TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Jul 99 Online

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 7
Column Tag: MacTech Online

by Jeff Clites online@mactech.com

Last month we read up on the Open Source movement, with an eye to how it relates to the Mac community. This month we are going to look at a few specific software packages. Some are open source, while some are technically not although they are being developed in the same spirit. (See last month's article for information on what it takes to qualify as open source.) Also, some of them already run under Mac OS X Server, while other are yet to be ported. But they are all useful, and present themselves as opportunities for the Macintosh community--opportunities to use tools that were previously unavailable to us, and opportunities to actively participate in their development.

But first, be sure to check out the new paper by Apple's Wilfredo Sanchez, "Open Software in a Commercial Operating System". It offers further insight into Apple's commitment to open source software, and the issues and benefits involved.

Open Software in a Commercial Operating System
http://www.mit.edu/people/wsanchez/papers/FREENIX99.html

Email Servers: Sendmail, Qmail, and Postfix

With the initial release of Mac OS X Server Apple did not include a default email server to operate alongside their easy-to-administer incarnation of the Apache web server. In future versions this will probably change, but in the short term network administrators get to fend for themselves. The obvious choice is Sendmail, which is the most widely-used mail server out there, handling an amazing 70% of the email on the internet. It is also one of the most complicated, with configuration files which are second only to ancient Mayan in their difficulty to decipher. While no one will criticize you for choosing Sendmail, there are alternatives you might want to consider. One attractive option is qmail, which was developed specifically in response to certain deficiencies of Sendmail. Its three main selling points are that it is secure (there was a $1000 reward offered for anyone who could compromise its security, and it went unclaimed), reliable (it will never lose messages due to a system failure at an inopportune time), and it doesn't require file locking (so it could be run off of file systems which don't support locking, such as NFS and HFS). It should be noted that qmail is not open source per se, as you must get the author's permission to redistribute modified copies, but is should run on Mac OS X Server without modification (since it runs under BSD), and it does have an active user community. O'Reilly and Associates have a book on qmail in the works, scheduled to be released later this year. Hopefully it will be shorter than their thousand-page Sendmail tome.

Sendmail Home Page
http://www.sendmail.org
Qmail
http://www.qmail.org/top.html
D. J. Bernstein's qmail Page
ftp://koobera.math.uic.edu/www/qmail.html
The Big qmail Picture
http://www.nrg4u.com/

Another alternative, less publicized but also popular, is Postfix. Like qmail, Postfix aims at being a Sendmail alternative, and in fact views itself as a direct (though friendly) competitor with qmail. Although it isn't completely clear from the Postfix web site, it appears to allow unrestricted redistribution, although there is no mention of whether distribution of modified versions is allowed. On the other hand, there is a binary version available for Mac OS X Server (see the Stepwise software tracking page), and Postfix is able to use the operating system's NetInfo database for certain table lookups. Although there will likely be a qmail binary available for Mac OS X Server at some point, those wishing to dive in right away may prefer to try Postfix.

The Postfix (formerly VMailer) Home Page
http://www.postfix.org
Postfix--The Big Picture
http://postfix.affinity.net/big-picture.html
Postfix Overview--Goals and Features
http://postfix.affinity.net/goals.html
Postfix Overview--Global Architecture
http://postfix.affinity.net/architecture.html
Stepwise--Mac OS X Server Software
http://www.stepwise.com/Software/index.html

Once your email arrives, you can do sophisticated things with it using procmail, a mail processing program. It allows you to do all sorts of things, such as filtering your mail (either upon receipt or later), selectively forwarding certain messages, or serving as a replacement for your local mail delivery agent. It's a single binary and can be installed by an unprivileged user for his own use, and aims to be all of the good things: small, fast, and robust (handling "every conceivable system error" and able to deliver the mail under the worst conditions). If you like to be in control of your mail, this is the way to go.

Procmail Homepage
http://www.procmail.org/
Procmail FAQ
http://www.iki.fi/era/procmail/mini-faq.html
Procmail Readme
ftp://ftp.ucsb.edu/pub/mirrors/procmail/procmail.README
Procmail Features
ftp://ftp.ucsb.edu/pub/mirrors/procmail/procmail.FEATURES

Samba

Although Apple has positioned it as a file server, Mac OS X Server shipped without any built-in way to share files with Windows-based machines. It is an unfortunate omission; realistically, in today's business environment Macs need to integrate with existing NT networks. It is especially important that it be dead-easy to do, so that organizations which have had bad experiences with their current systems can try out Apple's new servers without having to make a major commitment of time and effort. For this reason, it seems likely that in future versions of Mac OS X (Server or otherwise) will include some type of support for this. Until then, we are lucky to have Samba, an open-source package which may serve as a life-preserver to a lone Mac advocate in an all-Windows shop. (Be sure to check the Stepwise software page, mentioned above, for a link to a binary distribution for Mac OS X Server.)

So what is Samba? In short, it is a package which provides SMB server and client capabilities. So what is SMB? As you can find out from the web page of the same name, "SMB, which stands for Server Message Block, is a protocol for sharing files, printers, serial ports, and communications abstractions such as named pipes and mail slots between computers." The core of Samba is an SMB server, which allows a Unix machine to serve files (and printers) to Windows clients. (In fact, Microsoft even validates new system software releases against it.) Included in the distribution are other tools, such as an ftp-like client for accessing Windows resources from a Unix machine. Intriguingly, there is also smbfs, a currently Linux-only filesystem allowing you to mount remote Windows volumes, which in fact it is included as standard with Linux 2.0 and later. This would be a great project for the Darwin community to tackle -- bringing this capability to other flavors of Unix. With BSD's extensible filesystem underlying both Darwin and Mac OS X, this is a tailor-made opportunity for the Mac community to contribute something which would be very useful to a large community of people, and show off their technology at the same time.

If you are like me, then you like to have a book or two handy to supplement the "standard" documentation. Samba: Integrating UNIX and Windows (ISBN 1-57831-006-7), by John D. Blair of the Samba Team, used to be the only game in town. It is excellent, but becoming a bit out of date. Fortunately, the recently-published SAMS Teach Yourself Samba in 24 Hours (ISBN 0672316099), by Richard Sharpe and Gerald Carter (also of the Samba team), comes with high praise, despite its cookie-cutter title. Finally, O'Reilly and Associates are set to publish Using Samba later this year, and given their track record it is likely to become an instant classic.

SAMBA
http://www.samba.org/
What is SMB?
http://samba.org/cifs/docs/what-is-smb.html
What's Samba all about?
http://us1.samba.org/samba/about.html
Samba: An Introduction
http://us1.samba.org/samba/docs/SambaIntro.html

When you are done with these, saunter on over to the MacTech Online web pages at www.mactech.com/online/, for more links to dig your teeth into.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Airmail 3.3.2 - Powerful, minimal email...
Airmail is an mail client with fast performance and intuitive interaction. Support for iCloud, MS Exchange, Gmail, Google Apps, IMAP, POP3, Yahoo!, AOL, Outlook.com, Live.com. Airmail was designed... Read more
Numi 3.15.1 - Menu-bar calculator suppor...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
Airmail 3.3.2 - Powerful, minimal email...
Airmail is an mail client with fast performance and intuitive interaction. Support for iCloud, MS Exchange, Gmail, Google Apps, IMAP, POP3, Yahoo!, AOL, Outlook.com, Live.com. Airmail was designed... Read more
Numi 3.15.1 - Menu-bar calculator suppor...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
TextSoap 8.4.1 - Automate tedious text d...
TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more
TextSoap 8.4.1 - Automate tedious text d...
TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more
Backblaze 4.3.0.44 - Online backup servi...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac. With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
Numi 3.15 - Menu-bar calculator supports...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
EtreCheck 3.3.3 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
BusyContacts 1.1.8 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The best new games we played this week
We were quite busy this week. A bunch of big mobile games launched over the past few days, alongside a few teeny surprises. There're lots of quality games to load your phone with. We've gone and picked out five of our favorites for the week. [... | Read more »
Magikarp Jump beginner's guide
Magikarp Jump is a mystifying little game. Part Tamagotchi, part idle clicker, there's not a whole lot of video game there, per se, but for some reason we can't help coming back to it again and again. Your goal is to train up a little Magikarp to... | Read more »
Goat Simulator PAYDAY (Games)
Goat Simulator PAYDAY 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** IMPORTANT - SUPPORTED DEVICES **iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPod Touch 5 or better Goat Simulator: Payday is the most... | Read more »
GRID Autosport delayed until autumn
Sorry mobile racing fans -- GRID Autosport has been delayed a few months. The game is now expected to launch this fall on iOS. Feral Interactive announced that they wanted more time to work on the game's UI and overall performance before launching... | Read more »
Zombie Gunship Survival Beginner's...
The much anticipated Zombie Gunship Survival is here. In this latest entry in the Zombie Gunship franchise, you're tasked with supporting ground troops and protecting your base from the zombie horde. There's a lot of rich base building fun, and... | Read more »
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish (Games)
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish 1.2.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.2.2 (iTunes) Description: Explore the ruins of the City of Mordheim, clash with other scavenging warbands and collect Wyrdstone -... | Read more »
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish brings tablet...
Legendary Games has just launched Mordheim: Warband Skirmish, a new turn-based action game for iOS and Android. | Read more »
Magikarp Jump splashes onto Android worl...
If you're tired ofPokémon GObut still want something to satisfy your mobilePokémon fix,Magikarp Jumpmay just do the trick. It's out now on Android devices the world over. While it looks like a simple arcade jumper, there's quite a bit more to it... | Read more »
Purrfectly charming open-world RPG Cat Q...
Cat Quest, an expansive open-world RPG from former Koei-Tecmo developers, got a new gameplay trailer today. The video showcases the combat and exploration features of this feline-themed RPG. Cat puns abound as you travel across a large map in a... | Read more »
Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels (Games)
Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** WARNING: iPad 2, iPad Mini 1 & iPhone 4S are NOT compatible. ** *** Special Launch Price for a limited... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Memorial Day savings: 13-inch Touch Bar MacBo...
B&H Photo has the 2016 Apple 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 11-inch MacBook Ai...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models recently discontinued by Apple), available for up to $170 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1449.99 $150 off... Read more
15-inch 2.7GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro o...
MacMall has the 15-inch 2.7GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLW82LL/A) on sale for $2569 as part of their Memorial Day sale. Shipping is free. Their price is $230 off MSRP. Read more
Free Tread Wisely Mobile App Endorsed By Fath...
Just in time for the summer driving season, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has announced the launch of a new Tread Wisely mobile app. Designed to promote tire and vehicle safety among teens and... Read more
Commercial Notebooks And Detachable Tablets W...
Worldwide shipments of personal computing devices (PCDs), comprised of traditional PCs (a combination of desktop, notebook, and workstations) and tablets (slates and detachables), are forecast to... Read more
Best value this Memorial Day weekend: Touch B...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros available for $230 to $420 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2.6GHz... Read more
13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for up to $130 o...
Overstock.com has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $130 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $869.99 $130 off MSRP - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku... Read more
2.8GHz Mac mini available for $973 with free...
Adorama has the 2.8GHz Mac mini available for $973, $16 off MSRP, including a free copy of Apple’s 3-Year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**509643BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Location Number:** 001482- Apple Valley-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.