checking out the MacTech "Introduction to Munki" articles (Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4) you are still perplexed and need some help, post a a question on the munki-dev Google Group.

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