Things I would like to dev this summer using Mac OSX Server 10.4....

Posted on 2006-06-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-29
I would like to develop and deploy a number of services for my 10.4 server so I can better manage all the Mac machines within my control. First, though, here's a little about my topology. We are a Windows 2003 based enterprise where all services are delivered via Microsoft implementations. However, since we do have a large number of Macintosh computers, I have setup a 10.4 server to take care of centrally maintaining and backing up data/file systems. So far, I've got this server up and running for data backups, but there's so much more I want to accomplish:

1) Configuring it as a Apple Software Update server
2) Configuring it to update all 3rd-party client apps. such as Adobe CS 2, Quark, Stuffit, etc so that all Macs are using the same software versions
3) Creating and distributing a centralized FONT repository
4) Configuring it to run various routine maintenance scripts to optimize client machine's file system health (such as cache cleaning, Macaroni, prefs pruning, etc)

Your suggestions and tips are greatly appreciated and if you can direct me to the proper documentation I would be really greatful.

In review, I'm looking to setup and use my 10.4 server to update client machine software, synchronize 3rd-party app.s, run vital maintenance routines and installing a centralized FONT repository for better font managment and control.

And finally, how does Apple Remote Desktop fit into this scenario? And where do I find it on server 10.4?

Question by:juckyt

Expert Comment

ID: 17016288
Apple Remote Desktop is a tool for remotely administering your Mac's - all recent Mac OS X computers come with servers for it (i.e. - they can be viewed and controlled by a computer with ARD administrator installed).  ARD needs to be purchased separately from Mac OS X server.

Unfortunately, the answers that you require would take far too long to go into here - we're talking manual type stuff (although, if you still have problems after reading Mac Tiger Server Little Black Book by Charles S. Edge (Paraglyph Press) then I'd be delighted to help out with the details).

On a few more general points, you can set up server to cache the Apple updates so that your client Mac's pick up their updates from there.  You can't add third party apps to this list though (perhaps I misunderstood your question here!)

With regard to maintenance scripts, you'll need a good understanding of how to write shell scripts and a good understanding of exactly what you want to do.  Personally, I'd be tempted to have the shell scripts run locally on each machine via a cron job, and just update the scripts from the server.

I hope that this helps a little!

Expert Comment

ID: 17020736
I understand from your posting that you have setup a Macintosh network with a Apple Mac running 10.4 as the server.

Please perform the below mentioned stepd to configure automatic updates

Use a web browser to connect to http://www.apple.com. This tests your ability to connect to Apple.

It's possible that Software Update could unexpectedly quit when installing software in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (via a network connection other than your built-in Ethernet port such as AirPort), but there's a quick and easy fix. Just make a change in Network preferences:

   1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
   2. Click Network to display its preference pane.
   3. From the Show pop-up menu, choose Network Port Configurations.
   4. Select the Built-in Ethernet checkbox to enable the port.
   5. Click Apply Now.

Software Updates for Mac OS X and Apple applications for Mac OS X are often available three different ways:

    * Software Update preferences.
    * Your iDisk (if you use .Mac)
    * Standalone installer from Apple Downloads.

Please turn on automatic updates in "system Preferences."

The Apple Mac would install new updates automatically.

Accepted Solution

walsellers earned 2000 total points
ID: 17025410
All the docs you want are at http://www.apple.com/support/macosxserver/
(go to apple.com and click support. then click "Show me the complete product list" to get to more links.)

I would suggest using Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) for administering a large number of Macs.  Apple has recently released version 3.  This allows you to run the same installer package on all of them from your desk, as well as execute the same terminal commands on them all.

1) Configuring it as a Apple Software Update server

Starting the service is easily done in the Server Admin application. You can even decide which updates are distributed. (Thus preventing problem updates from being deployed, but also possibly delaying security updates.)

The less easy part is to make all your Mac clients look at your server for updates instead of Apple's server.

page 75 tells you to execute the follow bash line to make a client mac look to your server for updates.
<i>defaults write com.apple.SoftwareUpdate CatalogURL URL </i>
where the last URL is the location of your update server.

2) Configuring it to update all 3rd-party client apps. such as Adobe CS 2, Quark, Stuffit, etc so that all Macs are using the same software versions

OS X Server won't automatically distribute 3rd party updates. You can put the updates on the file server for client users to apply, or you can use ARD to make the client computers apply them.

3) Creating and distributing a centralized FONT repository

I have a customer who uses "Font Reserve" with no problems on a Panther server to distribute fonts throughout the office.  Although, take care to keep the minimum required fonts locally on each computer so they will still function if a font server goes offline.  I believe there were 5 for Tiger.

4) Configuring it to run various routine maintenance scripts to optimize client machine's file system health (such as cache cleaning, Macaroni, prefs pruning, etc)

Again, use ARD to execute such things on all clients.  Many of these only require occasional use.  And if memory serves, Macaroni is used to change the execution time of maintenance scripts so that a Mac can be shutdown in the evening.  Timed apple scripts to fix disk permissions can be useful, but probably won't keep people from calling you for help.

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