AFP548 Lion Server Review

Hi, folks! A lot has been going on here recently: Lion has been released, I've been playing with Final Cut Pro X, and I've migrated TASB — and all my other web sites as well — to a new hosting provider. Posts are in the pipe for all these things, and I'll post them as soon as I can. But I wanted to post a link to this Lion Server Review as it's really the only comprehensive thing I've seen regarding the new release. It's a quick read, so if you're interested in what's changed but don't have the time or inclination or need to actually purchase the software and try it out, I recommend the article.

My takeaway from reading this — and mind you, I have not seen the software yet — is that it's another step towards the convergence of the Mac OS and iOS. There are a lot of iOS configuration tools, and lot of simplification, and even the removal of some GUI configuration tools. Most surprising to me is that for any sort of web server customization you'll need to use the command-line; the GUI tools are gone:

"There is something odd going on here though. Go take a look at the web service pane in Server App. Let’s see, on/off; make PHP go and folder paths. That’s it! There isn’t a web service module in Server Admin anymore either. So, um, yeah. What’s up with that?

"What’s up is that it’s all about the command line again. Need a web redirect or an alias? Command line. Need to enable some Apache modules? Command line again. In all this madness is something pretty cool though for web apps."

Apparently they also removed Windows PDC functionality. I can see no technical reason for these removals, frankly. They seem to be all about communication. They seem to be Apple saying, yet again, we're moving towards less Professional, less customizable, simpler, more iOS- and consumer-focused products. Get used to it.

Nevertheless, some of the simplifying sounds good to me; it's ease-of-use that made Mac OS X Server such a fine product. I don't think I would have ever used it for a web server anyway. Still, it's worrisome to see things removed for no particular reason.

My guess is that some version of Mac OS X Server will be around for a while. But more and more it will be focused on iOS device configuration and, perhaps (I hope), user management, which is what I always used it for.

Still, as I've been saying in the comments lately, it's probably a good time for Mac Admins to start learning some Linux, or dare I say, even some Windows.

Check out the article and let me know what you think. Or, if you have some experience on Lion Server, I'd love to hear about it.