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OS X Books Media Operating Systems Book Reviews

Mac OS X Server Panther 155

Posted by timothy
from the it's-like-four-names-in-one dept.
norburym (Mary Norbury-Glaser) writes "Mac OS X Server 10.3 Panther is one of the latest in Peachpit Press' Visual QuickPro guides (not to be confused with the beginner "QuickStart" series) and is written by one of the best IT/Mac trainers in the industry, Schoun Regan, with assistance by his devoted sidekick and co-trainer at itinstruction.com, Kevin White. Peachpit and the authors have produced a book with excellent content and delivery; the installation and setup of Mac OS X Server and Web services is explained with clarity and precise detail." Read on for the rest of Norbury-Glaser's review.
Mac OS X Server 10.3 Panther
author Schoun Regan with Kevin White
pages 472
publisher Peachpit Press
rating 9
reviewer Mary Norbury-Glaser
ISBN 0321242521
summary Learn Mac OS X Server fast and efficiently.

PeachPit Press labels Mac OS X Server 10.3 Panther as intended for those readers with intermediate to advanced OS X Server experience, but this is not accurate. The step-wise instruction provided by Regan and White is richly documented with screenshots, so even those new to OS X Server can follow this book. Intermediate or advanced server admins will find some nice "tips and tricks" to add to their arsenal of tools, and if they're preparing to set up their first OS X Server or XServe, they'll find this book a handy companion to "pre-lab" with and to use as a follow along guide.

In less than 20 pages, Chapter 1 takes the reader through planning his or her OS X Server deployment with an overview of partitioning options, various methods of installation and a tour of post-install logs. This is Regan's "20-pages-of-prep/20-minutes-to-install" chapter; concise, exact and representative of the pace and caliber of the chapters that follow.

Chapter 2, "Server Tools", covers the aftermath of the install; how to use the Server Administration software that comes with OS X Server to configure the server. The authors walk through language choices, network interfaces, administrator account setup, directory service and service startup options. The Server Admin and Workgroup Manager tools are also discussed in detail; how to customize Server Admin preferences, how to use Workgroup Manager preferences (resolve DNS, use SSL for sharing, show system users and groups) and how to add users to the local database. The Server Admin tool is the most used utility in OS X Server. It offers a well-designed GUI to manage all your services as well as preferences and advanced options. If you're upgrading from AppleShare IP, you'll want to look at the section on using the AppleShare IP Migration tool to ease the transition to OS X Panther Server. An overview of the Macintosh Manager follows, for support of Mac OS 9 user preferences. The chapter concludes with a brief introduction to additional server tools: MySQL Manager, using Server Monitor, the RAID Admin Tool, the Network Image Utility, the QTSS (QuickTime Streaming Server) Publisher and the QuickTime Broadcaster (the last two are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 12).

Implementing Open Directory is the focus of Chapter 3, but the actual implementation steps are prefaced by a strong discussion of directory services. The authors begin with a summary of LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and Microsoft's AD (Active Directory), both methods of storing user data. This leads neatly into the Mac OS X Client and Server Directory Access application and the various services options that allow the client or server to connect to another directory service (AD, BSD Flat Files and NIS, LDAPv3 or NetInfo) in order to obtain authentication, authorization and contact information. Each of these options is detailed in its own section. Using the Authentication tab of the Open Directory service to apply global password server policies and using Kerberos (authentication method) are also addressed here. This is an exceedingly well-composed chapter. Understanding directory services and Open Directory concepts will enable the server administrator to better organize the hierarchy of users, groups and shares in his or her environment, especially in a multi-platform situation.

User and group management is the logical segue to the discussion on directory services and is the title of Chapter 4. Topics range from: configuring basic user attributes, advanced user options and administrative user permissions; configuring password types (Open Directory/Kerberos single sign-on, shadow, crypt); creating groups and assigning group folders; setting the home directory and user disk quotas; adding email to user accounts and enabling printer quotas. The section devoted to setting the home directory will be of particular interest to many readers; most academic and corporate users are in an environment where their documents and application preferences are stored in a home directory.

OS X Server excels at providing file sharing via AFP (Apple File Protocol), SMB (Server Message Block), FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and NFS (Network File System). Chapter 5 concentrates on strategies and configuration of share points and sharing protocols. Of the four protocols addressed here, the most widely referenced will be SMB, the native Windows service provided in OS X Server by Samba, an open source/free software (samba.org). Subtopics in this category include connecting Mac OS X clients via SMB and Windows clients via SMB, configuring your server as a PDC (Primary Domain Controller) to enable Windows clients to authenticate against your server and enabling WINS. The chapter concludes with instructions on creating additional network mounts using a shared Application folders and a shared Library folder as real world examples. This chapter will help anyone in a cross-platform environment to blend their Mac OS X Server seamlessly with Windows client and server machines.

Chapter 6, "Network Configuration Options" looks at extending the functionality of your server by enabling other network services like DNS, DHCP, NAT and IP forwarding. The authors spend some time underscoring the importance of properly configuring DNS and the instructions here for setting up simple forward and reverse zone records and then testing the DNS settings are excellently done. Another well-written section is on enabling NAT. This is a simple procedure to perform and well worth it for the added security it provides.

Printing services is the focus of Chapter 7 and goes over print queues, CUPS (Common Unix Printing System), configuring printers in Open Directory and on client machines, managing print jobs and viewing print logs. Every organization can benefit from a centralized print server that can allow an administrator to monitor and control print jobs. The authors make the process of configuring the server and clients extremely easy.

Not everyone needs to enable mail services (especially if they find themselves in a Windows environment with an Exchange server) but nonetheless, it's a valuable subject and the authors give a thorough explanation of not only the mail protocols and services built into OS X Server (SMTP and Postfix, POP, IMAP, Cyrus, SquirrelMail and Mailman) but they also expound on ways to handle spam, creating virtual domains, configuring secure mail authentication, enabling SSL and enabling mail lists via Mailman. Monitoring mail services using the Server Admin tool and Mailman close out the chapter.

Chapter 9, "Web Services," introduces the reader to the Apache Web server. Built into OS X Server, Apple has provided a unique integration of Apache that can be managed via the GUI. Using our friend, the Server Admin tool, the authors show how to set up a Web site, configure Web site options, set up SSL, edit or add to the built-in MIME types, enable Web proxies and monitor web services and log files. By far the most interesting part of this chapter is devoted to setting up realms and WebDAV. WebDAV is a network protocol that provides collaborative editing on a shared file server destination and it supports versioning of any type of media (HTML, GIF, JPEG, etc.), not just text-based. Since WebDAV works over HTTP, you get authentication, encryption, caching, proxy support and efficient transfers.

Every server administrator has to worry about security and the authors turn their attention to this topic in Chapter 10. They begin with physical security (locking the server room, locking the server itself, removing external devices from the server and installing Open Firmware Password to prevent someone from booting into a less secure mode) and then move to firewall basics and how to create advanced FTP rules. Password "good practices" comes next (seems like this is a no-brainer, but the sad fact is that this is a necessary reminder for many people, even server administrators) followed by how to enable encryption based on SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). The authors walk the reader through creating a private key and a corresponding CSR (Certificate Signing Request) and how to act as your own CA (Certificate Authority). They provide really nice directions on how to implement certificates for Open Directory, Web and email SSL as well using, of course, the Server Admin tool.

Chapter 11, "Running A NetBoot Server" combines many of the concepts from previously discussed protocols (DHCP, TFTP, NFS, HTTP) to illustrate another unique feature of OS X Server. NetBoot allows for client machines to boot off shared disk image files that reside on the server. It also enables the server admin to deploy an install image across a network. NetBoot is a highly valuable tool for anyone interested in creating an efficiently managed environment. The authors provide step-wise directions on how to create a bootable image and an install image, how to manage NetBoot images, how to automate installations (very neat) and how to import/export images in order to move them from server to server.

The last three tools in OS X Server are illustrated in Chapter 12: QTSS (QuickTime Streaming Server) which enables audio and video streaming, QTB (QuickTime Broadcaster) which allows you to produce live events for online delivery and QTSS Publisher which manages QuickTime movie, MPEG-4 and MP3 playlists.

The final chapter of the book concentrates on client management and how to implement managed preferences to workgroups, computer lists or individual user accounts. This, of course, is every administrator's dream: to manage and control clients from a centralized environment! The authors show that OS X Server provides excellent management options and with a bit of planning and foresight, an administrator can properly configure their OS X Server tools to provide a balance of efficiency and control.

So what's missing? Not much, really. VPN is not covered at all, though, and I would have liked a section on this. VPN is a real necessity not only for remote employees/students but also for the administrator. But sheesh -- that's a small complaint given the amount of information in this book, and I have to applaud the authors for their ability to combine such detailed instructions on nearly every aspect of OS X Server between two covers.

The book follows the classic Visual QuickPro Guide layout, with each page split into two columns to allow for instructional text situated alongside accompanying screenshots. This book is loaded with screenshots and icon graphics, so the reader will miss nary a step while following along on their test box or their production server. There are even pictures of the progress bar as configuration settings are being applied! (Well, sometimes patience needs to be encouraged.) Chapter subtopics are indicated on the binding of the book with gray thumb tabs. Extended information and digressions are highlighted in gray boxes as logical asides.

Everything about this book is designed to guide the reader through every aspect of the installation and configuration of OS X server. The authors provide clear explanations of each step using a task-based approach with extended discussions on the various choices the server presents the user with at appropriate intervals. There are plenty of real world "tips and tricks" that will save the administrator time and anguish over the course of setting up the server. Regan and White address some of the most difficult to comprehend topics and issues an admin will address: multi-platform environments and file sharing, DNS, Open Directory and security. Fully understanding these subjects is critical to making the correct choices while configuring the server. The authors' thorough discourse provides the reader with the knowledge and tools to get the job done.


Mary Norbury-Glaser is an IT Director at a University of Colorado Health Sciences affiliate center in Denver. Working in a multi-platform academic environment dominated by Windows boxes, she sometimes feels like the Mac Maytag Lady. You can purchase Mac OS X Server 10.3 Panther from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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Mac OS X Server Panther

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  • Wait... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Koiu Lpoi (632570)
    There's a MacOSX server? I had no idea. That's weird. Actually, it's kinda cool. We've got the UNIX stlye environment - proven in the server area - along with the best (IMHO) user interface for setting anything up. I like it.
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @04:18PM (#11759400)
      There's a MacOSX server? I had no idea.

      Until 10.3, you weren't missing much. 10 through 10.2 were...disasters. 10.3 was more polished, but still has lots of clunky issues...for example, you have to do manual mucking around in Open Directory to add a standalone printer with an LPR queue. Not terribly hard, just unnecessary- which makes you wonder, "and why couldn't someone have spent a day on making a wizard for this?"

      Netbooting setup is also a complete disaster- it was horrible in 10.2, and it's not much better in 10.3, with a lot of parameters not very well explained, etc. Editing plists and tweaking the Open Directory reminded me of the days of editing the Windows registry, and on a Mac, there's something fundamentally wrong with that.

      • So, are these server programs standard with OSX? Judging by what you say, then, it's not yet time for me to buy that Mac Mini...
        • no no no.. What he is refering the GUI implementation to change core server features, DNS/netboot/dhcp/etc..
          • Oh, so if I'm a self-proclaimed Linux guru already, I shouldn't have much problem working with the console anyways, hah.
            • That would really depend on a lot on the accuracy of your self-assessment.
            • In which case you might find the GUI tools of OS X server to be more of a hindrance than a benefit. So then why spend the $500 (ten user) - $1,000 (unlimited user) when you can run linux for free?

              If you're not a command line junky, OS X server might make sense.

              Of course, if you want the Apple server hardware, the server OS is included.
              • the user license only applies to appletalk users. there are unlimitied smb, ftp, etc. the other problem with osx/darwin is it uses netinfo instead of /etc for users, etc. netinfo has full access in the cli so no gui is needed. and, if you're setting up a unix server, and you're a *nix/cli expert, you probably aren't after osx server, or ppc either (cost). you can easily install anything on os x client, so if you have a G4 or whatever laying around, and you can set up a >console user (no gui) in darw
        • For starters, you probably don't need to take the grandparent's rant too seriously...

          To answer your question, OS X includes a lot of UNIX server software out of the box - Apache (with mod_ssl, IIRC), PHP, Postfix, OpenSSH and an FTP daemon (the name escapes me). These are enabled and disabled by ticking boxes - laughably easy. (And for the technical, you can still hack around in httpd.conf to customise your setup.) MySQL is also very easily installed. For the rest, use Fink [sf.net] - it's apt-get for OS X.

          OS X
  • Real world stories (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MyIS (834233) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @04:07PM (#11759263) Homepage

    I absolutely respect the MacOS X Server, but in a server world dominated by a Solaris/Linux/Win32 are there any installations of this for medium-to-large shops? I want to hear from the folks that actually run this for serious production systems.

    P.S. I am genuinely curious, not trying to flamebait here

    • by Momoru (837801) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @04:12PM (#11759323) Homepage Journal
      I hear the company that makes the iPod has a couple of these...but i dont think their web servers get very high traffic...especially around launch dates...so its probably not a good example.
    • by millahtime (710421)
      I personally don't use it but a friend of mine had a solaris system and it died on them. They replaced it for email and web with an OS X server box and have never been happier. It handles the loads with no trouble and was easier to setup and maintain.
    • Virginia tech (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Serious production systems? Try virginia tech's supercomputer (one of the world's fastest) made up entirely of macs.

      http://www.tcf.vt.edu/systemX.html
    • Also see University of Illinois' brand-spanking-new Turing Cluster [uiuc.edu], 640 dual-processor XServe G5s running X.3 Server.
    • by dan dan the dna man (461768) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @04:26PM (#11759500) Homepage Journal
      It's currently driving me nuts. I have a 18 node OS X Server cluster. My background is Solaris and Linux, and this GUI driven stuff drives me nuts with OS X server. I'm sure it's just a "getting to know you" phase with the OS, but I haven't been able to hit the ground running with it. Major issue so far? DNS information leaking off the DHCP server on a cluster facing interface to the LAN facing interface and promptly bringing all the Windows clients on the network to a grinding halt that request a DNS server allocation via DHCP. That got me disconnected from the network as you can expect ;)

      I might get this book it sounds just what I need. OpenDirectory is not as simple as it likes to make out...
      • by mattyohe (517995)
        You aren't using the GUI to edit DNS are you? If so, go read DNS and BIND tonight and tomorrow tackle that problem. 10.3's DNS GUI is EXTREMELY broken.
      • you know you can use the command line too? just search the hard drive for 'terminal'
      • by pjmidnight (712441)
        We have a similar issue. I kept posting to the Apple forums with no luck. Our installation is much smaller a single OS X Server installation to manage a small 15 person office. The Directory Services features work great but whenever I turn on DHCP after a couple of minutes all my windows computers quit pulling an address. Frustrations galore.... J
      • DNS information leaking off the DHCP server on a cluster facing interface to the LAN facing interface and promptly bringing all the Windows clients on the network to a grinding halt that request a DNS server allocation via DHCP

        You have DHCP server turned on for your outward-facing interface (assuming you're using an OS X Server box as a gateway/firewall). The documentation [apple.com] covers this pretty clearly (actually- it's in one of the tabs for the DHCP/Netboot server, I believe "interfaces", and you just unch

      • How does an OS X cluster appear to user - as a single OS X instance or how does it behave?
    • I wish OSX would support GUI sessions for concurrent users, either via VNC or something similar to XDMCP. I would replace our Linux LTSP server with OSX in a heartbeat if we could do it the thin-client way, but alas, I don't think Apple would ever do that. Not good for the bottom line, I"m afraid.
      • scarolan (644274) writes:

        I wish OSX would support GUI sessions for concurrent users, either via VNC or something similar to XDMCP. I would replace our Linux LTSP server with OSX in a heartbeat if we could do it the thin-client way, but alas, I don't think Apple would ever do that. Not good for the bottom line, I"m afraid.

        Have you not heard of the fast user switching [apple.com] feature? It works great on OS X, but be forewarned about OS X Server: it isn't compatible with networked $HOME directories (via OpenDir

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I am SysAdmin in a medium sized company. We have 40 G5 work stations, 40 G5 cluster nodes for rendering, a few Windows XP, 5 OS X servers.

      All I can say is the OS X server is heaven for SysAdmin. I set up LDAP, AFP/SMB share, Workgroup/Users, all in a few days. I have set up Linux, Window and FreeBSD servers before, so I know the pain of reading about each service/daemon, edit tons of .conf files.

      The servers are very stable. All the admin tools helps. Also on the side note, Apple Remote Desktop is probably
      • I totally agree with that.
        I am 'in control' of some 40 macos x servers of my customers.

        Apple's GUI approach has made me a very very happy admin.
        Don't get me wrong: a lot of behind-the-curtain-nidpicking is still possible to do, but for the bulk of the work, unnecessary
    • by Frandall (90511)
      We run it in a school with around 1000 wireless connected laptops and a couple of hundred ethernet connected desktops, most of which are macs, but we have around 80-90 Windows clients in there also. We have a single G4 XServe running as an Open Directory Master and AFP File Server, and three other Dual G4's which are Open Directory Replicas as well as SMB File Servers/AFP File Servers/Web Servers (not all in the one box). We run a couple of legacy FreeBSD boxes for email/DNS/DHCP.

      It all plays nice togeth
    • by netsrek (76063)
      depends what you mean by medium.

      I'm probably 'small', but I run a campus of 300 staff and 3000 students, all services run on OS X Server.

      Open Directory setup, masters, replicas, Samba, Apache, Tomcat, Cyrus, Postfix, MySQL, PostgreSQL, NFS, NetBoot, NetRestore, QTSS, ISC DHCPD, BIND, yadda yadda yadda.

      Most storage is on XServe RAIDS, no FC switches, just direct FC.

      All computers have AFP or SMB mounted home directories, the laptop users are on mobile homes.

      It's a good server platform. Sure, the GUI gets
    • by iluvcapra (782887)
      army.mil [army.mil] uses Mac OS X, for its "edge" web servers [netcraft.com], anyway. Maybe not the highest volume, but in terms of hacker/cracker targets, it doesn't get any bigger than that.
    • Tom Yeager wrote a column that you might find interesting: Welcome to the Mac, Oracle [infoworld.com]
    • Well, theres Apple [apple.com], of course. And Pixar [pixar.com]. And the Virginia Tech supercluster [apple.com], and the majority of genetic research/biotech labs, like the Whitehead Institute [mit.edu], BioGen [biogen.com] and Genentech [gene.com]. Then there's Staples [staples.com] corporate headquarters. Those are the ones I know of off the top of my head.
    • It's OK. I prefer freebsd myself.

      FOr a thousand reasons but mainly because darwinports is nowhere near as nice as the freebsd ports.

      In reality to do anything non trivial you need to go mess the config files anyway so it doesn't really offer anything above and beyond freebsd. Oh and once you touch the config files by hand you should never ever thoush the gui tools again.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @04:10PM (#11759308)

    ...because Tiger server will be out. From what I've heard, there are a couple of things that will make people really want to jump for this one...like centralized management of Software Updates.

    Panther was released in October of 2003, folks...

  • With all of the additional features in 10.4 (Tiger) Server, including built-in iChat server capabilities, this book is probably nice, but will very soon be on the bargain shelf.

    10.3 Server came out in late 2003, if I recall correctly.

    Peachpit usually makes nice books, regardless of the topic.
  • by NardofDoom (821951) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @04:16PM (#11759367)
    OS X already has a lot of those things built in. With a little know-how you can turn just about any OS X box into a personal server, complete with Apache, PHP and WebDAV.

    OS X: It's a Unix system. You know this.

    • by CatOne (655161) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @04:25PM (#11759487)
      Well..

      File sharing (AFP) is substantially more flexible on OS X server.

      Not to mention, it includes Open Directory, an LDAP based directory service that uses Kerberos for authentication (fairly equivalent to Active Directory or NDS), QuickTime streaming Server, and all sorts of other stuff. And it has a DNS, DHCP, etc, built in, and GUIs for configuring them all.

      Sure, they're both UNIX, but there are a ton of extra services on OS X server, and tools for managing them. Downloading BIND, building it, installing it, and configuring via config files is not worth many peoples' time if they need the service. Not everyone is hardened UNIX admin.
      • Since BIND comes with OS X Client, anyone who's downloading and building it is a bit foolish. As for configuring it, it's not exactly rocket science. If you really need BIND you can take a half hour to learn how to configure it.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Anyone can get Quicktime streaming server for FREE.. its called darwin streaming server. I had it running on freebsd 4.7 release awhile back. There is a web based admin tool so once its running its very easy to admin.
    • by Altus (1034)


      you should be aware that the nifty little utilities and config apps that apple produces are NOT there in the non server version.

      thats not to say that you cant do all of the things the parent poster described... but the methods described in this book almost certainly rely on those nice little utilities.

    • There's some value to be gained with the Server version. I spend all day at work configuring other people's stuff. It is nice to not have to spend any additional time on my own stuff when i get home.

      For instance, I loaded OSX Server on my new MacMini last week and had AFP, Samba, Apache and Postfix/Cyrus up with a few clicks. Implementing SquirrelMail was just a checkbox in ServerAdmin. It took about 2hrs total to install --mostly file copy time due to the slow hard drive.

      I'd be a real kickass idea to do

  • Are there any good docs about VPN support on Mac OS X Server at all?

    Presumably PPTP works but what if you want something stronger? Plain IPsec does not seem to be supported and L2TP/IPsec is only supported for Preshared Keys. Which means that clients must either share the same Preshared Key (not terribly secure) or use fixed IP addresses (excludes Road Warriors).
    • I've not worked with OS X Server yet, but I believe it uses the same kernel as the desktop version.

      Mac OS X does support IPSec. Because of its BSD roots, it inherits the KAME project. However, it may not have a nice GUI to configure it and you'll have to do it from the command line like all the rest of the *BSDs

      Check out the articles that start with "Flying Racoons:" at http://www.afp548.com/Articles/ [afp548.com]
    • Cisco offers an OS X client for their VPN solutions, including IPSec. They also have some documentation buried somewhere.

    • Sadly the VPN part of 10.3 Server is really bad. Almost no documentation, and things don't actually do what you think they should do. I even spent a lot of time on the phone to Apple Support and (at least at the time) they had no documentation themselves (although there was a rumor of something in the pipe at the time... I was supposed to get a copy).

      I wound up going for an external box.

      I do have hopes for 10.4 Server....
      • Hmmm... What sort of problems did you have? I have several customers who use both the L2TP and PPTP without issue. Make sure your users have password server passwords. If you want to use PPTP with your LDAP domain make sure you add the keyagentuser.
  • just read it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PurdueBUZZ (71052)
    I've been reading this for a couple of weeks online at safaribooks online via my employer's free subscription using netglearning.

    I wish it went into more realistic scenarios. I just got OS Server and can't figure out most of the topics. Sure, the book makes it sounds easy, but it just doesn't work without knowing a lot more than the steps in the book. I am still trying to figure out some things, like how/why/where to 'name' the server? They give server.example.com, but I have no clue where this is done fo
    • but I have no clue where this is done for the real name you give it

      Just to help, you change the name of the machine in System Preferences > Sharing and type the name in the "Computer Name" field.

    • I am still trying to figure out some things, like how/why/where to 'name' the server? They give server.example.com, but I have no clue where this is done for the real name you give it, or why (why use .COM? do you need to? ) etc.

      This is something I have never understood in the slightest. Every time I try to set up a *BSD or Linux system for years I often got a prompt like that, expecting me to give my computer a "something.example.com" full domain name. I've never figured out why I would want to give my i
      • Well maybe at the very least you need to assing a plane old name to each machine so you can make lookups with a "hosts" file.

        Names don't need to be ".com" if they are used on a LAN. You can very well do "ftp saturn" or "telnet goofy" as long as those names can be reliably resolved to an ip address on the LAN.

        I'm coming from the Windows world so maybe I'm not making any sense.
  • Mac OS X Server 10.3 Panther is one of the latest in Peachpit Press' Visual QuickPro guides (not to be confused with the beginner "QuickStart" series) and is written by one of the best IT/Mac trainers in the industry, Schoun Regan, with assistance by his devoted sidekick and co-trainer at itinstruction.com, Kevin White. Peachpit and the authors have produced a book with excellent content and delivery; the installation and setup of OS X Server and Web services is explained with clarity and precise detail."
    • Most software comes with manuals but books like this exist because some people need explainations from a different point of view. Some books like these fill in some of holes in the original doc.

      As for OS X manuals you can go to the Apple web site and read or download the manuals. Apple has a lot of good doc on all aspects of OS X available for free.
    • It does come with a manual. Just not a printed version:

      See: http://www.apple.com/support/macosxserver/ [apple.com]
  • What's the point? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by weopenlatest (748393)
    I looked into using a Mac server at the request of a Mac-nerd client. I found a lot of information about why using OS X is as good as linux at this or that, but never anything saying it's actually better at anything. Seems like a niche OS for Mac fundamentalists who can't imagine that there's any computing question where the best solution comes from Apple.
    • Re:What's the point? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Thu25245 (801369)
      I'm pretty sure you're trolling, with that dig at Mac users, but it's a valid question.

      OS X Server appeals to two classes of buyers:

      First are traditonal Mac shops that need servers. They have no experience with the command line, need an easy, graphical interface, and support for AppleTalk. A Linux server is hopelessly beyond these people, while OS X Server requires only a little more homework.

      Second are those attracted by the XServe rackmount server and XServe RAID storage system. XServe is a competitive
    • Watch out. If you actually point out any problems with OS X server, you'll get modded as a troll by the Mac lobby.
    • In production environments the only advantages it has is opendirectory and a performant JVM. Java on linux and freebsd is still not that great and setting up ldap and kerberos on linux is still a pain.

      Other then that though it's probably better to stick to linux or freebsd for a server solution.

  • It ain't Unix! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tbuskey (135499)
    Jump into a nice cozy terminal

    Run tar, mv, rsync (cp & rm too) to move data from 1 file system to another. I'm assuming these filesystems are sharing w/ AFP and HFS on 'em.

    You just lost data. Mac files have a resource fork & a data fork. The unix commands only work on the data fork.

    Ok, do it in the GUI.

    You just munged permissions. *sigh*

    Yes, there are some commands buried somewhere that preserve this stuff. Does the book cover them? It should!

    • Just for the record, the command is called ditto. I also seem to remember reading someplace that Tiger will have rsrc fork support for cp & mv.
      • Re:It ain't Unix! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Graff (532189) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @07:11PM (#11761093)
        I also seem to remember reading someplace that Tiger will have rsrc fork support for cp & mv.

        There are already versions of cp and mv that support resource forks and file metadata. They are installed as part of the Apple Developer Tools and are named CpMac and MvMac. They get installed in the /Developer/Tools/ directory.

        I don't know if Apple will be making modifications to the normal cp and mv commands to add this type of functionality to future versions of Mac OS but I wouldn't doubt it.
        • According to the Unix page [apple.com] of the Tiger preview, yes:

          HFS and Command-Line Support
          Tiger provides a standard, Darwin-level API for managing resource forks, filesystem metadata, security information, properties and other attributes in a consistent, cross-platform manner. For example, common UNIX utilities such as cp, tar and rsync can properly handle HFS+ resource forks.
        • For the time being, if you need to copy resource fork info, like, say a cron job to back up one server drive onto another, you can use the ditto command. It's basically cp that's resource-fork aware, and can do other nifty stuff like archive extraction. It's also metadata aware.
    • Re:It ain't Unix! (Score:3, Informative)

      1. To preserve all the Mac-specific information, use CpMac and MvMac.

      2. The resource fork data you lose with cp and mv is stuff you don't have on a regular Unix system anyway.

      You're right. It's not Unix. It's Unix++. ;)
  • by stull13 (693912) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @05:24PM (#11760157)
    I admin (part time out of love, not a pro) an XServe that serves as an opendirectory master in a mixed environment, with Windows, Linux and Solaris clients. I really thought this book was going to be a decent reference/addendum to the docs provided by Apple, so I pre-ordered it many moons ago. Unfortunately, I was mistaken.

    My major criticism of the book is that it simply consists of walkthroughs for standard setups with Mac and Windows clients. It provides screenshots accompanied by textual explanations for all of the most common tasks involved with setting up a simple server. Unfortunately, there are not enough details provided to allow the reader to alter the examples to suit their own needs or troubleshoot errors that may arise.

    For example, it is clearly stated in the book that DNS MUST be working correctly before promoting a server to an opendirectory master in order to have a working KDC, but no details are provided as to what the user should do if that wasn't the case (outside of reinstalling, or demoting the server to standalone, which is a huge no no if the server is already in production). Also, there are a number of examples on setting a Mac client up to access the server using Directory Services, and one example on setting up a PC running Windoze. Unfortunately, linux and unix clients are not even an afterthought in this book.

    I understand that this is a visual quickstart guide, but at the very least I would have appreciated an appendix or two listing the command line tools incorporated in OS X Server (and no, smartass, they are not all standard tools) and a guide to debugging error logs. As it stands now, they got my money for a book that will just collect dust as I spend my time scouring http://afp548.com and http://discussions.info.apple.com.

    P.S. -- I got KDC running without losing any info by hand cranking it on the command line, for those who may be curious :-)
    • And I'd love it if you could post a link to the source you used to get the KDC running - this is my current cause of woe. And I thought my DNS setup was correct (after much fiddling :)). I've tried the "bring it up by hand" route, but not one that has worked for me yet!
      • This link [afp548.com] was the most helpful to me. The most important thing to do is make sure beyond a reasonable doubt that your DNS functions properly before you waste any time trying to get this working! If you can run 'host' with the value returned by 'hostname' on your server I think that is good enough, but I could be mistaken on that. What I eventually wound up doing was keeping only a forward and reverse mapping to the XServe itself, but I am sure that wouldn't work in many, many environments.

        I also had t
  • What does OS X server do that regular ol' OS X can't do? I'm about to put in a server that will get a small (but not tiny) amount of traffic. Do I need OS X Server?
    • To be more specific, it will be web traffic and some database transactions (Maybe 10,000 a day) It won't deal with printers, user accounts, or be a file server.
      • For you, probably nothing. For a larger business it would be worth it, as it comes with "Apple style" GUI tools to configure everything, and a lot of stuff built-in.

        Assuming you have a familiarity with Linux, or any command line really, you can get yourself up and running with a standard OS X 'client' based machine. I'd suggest installing Webmin [webmin.com] on your box to help configure things. I've got Webmin running on two of my OS X machines and it makes configuration really simple by adding web-based remote admini
    • What does OS X server do that regular ol' OS X can't do? I'm about to put in a server that will get a small (but not tiny) amount of traffic. Do I need OS X Server?
      The OS X Server liscence happens to include all the server elements, such as DHCP, DNS, Web services, file services (AFP, NFS, SMB), directory services, printer services, QuickTime streams, Plus the tools to administer them remotely from another Mac OS X client. Theoretically you could run a web server like apache on a regular OS X client. It's
  • is a book on how to use that complicated 'two button mouse' :p
  • Replies below or up explains the waste of review posting to slashdot.

    "Its expensive", "command line", "one button mouse" and all usual crap.

    Next time if you review a book about some real world server, don't use slashdot as platform.

    Hopely networks like macnn, ziff davis or even macslash will pick it up so it won't be a total waste.

When I left you, I was but the pupil. Now, I am the master. - Darth Vader

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