Friday, 20 November 2020

macOS 11 Big Sur and Kernel Extensions - down the rabbit hole I go ....

I've been having a few discussions with colleagues as we get to grips with the new macOS 11 Big Sur release, especially with regard to the slow evolution away from Kernel Extensions ( aka KExts ).

One particular thread led me here: -

How to configure Kernel Extension settings for Mac

and, specifically this: -

sudo sqlite3 /var/db/SystemPolicyConfiguration/KextPolicy

Password:

]SQLite version 3.32.3 2020-06-18 14:16:19

Enter ".help" for usage hints.

sqlite> SELECT * FROM kext_policy; 

QED4VVPZWA|com.logitech.manager.kernel.driver|1|Logitech Inc.|5

6HB5Y2QTA3|com.hp.kext.io.enabler.compound|1|HP Inc.|0

Z2SG5H3HC8|net.tunnelblick.tun|1|Jonathan Bullard|5

Z2SG5H3HC8|net.tunnelblick.tap|1|Jonathan Bullard|5

sqlite> ^D

Why did I not know this before ?

There's a whole SQLite database infrastructure inside my Mac ? Wow, who knew ?

A colleague then pointed out that macOS also has kextstat which allows me to show which kernel extensions are loaded and, via this: -

kextstat | grep -v com.apple

Executing: /usr/bin/kmutil showloaded
No variant specified, falling back to release
Index Refs Address            Size       Wired      Name (Version) UUID <Linked Against>

the non-Apple extensions that are loaded or, in my case, NOT !

So, whilst the SQLite database has kexts from Logitech, HP and Tunnelblick listed, none appear to be loaded ...

Which is nice!

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