SBGrid and MacOS 10.15 'Catalina'

SBGrid is not compatible with MacOS 10.15 "Catalina" without temporarily disabling System Integrity Protection (SIP)

The latest version of Apple's MacOS operating system, 10.15 "Catalina" was released October 7, 2019. This is a major update that imposes significant changes. This OS is currently incompatible with the SBGrid software collection without addition of /programs on the root partition.

The new OS enforces strict filesystem controls. The upgrade process silently repartitions the hard disk into system and data partitions and the system partition is then mounted read-only with the data partition 'firmlinked'. Firmlinks are a new apple system-only link divised for this release. Because of the read-only filesystem, creating a /programs symbolic link is not possible without disabling SIP and remounting the system disk with write permissions. Instructions on that process are below. The work-around is it not particularly challenging to complete and only needs to be performed once. However, it does require two reboots of the system.

Note that 10.15 "Catalina" also drops support for 32-bit binaries required by many older applications. We are actively cataloging the application versions that will no longer be available after 10.14 and will make that list available .

We recommend against upgrading to 10.15 on any Mac with SBGrid installed, particularly if you rely on 32-bit software. We are in the process of adding Catalina support and intend to support the OS in spring of 2020. We are also compiling a list of software applications that will no longer be available on MacOS after version 10.14 "Mojave".

How to stop nagging macOS update alerts

It is possible to turn off the nagging pop ups.

  • Open System Preferences.
  • Click on Software Update.
  • Deselect Automatically keep my Mac up to date

How to ignore macOS Catalina update on your mac

$ sudo softwareupdate --ignore "macOS Catalina"

You will see :

Ignored updates:
(
    "macOS Catalina"
)

You can reverse this later by running :

sudo softwareupdate --reset-ignored

How to restore SBGrid on an upgraded Catalina machine

To restore the /programs symlink in Catalina, the system filesystem must be remounted as read/write. To do that in Catalina, SIP must be disabled.

1. Disable SIP

  • Restart your Mac.
  • Before macOS starts up, hold down Command-R and keep it held down until you see an Apple icon and a progress bar. Release. This boots you into Recovery.
  • From the Utilities menu, select Terminal.
  • At the prompt run the following and then press Return:
csrutil disable
  • Terminal should display a message that SIP was disabled.
  • From the  menu, select Restart.

2. Remount disk as read/write to create /programs

To remount the disk as read/write, run :

sudo mount -uw / 

To create the SBGrid /programs link, run :

sudo ln -s /opt/sbgrid /programs

To install the software, you can use the install client normally. It will create the required paths and install the software. After the initial installation, you can use the install client as in previous MacOS releases, even after the steps below.

3. Re-enable SIP

  • Restart your Mac.
  • Before macOS starts up, hold down Command-R and keep it held down until you see an Apple icon and a progress bar. Release. This boots you into Recovery.
  • From the Utilities menu, select Terminal.
  • At the prompt, re-enbale SIP with :
csrutil enable
  • Terminal should display a message that SIP was enabled.
  • From the  menu, select Restart.