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OS X Server

Apple make a server product. They ship this product with the Finder as the default file manager and terrible performance under UFS. There's a lot of good stuff about it, but first impressions are important, and the first impression they make with this one is 'thank you for buying what is supposed to be small enterprise level software - now, there are some areas of the system you really shouldn't have access to'. It's insanity.
 - otdngrox at the CLIX forum


Here we have the greatest show on earth but the ringleaders are tripping up over their own feet. Now would be a good time for the pros to come out of the woodwork.

But don't hold your breath.

What kind of insult is it to hand an admin a dock with Finder on it? And no, it's not because Finder's not enough of what John Siracusa wants: it's because it's way too much of what he wants.

Siracusa, Gruber, all of them: they're single users. They have no credentials in corporate computing. They're not even read by the major players. They don't count.

Only business counts.

People will tend to use at home what they're being forced to use at work. It's only one system to learn. And there's interoperability - people take work home and bring fun to work.

If the shop runs Windows the likelihood people there will have alternate platforms at home is remote.

But for a shop to run OS X the admin has to contend with using OS X in the network.

An admin might very likely push a Linux web server and a Linux LAN server and then let the desktops be what the people want. The admin might very likely choose to get an Apple for desktop use. Those users claiming to be dependent on Windows are going to cause that poor admin a lot of grief.

Heterogeneous networks are good, and yet without a powerful OS X alternative at the hub Apple are simply not going to break through. It's not until Apple can offer LAN software that works sensibly that they will ever get outside their current 5% niche and realise bigger bucks.

And it's a shame, for the Apple Advanced Computing Group are putting out some terrific stuff and they've already got the hardware to beat the pants off almost anyone else. And it's competitively priced too.

But all we see today are extremely small Internet naive shops running Apple server software. No one with an ounce of brains would even look twice at what Apple offer.

Apple sell to single users - 'consumers'. The industry as a whole sell to pros - 'prosumers'. And from there the 'trickle down' gets the single user consumers.

More and more admins are aware of OS X. More and more of them have an OS X box. But none of them are going to even look twice and recommend an OS X server solution for their shop. It's out of the question.

Imagine being an admin and being given a sales pitch on OS X Server. The Apple rep shows off the flashy hardware. And it's a total 'wow', no question about that.

Then the rep points to the lower left corner of the screen. 'See that funny icon there? That's the work of Susan Kare by the way. It's called the 'Happy Mac'. It's the icon for Finder. Finder is your file manager.'

Seeing as admins do file management more than anything else, the admin now opens Finder to see what he gets. The duration before the admin walks away can be aptly calculated in milliseconds.

Finder is klutzy. It's infamous for bungling the most trivial file operations. It cannot show data forks and resource forks. It cannot search for empty directories. It cannot search for empty files. It cannot even display set ID bits and sticky bits. It cannot deal with extended user defined Unix file system attributes. It cannot see symbolic links or hard links and offers the admin no way to create them either.

Finder deliberately makes it difficult to navigate outside a home area - and what pray tell is the home area for an admin responsible for an entire network?

Finder uses a number of mechanisms to keep files hidden - yes even from admins.

And the official word from Apple? 'We don't want you going there.'

Try telling that to an admin and see how far you get.

Which is why Apple will never emerge in the broad marketplace with their current attitude and their current gap in administration software. They're simply not to be taken seriously.

The admins and other pros will not come out of the woodwork for this one. Why should they? They have a job to do and a basic goal on any night of the workweek to get home before midnight.

If Apple have an alternative they can look twice at, then they'll look twice at it. As things currently stand, they won't: Apple are simply not to be taken seriously.

Xfile for OS X in the AppleCore Project

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