9 Replies Latest reply: Jul 30, 2010 8:05 AM by MrHoffman
musashi1583 Level 1 (0 points)
Can someone tell me if ALL the applications available on the desktop OS are available on the server version ? Is the server version a "desktop + additional services" or some of the desktop apps are missing ?

I am using my mini for some image processing, but I want to run a file server (samba) and a php server (for personal use)...
Any difference between the sharign service on the 2 versions ?

I am trying to decide if need an upgrade or not and I cant find a side by side comparison...

mini, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Antonio Rocco Level 6 (10,517 points)

    This has been asked many times before.

    +"Can someone tell me if ALL the applications available on the desktop OS are available on the server version?"+

    Well that depends? Apple bundled iLife sometimes on some of their client OS and sometimes they did not. Any version of iLife is not part of OSX Server although you do get iTunes. Not sure about iPhoto? Depending on the hardware you may not even get PhotoBooth? The usual lot are still there though, TextEdit, iCal and so on.

    You can still install iLife or anything else on OSX Server if you want/need to. Having said that it's not really recommended to use a Server as if it was a workstation although that again depends on what your expectations are?

    +"Is the server version a desktop plus additional services?"+

    Essentially yes. You can install OSX Server on any apple hardware that meets its minimum requirements:


    Do you even need OSX Server? If all you want is SMB and PHP they're already built-in:


    Unlike OSX Server you won't necessarily get a usable interface on the client OS. If you're comfortable with the command line it should not be a problem?

  • Camelot Level 8 (46,650 points)
    Can someone tell me if ALL the applications available on the desktop OS are available on the server version ?

    I have yet to find an application that runs on Mac OS X (client) that doesn't run on Mac OS X Server. That said, I don't generally run my servers as workstations, so there may be some oddball app out there. For the most part, though, they're the same - at least from an application level.

    Is the server version a "desktop + additional services" or some of the desktop apps are missing ?

    "missing"…? as in 'bundled'? sure. But "missing" as in "are not available", not so much.

    There are some under-the-hood differences between Mac OS X client and Server versions, mostly related to process limits and networking, but not something you're likely to notice on lightweight sites (e.g. personal use). I wouldn't want to run a multi-million-page-view-per-day web site on Mac OS X client, but Server handles it just fine.

    As has already been mentioned, PHP and SMB are available in Mac OS X client - the same versions that are available in Mac OS X Server. The main difference here, though, is in the administration of the services themselves. Mac OS X Server comes with a set of GUI applications to configure your services. Mac OS X Client has either a preference pane (e.g. Windows File Sharing on or off) or requires manual editing of service configuration files. If you're comfortable with that then there's nothing wrong with using Mac OS X Client for your personal use. If you want/need a GUI to configure your web sites, though, then Server may be a better way to go.

    If you're unsure you can always start with client and upgrade to Server later, although you'll pay more in the long run, of course.
  • MrHoffman Level 6 (14,762 points)
    I'd suggest flipping the question around.

    Do you actually want to or need to gain the extra knowledge required to run a server?

    Do you need to take on the extra effort for some particular benefit(s)?

    Do you gain from the capabilities and features that are available from a server?

    If you don't already know the answer to these questions, then you're probably asking the wrong questions right now, and will quite possibly best served with the client version of Mac OS X.

    What do I mean by reversing the question? Your requirements and goals will almost certainly vary from any other site. You will want to think about your particular requirements and goals. What problems are you solving? What problems are you creating?

    This isn't an open-ended question of "what features does the box have?" - sure, that can be an interesting academic discussion - but what choice might be the best available compromise is most centrally a question of "what features do you need?", and then a discussion of whether the box has the required feature(s), and whether you have the budget and time and patience that is involved with the solution. And the choice is almost always a compromise.

    And as for the investment you'll have to make - beyond the obvious financial investment with purchasing the server version - are you willing and able and prepared to run a server?

    That means learning the Unix command shell.

    That means editing ASCII text files.

    That means researching, digging, debugging, and working within the logs and a plethora of open-source pieces and parts. This stuff isn't all rainbows and unicorns or wine and cheese or beers and pretzels; servers can and do go off the rails, and - as nice as Mac OS X Server is - servers are still complex computing configurations.

    That means configuring and managing various of the network services.

    In particular, that means getting DNS configured and going.

    Managing a host of other attributes that are central to running a server.

    There a cute little documentation booklet provided with Mac OS X client, and there are dozens of manuals for Mac OS X Server, and those dozens of manuals merely introduce many of the areas and features that are involved with effectively configuring and running the box.

    What do you want, and what do you need, and where are you going? Start there. Then we can help you with your quest.
  • beemerick Level 1 (0 points)
    I'm interested in learning Mac Server and Mac development. I have a G5 iMac with OS 10.5.8 installed, but I didn't get the OS installation disk with the computer (used off of eBay). Therefore, I need the disk to install the developer tools (Xcode, etc.), and I thought the server edition would be an attractive option IF it includes the developer tools. Does it? Thanks, Rick
  • MrHoffman Level 6 (14,762 points)
    Snow Leopard requires Intel. It won't work with PPC boxes. The last release with PPC was Leopard.

    To get access to the downloads for the developer tools, enroll in the [Apple developer program|http://developer.apple.com].

    I don't know off-hand if the Xcode tools for Leopard are still posted, but that's where they'd be.

    Xcode is separate from Mac OS X Server; you can install Xcode on either client or server.

    ps: please start your own threads for your questions.
  • tirebiter3 Level 1 (0 points)
    I am considering getting a Mac Mini. I haven't owned a Mac for a long time (pre OS X), but I'm a strong Unix/Linux user.

    Looking on the Mac website, the Mini with Snow Leopard Server, faster CPU and nearly 3x the disk space is only $300 more than the standard mini.

    I will be using this mostly as a workstation. I intend to develop some iPhone and iPad apps with it.

    I think the original OP was asking the same question I have, which is, if a feature list were to have two columns for Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Server, would all the checks for SL also be checked for SLS, but some features for SLS wouldn't be checked for SL? This isn't about what additional apps are compatible, but the differences in the "shrink wrapped" versions (iLife notwithstanding).

    Further, even though it's not recommended, is there any functional "user workstation experience" difference between the two? And again, if the answer is just that SLS makes it easier for the user to get into trouble as "su" or something, I'm able to manage the risk.

    I will go to an Apple store and ask these same questions, but I thought I might see what info is online while it's still in my sieve like mind.

    Thanks in advance.
  • MrHoffman Level 6 (14,762 points)
    This gets asked fairly regularly.

    Allow me to put this in simplest terms.

    +There is no difference!*+

    *yes, there are a few slight differences. And server does bring along some extra stuff. You probably won't notice the differences; server is more or less a proper superset of client. Though Boot Camp is missing from server; you'll need to add a VM package, if you want that. And yes, you can use it like a "workstation" or like a "server", for most definitions of "workstation" and "server". And yes, Xcode and iLife (which you may (will?) have to buy, and iWork (which you'll have to buy) will install.
  • tirebiter3 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks. That was what I was gleaning, but you stated it very clearly.

    My company is very involved in device independent business mobility and I see the iPad as being an important milestone in this area. It (or more likely a 2nd or 3rd generation successor) will eventually be the de facto business computing model. Maybe so well integrated in a network that people won't even have a tablet of their own, but when they are in meetings, offices, development centers, etc., they can just pick one up from a table, log in and their personal desktop is there, with all their apps still running from previous connections.

    Anyway, I just completed an iPhone/iPad programming class, and I'm interested in trying to write a few apps, just to get my hands dirty. I want a fairly inexpensive start, but I'm willing to pay the extra 3 bills for the mini server, because it seems a better deal overall than the standard model. I'm not looking for a permanent computer replacement, so I'm not too worried about what other apps I'll need besides Xcode (for now).

    Thanks again.
  • MrHoffman Level 6 (14,762 points)
    Whether it's a better deal depends highly on what you're optimizing for, and until you're clear on your requirements distinguishing Mac OS X Server from Mac OS X client is of lower relevance.

    You might be better served with the portability of a laptop, for instance.

    And running a server does mean you'll be making specific compromises, such as servers not generally "appreciating" the use of DHCP addressing; servers need static IP and valid DNS.

    There are folks that have reported having successfully loaded current Mac OS X client software onto the Mac Mini Server box, too; nuking and paving over the server software.