Prepare to Mass Deploy VMWare Horizon View Client For Mac (with Composer)

The VMWare Horizon client is an easy install in itself as it’s a drag and drop installer, but here are times where as an administrator you’d like to push out the connection settings and other little tweaks to fit your environment.  In our Company we use the Casper Suite to manage our Apple Devices, it truly is a nice piece of software.  In the Casper Suite, there is a nice packaging utility called Composer, and while it can accomplish the same functionality of Apple’s PackageMaker, it has a number of nice additions and a simpler creation procedure.

Download the view client by visiting your portal and clicking on the appropriate link, which jumps you to VMWare’s download site. Once the .dmg file download has completed, drag the installer to your Applications folder.
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Once the copy to your Application folder completes, open the client, and enter in your connection information just as you would if you were setting it up for a singular device.

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This is where the road splits, you have two choices.  You can either call it a day and prepare for packaging or, you can send out settings that include the usb arbitration and the ability for them to startup on login.  For the purpose of this quick tip i’ll go the route of settings up the usb, but will show the differences at the end.

Go ahead and login to your connection server.

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Once connected, start the desktop USB Services.

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Once the USB services have started, it will prompt your for a local admin password on the device.  If you’re planning on putting documentation together for your end users, make sure they have local admin rights on the mac.  You can then preselect the settings that you wish your end users to be pre populated with.

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Something to note:  The end user will need to start USB services on their device, the purpose of these steps is to only pre populate the settings above into the plist file that you’ll see below.

Now that your VMWare Horizon View Client has been installed and configured, lets take a look at the preference, or plist file that was generated on the local machine.  Plist files are located in two places on the machine, the ones we’re interested are located in the local users home folder, ~/Library/Preferences or /Users/username/Library/Preferences.

If you’re running Mac OSX 10.7 or higher, the User’s Library folder is now hidden, but you can fix that by running the following command from the Terminal:  chflags nohidden ~/Library

If you decided to do the USB services settings in your client, here is what your plist will look like:

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If you decided to skip the USB service configuration and leave the onus on the end user, your plist file is much smaller as shown here:

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I understand that there a number of different ways to deploy custom software packages on the Mac, there are some really nice products out there, but seeing as we use the Casper Suite in house, lets go through the steps to prepare this package for deployment with their software.  Once you have your application and plist files the way you want, go ahead and fire up Composer and drag the VMWare Horizon View Client from the Applications folder, and your modified plist file from the ~/Library/Preferences folder into the window; you should see something like the following:
You’ll notice that it creates the folder structure for you, this is a nice little time saver over creating the package root with Apple’s Packagemaker.

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You might be asking yourself, “Self, it looks like the preference file will only be put into the current users home folder, how can this be published to all users?”  Good question, but first here is the Packagemaker way.  You would need to create a post flight script that reads all the current users on the system you’re deploying, put that into an array, and then copy the preference file into each of their Library/Preferences folders, then also copy it to the user template for all new users.  While we’ve been doing this for years with the Apple approach, the Casper Suite, can do this systematically for you with a checkbox in the Casper Server, neat!

You’ll need to build this application as a DMG file to be able to fill the user preferences and templates, and save it someplace that you can easily find, I typically throw it on the desktop.

This is where I’m going to leave you, I know it’s a cliff hanger you’re saying, but if I was to show you step by step on how to upload the DMG file to a JSS, it would be a long drawn out post.  Instead, check out Casper Quick Start Guide on page 114, they do the process more justice than I could.  If you have additional questions, or would like to know more about the advanced functions of Composer, start reading on page 68 of the Casper Admin Guide.


Posted in View, Vmware

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