back to article macOS Server discontinued after years on life support

Apple is finally killing off the venerable macOS Server, directing users still clinging to Profile Manager toward Mobile Device Management solutions. The move is arguably long overdue. Much of what made macOS Server a server was deprecated in 2018 as the company announced plans to stop the likes of DHCP and DNS in its product …

  1. Joe Gurman

    As the fruit company itself mentioned in its announcement

    The purportedly most popular remaining features of the server product, Caching Server, File Sharing Server, and Time Machine Server, have over time become features of mac OS. So not so much third-party action necessary.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A final shot to the head for a twitching zombie

    I'm not sure why Apple chose to make the world watch as it slowly strangled the server app to death over years. Maybe it was just laziness and cheapness, not wanting to task enough people to port the parts they were keeping to standalone apps or back port them to the older OS versions. If that's the case they can join M$ in the DGAF club with the two settings interfaces.

    We bailed when they started hiding the older features on newer OS versions. If you upgraded an older server then you still had all the menu Items active, but if you installed a fresh copy, no services for you. We realized that that made a bare metal restore scenario way to problematic a mess to risk in a clinch and retired everything but the OSX file shares. Cause when an old box dies, who wants to add an hour of hacking together an unsupported config on new hardware that won't happily take a direct restore of the old server image?

    Now all we use is the cache service on an old mac mini. We'd have happily spent the money to keep most of those services alive if Apple wasn't negging us so hard. Funny that they sell rack mounts for the new pro towers still. All they had to do was release the individual services as apps in the store and people could have installed them on whatever recent version of OSX and mac hardware they pleased. Then they also could uncouple them from their OS teams release schedule, and they could be patched individually without taking other services down. Easier, cheaper, and a better solution for everyone. But nope, not the Apple way.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: A final shot to the head for a twitching zombie

      And people complain when I say that Apple is not a network-oriented business.

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: A final shot to the head for a twitching zombie

        Hmm - I’m sure there was a very good reason that I set up all my network stuff on Linux.

    2. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: A final shot to the head for a twitching zombie

      "I'm not sure why Apple chose to make the world watch as it slowly strangled the server app to death over years."

      Just like Microsoft, it takes a brave company to say "we are terminating product X". Because people will start to realize that this single vendor could terminate *any* software that they need.

      The difference between Apple and Microsoft is purely in cunning. Microsoft kills a product but simply renames something different with the same name. For example VB6 -> VB.NET.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: A final shot to the head for a twitching zombie

        VB6 mostly lives on in VBA, much still to my horror

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only...

    We can only dream of how much further ahead we would have been if Microsoft had done the same with NT Server way back when...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: If only...

      NT server was one of the best things that Borkzilla has ever made.

      If only Borkzilla could rediscover its roots . . .

      1. Art Jannicelli

        Re: If only...

        Lest you forget irq's...

      2. karlkarl Silver badge

        Re: If only...

        I agree.

        In many ways I do see them trying to go back to roots with Server Core. They realize they don't have the skills or discipline any more to maintain a useful server GUI so they are stripping it out.

        The rest of the OS however is fairly simple and clean (minus all the hidden criminal analytics crap).

    2. Plest Silver badge

      Re: If only...

      A lot of people got a lifeline when Novell was going down the tubes and MS stepped up with NT and AD. I did a lot of Novell work but moved over to Unix land when Novell went south instead of taking the Windows route. I got nothing against MS server products, actually not that bad and it probably meant a lot of companies actually put in half decent setups with proper auth systems like AD, DNS and such like.

      I know, MS is still the boogeyman of IT but the older I get the less beef I got with MS.

  4. Psamathos

    Push email for IMAP

    Just about the only unique feature that macOS Server offered was the ability to run your own IMAP mail server have have it send push notifications to the Mail app on iOS. The protocol used was public, since Apple released their patches to the Dovecot mail server, and other people have written patches for other sorts of IMAP server, but you needed a digital certificate that seemed to only be available through the certificate request system on Apple's own server code. It would be great if, now that macOS Server is dead, Apple would provide an official process for getting the necessary certificates.

    1. _andrew

      Re: Push email for IMAP

      Isn't IDLE the right way to do that for IMAP? The IMAP servers that I know (I use Dovecot myself) have done IDLE for years, but I've never seen Apple Mail take advantage of it.

  5. Mike007

    Will forward to my boss...

    ...perhaps I can convince him to speed up the process of deprecating the final OSX server at a client site and moving them to a cloud solution. We have been half way through the migration for months...

  6. Tim99 Silver badge

    Useful in its day

    I had a client who held his business together with a Mac mini Snow Leopard Server that he bought after several "incidents" with Exchange (on his Small Business Server), and some Windows clients being down for a few days (virus?). He went out and bought some Macs, and I set him up with the Mail and iCal Servers, and CardDAV for office management, I shifted a simple SQL Server database to PostgreSQL, and all was well. We’ve both retired, and our respective businesses are still running - His is now mostly "in the Cloud", but I don’t know whether that’s a cause or effect of the removal of functionality.

  7. DoctorNine

    Saturday Night Live

    Kind of reminds me of that old SNL gag that 'Francisco Franco is still dead'. I haven't relied on OS X Server since 2013 for anything at all.

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