Things I'd Like to See Fixed in Leopard Server

Mac OS X 10.5 Server is a big improvement, but it's not completely done yet.


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Posted November 25, 2007

John Welch

John Welch

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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, and/or fixed.

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One of the cool things Apple did with Mac OS X 10.5 Server is to 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" is not 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 UI on this. If Apple was smart, they could lead the way towards 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, etc., in Mac OS X 10.5 Server. However, if you have more than 500 people/groups/etc. 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.

Continued: iCal server, Groupware services...

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