I am delighted to release new versions of my free utilities SilentKnight and LockRattler. These address – I hope – their longest-standing annoyance, and bring them to full compatibility with the current beta release of Big Sur.
The annoyance results from a bug in macOS. Both apps follow Apple’s guidelines to developers when they check the version numbers of various security data files. That works fine the first time after the app is launched, but if you then download and install any updates, running the same check a second time returns exactly the same version numbers as it did before the update.
LockRattler, which doesn’t check these versions against my GitHub database, works around this by highlighting in red the details of the new updates, but still couldn’t change the version numbers shown. SilentKnight users had to quit the app and open it again in order to see the versions displayed correctly. What appears to happen is that macOS caches the bundle information when it’s first obtained, and nothing seems able to force it to refresh that cache. Trust me, I’ve been messing around for over a year trying to find a way to get the calls to work correctly, and failed.
These new versions use a different, and less elegant approach. The first time that the bundle versions are obtained, they use the same calls to macOS. After that, they switch to calling a command tool to fetch the same information. As that tool is opened each time the call is made, it shouldn’t suffer the same caching problems. If I’m right, this should spare you from having to quit the app and open it again to see correct version numbers. In about two weeks, when Apple pushes the next scheduled security updates, we’ll see whether this works. If it doesn’t, then the only workarounds left are even more clumsy, I’m afraid.
I have also taken this opportunity to provide version data for the first beta release of Big Sur: LockRattler accesses a dedicated page here for that information, and SilentKnight now has additional version information in my GitHub database which it uses for automatic checking. Both apps should therefore not only be compatible with macOS 11, but provide meaningful results for it too.
The only area in which SilentKnight still leaves beta-testers out on a limb is with respect to firmware version checking. Although it doesn’t report that more recent firmware is actually wrong, it can’t check whether it’s correct for the betas. This follows my normal policy of keeping my firmware version database current with the latest public release of macOS, but not beta-releases.
I hope that these will be the last Intel-only versions, and that the next updates will be Universal Apps for both Apple Silicon and Intel Macs.