As some of you may know, I’ve been dabbling in Powershell for some time now, and have started trying to make it more useful on the Mac. There’s a lot that you can do on Windows that should work on the Mac and as of yet does not. One of the sillier things is “Get-ComputerInfo” which on Windows shows you all kinds of neat things about your computer, and doesn’t exist on the macOS version of PowerShell. I thought this was a shame so I set about trying to replicate this functionality, so that you get at least some of it. (There’s a lot of windows things that don’t make sense on the mac, so I didn’t worry if I didn’t get those.)
The name of the script is “Get-MacInfo” and it’s available from my Github site. It’s a pretty simple script, that should work under current versions of PowerShell. I’ve built and tested it under the 7.1 preview versions, but there’s nothing in there that shouldn’t work under 7.0. Prior to 7.0, no idea.
The script itself pulls in data from a number of sources, including uname, sw_ver, system_profiler, osascript, sysctl, and some built-in PowerShell functions. It dumps them all into a hashtable so they can be displayed/retrieved easier. If you run the script without any parameters, you get the full table dump, as seen here:
Name Value ---- ----- macOSBuildLabEx 17.7.0: macOSCurrentVersion 10.13.6 macOSCurrentBuildNumber 17G12034 macOSProductName Mac OS X macOSDarwinVersion 17.7.0 EFIVersion 184.108.40.206.0 SMCVersion 1.70f6 HardwareSerialNumber *************** HardwareUUID ********-****-****-****-************ HardwareModelName MacBook Pro HardwareModelID MacBookPro8,3 CPUArchitecture x86_64 CPUName Intel Core i7 CPUSpeed 2.2 GHz CPUCount 1 CPUCoreCount 4 CPUL2CacheSize 256 KB CPUBrandString Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2720QM CPU @ 2.20GHz L3CacheSize 6 MB RAMAmount 16 GB AppMemoryUsedGB 9.9869 VMPageFile /private/var/vm/swapfile VMSwapInUseGB 1.5210 BootDevice /dev/disk1s1 FileVaultStatus Off EFICurrentLanguage English (United States) DSTStatus True TimeZone America/New_York UTCOffset -05:00:00 DNSHostName ********.local LocalHostName ********* NetworkServiceList Ethernet, iPhone USB, Wi-Fi, iPad USB, FireWire, Bluetooth PAN, Thunderbolt Bridge CurrentUserName ****** CurrentUserUID ****** CurrentDateTime 5/20/2020 8:42:19 PM LastBootDateTime May 7 17:26 Uptime 13.03:16:50
If you just want one or more of the parameters, then you’d supply those as a comma-delimited list, i.e.:
./Get-MacInfo.ps1 RAMAmount,NetworkServiceList,macOSCurrentBuildNumber Name Value ---- ----- RAMAmount 16 GB NetworkServiceList Ethernet, iPhone USB, Wi-Fi, iPad USB, FireWire, Bluetooth PAN, Thunderbolt Bridge macOSCurrentBuildNumber 17G12034
The script itself takes about a second or two to run, as it collects all the info first, then displays what you want. Yes, that’s wasteful to some, but a) takes less than two seconds to run on ten-year-old gear and b) I’m lazy. You’re welcome to improve on it.
Actually, that last part is serious. I didn’t get every possible parameter, i can’t think of them all. The script itself is extensively commented, so even a novice should be able to figure out what’s going on and add to it. I’m also not that clever with output formatting as you can see from the code.
Anyway, now that I have the parameter input done, my next step is to turn it into a proper PowerShell module so you can incorporate it into your system. Hopefully, that will be sooner than later, and I’ll try to put a post up about it when I can.
In terms of using PowerShell, as a language, it’s really very nice. I like it better than most, it’s really easy to get up and running quickly and there is a LOT of documentation and support from both Microsoft and third-parties. (HEY APPLE! YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT STEALING HOW MICROSOFT DOCUMENTS THEIR AUTOMATION STUFF. IT’S REALLY USEFUL. HINT!!!!)
Visual Studio Code (VSC) is a really nice dev environment for the Mac, and you really only have to install like two extensions to get it working well with PowerShell and GitHub, specifically “PowerShell” and “GitHub Pull Requests and Issues”. Both are easy to use and in conjunction with VSC give you most of the tools you need to get things done.
My biggest complaint about PowerShell is the complete lack of UI primitives, like simple dialog boxes and lists. Building those without external modules is just ridiculously tedious and kind of inexcusable. Come on Microsoft, AppleScript has had “Display Dialog” and “Choose from List” for how many decades? This is just silly that a modern language doesn’t allow you to create simple UI elements without a gob of code setup.
My second biggest is that its OS integration on macOS is pants. I mean, look at the reason for this post. What would be neat, and probably doable, instead of trying to replicate Apple’s existing scripting implementations in PowerShell would be for the PowerShell team to just build an event broker that could take Commands from PowerShell, spit out Apple Events to the OS/other applications and return the results to the script. I’m not saying that’s easy but over time, it’s probably less work to build a daemon that does that instead of trying to replicate many decades of work in terms of OSA languages.
Either way, Powershell on macOS is quite usable, and y’all should give it a try. The instructions for doing so are here, and you can do it via either Homebrew, or just downloading the installer from MS.