Apple on Tuesday announced the pending release of Mac OS X Server 10.4 "Tiger". The company expects to ship the software at the same time as the client version of Mac OS X v10.4 -- April 29, 2005.
Featuring many of the same enhancements that can be found in the client software, Mac OS X Server v10.4 touts a number of additional improvements, such as the integration of more than 100 open source projects and standards-based software applications and 64-bit addressing, which makes it possible for server applications to address larger amounts of memory than they could before.
iChat Server is a new feature of Mac OS X Server 10.4. The software lets administrators deploy their own instant messaging within an intranet. It supports SSL/TSL encryption, works with Apple's iChat conferencing software, and is compatible with open source Jabber clients available for Windows, Linux and various PDAs.
Also new in this release is Weblog Server, which simplifies the publication of Weblogs. It provides users with the ability to publish and syndicate their Web content using existing Web browsers, including Apple's own Safari software. Features include calendar-based navigation, user and group blogs and HTML, RSS, RSS2, RDF and ATOM protocols, as well as "Apple-designed blog themes." Weblog Server can also integrate with Open Directory, LDAP and access control lists for authentication.
Mac OS X Server 10.4 touts Xgrid, a distributed computing technology which can turn groups of Macs on the networking into a "virtual supercomputer." Xgrid assists in assembling notes, submitting jobs and retrieving results once data have been processed -- it's suitable for scientific computing, animation and rendering and digital content creation.
Other new features include support for Access Control Lists and native file permissions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Active Directory environments; a Software Update Server that lets administrators host their own proxy or cache server to control the availability of Apple's own software updates; Adaptive Junk Mail Filtering with virus detection and quarantine; Gateway Setup Assistant, used to set up network services for small businesses including DHCP, NAT, DNS, port routing and more; and Ethernet Link Aggregation and Network Interface Failover with support for the IEEE 802.3ad standard, which allows for multiple hardware network interfaces to appear as a single interface.
Look for Mac OS X Server v10.4 to be available on April 29 for $499 for a 10-client edition or $999 for an unlimited-client edition. Subscribers to the Apple Maintenance Program will get Tiger Server for free; anyone who purchases a new Xserve G5 on or after April 12, 2005 can get Tiger Server for $9.95.
System requirements call for a PowerPC G5, G4 or G3, 256MB RAM, built-in FireWire and at least 4GB hard disk space.