Making Panopto Available in Self Service

As most of the US is now doing remote instruction to practice better social distancing, we’ve found ourselves using new tools more frequently. Panopto is a tool that is for recording classes and being able to distribute later – it lets you record from a camera and microphone and screen share, and it can be uploaded for students to reference.

We’ve been using Panopto for some time, but now we are getting requests to install in en masse. The Panopto installer does some unusual stuff that caused complications when trying to deploy with Jamf’s Self Service. First, it creates a hidden user account to manage uploads to the server. That user needs specific permissions, and in Mojave and Catalina it can cause some issues. If you are following certain security protocols you may need further exceptions for this user account for it to work. It also assumes the installer is being run by the user. We found that when Jamf installed Panopto it was either not creating the account, or it was creating it but failing to give it appropriate permissions.

We saw multiple errors, mostly an error 84 which we couldn’t find documentation for, or an error uploading. It seemed the issues with these were either that the user Panopto creates, panopto_upload, did not have permission to the folder or was not created correctly.

In order to make this work in Self Service I worked out the following steps:

  • Due to failed and incorrectly configured installs the first step is a script I wrote based on the instructions to manually uninstall Panopto. This helps as there were case where Panopto was installed and nonfunctional. The script uses the $3 variable in Jamf for Self Service, but it can be run manually and will use the logged in user if $3 is not specified.
  • Second, we install a profile to ensure the correct hostname is added in settings. Panopto’s installer is supposed to use a hostname in the installer’s filename but I’ve found that to be inconsistent when deployed with Jamf. This is a profile using the Application & Custom Settings payload in Jamf.
  • A script originally written by @macdude22 on the macadmins slack to create the Panopto user correctly before install.
  • Installing the Panopto 7.3 package as provided by Panopto’s support.
  • Running a permissions fix for the user in Self Service.

In testing with Mojave and Catalina, the Self Service installer now runs correctly for the user in Self Service. For now, this covers most of our use case. There will be an additional requirement on shared systems to ensure that the panopto_upload user has permissions for each user who logs in. Tentatively that will run using outset in a login-once script.

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