Hands-on: Making Leopard servers simple

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Note: Removing a standard server from Directory Utility will remove the ability for the user to update passwords and information in Leopard's new Directory application. But the removal will not erase configurations for resources accessed by other applications such as Mail and iCal.

When importing users from a directory server in workgroup mode, an invitation e-mail is generated and sent to each user's e-mail account. The e-mail asks users to access the server and includes a button to automatically configure the appropriate applications to access the server's resources.

Pre-Leopard Mac OS X clients and Windows clients can use many Leopard Server resources, including file and printer sharing, e-mail, instant messaging using iChat under Mac OS X Tiger or another Jabber-compliant client, VPN, shared calendars, and collaborative Web tools such blogs and wikis. Sharing calendars requires a CalDAV-compliant tool, which does not include pre-Leopard versions of Apple's iCal.

Auto-configuration of applications such as Apple's iChat, iCal and Mail to access services is not available for earlier Mac OS X versions or Windows. These applications can, however, be manually configured. VPN access for Mac OS X Panther and Tiger clients can be automated by using configuration files generated from the server.

Differences from traditional Mac OS X server administration

There are some distinct differences between Leopard Server's simplified standard and workgroup modes and the more traditional and robust advanced mode. Perhaps the most major difference is that accounts created in the simplified modes operate somewhat differently than other Open Directory user accounts. When a user configures a Mac to access a standard or workgroup server, the local user account is paired with his account on the server. But the user's home folder and other account information continue to be stored on the local Mac and not on the server.

Also, as mentioned earlier, when operating in workgroup mode, Leopard server does not write major account information such as usernames or passwords to a directory server. Instead, it creates an account that mirrors the existing network account and simply manages the attributes required to provide services.

Furthermore, several Leopard Server features are unavailable in standard and workgroup modes, and those that are available may function somewhat differently to allow easier administration. One example is the VPN service, which can operate only with one VPN protocol (L2TP) and which must use shared secrets.

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