eWEEK Labs was impressed overall with the server edition of Mac OS X 10.4, which rolls up a comprehensive set of network services under a set of slick management interfaces. Through its implementation of Samba Version 3, Tiger provides access to Windows file shares, printers and authentication servicesall of which, according to Apple officials, are available to Tiger users without requiring any changes to the Windows servers in question.Our troubles with Samba and OS X werent over, however. While connecting to Samba shares hosted from Linux machines, the Mac OS X Finder application would sometimes hang completely, forcing a restart. With other Linux-hosted Samba shares, we could connect normally. (Apple has posted a Knowledge Base article that deals with Samba problems related to accessing unencrypted password shares at docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=301580.) We were able to log on to a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory domain from Tiger without a hitch. However, when we configured an Active Directory user with a home directory hosted on our Windows server, Tiger would hang at the log-on screen, with the Mac OS X "spinning wheel of death" cursor our only feedback until we reset the test system. We were still experiencing this problem as of press time, as the 10.4.1 update did not resolve this issue for us. On the flip side, we were able to access the Samba shares wed created on our Tiger box from Linux and Windows machines without a problem. Another feature that enhances Mac OS Xs interoperabilitywith Windows in particularis support for access control lists compatible with Windows NTFS (NT File System) file systems. Mac OS X 10.4s system and network management tools do a good job of condensing a lot of configuration options while presenting them in a form thats fairly simple to navigate. These tools also put an integrated management face on the mix of open-source software components that Tiger server includesparticularly those for providing network services. We used Tigers Workgroup Manager to administer local and directory-based user accounts, including configuring mail options and locking down user access to particular applications. The first application to which we wanted to restrict access was Dashboard. However, we were disappointed to see that, upon logging in as a Dashboard-restricted user, the application started up automatically anyway. The application managed this end run apparently because its default is to start automatically and run in the background. Once we removed Dashboard from our test users dock, that user could not open it again. We were able to restrict access to Safariwhich doesnt load automaticallywithout trouble. While we liked Tigers lockdown options, wed prefer to have the option of drilling down to per-application settings. Next page: Evaluation Shortlists: Related Products.
However, we had mixed results during our tests of Tiger with Samba. We were initially unable to access a file share on a Windows Server 2003 machine from our test Tiger system. To connect to the share wed created, we had to change the security setting on our Windows box that, by default, encrypts client connections (a workaround we found through a little searching on Google). After making this change, we were able to connect to Windows shares normally.