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Apple Deprecates More Services In OS X Server ( 145

Long-time Slashdot reader HEMI426 writes: Long ago, Apple used to produce rack servers, and a special flavor of OS X for that hardware with extra, server-friendly features. After Apple got out of the rack server game, OS X Server soldiered on, with the occasional change in cost or distribution method.

The next stop on the long, slow death march of OS X Server is here. With a recent post to their knowledgebase, Apple states that almost all of the services not necessary for the management of networked Macs and other iDevices are being deprecated. These services will be hidden for new installs, and dropped in the future.

Apple writes that "those depending on them should consider alternatives, including hosted services."
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Apple Deprecates More Services In OS X Server

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  • Lots of courage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 28, 2018 @06:40PM (#56022733)

    It takes an awful lot of courage to remove DNS and DHCP services from a...server. Way to go, apple!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      How does this statement:

      macOS Server is changing to focus more on management of computers, devices, and storage on your network.

      ... gel with removing DNS and DHCP services? wtf?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Makes perfect sense. They just want OS X Server to be a remote iDevice settings manager. You can then construct your infrastructure using RedHat, CentOS, Windows, or whatever else you may fancy to supply core services.
        More like an Apple group policy tool I guess.

      • How does this statement:

        your first mistake is quoting the post instead of RTFA.

        From the linked article

        These deprecated services will be removed in a future release of macOS Server, so those depending on them should consider alternatives, including hosted services. Deprecated services are listed below. Links to potential replacements are provided underneath each deprecated service.

        The services listed as headings in the article: Calendar, Contacts, DHCP, DNS, Mail, Messages, NetInstall, VPN, Websites, Wiki.

        I recommend you make certain you've got the facts right before trying to be a smart ass.

        • by himay ( 955778 )

          How does this statement:

          your first mistake is quoting the post instead of RTFA.

          Did you "RTFA?"

          Prepare for changes to macOS Server
          Learn about changes coming to macOS Server in spring 2018

          macOS Server is changing to focus more on management of computers, devices, and storage on your network. As a result, some changes are coming in how Server works. A number of services will be deprecated, and will be hidden on new installations of an update to macOS Server coming in spring 2018.

          Literally quoted from the article

          • Literally quoted from the article

            What is it about words like deprecated that you have trouble understanding?

            • by himay ( 955778 )
              I have absolutely no issue understanding deprecation. Perhaps you have some trouble understanding how deprecation of services such as DHCP/DNS/VPN from OSX Server is not contradictory to their statement regarding the change?

              macOS Server is changing to focus more on management of computers, devices, and storage on your network.

              followed by lists of services to replace management of computers/devices/storage on your network that will no longer by served by macOS Server

        • Hosted DHCP. Hosted. D. H. C. P.

          What the...?

    • I am supposed if they are still doing anything that will require a new OS anyways?

      I am not an Apple hater. But using Apple for a server is just a bad fit.
      With servers you need to know what technology will be ahead of you and be able to have a well planned upgrade path. Companies like Apple and Google while can make an excellent product, do not have the stomach for long the support of 20-30 years on a product line. This isn’t saying they expected to support 30 year old components but keep the techno

      • Even if you do want to run server workloads on macOS, you're far better off installing the relevant packages from Homebrew and configuring them than trying to use the OS X Server GUIs, which make some common things very easy but anything slightly uncommon really hard and came with odd upgrade cycles.
  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) * <slashdot@jawthesh a r> on Sunday January 28, 2018 @06:40PM (#56022735) Homepage Journal
    So, let me get this straight: This is a server OS, with basic server functionalities removed? In what way is this still a server OS?
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @07:12PM (#56022917) Homepage Journal

      It's a server app, with all the server functionality removed. Staring at this list, I'm struggling to think of anything that wasn't removed. Apparently, they kept the user and device management — the part that for 99% of users is the least useful, but admittedly also the only part that's at all Mac-specific.

      That said, sucks. Always has. The Apache functionality has been a constant struggle even to get it to do basic things like update certs programmatically (they bizarrely store them in the keychain, then require some weird custom commands to force the server to grab the new credentials, and they're basically undocumented as far as I can tell). And heaven help you if you try to import any existing Apache config. You're pretty much guaranteed to end up with something nonfunctional.

      The only reason I even install at all is so that the software updates for Apache and BIND happen without me having to pay attention to the CERT mailing lists. And even then, I don't let the app configure *anything*, using a separate launchd plist with a different identifier and a separate config file so that none of Apple's code has any effect on the actual operation of the server.

      I guess with this change, there's no reason to bother installing it ever again, since I don't manage a network of users. This, of course, also means I have one less reason to keep using Macs as servers, but I digress.

      • No, the managing computers and users is not the "bit nobody uses", its the whole damn point of OSX server. Almost everywhere I've seen OSX server deployed, its to provide directory and authentication services to macs on a corporate network. Its basically a mac AD-like domain host.

        And while the apache stuff has had use in internal networks, nobody sensible is trying to deploy websites to the public on it. That seems like a bizarre waste of resources unless people have built special snowflake swift websites o

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          No, the managing computers and users is not the "bit nobody uses", its the whole damn point of OSX server. Almost everywhere I've seen OSX server deployed, its to provide directory and authentication services to macs on a corporate network. Its basically a mac AD-like domain host.

          The potential market for easily configured web serving includes hobbyists. The potential market for AD-like domain hosts does not. So if that really is the most commonly used feature, it can only be because Apple epically failed

      • > It's a server app, with all the server functionality removed

        It's a server app that includes all the functionality anyone running a Mac server would want.

        Why would I run DNS on a Mac when I can do it on an RPi for less than the cost of a Mac keyboard?

        > The Apache functionality

        You run Apache on a Mac?! For god's sake, why?! You can get fully configurable hosted versions for less than the monthly depreciation of a Mac mini, and the free completely automated sandbox/deploy, A/B systems out there remove

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          You run Apache on a Mac?! For god's sake, why?! You can get fully configurable hosted versions for less than the monthly depreciation of a Mac mini, and the free completely automated sandbox/deploy, A/B systems out there remove any barrier on that side.

          Two words: disk space. Hosting companies like to charge through the nose for it.

    • It used to be a separate server OS. It's been an iTunes app for several years now. I want my $30 back, you bastards.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 28, 2018 @06:45PM (#56022767)

    People complain about the iPad commercial where the kid asks "What's a computer", but could it be that Apple is genuinely asking what one is since it is looking more and more like they themselves don't know.

    • Of course they know, they just don't want to make them anymore. these are obvious and logical steps toward that goal. It's a bit a boiling frog thing, let everybody down slowly. And then it's all iPortables and AppleTV.

  • Looks like it's dying, as predicted

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @06:51PM (#56022813)

    It should be easy enough to install them on your own, if for some reason you want to use a macOS box as a server.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I bought this software to NOT hassle with numerous config files hidden in various locations with thousand parameters only known to experts... it hid all the difficult stuff... it just worked! But o-no, this is apple..., everything useful they deprecated... magsafe, a working finder, local file sharing, osx server, upgrade ability, steve jobs... deprecated... well was fun while it lasted...

    also every update of osx contains more and more bugs, I mean a working finder is that TOO much to ask?

    thanks apple!


  • What are Apple using in house to provide these services? Please tell me they manage all their people with a Windows AD + Exchange! ;). I wish they did because then they might make the integration better.

  • by Jahoda ( 2715225 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @08:02PM (#56023193) Homepage
    Apple's neglect of the Mac (and particularly the disregard of the enterprise space) not withstanding, when I look at this list I can't really help but admit that there is not a single entry on it where I would rather use Apple's tools in favor of their open source equivalent.
  • by macsimcon ( 682390 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @08:24PM (#56023311)

    Apple stopped offering a server certification years ago, but it didn't stop Apple Stores from recommending a Mac Mini with a single drive to customers who wanted a file server. Apple's SMBX doesn't really work well with anything but a Mac, and Profile Manager is just about the least reliable MDM out there.

    And who is really using Open Directory these days? If you want Netboot, you can do it from Linux. If you want VPN, use your firewall or an appliance.

    So, when people want a server for use with their Macs, we'll recommend a Synology or a QNAP. They offer dozens of services, including DNS, practically any other service you could want, and they have RAIDs and SSD caching as well. Some of the Synology units can even be configured to provide Active Directory.

    As Apple has now built the caching service and file sharing into High Sierra, I don't really see that there is much reason for Server any more. Oh wait..

    MAYBE you don't want to trust your data to someone else? Maybe you figure YOU are the best person to manage your data and services, so you won't be down a day or two while Google fixes G Suite? And as Google thinks they're the world expert on who is and who isn't sending spam, what could go wrong there?

    Server was great because it enabled the end user to run his/her own mail server, DNS, file sharing, software update server, and more, rather than outsourcing everything to companies which may or may not give a damn when something goes wrong with "the cloud".

    • by caseih ( 160668 )

      Used to run a real Apple server some years ago. It was 1U and very pretty. Their first Intel server. Was a very rocky road. Ended up using stock Samba on it because the Apple version that integrated with Open Directory's SASL password server store continually hung up. Password server was a neat idea but buggy. It combined Kerberos with SASL and a few other password protocols.

      Along the way I figured out how to replicate all of the functionality of Open Directory with a normal LDAP server and Kerberos, dit

      • Right, but the whole point of OS X Server/ was ease-of-use, and the issues with permissions, SMBX, password server, Profile Manager, and Open Directory weren't ever really fixed, so that vision was never realized.

        Apple management just doesn't understand: if you want to keep people in the ecosystem, then you need to provide and maintain ALL PARTS of the ecosystem: cloud, network, server, desktop, mobile. They depend on each other, but Apple mistakenly focuses all its efforts on mobile, to the detri

        • by Anonymous Coward

          "Apple management just doesn't understand"

          Oh but they DO understand, they just don't give a single fuck about it when they can charge $1000 for a shitty fucking plastic phone at least at 2000% markup, and sell Billions of units to all the idiots who will gladly camp out in freezing weather in line to buy them no matter what.

          There is no way their status symbol can compete and translate over in the real server market and pretend like the computing resource power per $ to value is even reasonably close to almo

          • You can shear a sheep many times, but skin him only once. At some point, Apple's customers are going to realize that the iPhone has become less reliable, and isn't worth the $1,000 they're spending.

            I'm not seeing quality decreases in iPhones or iPads, but I sure am seeing them in Macs, particularly the MacBook Pro. If the battery swells or needs to be replaced in recent MacBook Pros, it's a $200 to $400 repair, because the top case becomes malformed, and now you have to replace that, which contains the keyb

        • Have you used the latest versions of macOS or iOS? They are the buggiest versions in years. I'm tired of telling clients they need to wait until nine months after release before they should upgrade.

          Yup, I have used them. Unfortunately with iOS you pretty much have to keep up to date if you want security patches - and, given the banking and other apps people have on their phone, they really need to keep their phones patched. Fortunately Apple keeps OS X / macOS patched for the latest three versions - so I'm still running El Capitan wherever possible, which actually works pretty well.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Tim hears you. Tim don't care. Apple used to make everything including Wifi routers and home backup. Now what's the alternative? If it doesn't "just work" why bother buying an apple in the first place.

  • (I know that I am about to get pummeled, but...)

    Why is it that most people seem to think it's OK to either;

    Produce a 'server' app that is easy to use and has a relatively-clear GUI, but lacks so much substance that it's hardly worth bothering
    Produce a server app that does everything, is very configurable and very stable, but has a zillion modules and takes a long time to learn, because the author never heard of HIG (Human Interface Guidelines)

    I am now going to raise a virtual beer to EIMS, WebSTAR, QuickD

  • Their servers had no lights-out management (at least the ones I tested). Their nicest feature was a brushed metal facade; they made sure to include that. I'm surprised it didn't come with a black turtleneck and a pair of horn-rimed glasses. OSX server is (soon to be "was") a pathetic hybrid that shamelessly bastardized whatever they felt like and sucked more as they went along despite borrowing from their betters FreeBSD, OpenStep, and Mach. They went for years without any real volume management, pimped HFS
  • by bigtiny ( 236798 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @10:17PM (#56023829)

    I don't think that at the time of his death Jobs thought his 'digital hub' concept would lead to Apple's becoming a huge, overfunded cell phone company that would let its computer business die a horrible death. But I think that's exactly what's happening.

    • "If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth — and get busy on the next great thing." - Steve Jobs
  • We heard you like servers, so we took all the servers out of your server.

    Wait, wat?

  • I would've liked to see what Apple could've done with servers. Now they're just a toy company.
    • by garote ( 682822 )

      Nothing more than what Cisco and IBM did. And after they realized that, they quit. If they can't offer something very distinctive, they're not interested. They used to make printers too and those weren't distinctive. And a whole bunch of other stuff that turned out just "meh" and then got the axe.

      Mind you, they've swung that axe far, far fewer times than Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. have, where ten zillion things go into beta and then trail off into a wasteland of absent support and broken features an

  • There was a time that Mac OS X Server made sense. Apple made some great server hardware. At first it was a rack mount Xserve. Then, Apple killed that and expected people to rackmount Mac Pro (cheese grater) machines. But one of the best servers that Apple made was the Mac mini. For $500 you had a powerful little server that took up very little room in a rack system. New businesses sprung up to collocate Mac miniâ(TM)s, and those who used this hardware with Mac OS X Server knew the power that came with

  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Monday January 29, 2018 @02:29AM (#56024709) Homepage Journal

    macOS on the Server side of things is so far behind what can be done with Linux, it isn't even funny. You can't run macOS in AWS. You can't containerize macOS apps (Docker on macOS uses macOS's hypervisor to run Linux in the background). If you want to run in the server space, and you aren't tied to Microsoft proprietary ways of doing things, Linux is the place to be. Apple knows this -- they're already too far behind, and are simply never going to be able to keep pace with what's going on in the Linux world.

    Apple needs to focus on continuing to ensure that macOS is a highly compatible client OS. Linux still falls flat in this area. Other than for some Apple proprietary stuff (like iOS provisioning), a macOS server is pointless. Use Linux on the server and macOS on the client.


    • by dwpro ( 520418 )

      Apple knows this -- they're already too far behind, and are simply never going to be able to keep pace with what's going on in the Linux world.

      Apple has the talent and resources to keep pace with anyone, full stop. They could wrap these good open source products with a slick UI and be a real competitor in the enterprise, if they had the inclination. Clearly they do not.

  • I'm not at all surprised.

    When Apple killed off the XServe, their commitment to anything server related was immediately put in question. The Mac Mini Server was cute, but I don't know of one single person that actually took it seriously.

    I never considered OSX Server as a system to be relied upon. If I needed anything, I would run a linux machine instead. Apple made no effort to demonstrate anything resembling a commitment to the server arena, most likely intentionally, so no one in their right mind (barri

  • Reading the comments, it seems clear everyone has deep scorn for people using the Mac OSX services anyways as they can all be replicated better and faster and easier using mumble mumble for the price of a sandwich.

    So, what are the details? For those of us who do in fact use the services, what specifically do you recommend?

    I use:

    Websites: to serve small internal websites for myself and my collaborators to share non-secret internal info.
    Mail: to set up temporary email addresses that peo

  • For a decade or so, I've used MacOS Server (or its predecessors) to run a small research group with a dozen or so iMac clients and a couple of dozen staff/students. We use network logins (and hence a mounted home directory) and a small handfull of groups to determine which file shares are available. That's about all we do with Apple Server that can't obviously/easily be replaced with alternatives.

    So, for someone who is Linux-comfortable at a sysadmin level, what is a path to replacing MacOS Server's network

  • Look at HTTP servers: they are deprecating the three major web servers. I may be wrong but Apple is just saying "don't use our servers anymore with anything else that our software". Or they may just have raised a white flag.

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