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Kool Tools: Rumpus 6

Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 03
Column Tag: Kool Tools

Kool Tools: Rumpus 6

by Dennis Sellers

Rumpus 6.0, the latest version of the Internet file transfer tool for Mac OS X (10.4 and higher) from Maxum sports an entirely new remote server activity monitoring application, automated workflow functions, improved multi-hosting and user account administration, and a variety of usability and administration enhancements.


Additionally, a new application, Rumpus FileWatch, is now included as part of the Rumpus package at no additional cost. FileWatch can be run on an administrator's desktop Mac and provides a detailed view of current server activity and recently transferred files. FileWatch can be used to access files uploaded to the server, and drop ship files for large file distribution to anyone on the Internet.

In other words, FileWatch can be run from your desktop Mac, and displays current user activity and recently transferred files in real time. Files can be downloaded from the server to your own desktop simply by dragging the file from the list, so you don't have to search for uploaded files on a remote server volume. Files can also be drop shipped (as opposed to drop kicked) to end users, complete with an automatic e-mail notifying the user of the file posting and providing a way to access it.

What's more, with Rumpus 6.0, server administrators can now share the work of managing user accounts with other people in their organization. "Sub-administrators" can be allowed to create and manage user accounts in a manner that can be customized by the primary server administrator. In fact, Rumpus 6 makes user account management easier thanks to the tracking of notes associated with each account, user-specific welcome messages, automatic account setup notification via e-mail, and a completely revised web user account management interface.

The basic multi-domain support offered by previous versions of Rumpus has been expanded. Multiple domains can now be defined in Rumpus, and each domain can be customized with its own appearance, including colors, fonts, icons and more. Alternate appearance templates can be customized and can be displayed based on user selection or user account setting, as well as by domain name.

Rumpus' Web File Manager ("WFM") can be customized with page header and footer text, a "welcome" message and the ability to restrict upload types. Want more customization? You can do it via the revised and heavily CSS-oriented interface.


The updated web interface is now easier to customize, simpler for end users to use and sports new features such as controlling allowed file type uploads, user-specific welcome messages, and more. Multiple interface appearances can now be defined to allow for more flexible virtual hosting, user-specific interface customization, or multiple language support.

There are new Mail and Web server preferences designed to simplify routine setup tasks. User feedback has been beefed up for long operations such as folder downloads. Multiple upload triggers can now be set for each user account. An IP address "White List" improves control of client access. New "homogeneous logs" make it easier to extended activity tracking.

Any Mac OS X system capable of running OS X 10.4 will work just fine as a Rumpus file server. Typical DSL, T1, cable modem, and even faster Internet connections will normally be the limiting factor in file transfer performance, not the server itself. Naturally, you'll want to have enough disk space available on the server to store the content that will be uploaded and downloaded to and from the server.

Rumpus can provide FTP (or WFM) access to most types of external hard drives or remote volumes mounted on the server Mac's desktop. User home folders can be set to folders on external hard drives, or even remote servers mounted on the desktop. However, the more common way to give access to these volumes is through Finder Aliases.

The usual, and recommended by Maxum, way to set up an FTP server is to create an "FTP Root" folder, and then create sub-folders within that folder for individual user home folders. Generally, your FTP Root will be on the Mac boot volume, which helps ensure consistent access to every FTP user's top level home folder. To give access to remote volumes, you select the volume in the Finder, make an alias to it, and then drop the alias into the FTP home folder of any user who needs access to that volume. When the user logs in via FTP, they will see the volume (named according to the name of the alias) as they would any other folder in their home folder.

Of course, you don't need to provide access to an entire volume. Aliases to individual folders on remote servers, external hard drives, and the boot volume can also be created and dropped into any user home folder.

What's more, you don't have to have a static IP address; Rumpus works fine when your external IP address is dynamic. Admittedly, a static IP address simplifies things, and is recommended when available. But dynamic domain name services such as DynDNS and No-IP can be used to direct users to your server, even when your public IP address changes.

Rumpus 6.0 Standard Edition costs US$269 -- or $99 to upgrade from any previous Rumpus version. A Professional Edition for larger organizations and ISPs is priced at $449 -- or $149 for the upgrade. Version 6.0 is a free upgrade for any Rumpus customer who has purchased a license since Jan. 1, 2007. A demo is available for download at the Maxum web site.

For more info, go to http://www.maxum.com


Dennis Sellers is a long time journalist. He started in the newspaper business, but has been in the online journalism business for the past 15 years. He's the editor/publisher of Macsimum News (http://www.macsimumnews.com).

 

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