Apple's Macintosh computers are user friendly and, recently, advertised in such a way that you'd think they're never used in the corporate world. But there are large islands of Mac users in the corporate universe, and if you run one of them, and it's inside a Unix shop, this tip is for you. It discusses using varieties of Unix other than Mac OS X server to take care of your Mac island.
Not all Macintosh hardware will support Mac OS X server, although many administrators may want to run that software on older machines. It's possible to adopt other flavors of Unix and have them serve your Macintosh and network clients.
Among the candidates that Apple posts as alternatives on its Web site are MkLinux. MkLinux is administered by the Research Institute of Grenoble, and the previously mentioned link contains a jump page that will link you to all of the sites from which this software can be downloaded. Another candidate is MachTen, which is published by Tenon Intersystems. This version of BSD Unix can run Macintosh applications and Unix applications concurrently. Finally, a third choice is LinuxPPC, which is found at the www.linuxppc.org. There a many choices for Unix software that will run on the 68000 Macintosh series.
None of these three choices are available on Apple sites or their mirrors.
Apple further recommends that if you want to interoperate with a non-Mac OS X Server version of Unix on a Macintosh system, that you should consider running one of the X11 servers for the Mac, which will allow you access to host systems like Solaris, HP, Linux, SCO, and even Cray. Your choices include MacX, White Pine's Exodus, or Tenon's X.
With any of these servers, workstations on your network will be able to view X11 applications running on the server (called clients) in windowed sessions (called servers) on the workstation desktop.
Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.