Todays Geeky Gadget – Mac OSX Server 10.5.7

osxI’ve been running a home server for about 8 years, almost since the day I first learned what a Public IP was, and how it could be used to share information.

I’ve experimented with several different Operating Systems and hosts for my various web services: Windows 2000 Server, Windows XP, Windows 2003 Server, Solaris on Sparc, Solaris on Intel, Linux (many distro’s), and many more. Today, I installed Mac OS X server, and moved my blog and email services over to the new platform. My initial impressions are extremely positive, so I thought I’d share what I like about it, and how it could be useful for others.

First off, I need to share a little information about the Server being used to host my OSX server. For this experiment I dusted off my old Dual 450mhz G4 PowerPC PowerMac. This machine was purchased in 2000, and was comparable to a Pentium II 350 MHZ in terms of performance. It has since been upgraded with a 128MB hard drive and 2GB of RAM – but needless to say this machine is a low power workstation.

OSX on this ancient platform runs beautifully, booting up all services and the OS in less than 20 seconds. Performance is exceptional considering the age of the platform, and has the beauty of running standard Cyrus, Postfix, Spam Assassin, Apache, Java and PHP web applications. In fact, moving my Linux based configuration to the OSX configuration was as simple as copying the database and web files. Everything worked out of the box, complete with an elegant GUI configuration utility.

While I’m sure I’m sacrificing some performance to have a full OSX GUI desktop running on the server, for a small workgroup or department I would highly recommend OSX Server. For newbies and old hands alike the GUI configuration and simplified setup of most web services will make you smile. If you’ve ever bashed your head against the wall trying to figure out why your fancy postfix configuration is throwing email into a null folder – you want these configuration tools.