back to article Apple whispers farewell to macOS Server

Apple appears to have all but killed macOS Server by deprecating most of what distinguishes it from a desktop OS. The company slipped out news of the software's demise in a nondescript forum post that details how Cupertino plans to stop supporting DHCP, DNS, mail, messages, NetInstall, VPN, the Web server, the Wiki, as well as …

  1. Tim99 Silver badge

    I can see why they are saying goodbye

    The product was actually a lot more capable than people gave it credit for, in the right environment - i.e. to deploy iOS or manage a small business. For places that had Macs, it filled a gap left in the market by products like Microsoft's original Small Business Server which could be managed by someone in the business; or by small/medium business outside contractors and software developers (including my company). Microsoft gutted SBS (partly because of pressure from the larger contractors) when they decided that everything, that they could force, was going into Microsoft's cloud to give them a reliable income stream.

    I guess that Apple looked at the revenue and decided that it was not worth continuing with the amount of resources that it needed. A fair bit of the "server" can be replaced by a NAS, but the integration of Mail, Calendar, website, etc for up to 50 users was more than feasable on a Mac mini (until they cut the number of cores down to 2).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can see why they are saying goodbye

      I fear 'tis all clouds round these parts nowadays.

      These days the stock answer for small businesses wanting their own on site IT is "good luck, it'll cost, but you should be using <insert my choice of online service provider who pays me commission> instead". I suspect that it's actually quite difficult to get an MS reseller to sell you anything because you're not big enough to interest their commission-sensitive tentacles. Apple aren't even bothering now.

      It's beginning to happen to larger businesses too. The lot I work for is headed towards Office 365 (God help us), hosted in the USA. No that doesn't make much sense; it's a UK company, but as we have an office in the US it's basically not legally possible to host our stuff in the EU. Or that's what we're told. Glad it's not me setting any of this up.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I can see why they are saying goodbye

        "it's a UK company, but as we have an office in the US it's basically not legally possible to host our stuff in the EU."

        Never take legal advice from the vendor's sales vampire.

      2. Spanners Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: I can see why they are saying goodbye

        As you have an office in the EU, it is not really possible to host anything confidential in the USA.

        There may be a sham agreement at present but it will eventually go the way of the "Safe Harbor" (sic) as soon as someone has got around to taking it to court.

        Basically, because of dodgy US courts and an unanswerable load of spooks, your stuff is up for grabs and will then make its way to anyone who can pay for it.

        1. Gordon 10

          Re: I can see why they are saying goodbye

          Yes but the US isn't the only dodgy lot of spooks so you are not saying much.

          GCHQ , German FIS, French DSGE also have form in this area.

          1. Spanners Silver badge

            Re: I can see why they are saying goodbye

            I like to think that spooks on this side of the pond are (slightly) less in the pocket of US big lawyers, big corporates and the republican party.

            Agreed, ours are certainly not perfect but at least other European spooks know where and what the UK is!

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I can see why they are saying goodbye

        "No that doesn't make much sense; it's a UK company, but as we have an office in the US it's basically not legally possible to host our stuff in the EU."

        Seriously, you need to examine this carefully.

        I'm assuming you're thinking in terms of 3 geographical entities here: US, UK ex EU and EU.

        Let's dispose of the UK ex EU vs EU bit first. GDPR will apply to the UK before Brexit. It goes live on the 18th of May this year. The current Data Protection Bill going through Parliament is going to have to become a new Act before then in order to give effect to it. I can't see it being ditched in less than a year as the UK is going to need implementation of GDPR in the future in order to trade with the EU. So in practical terms, post Brexit you're looking at UK+EU as being covered by a single regulatory regime.

        Disposing of that issue let's look at what GDPR deals with. It deals with PII of any EU resident irrespective of where the data is kept and irrespective of where the company holding or processing the data is headquartered. If a company is handling PII of any resident of UK+EU (see previous paragraph) it's going to have to comply with GDPR unless it contrives to avoid enforcement by not having any legal toe-hold in UK+EU - which is probably going to be difficult on a practical level if it's doing business that leads to it holding such data. And in your case, as you say you're a UK business, impossible.

        So if the "legally impossible" bit is aimed at avoiding compliance with GDPR not hosting in UK+EU isn't going to work. You're going to have to comply. Now all that's left for you to decide is how that's best achieved. UK or any EU country will have a GDPR-compliant legal framework in place by May 18th or is going to be chased by the EU heavy mob. The US isn't. Where do you think you have the best chance of getting compliant hosting if you don't host it yourself? And where do you think you have the best choice of hosting it yourself, assuming that's your preference, bearing in mind the US's recently renewed legal framework for barging in to collect data and applying a gagging order?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I can see why they are saying goodbye

        "...but as we have an office in the US it's basically not legally possible to host our stuff in the EU. Or that's what we're told."

        Just tell them that you guys use internet biscuits instead of internet cookies, and that they are incompatible in the US.


      5. }{amis}{

        Re: I can see why they are saying goodbye

        Odd the company i work for is going O365 now, we were blocked from this previously by our German parent company but they let that pass when Microsoft agreed to cloud host in Ireland, maybe this is because they are big enough for a "Microsoft Enterprise Licence Agreement"?

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I can see why they are saying goodbye

        I read that as 'commission-sensitive testicles'. Which would explain the behaviour of a lot of salespeople, actually.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can see why they are saying goodbye

      The product was actually a lot more capable than people gave it credit for, in the right environment - i.e. to deploy iOS or manage a small business.

      True, but given that even a half decent NAS has most of the functionality built in (or, more accurately, made available to the end user as most of these things run a form of Linux anyway) or any simple inux box can offer this I can see why there wasn't much takeup, and it makes sense to end a product then and spend the resources elsewhere.

    3. The Original Steve

      Re: I can see why they are saying goodbye

      A couple of years ago I was saying the same thing about SBS, however even without Microsoft pushing cloud, the majority of SME's going for O365 is through the roof. (I work for a mid sized MSP). So Windows Server Essentials or whatever it's called these days is actually pretty reasonable. Does pretty much everything MacOS server offers plus a load more. (GPO, WDS). Only thing missing is email/collaboration, and let's face it no small business needs the overhead of running their own mail server these days, not when Exchange Online is £3 a month a user or thereabouts.

    4. Oh Homer

      A server OS without any actual services

      Is a bit like Coke Zero.

      As in zero point.

  2. Pu02

    I don't see why they think it has to go...

    Maintaining macOS Server isn't that hard for them. It's not like it actually does very much (which they acknowledge by pointing to so many poorly resourced but brilliant open source alternatives, much of which theirs is based on). It is a part of the market that only competes against the cloud nowadays, so would take very little investment to make 'a thing'; such as partnering with other software vendors like Atlassian to build a suite that small companies really need (I never saw a company buy macOS over SBS, it was more like they would use it over gmail. Not everyone 'just' wants to use cloud based services (many are wary of getting locked in to the Borg, MS or anyone else) and putting all your files in the places that don't belong to you is not something everyone actually wants to do.

    But the cloudy types at Apple are getting all the oxygen so they are dumping something that is actually very good, even if it needed some love.

    My Mac mini server has run for 7 years now. In the beginning I setup a mirror RAID 1, easily possible using their old AppleRAID (and mdadm) at the CLI, very easily. Apple never chose to even support AppleRAID on the mini, despite it working so well. I even made it support the OS's DRP. The array ran 24x7 for 5 years, supporting two guest VMs, a database and two webservers, all on 2 500GB 2.5" HDDs.

    Never halted. Never failed despite not having ECC memory.

    Then I swapped it to an SSD and a HDD (no RAID), and it still runs flawlessly. Not even the fans have failed, and the OS is supported as well as it was on day one with very little effort to maintain on my behalf (I hope).

    What a tremendous piece of work, Steve Jobs. So what to do? Scrap it.

    Not very smart, Apple. Eyes are all off the ball in terms of security and real product now. All hands are instead on making hot air in the upper atmosphere instead. It'll bite them in the tail, IMHO.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: I don't see why they think it has to go...

      Maintaining macOS Server isn't that hard for them. It's not like it actually does very much

      …or earns them very much. Support means resources (people) and they need paying. If the server set is mainly based around existing open source packages, where's the added value for the administrator in comparison to BSD or Linux on good hardware?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I don't see why they think it has to go...

        "where's the added value for the administrator in comparison to BSD or Linux on good hardware?"

        If it was being sold to SMBs on the basis of not needing an administrator it's not so much the value as the cost that matters. Of course it's perfectly possible for a business to put together a product which would be as simple and as reliable and sell it but they'd be up against the problem of not having an Apple logo.

      2. Pu02

        The never really charged for it.

        It came free on a Mac mini or a Mac Server.

        But then after a year or three they tried to make the buyer pay USD35 (it was an App store app) to restore it to disk, every time you chose to upgrade to a new OS without thinking about might happen to the server app you never knew was 'separately installed'.

        And to make it worse, there was no marketing, no development, just maintenance.

        Server lived in a dark room in the basement all its life, kinda like many of the IT crowd that forgot about it every time it was time for a free OS upgrade.

        Why Apple didn't add something new every now and then so people wanted to pay to upgrade, rather than wait for them to upgrade and lose something they were using is plain silly. It wasn't exchange, it was wiki and web and basic stuff. They never integrated it with their desktop offerings, nor put in all the good things that they could have added, instead it was forced into the dampest part of the cellar, whilst the clouds became ever darker.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    echo "I wonder what will happen to CUPS" >> lpr

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: CUPS

      It shouldn't be that hard to replace it if need be. I don't see Apple getting rid of it, they still make Darwin releases after all, though you can't get binaries anymore.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CUPS

      Well done, you just created a file called 'lpr'. Try using pipe (|) next time...

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: CUPS

        > Well done, you just created a file called 'lpr'. Try using pipe (|) next time...

        And try using the actual /dev/lpr device (or /dev/usb/lpr0 in my case)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: CUPS

        Oh, don't spoil the gag - it was early when I posted that...

        (Mea culpa anyway)

      3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: lpr

        Real story.

        Back in the mists of time (1982?), I was working on a PDP-11 running UNIX V7, and trying to get the 22 bit addressing working with the Calgary kernel buffer mods on a non-separate ID PDP-11/34 (it was a SYSTIME special, with non standard features). Had the system single user mode, i.e. as root with no lpd running.

        I got into the habit of doing "cat file > /dev/lp0" (the standard name for an lp11 parallel printer driver) to print things I wanted on paper.

        Unfortunately, the character /dev entry for the OS disk was rp0...

        Even though "l" and "r" are some distance from each other on the keyboard, you can guess what I did. Overwrote the bootstrap, superblock and the first 20 odd K of the inodes (inode 0 was the one for /) on my experimental disk pack, which had my current modifications to the kernel on it with no backup.

        Fortunately, it did not prevent me from bringing the system back to normal operation by swapping the (removable) disk packs over, but it did give me several hours work to recover my changes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: lpr

          I think this deserves to be in the new "Who, me?" section. I've nuked disks myself based on sda and sdc being very close to one another on the keyboard...

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: lpr

            I think this deserves to be in the new "Who, me?" section. I've nuked disks myself based on sda and sdc being very close to one another on the keyboard...

            And the old favourite of doing a 'rm -rf /tmp/* ' and accidentally hitting the spacebar between the / and the tmp..

            Or put it this way - Windows assumes that operators are idiots and so prevents them from doing stuff that might hurt the machine (try typing "format c:" and see what happens). Linux assumes that the operator has a modicum of ability and, therefore, knows what they are doing..

            Which, in my case, led to all of /etc/ and most of /bin disappearing before ctrl-c managed to stop it. Ho hum. I've not done it since (and it wasn't a production server) so I guess I've learnt my lesson.

      4. JLV

        Re: CUPS

        Technically he only created it if didn't exist.

        If he often prints that way, he likely just added a bit more to it ;-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CUPS

      I'm sure CUPS will be fine: having a standardised printing system must make it much easier for printer manufacturers (or other developers) to develop printer drivers, and also has the undeniably very useful side benefit of improving printer support for Linux as well (which I suspect CUPS would not have managed quite so successfully had Apple not also adopted it as well).

    4. Guy Geens

      Re: CUPS

      CUPS is also installed on client machines. So Apple would still need it, or write a whole new printing system.

      It's also used by many Linux distributions. Even if Apple did move to a new (closed) system, someone will pick up development.

    5. Jonathan 27

      Re: CUPS

      Did Linux suddenly disappear?

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Stupid, short-sighted, beancountery

    Everything that's wrong with Apple these days.

    And so Macs get strangled a little bit more.

  5. Lee D Silver badge

    Macs were never servers.

    I have two Mac Mini "servers" (as sold to my employer) sitting next to me. I mean... come on... one hard drive, not even proper RAM, nothing. You couldn't rely on them to do anything at all. And if the only difference was a £25 software upgrade, you know they aren't going to be anything special. That's pretty much why they had to buy two... just in case one went pop.

    Literally, I turned one off several years ago because at that point MacOS clients could directly join to LDAP without all the OpenDirectory / golden-triangle junk. The other is kept running because it supervises our iPads but even that I'm regretting (and, in fact, we're scrapping iPads too). If I could, I would gather them all in, wipe them all out and supervise them on an online service (Google Apps lets you do it).

    Neither devices were my choice of hardware, but certainly classing anything Apple as "a server" is a complete lie. And, yes, I have had RAM and disk failures in them.

    Good riddance to a complete misuse of the word server.

    1. Inspector71

      Mac Minis, yes they were never proper servers but the late lamented Xserves both PowerPC and Intel most certainly were, they were really nice pieces of kit.

      As for OS X/MacOs Server, that did become essentially a tool for managing iThings. It peaked in usefulness at Leopard/Snow Leopard IMHO and it was downhill from that point.

      I agree about the golden triangle setup though, that was a total pain although it was better than editing AD attributes, I still have nightmares about that.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge


        ... Were indeed fab-u-lous. And yes, having to get OS X Server just to manage iThings was... a PITA. Oh well.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Xserves...

          I still have 5 Xserves going strong in my basement rack, one Intel, four G5. They are all stacked together in an NFS ring, and provide an Xgrid as well. They were absolutely incomparable at their heyday. A 1U chassis, with one or two of the most powerful CPUs around, easily serviceable modules... add to that hardware RAID, dual redundant PSU, dual homed, two expansion card slots. You simply couldn't get anything else that came close.

          As for what the software is good for... well that was back in the days where Apple had an eye on education. I had three suites in a college of art & design, totalling 118 iMacs, where I could NetBoot a machine and restore it in a matter of minutes, could have roaming profiles, Remote Desktop and Support with two way chat and audio, license management and audit, policy zoning, default printer setting by machine or profile... I mean, it was an administrative dream!

          I guess you have to sell a lot of hardware to make it worthwhile, hence the idiotic designation of the Mac Mini as a Server machine. The Xserve's 1U format was possible due to advances made in laptop design. It's time they started knocking the socks off other rack mount competitors using the same trick coupled with some of their mobile knowhow. Can you imagine what a server loaded with A10s could do, for example?

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Xserves...

          And yes, having to get OS X Server just to manage iThings was... a PITA

          Of course, nowadays you can use Caspar Suite for managing iBeasts and so, don't actually need a Mac. Still, it means I added a Mac to the desk machine menagerie so it can't be all bad.

    2. rh587 Silver badge

      Macs were never servers.

      The xserves certainly were.

      You couldn't rely on them to do anything at all.

      Plenty of people did, could and do, whether it was as headless render clusters to throw stuff at from FCP, build servers for macOS/iOS development or as a small-business/home server.

      Apple hardware c. 2010 was cracking. My 2008 unibody Macbook is still going strong. Sadly of course they've gutted the minis, ruined the Macbook Pros and haven't done anything sensible regarding multi-touch support for macOS that could compete with the MS Surface Pro :(

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Macs were never servers."

      Apple fans are the last to believe a server is just a normal PC put on its side, as you did in the early days of Windows NT. Sure, you can have a number of "success stories", it was the same in 1996 with PCs and NT - just, I won't get back to those times, even for a small office setup.

      Today a proper "server" is far more than just a server OS or anything running a daemon.

      If you want an "on premises" server there are still good models available, even at the low-end, and if you don't want to run Windows Server (Essentials) there's always Linux or *BSD.

    4. Martin an gof Silver badge

      in fact, we're scrapping iPads too

      Just out of interest, why?

      (Speaking of someone who has never really understood the education fashion of iPad-for-everything)


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Steve Jobs was a software and hardware guy...

    ...Tim Cook is a beancounter.

    And accountants sap creativity.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Steve Jobs was a software and hardware guy...

      Under Jobs, Cook's expert management of the supply chain actually facilitated creativity. R&D spending at Apple grown exponentially under Cook. Whatever faults he may or may not have, withholding funds to designers and engineers isn't one of them.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is strange they are still supporting it at all

    If they are still producing updates for it, why shut off the parts people presumably bought it for? Just announce that the next update will be the last, and be done with it. If they quit selling it eight years ago, no one is going to be too put out that updates have stopped.

    1. Pu02

      Re: It is strange they are still supporting it at all

      They didn't quit selling it, Mac server has been in the App store for years. And all that time, it was well supported.

      They just never marketed it.

  8. Hans 1

    Mac OS X Server should have taken over ... it had a proper, clean, BSD network stack, nice polished point and click interfaces to all the FFS/ISC goodies, you know, the stuff that powers the Intertubes I use to write this comment. No reboot when or get an update, unlike Windows Server with notepad.exe and iexplore.exe or MicrosoftEdge??.exe.

    They even had proper server hardware until 2010 and incredible licensing, $1000, all unlimited ... some people could not count ... then again, those who knew what was in MacOS X Server were using FreeBSD, OpenBSD, or Linux anyway, those who did not, our Window Cleaner and Surface experts, aka point and click brigade, were stuck with MS, paying through their noses for security sieves.

    1. Jonathan 27

      How can it compete with Linux or the BSDs? Mac OS requires expensive, proprietary hardware and the cost adds up. You end up with a server OS that only appeals to people who want to use it as the back-end for their Mac desktops, large server deploys just don't make any sense. Mac OS server was always destined for failure.

      1. Pu02

        How can Linux or BSD compete?

        They require a lot of support. Mac server was dead easy to maintain.

        Configuration was far simpler too.

        And the hardware was most reliable too, so the outlay was cheap vs HP/IBM who gave little added value.

      2. theOtherJT Silver badge

        @Jonathan 27

        Mac OS requires expensive, proprietary hardware and the cost adds up

        Apple XServe servers were, IIRC, fairly competitively priced. Server quality hardware ain't cheap, regardless of what OS you're running on it. Once you took into account the fact that you had a nice big name supporting the things they actually made a decent case for themselves - especially when targeted at people who find administering *nix servers somewhat intimidating and would be more likely to chose Windows Server rather than anything FOSS.

        Once the dedicated hardware went away tho, the writing was on the wall for Mac OS Server. I'm just surprised it's still hanging on in there even in this sorry state.

  9. serverinstallations

    There were quite a few hints that something was up when 5.4, was released following the launch of High Sierra. For instance, File Sharing had been removed, now being controlled by High Sierra itself. Nevertheless, this is a very popular product and, anecdotally, I see about 2 macOS Server deployments for every 3 of Windows Server Essentials or 4 of Synology DSM in small business setups.

    The list of alternatives provided by Apple is interesting. For instance, KerioConnect is suggested as an email product. In the UK, this costs £353 for 5 users for the first year. Quite a difference to macOS Server, which includes this and other functionality for £19.99 all in.

  10. Korev Silver badge

    In-house at Apple?

    Does anyone know what Apple use in-house? I assume they have 10s of thousands of Macs and quite a few iphones too.

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: In-house at Apple?

      Does anyone know what Apple use in-house?

      I'm going out on a limb here, to suggest Mentats.

      I mean, they must do. The mac is a mostly poseur OS these days, increasingly gutted of it's more unique features.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In-house at Apple?

        A poseur? It is UNIX (unlike the others ...).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In-house at Apple?

      It used to be Xserves and big Mac Pros, loaded with ESX, running virtualized Mac instances inside. Of course, as one of the world larger companies, they have a bit of everything.

      Mac Server really wasn’t aimed at a company Apples size. But it was great for SMB and Ed.

      This particular fanboi is getting tired of Apple breaking stuff that “Just works” . An upgrade on my old Mac Mini server to the latest High Sierra has turned into a lot of regret...The changes in High Sierra make a downgrade surprisingly tricky compared to past versions, and Server no longer has the functionality I bought it for. Today will be a netinstall from another server instance to bring the poor thing back down to the last great OSX release, where it and the rest of my network will languish as long as possible. .

      For whatever reason, when Apple stopped charging for upgrades and started aggressively pimping them like Microsoft, functionality of each subsequent release seems to degrade while revenue generation opportunities for the Cupertino Fruit Company improve.

  11. Joerg

    Tim Cook is an idiot.. that is the point...

    He is the wrong CEO for Apple. He is destroying Apple with things like this.

    1. Tidosho

      Re: Tim Cook is an idiot.. that is the point...

      I could say the same for Microsoft with Saturated Nutella (Satya Nadella) at the helm :)

      1. Stevie

        Re: Tim Cook is an idiot.. that is the point...

        If you fell you have to explain your “clever” insult pun right after you make it for fear people won’t get it, then chances are it isn’t that clever at all.

  12. artbristol

    Calendar and contacts server included in MacOS server

    I hope they keep up development on their rather nice open-source calendar and contacts server. It's written in Python, and even included in Debian these days.

  13. mangofever

    All your data are belong to us. Employ only your family and use iCloud family sharing. All non-cashcow Apple products must be in the firing line to pay for all that uncollected tax that's about to be hoovered up by the US and the EU.

  14. M7S


    I'd done some work on OS Serrver, in fact we purchased a Mac Mini Server, only to find during testing that with the next OS update this installed feature was wiped by Apple and needed to be re-purchased (there was a means to get this re-instated for free but that only applied in the US, so we did have concerns even then about whether or not we could rely on this, at least from a customer relations point of view.....)

    For a small business, wanting to host mail on premises (1) and perhaps manage a couple of iThings, have a little intranet and not have lots of boxes heating up a cupboard (IIRC power consumption is about 11 watts when not doing terribly much) these were ideal and whilst I know there is an Apple Tax and also that their attitude to customers is not great, it was at least something where you had "one stop shopping" if something went wrong rather than vendors of different software and hardware all blaming each other.

    I think it was a greatly missed opportunity for all those little shops, businesses and the self employed not really in need of any "heavy" IT and lament the passing of the last (AFIAK) of this type of product. If there is something along the lines of some integrated free- or cheap-ware that would do the job on an old computer and is reliable and easy for non techies to set up (so I can also recommend it to friends), I'd be grateful for details. I'd have paid more than the £20 or so for OS server so there's a market, but whether or not it is viable for a developer is another matter.....

    (1) On the basis that you can at least pretend to have a bit more control of data you are responsble for and also as one day a major cloud service might fail, taking tens or hundreds of thousands of small business' IT systems down with it. 2E2 was a warning....

    *Other expletives may be applied after the watershed.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Drat

      "If there is something along the lines of some integrated free- or cheap-ware that would do the job on an old computer and is reliable and easy for non techies to set up (so I can also recommend it to friends)"

      Take a look at Nextcloud. Also, although I haven't looked closely at them, I understand some NAS boxes also do this but not as a s S/W only package.

  15. Jonathan 27

    I genuinely thought Mac OS Server was discontinued back in 2010 when they discontinued the server hardware. I've quite literally never seen an installation of Mac OS Server, ever. Any company I've ever been involved in with Macs as their only clients has used Linux servers and mixed environments often use Windows servers.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought it already dead...

    I was surprised to read this as I thought OS X Server was dead and had been for a long time.

    I brought it when it as £299 (?) for OS X Snow Leopard and threw it on a spare Mac Mini. I have to say I thought it bloody awful at the time. It was extremely limited for what we wanted to do, which wasn't OS X builds or FCPX render farms, the support from Apple was utterly useless (zero) and so much had to be done from the command line that the UI was pointless.

    I recall the main reason we wanted it was to serve up OS X updates to a small collection of Macs at home. We had quite a few, limited capacity on our network and so basically putting a small proxy server in place to be a Software Update Server seemed sensible. Ha, how little did I know how utterly, utterly useless SUS was. We spend weeks configuring it and trying to get it to serve stuff to our Macs and all it ever did was consume vast quantities of bandwidth as it kept resetting. In the end we simply gave up and moved to a higher capacity network provider.

    We also wanted to move a Linux based Postfix server onto the mail server, but that was just a big a joke. The UI was useless the moment we tried to get virtual addresses working and so you had to hit the command line, well we were doing that already so that was no step forward. I fact every utility we tried seemed to be a backward step from what we had so in the end we put the Mac mini back to a desktop client and abandoned OS X Server. The price then dropped to £15 which I thought was still £20 too much.

    Whilst some people may be misty eyed over this pile of dingo kidneys, my view is it should have been shot years ago. Now the X-Server hardware is another story altogether...

  17. IGnatius T Foobar

    The problem with Mac OS Server...

    The problem with Mac OS Server is that it doesn't contain systemd.

    << ducks >>

  18. kryptylomese

    Is it possible that simply not enough people are using it?

    Is it because Apple users don't know what a computer is?

  19. Slap

    It’s a bit of a shame really.

    I kind of knew this day was coming really, but it’s still a shame nevertheless.

    Whatever anybody thought of MacOS Server after Mac OS 10.6, it did eventually develop into an easy to use and pretty rock solid basic server, with just enough function for SME when carefully configured.

    Personally I use it on an old, but still rock solid 2009 20-inch iMac running 10.11 as a general home server. I mostly use it for VPN when in places with public WiFi, but also to sync my contacts and calenders across devices, and obviously file sharing.

    I appreciate Apple providing these open source alternatives, but in ll honesty I doubt they’ll be anything close to the “click and go” that Sever offered me - I really don’t want to have to do my day job when at home.

    RIP Server. You were well loved. At least by me anyway.

  20. jahill

    Many years ago, I remember replacing a gaggle of Microsloth email servers with a single Mac Pro (which happily dealt with email an order of magnitude faster).

    While, from my perspective, this is a sad demise, it was perhaps an inevitable one given the price of a machine running Linux (which can also be had with redundant power supplies).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do we do about Apple

    Apple need to remember the idea of computing friction, and do everything they can to remove it. Right now they are actively adding it back in. Used to be, for example, that you could buy a Macbook, open it up, and get going. Frictionless. Now it's pain. Oh, you wanted to connect a peripheral? Sorry, dongle. And cash. Oh, you wanted wired, Ethernet like a grown-up? More cash. Just horrible. And the innovations in exchange for all this are pitiful things like the touchbar.

    I decided that the friction outweighed the benefits and bailed on Apple, sadly. Windows has friction too, but I'm not being charged premium dollar to endure it.

  22. DerekCurrie


    "Apple whispers farewell to macOS Server

    All the bits that make it a server are being deprecated"

    Rubbish! I recently wrote about Apple's deprecation of several services inside macOS Server. Here's my post again:

    As of OS X (macOS) 10.5 Leopard, there were complaints coming out of Apple, albeit unofficially, that Mac OS X Server had begun to decline in quality. Those of us working in the field agreed. As of 10.7 Lion, it was clear that Apple was debating its future, with Server being both vastly simplified into a mere add-on and its price drastically dropped.

    I personally gave up on Server as of 10.9 Mavericks. Apple’s attempts to keep it ‘professional’ software were faltering. Apple’s concurrent attempt to make a dent into the Enterprise niche were again failing, its server hardware was on the chopping block. Awful Microsoft continued, detrimentally, to rule the Enterprise. Woe on us all.

    Now Server continues to shrink (NOT ‘killed’) into fewer, more bare bones services.

    At the moment there is an extremely active debate about this situation going on at the MacEnterprise list ( with the number of posts headed past 100. Those who work with Mac servers are either:

    A) In a panic


    B) Resigned to Server eventually being ‘killed’


    C) Recognizing why Apple is killing off the specific service published in their list.

    If you’d like to read Apple’s announcement regarding services to be ‘hidden’ and eventually ‘removed’, check this out:

    Note that this list does NOT NOT NOT equate to Server being ‘killed’. But it certainly points toward Apple again lowering its support for Server. Some of the services have been moved into standard macOS, such as Caching Server. XCode Server has been moved into XCode. Some of the deprecated services are rarely used. Some are easily available elsewhere for Mac. Some others have lost Apple’s interest, apparently.

    Meanwhile, Server still provides a lot of core services useful to at least most small businesses. They include:

    – Apache

    – PHP, Perl, Ruby, Rails, PostgreSQL

    – OpenSSL

    – Python

    – WebDAV

    – OpenLDAP

    – Profile Server

    – Xsan

    – Aspects of NetInstall

    – VPP (Volume Purchase Plan)

    – DEP (Device Enrollment Program)

    – macOS Setup Assistant

    … And a several server management odds and ends.

    For further detail, compare the technical specifications list for Server at Wikipedia and compare it to the Apple list of deprecating services. You’ll find that macOS Server lives on albeit with several fewer services.

  23. jelabarre59


    Perhaps they're phasing out MacOS Server because they want to put more resources into iPad Server...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Goodbye Apple.

  25. The Bionic Man

    Damn shame, I was about to pull the trigger and buy it despite the poor reviews, you know, just to have a tinker.

  26. Nimby

    Isn't it iRonic?

    It's funny, but a simple 5 second analysis of "how much does it cost to maintain VS how much money can they possibly be making on it (when no one buys it)" and this was the first decision by Apple that I have seen in a very very very long time that I thought actually made sense and wasn't founded upon some form of elitist App-hole-ism.

    So, of course, immediately follow the first time I agreed with Apple with people crying, "wah wah Apple doesn't know what they're doing anymore and Tim Cook sucks wet donkey fur," from the peanut gallery.

    I guess that about sums it up. I will never understand people who prefer Apple. Fortunately, if market share is any indication, I seem to be in the incredible vast majority.

    Though, to be fair to Apple fans, maybe Apple has just finally lost so many experienced professionals that they simply no longer have enough in-house knowledge to support products for people who actually work for a living? Their other products certainly support that notion. So it might not have been the elephant in the room that sat on their beancounters after all.

  27. John Savard


    I am not particularly fond of Apple or their products, but I still found this to be very dismaying news.

    It will make it even harder for any business to consider putting Macintosh computers on the desks of its employees, since using a Macintosh as the local server to a fleet of Macintoshes only makes sense; same training, same standard of security.

    However, for any other server task, the cost of Apple hardware would place them out of consideration anyways.

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