Jul 99 NetProLive
Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 7
Column Tag: NETPROLIVE
More on Mac OS X (Server)
by Todd Stauffer
Find the Sites Discussing the Latest Apple OS
The owner of an Apple Specialist shop and I spent some time in the last few weeks just trying to find the basics on the Apple's hearlded, if largely secret, foray into the world of server Oses. This bizarre and exciting convergence of Unix, NextStep and Mac OS has everyone's imagination a flutter. But we were just trying to get basic information on Mac OS X Server, an announced, demoed product.
"An Apple rep told me it doesn't include AppleShare," he told me.
"Sure it does," I replied. I produced the PDF from Apple's Web site that told me it was so.
After we took a hard look at the PDF, we noticed that it clearly mentioned file services, but there was nothing about AppleShare-based print services. Would Mac OS X Server ship without such print services? Would it be IP only? Could that be true? Would it really matter?
Clearly, there isn't enough information on this topic to help someone as dumb as me answer a simple question. That means it's time for a NetProLive hunt.
The Official Word
Of course, the official, customer-level info on Apple's Web site can be found at Apple's Mac OS X Server page. Most of us have gotten used to Apple's servers well enough by now to be able to guess that URL. But at the time of writing, that's not exactly the world's most useful site on all things Mac OS X related.
The real action for decision-makers in the Mac space is where such information is usually hidden -- on Apple's developer site. It doesn't cost anything to access the Mac OS developer pages, where you'll find much more information that seems to be kept reasonably up-to-date. It's a pain when Apple's policies of secretive development keep from hearing enough about the future direction of the OS strategy.
That said, you'll find some good information here, including some FAQ documents, technology overviews, developer resources and so on. Even if you aren't a programmer, it's likely that, at some point you'll be called upon to justify the purchase of Macs or Mac OS X software. You'll find some of the tools you need to prep that argument on these pages. For example, what makes a NetBoot-friendly application? It's buried a bit, but you'll find the answer -- geared toward the developer, mind you -- among these pages. (Specifically, you'll see this sort of thing at the Mac OS Server Developer Page.
Mac OS X Server Page
Mac OS X Developer Pages
Mac OS X Server Developer Pages
Omni Development, Inc. is pretty clearly dedicated to the proposition that while all Macs may be created equal, Macs running Mac OS X are a little more equal than others. Aside from their software produces -- OmniWeb browser, OmniPDF viewer and the OmniImage image viewer and translation program -- Omni as manages some great lists for the Mac OS X user.
Omni offers three Mac OS X lists -- administration, developer and generally discussion. If you're taking the wider view of Mac OS X, you might appreciate the lists discussing Enterprise Objects Framework, NEXTSTEP programming, Portable Distributed Objects and WebObjects. Best of all, you don't have to wait around the message to come in before you learn something. Omni offers the opportuinty to browse or search the mailing list archives to help you find questions quickly. (I should point out that I assume the search engine is useful - I've yet to get the server to repond to a search query after trying on three different occasions. Hopefully that's a glitch that won't affect you by the time you read this.)
Stone Designs, Inc., the once-OpenStep-now-Mac-OS-X developer, offers a developers corner (DevCorner) that offers some articles on Mac OS X and development for OS X and related environments. There isn't a heck of a lot there, but you can take a quick glimpse at the much-hearlded 13-line word processor app, which shows the power of OpenStep/Rhapsody and, we assume, Mac OS X APIs.
If you're looking for newsgroups, rumor has it that the Next computing hierarchy of newsgroups offer some discussion of projects once codenamed Rhapsody, especially in the general discussion areas and the advocacy groups. You may be able to learn something from OS X Server users here. Plus, you can peruse the Next marketplace and pick up a color NextStation for around $400-500. What could be cooler than that?
I would certainly be remiss in this round-up if I failed to mention Stepwise, which is certainly one of epicenter Mac OS X (and Server) discussion on the Web. Plenty of articles abound, along with links to other sites offering Mac OS X news, official Apple installation guides and Mac OS X-related news. There's also a file library and an archive watch page tracks updates to important servers elsewhere. Plus, there's a decent community of folks who visite StepWise, offering some mailing lists and other communications. For the lists, check out Stepwise's links list, which offers a useful little round-up of lists around the Web - including their own and Omni's.
Omni Development Mailing List Archives
Omni Development Mailing List Search
Next on Usenet
comp.sys.next.* (many groups under hierarchy, including the two I mentioned: comp.sys.next.advocacy, comp.sys.next.marketplace)
Todd Stauffer is online editor for Net Professional, as well as a book author, magazine writer and Web magazine editor. His latest books, "Mac Upgrade and Repair Bible" and "Upgrading and Repairing Your PC Answers!" are available at better bookstores everywhere. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at http://www.mac-upgrade.com/ on the Web.