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Question: Mac OS Server (that bad?)

Is the new Mac OS Server as bad as the reviewers say? I would just be using it to learn in my home lab between 2 macs and 3 Linux machines. The apps I'd like to play with are DFS, DNS, LDAP, Remote Server, Apache, (a MySQL I already have up) and a few Linux tools. Secondarily, is Apple trying to move away from Darwin because a lot of features are going away (are being depreciated day by day)? Personally, I like having a Linux foundation.

MacBook Pro with Retina display, iOS 10.3.3

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Hi!


Dont know if its helpful, but:


DFS -> I tested DFS-N from Windows AD-Server and macOS as a Clients: PITA..dont use it, its not working!I mean, it is wokring, but its slow as **** and will produce many tickets. Dont use it!

DNS, LDAP, Remote Server, Apache -> Deprecated in next macOS Server versions, do not implement it anymore.

NFS -> Im running a NFSv4.1 Server (CentOS) and macOS 10.13 as NFS Client. macOS uses NFSv3 by default. If you force NFSv4 on macOS Client its PITA again. NFSv3 is working fine.

"What Apple has in mind for macOS and for Server.app beyond what's been announced and what's been published, we don't know."

In my mind they just want to offer it as a MDM (Profile Manager) and SMB Server (Shares and TimeMachine)...what is quite OK for me. These services are working great for me (No need to buy JAMF imo)

Regards -Peter

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Mar 5, 2018 1:40 PM in response to caugusti1 In response to caugusti1

In no particular order....


I'm going to refer to both network service clients and servers, and to the macOS client and server software packaging in the following.


Various of the network services that you're planning to use are being deprecated: Prepare for changes to macOS Server


macOS is based on XNU, which includes software and APIs from various sources including BSD and Mach. Darwin is the name of the open source version of macOS and XNU.


The Linux kernel and user-land environments are quite different from macOS, and there are differences in the shells and the commands and utilities, as well as completely different windowing systems.


X11 can be installed on macOS, though that's not present by default.


I'm not aware of any support for Microsoft DFS in macOS, whether as a client or as a server. There are some other uses of the DFS abbreviation, but that's one of the more common. SMB is the preferred file share and SMB clients and servers are available in macOS in both macOS client and server, WebDAV is around as part of Apache and macOS though not commonly used, as are the AFP and NFS services.


What Apple has in mind for macOS and for Server.app beyond what's been announced and what's been published, we don't know.


I don't usually run servers on the absolute latest version, not until I can configure and test the environment. That's fairly common with production environments. Running software versions that are insecure or that are otherwise too far back is best avoided, but so can be the so-called bleeding edge versions.


If you have a particular question or consideration or problem that you've encountered, I or one of the other folks around here might be able to address that. As for reviewers, you'll need to cite what you're looking at; finding a plethora of reviews and usually including both glowing and entirely scathing reviews of any particular Apple product or product version is typically not difficult; lots of opinions to choose from.

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Mar 7, 2018 2:14 PM in response to caugusti1 In response to caugusti1

There are many options and alternatives. But I can’t answer which of any of these would be appropriate for a particular environment. Not without knowing a bit more about the requirements.


File shares? What would you have as an alternative to SMB? Ponder what users are presently working with for file shares, and where most users are headed with their products and configurations. AFP isn’t it, not is NFS, nor the other alternatives.


As for SMB, Microsoft publishes the specs. There been SMB updates and changes and new versions. Microsoft is a vastly different company than it was even a decade ago, and the computing market itself is very different from the era that you’re citing, too. But I digress.


Alternative operating systems? The BSDs (prolly FreeBSD, maybe OpenBSD), Arch certainly, Centos/Fedora (these choices particularly possibly for some eventual migration to a RHEL configuration with support), etc. Genode is very new but also quite interesting, DragonFly is more established but interesting, etc. Arch rolls forward pretty quickly, but also seeks to be easy to manage. The BSDs and particularly OpenBSD target security. If you’re seeking a production solution or a more turnkey server product option, Synology has a number of plug-ins for their plethora of NAS boxes and those plug-ins can provide directory, mail, DNS, and many other network services. And yes, Synology can host SMB and NFS file shares, among other services. And tends to be easy to manage. What works best here is extremely dependent on your experience, your expectations and plans, and of course on your budget.


As local back-end servers? Many folks use Microsoft Windows Server and Active Directory for directory, DNS and other network services. Others are using hosted services as the back-end, whether that’s thr hosted AD and hosted Exchange Server offerings or otherwise, or a move to profiles and provisioning (of which macOS with Server.app will continue to support, per that Apple document) and with some assistance and use of Apple iCloud.


As for where Apple is headed with macOS and iOS, we’re not in a position to speculate about that here in the Apple forums. We’ll learn more with the upcoming Spring (northern hemisphere) server-related announcement, and with WWDC.

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Mar 5, 2018 1:40 PM in response to caugusti1 In response to caugusti1

In no particular order....


I'm going to refer to both network service clients and servers, and to the macOS client and server software packaging in the following.


Various of the network services that you're planning to use are being deprecated: Prepare for changes to macOS Server


macOS is based on XNU, which includes software and APIs from various sources including BSD and Mach. Darwin is the name of the open source version of macOS and XNU.


The Linux kernel and user-land environments are quite different from macOS, and there are differences in the shells and the commands and utilities, as well as completely different windowing systems.


X11 can be installed on macOS, though that's not present by default.


I'm not aware of any support for Microsoft DFS in macOS, whether as a client or as a server. There are some other uses of the DFS abbreviation, but that's one of the more common. SMB is the preferred file share and SMB clients and servers are available in macOS in both macOS client and server, WebDAV is around as part of Apache and macOS though not commonly used, as are the AFP and NFS services.


What Apple has in mind for macOS and for Server.app beyond what's been announced and what's been published, we don't know.


I don't usually run servers on the absolute latest version, not until I can configure and test the environment. That's fairly common with production environments. Running software versions that are insecure or that are otherwise too far back is best avoided, but so can be the so-called bleeding edge versions.


If you have a particular question or consideration or problem that you've encountered, I or one of the other folks around here might be able to address that. As for reviewers, you'll need to cite what you're looking at; finding a plethora of reviews and usually including both glowing and entirely scathing reviews of any particular Apple product or product version is typically not difficult; lots of opinions to choose from.

Mar 5, 2018 1:40 PM

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Mar 5, 2018 2:07 PM in response to MrHoffman In response to MrHoffman

That's the best response I could have heard. I actually meant NFS rather than DFS but you actually caught that. I've heard of and seen the files in the innards of Mac saying this or that is being depreciated. I wanted to get away from SMB/CIFS but you can't with AFPS drives and sharing..... SMB goes back to Windows for Workgroups 3.11 with minor adjustments over the years.


But why get rid of solid Linux/UNIX features? I've had a lot of fun poking around and one time killing this laptop messing with DEFAULT/Local plists... Don't do it! Something's there that wipes all accounts out. I guess if the permissions are changed or you change primary group. Learned a lot about recovery methods so no problem for a person known to break things.


This LDAP system is a curiosity as is the PKI (in all flavors; Certificate Manager, SSH, OpenVPN, OpenSSL, and the protocols and standards. NFS has been a question because the daemon is running but guidelines are all over the place and it does work I just have to get the automount files correct. But NFS seems to be going away as well as everything associated with /etc.......


I thought that different Open Source UNIX flavors had migrated. They say Darwin, but it and MacOS/NeXT (your XNU to be precise) go back to OpenBSD if my memory serves me right. They say the Darwin community has contributed a lot as an OpenSource vehicle to run under that BSD license.


I would like to know the direction of the foundation under Apple MacOS, and I know a lot of others would. So much effort by Apple to integrate into Microsoft technologies.... Their Active Directory is a kludge running on their previous groups, domains and tools. Just another layer, like everything else. Why Novell's Directory didn't go far: too soon I would assume. X.500, X.400 and LDAP too are fairly broad and complex. I know way too much of that Microsoft system and "it's not all that and a bag of chips," far from it.


But now I know why people are saying things are breaking..... It really is with the changes. I was hoping to get some server-type tools up on a laptop (they're mostly there in the directories).


In the end, and what I hear.... Just use Linux or God help us "Microsoft Servers" and just use Macs as clients.


Well, fine Apple.


Chris Augustine

Breaker of Things

MCSE+I, MCNE, CCNP & Programmer

Mar 5, 2018 2:07 PM

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Mar 5, 2018 2:53 PM in response to caugusti1 In response to caugusti1

Linux, the BSDs, Windows Server are among the most common choices for servers, though there are many other platforms to choose from.


Authentication on macOS client and server is based on the Open Directory LDAP server and Kerberos software.


LDAP started out as a simplified ("lightweight") version of X.500 DAP, though LDAP definitely grown in scale and scope.


Darwin is downstream and based on the Apple open source repository and is not all that widely used, XNU is the upstream and os what is underneath macOS, and macOS user-land is pretty heavily based on BSD.


There's been a long and complex history here, and there have always been differences among the many and varied Unix implementations, whether commercial or open source, that are or have been available.


SMB is the most common file share around, with its use on Windows, macOS and most NAS boxes. NFS and some other file shares arise among Unix servers, and with some NAS boxes.


CIFS is an old name for an old release of SMB, and one that's quite insecure.


OS X Server used to cost USD$500 for 10-user and USD$1000 for unlimited users, but it's been greatly reduced in cost in recent years and features a greatly simplified user interface since the OS X Server 10.6 and earlier releases; with the advent of Server.app at 10.7. For many folks, what's planned for the future of macOS won't be sufficient for their requirements, and there are discussion threads on that and the fallout from the planned deprecations within Server.app.


Nobody here is in a position to speculate about the future of macOS per the community terms of use, beyond what's been announced or shipped or documented by Apple.

Mar 5, 2018 2:53 PM

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Mar 5, 2018 4:05 PM in response to MrHoffman In response to MrHoffman

MrHoffman,


I've been burnt out for over 10 years and I am coming back up to speed on a lot of things. CIFS was a IETF draft standard ; but Microsoft has been improving the protocol (server, WAN and security changes it looks). Much has happened in 10 years. Heck I see Javascript everywhere and all this fingerprinting.... IPv6 has been a joy to watch as I never thought I'd be implemented back in 1999 at Cisco. I opened Wireshark for the first time in 8 years and darn that thing is as professional as any $1000 software package back then. Looking at the protocols it's a different world. DNSmasq, Bonjour (almost a multicast NetBeui implementation: will Apple need it's own WINS server?). The world has changed. Java taking a backseat but C/C++ strong as ever and a heck of a lot cheaper. Object oriented programming in Javascript: that book I have is 5 inches thick in what was a scripting language.


But as to SMB, that protocol is controlled by Microsoft and held under copyright (at least the extensions as of late), right? Can Microsoft charge royalties to say Apple if it wanted?


Has Apple seceded the server business in some sort of deal? Are we all a happy family now? This is just weird to me....


I was wrong that it was originally developed by Microsoft, but by IBM. Does no one argue about copyrights and patents in IT anymore? (Like they use to with UNIX, and those were bitter....?).


I had to do a graduate paper on X.500 back in 1992. How the heck, how can you describe something as complex out of the ISO when you're using gopher and had never heard of web browsing and barely the Internet, as it was private?


But as I was searching it looks like ArchLinux seems very popular and it's closely followed by Debian (Ubunto down a-ways). The reason I say this is to ask someone if ArchLinux would be a good system to bang on because Apple is going in another direction. Something to act as a back-end to Apple's client side? Fair?


Chris Augustine

Mar 5, 2018 4:05 PM

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Mar 7, 2018 2:14 PM in response to caugusti1 In response to caugusti1

There are many options and alternatives. But I can’t answer which of any of these would be appropriate for a particular environment. Not without knowing a bit more about the requirements.


File shares? What would you have as an alternative to SMB? Ponder what users are presently working with for file shares, and where most users are headed with their products and configurations. AFP isn’t it, not is NFS, nor the other alternatives.


As for SMB, Microsoft publishes the specs. There been SMB updates and changes and new versions. Microsoft is a vastly different company than it was even a decade ago, and the computing market itself is very different from the era that you’re citing, too. But I digress.


Alternative operating systems? The BSDs (prolly FreeBSD, maybe OpenBSD), Arch certainly, Centos/Fedora (these choices particularly possibly for some eventual migration to a RHEL configuration with support), etc. Genode is very new but also quite interesting, DragonFly is more established but interesting, etc. Arch rolls forward pretty quickly, but also seeks to be easy to manage. The BSDs and particularly OpenBSD target security. If you’re seeking a production solution or a more turnkey server product option, Synology has a number of plug-ins for their plethora of NAS boxes and those plug-ins can provide directory, mail, DNS, and many other network services. And yes, Synology can host SMB and NFS file shares, among other services. And tends to be easy to manage. What works best here is extremely dependent on your experience, your expectations and plans, and of course on your budget.


As local back-end servers? Many folks use Microsoft Windows Server and Active Directory for directory, DNS and other network services. Others are using hosted services as the back-end, whether that’s thr hosted AD and hosted Exchange Server offerings or otherwise, or a move to profiles and provisioning (of which macOS with Server.app will continue to support, per that Apple document) and with some assistance and use of Apple iCloud.


As for where Apple is headed with macOS and iOS, we’re not in a position to speculate about that here in the Apple forums. We’ll learn more with the upcoming Spring (northern hemisphere) server-related announcement, and with WWDC.

Mar 7, 2018 2:14 PM

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Mar 8, 2018 7:23 AM in response to MrHoffman In response to MrHoffman

Thanks for the input. Yes times are completely different: almost 100% different.


NFS from the UNIX side, why the distancing from it? I would think NFS would be good for connecting to UNIX(like) clients and Servers. I assume it's probably the security, correct? I don't mind SMB but it's been the doorway for so many viruses through port 445. I've battled enough malware.... But, it is probably a necessary evil, I will also assume? I know MS got encryption on the wire a while back so I'll assume SMB got the "whole works" not just a tunnel.


As for Linux, I just wanted something to bang around on. I thought there was a complete BSD system on a XNU kernel under every Mac and I was happy to learn them both and thought it genius..... I did get upset the other day by getting a confirmation as to what I've seen. I know where they're going and I'll shut up. Every upgrade is more than you really know, say OpenSSL which was replaced as are other things going on. Part security part slow movement.


SINCE, this board is the only one with intelligence, can someone through this to someone that really knows the iCloud. Trust me, there is a 2.5GB POS I can't delete, move or even figure out what it is? I've shut down all three devices, and completely disabled the Cloud on all devices. I've used special commands to see the super secret file system in there.... Just a bunch of directories.... There are around 100 photos that WILL NOT GO AWAY nor can they be deleted until say 30 days (Just In Case), but that maybe 20 MB, and I bet they still are there if I got back on. My AppleID has never changed; but didn't Apple use a different security system say 5 years ago? I just need this forwarded. iTunes people think me crazy, and maybe I am????


Chris ****

AppleID *****@ augustin3.com


<Personal Information Edited by Host>

Mar 8, 2018 7:23 AM

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Mar 9, 2018 8:34 AM in response to caugusti1 In response to caugusti1

Hi!


Dont know if its helpful, but:


DFS -> I tested DFS-N from Windows AD-Server and macOS as a Clients: PITA..dont use it, its not working!I mean, it is wokring, but its slow as **** and will produce many tickets. Dont use it!

DNS, LDAP, Remote Server, Apache -> Deprecated in next macOS Server versions, do not implement it anymore.

NFS -> Im running a NFSv4.1 Server (CentOS) and macOS 10.13 as NFS Client. macOS uses NFSv3 by default. If you force NFSv4 on macOS Client its PITA again. NFSv3 is working fine.

"What Apple has in mind for macOS and for Server.app beyond what's been announced and what's been published, we don't know."

In my mind they just want to offer it as a MDM (Profile Manager) and SMB Server (Shares and TimeMachine)...what is quite OK for me. These services are working great for me (No need to buy JAMF imo)

Regards -Peter

Mar 9, 2018 8:34 AM

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Mar 9, 2018 11:42 AM in response to Tearjerker In response to Tearjerker

Peter,

Yes, I agree. They are trying to make MacOS safe for those of us who would explore, to minimize issues from people playing in the past. A Profile / Client manager is what I see, too. A peer to peer SMB client too. If NFS is needed it's been covered in camo. Simple is better, Zero Config and preventing user error rule the day. MacOS wants to become iOS, in a sense. Server, no. It already was, but. There is UNIX under the hood (BSD, Open-BSD and Darwin if you read the foot notes on the man pages). Sure it has a fancy kernel and Objective-C frameworks. But why would I want to code (or learn) Apple? It's not a platform to learn because it's changing with no clear direction. If you think you know something, a security upgrade will take away that functionality later. And who knows if you are doing the correct thing (that would be in UNIX LINUX) because that functionality may not be there. You can't be sure and this makes it much harder to learn. A stable framework supports a house...... A clear overall strategy invokes confidence with lower level acceptance and cooperating strategies following. You get developer / admin buy-in.


Chris

Mar 9, 2018 11:42 AM

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Question: Mac OS Server (that bad?)