Mac OS X Server

Mac OS is the operating system created for Apple Computer's line of personal computers. Mac OS has a long history, with the original version being released in 1984 to run on the original Macintosh computer. In 1999, Apple released its last major revision to its aging 'Classic' operating system, Mac OS 9.

The successor to the Classic Mac OS was Mac OS X, a UNIX-like operating system with a friendly and familiar user interface. Successive versions of Mac OS X have a decimal numeralfor example, Mac OS X.1, X.2, and so on.

Because Mac OS X uses Linux/UNIX technology, most of the previous section on Linux applies to a Mac OS X server.

Mac OS X File Systems and File and Print Services

As you might expect, the file systems used on Windows-based PCs is different from those used in an Apple system. Instead of the FAT or FAT32 file system, the original Mac file system was Apple's Macintosh File System (MFS). MFS was used with earlier Mac versions including Mac OS 13.

Mac OS 4 introduced Apple's Hierarchical File System (HFS). HFS was the primary file system format used on the Macintosh Plus and later models, until Mac OS 8.1, when HFS was replaced by HFS Plus.

HFS+ is the file system most commonly associated with Mac OS X. Like NTFS, HFS+ includes many enhanced features. HFS+ supports disk quotas, byte-range locking, finder information in metadata, support for hiding file extensions on a per-file basis, and more. One of the more publicized features of HFS+ is journaling. In a journaled file system, the system keeps a log of the hard disk's main data activity. In case of a crash or other system failure, the file system can retrieve lost data by consulting the "journal" log, restoring the system to its previous state instead of having to go through the lengthy process of rebuilding the data.

The following is a list of other file systems supported by Mac OS X:

  • ISO9660 Mac supports the ISO9660 file system standard. This is a system-independent file system for read-only data CDs.

  • MS-DOS Mac OS X includes support for MS-DOS file system (FAT12, FAT16, and FAT32).

  • NTFS Mac OS X includes read-only support for NTFS.

  • UDF UDF (Universal Disk Format) is the filesystem used by DVD-ROM (including DVD-video and DVD-audio) discs and by many CD-R/RW packet-writing programs.

When working in a heterogeneous network environment (one that uses different OS platforms), Mac OS X offers a wide-range of support for network file and print services supporting various file sharing protocols. A file sharing protocol is a high-level network protocol that provides the structure and language for file requests between clients and servers. It provides the commands for opening, reading, writing, and closing files across the network. Each OS has a different protocol used as the file sharing protocol.

In order for a client to have access to multiple servers running different operating systems, either the client supports the file sharing protocol of each operating system or the server supports the file sharing protocol of each client. Software that adds this capability is very common and enables interoperability between Windows, Macintosh, NetWare, and UNIX platforms. The following is a list of file sharing protocols supported by Mac OS X:

  • Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) The Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) is an Apple proprietary protocol for file sharing over the network using TCP/IP. If you have a Windows NT or Windows 2000\ 2003 server, you can turn on Apple File Protocol (AFP). AFP is the native Macintosh file sharing protocol and when enabled, Macs will be able to see the server.

  • Server Message Blocks/ Common Internet File System (SMB/CIFS) Mac OS X includes cross-platform support for SMB/CFS, the protocols that enable file sharing between network nodes in a Windows environment. Using Mac OS X, Macintosh clients can connect directly to Windows servers thanks to the SMB client built in to the Mac OS. Support for SMB/CFS is supplied by the Samba software package, and installed on all versions of Mac OS X by default. Samba is a networking tool originally designed to integrate Windows file sharing protocol (SMB/CIFS) and UNIX systems on a network. Running on a UNIX system, it allows Windows to share files and printers on the UNIX host, and it also allows UNIX users to access resources shared by Windows systems. Whenever possible, use Mac OS X v10.2 or greater to ensure the best compatibility with Windows file servers. When using the SMB protocol to connect to a Windows 2000 or 2003 file server, make sure that SMB signing (packet signing) is disabled on that server.

  • Network Filing System (NFS) NFS is a file sharing protocol associated with UNIX/Linux systems. Clients using Mac OS X are able to connect to Linux/UNIX servers using NFS, just like the other UNIX stations on the network. NFS can be problematic because file permissions are applied to newly created files and folders on the server based on the user ID and group ID from the client computer, unless otherwise specified by the server administrator.