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Building a server with OSX client

November 18th, 2003

Warning! This entry contains Unix-speak and no real tutorial information. For howtos check somewhere like MacOSXHints.com

The part time task of the last week and half was migrating my home server from MacOS 10.1.5 to MacOS 10.3. This doesn’t seem like a big deal on the surface, but I make things harder than they need to be. For one, I’m using MacOS X in it’s non-prepackaged server form. That and I decided that building a new server from scratch was the safest option since Apple has moved some of the core services from one application to another. Sendmail for instance goes away in favor of a different MTA. Moving to 10.3 also scores automatic upgrades when security issues arise (mind you Apple often helps out and breaks configuration files).

I set up a second machine, in this case an older iMac to be the new prototype. I did a clean install of 10.3 and manually created the users that I needed. I could have copied the NetInfo database from the old server but the point was to clean things up and I have a number of crufty users left on the old machine from daemons I no longer use. I copied my named and apache configuration files as well as user directories over without problems.

Postfix proved to be more vexing than I had been led to believe. It’s supposed to be easy to set up. For the most part, it was straightforward. The problem is that there are a number of Apple custom tweaks to the configuration files that have to be rooted out and changed to get stuff working as expected. This rooting around took longer than I would have liked. With this done, things started working and mail started delivering.

The optional stuff that I put on the machine for the users like SpamAssassin and Pine built without a hitch. I have one user that’s minimally plagued by the fact that there is a graphics library perl extension that I can’t get to build with the current version of GCC. My C skills are too limited to fix the source files that are causing the problems so he’s agreed to do without it for now.

My biggest hassles by far were tweaking permissions. Since I copied user folders over from the old server, everything had to be fixed. Getting the WebDAV permissions working basically meant tearing out the old access restrictions and rebuilding them, but this didn’t take all that long.

All that done, I’m interested in seeing if I can best the old server’s 320 day record uptime. I’m guessing probably not.

One Response to “Building a server with OSX client”

  1. wmagnus

    Assuming this works, I’ve even got all the permissions fixed for moveable type. Neat.

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