ServersA Leopard Server Wish List

A Leopard Server Wish List

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Having had a chance to really test Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Server, I’m still impressed. I still think it’s the best server release Apple has ever had, especially from the SMB point of view. However, like every bit of software ever released anywhere, it’s not perfect, and there are some things I’d like to see improved or fixed.

Mac OS X 10.5 may be a big improvement over 10.4, but it’s far from perfect.

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Eliminate the Install Silos

One of the cool things Apple did with Mac OS X 10.5 Server is make setting it up simpler for those with simple needs, i.e. the “Workgroup” setup. The problem is the setup types are fairly siloed. For example, if you use the Workgroup setup because you want some really cool features, like importing Active Directory users for augment records or ease of setting up iCal Server, you’re unable to get to any features outside of what you get in Server Preferences. If you attach to the server in Server Admin, and you say you want to now use it in “Advanced” mode, you can’t use Server Preferences with it. No big deal, right? Well, it is if you want to create more augmented users because in “Advanced” mode you have to use Workgroup Manager for user management, and Workgroup Manager can’t import Active Directory users to create augment records.

If you install simple, you can go advanced, but you can’t go back. If you install advanced, you can’t use any of the simple features. In my world “Advanced” doesn’t mean “more crippled than simple.” Sure, you can create augment records manually, but why? This is silly. Even worse, to even see augmented users, you have to enable “Show All Records” in the preferences and then manually find the “augments” entry, to even see them. “Advanced” should not be synonymous with “make it harder than it needs to be.”

Eliminate “Almost” Setting Up Services

As a few people know, I’m a big fan of SNMP, and in Mac OS X 10.5, and Mac OS X 10.5 Server, SNMP got a huge update. But still, to set it up on server, the only thing you can do with Server Admin is to turn it on. To configure it, you’re deep into snmpconf and the .conf files. Really, it’s not hard to put a decent user interface on this. If Apple was smart, it could lead the way toward encouraging the use of SNMPv3, which allows for encryption and “real” authentication. NTP setup? On/off. No way to set any options. Same thing with SSH.

Make Directory a Bit Less Restrictive

The Directory application: Great way to set up groups, resources and more in Mac OS X 10.5 Server. However, if you have more than 500 people or groups in your directory service, well, good luck browsing that list. Directory will not display all records if there are more than 500 entries in what you’re displaying. You can’t even manually select it.

John C. Welch is a Unix/Open Systems Administrator for Kansas City Life Insurance, and a regular speaker at Macworld Expo on IT issues.

This article was originally published on Datamation.

Continued: iCal server, Groupware services

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