Mac OS X Server is the server edition of the Mac OS. It is based on the BSD-Unix-based operating system that Apple Inc. acquired from NeXT Computer and which formed the basis of the current Mac OS X.

Prior to Mac OS X, Apple's AppleShare services provided server applications such as file and printer sharing and user management.

The first version of Mac OS X Server, released on March 16, 1999 and dubbed "1.0" was a hybrid of OPENSTEP from NeXT Computer and Mac OS 9. The GUI looked more like OPENSTEP did, with an emulation layer for running legacy Mac OS 9 based applications. WebObjects was included with the server package.

As of version 10.0 of Mac OS X released May 21, 2001, the server version and the standard version are nearly identical. (There was an earlier version of Mac OS X Server released some time before the introduction of Mac OS X 10.0 and Mac OS X Server 10.0) Mac OS X Server mainly adds server management software—web, mail, and user services. Most of OS X Server's services are based on standard BSD tools, e.g., the Apache web server; Mac OS X Server adds a GUI interface to these services. An exception, however, are User services, which are based on (NeXT's) NetInfo.

At version 10.3 (released August 2003), OS X Server presents a mature, fully featured server environment. User and file management are provided via Open Directory, an LDAP compatible server architecture. The new Workgroup Manager interface improves configuration significantly. Many common network services are provided such as NTP, SNMP, Web Server, Mail Server, LDAP, AppleTalk, Print Server. The inclusion of SAMBA version 3 allows tight integration with Windows clients and servers. MySQL v4.0.16 and PHP v4.3.7 are also included.

Starting with version 10.7, OS X Server became available as a downloadable update to Mac OS X, adding the extra features lacking in the Client version of the OS.  This is mostly the configuration interface, as the back-end services are for the most part included in OS X proper.

List of OS X Server Versions

OS X Server 1 (Rhapsody)

  • OS X Server 1.0 (March 16, 1999)
  • OS X Server 1.0-1 (April 15, 1999)
  • OS X Server 1.0-2 (July 29, 1999)
  • OS X Server 1.1 - 1.1 is a mis-labelling but contains the same content as 1.0-2.  The next release was cranked to 1.2 to avoid confusion
  • OS X Server 1.2 (January 14, 2000)
  • OS X Server 1.2v3 (October 27, 2000) - Same as 1.2, but adds support for both the Gigabit Ethernet edition of the G4 and the first eMacs.

OS X Server 10.0

  • OS X Server 10.0.0 (May 21, 2001)
  • OS X Server 10.0.1
  • OS X Server 10.0.2
  • OS X Server 10.0.3
  • OS X Server 10.0.4 (July 3, 2001)

OS X Server 10.1

OS X Server 10.2

OS X Server 10.3

OS X Server 10.4

OS X Server 10.5

OS X Server 10.6

From 10.7 onward, Server updates are part of the Client update cycle.

A list of updates to Mac OS X Server

Mac OS X Server 1.X

Mac OS X Server 10.0

Mac OS X Server 10.1

Mac OS X Server 10.2

Mac OS X Server 10.3

Mac OS X Server 10.4

Mac OS X Server 10.5

Mac OS X Server 10.6

Sources and References

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