Lab Mac System Administrator Documentation

The Mac Labs are lab rooms throughout the MC building dedicated to giving students access to Mac computers. In any of these labs, students can enter their WatIAM credentials and log into one of the computers in their own environment.

System Specifications

  • Locations: MC 2062, MC 2063, MC 3003, MC 3004, MC 3005, and MC 3027
  • See Mac Lab Closures for closure dates Is this page still relevant? It looks really old and outdated.


Some things I can think of that might be appropriate in this section include the type of macs that are being used

Some examples:

  • Machine's name:
    • May be moved to another server in the winter term
  • Server's name:
    • Server1
    • Server2


  • User logins Is there a name for the authentication system that we can replace this with?
    • Authentication requires Student Active Directory (cs-teaching) credentials
    • Cannot support one user logging into a machine multiple times. The lab Macs use network home directories. The login / logout hooks provide some temporary links to the local disk to improve performance, and then remove them at logout. Any machine already logged on will be in an unstable state after you log out of another machine.
    • People with access:
      • anyone with an active account in the CS Student Active Directory Domain (CS-TEACHING) should be able to login to a lab Mac
      • any Math and specifically any CS student, or Instructor, or Tutor, or student in a CS course has access; any ISG or CSCF staff has access
      • there are NO group restrictions
Some other things might be appropriate in this section and are not yet here. One thing that comes to mind is the OS of the macs, and other similar information.

Authentication and Authorization Information

Many systems demand authentication before they can be accessed. List the information required to gain access to the system. Please do not put passwords on this page. This page will be public and accessible by Google.


  • Administrator: Edward Chrzanowski
  • Point of contact (expert): Edward Chrzanowski
  • Stakeholders:
    • I created these two stakeholders below by just brainstorming some things that I imagine the mac labs to be used for. The elipses are there to show that more information might want to be added for them but you can add or remove stakeholders as you see fit, of course.
    • CS Students
      • Uses the mac labs for assignments where they don't have the required software
      • ...
    • Course Tutors
      • Use mac labs to hold office hours
      • ...


For example:

  • Definitum
    • In a definition the word being defined is the definitum
    • Is a fancy word that nobody ever really uses
  • MarkUs
    • A marking system in which students can submit their code and faculty can provide feedback and assign grades
    • Originates from the University of Toronto

See Also

Related ST Items

Related Twiki Pages

Related EDocs

For example:
  • EDoc 1
  • EDoc 2
  • ...

Related External Links

Extra notes/questions from Drew for Edward to Review

There is a lot more info that needs to be reviewed on the Mac Lab Triage Documentation page.

What do you want to do with the source Twiki page? ( It's basically the same content and it wouldn't be clean to have duplicate information

This following section was included in the source. I don't really understand what it is trying to say. As a result, I don't know what do do with it.

Symptoms Which are NOT Problems

  • "No Xauth data; using fake authentication data for X11 forwarding .....creating new authority" This is an artefact of the magic Jason invented for allowing single-signon from the lab Macs to student.cs cpu servers in the X11 program

I'm struggling a bit with this section. I can't figure out whether it is all talking about one big problem or whether there are many different problems (each with a different fix that will be needed). If it is many problems, each one will probably need it's own how-to.

Operational Problems

  • First verify that the student has diskquota available; the Macs use network based profiles/home directories, and will exhibit strange behaviour if they cannot create working files; eg Firefox will refuse to start.
  • Funny application behaviour in general can be observed when the fileserver is overloaded; eg, saving a Microsoft Office file will give a bogus permissions error, when the real underlying problem is a timeout communicating with the server. A possible workaround is to save the file temporarily in /tmp/username - that folder is local to the system, but will be deleted when you log out, so make sure to copy the file to your home directory space.
  • Microsoft Excel error "Can't record macro" - log out and back in; the login hook deletes some Microsoft Office preference files that can become corrupted, then running Excel re-creates them.
  • Occasionally other programs will get corrupted preference files (suspected because of concurrent logons sometimes). They can be removed, since they will be dynamically re-created in a default state. They are in the USER, not System, space ~/Library/Preferences and typically have a form like com.optima.PageSpinner.plist; some applications may have multiple plists. There may also be removable files in ~/Library/Application Support/ specific to the problem application

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Topic revision: r24 - 2019-11-26 - EdwardChrzanowski
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