It’s easy to criticize a giant like Google for its practical monopoly, but with the size and various branches comes a visible advantage: Google can use its in-house technologies to creatively bolster new experiments, features, and projects. That’s exactly what’s happened with Google Simian, an enterprise technology for Mac computers that allows simultaneous deployment of software, updates, patches, and more.
This technology combines Google’s expertise in various areas, and is an indirect successor to the Google Apps deployment engine. Now, this project is being released to the open source community.
Simian is fairly broad in features, and is already based on the open source project titled “Munki.” Simian allows the use of the app deployment framework to deploy updated software, patches, and more to as many as tens of thousands of systems. Further, those installations can be optional updates or mandatory packages, and can even target computers dynamically based on the system’s user, current version, and more. The open source community will be able to take advantage of these features for deeper integration with third party platforms/software, addons for Simian itself, and more.
It may even be that the open source community will help complete some of the pending feature updates. In the coming months, look out for these announced but not yet integrated Simian features:
- On-server storage of Apple update files.
- Advanced features on “forced installs,” allowing items like a time delay on the installation mandate.
- The option to download installation packages from third party sources.
- Enhanced, high-detail reporting.
- Hash verification for installation packages.
This isn’t the first piece of open source code released by Google lately. The last several months have seen donated code that was valued in the millions. It’s also anticipated that this trend will continue, with the Simian project just being the first piece of IT-related code being contributed.