Apple Grabs Enterprise Tail

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple Computer is counting on some
advancements to its next-generation operating system to win it more space in
the enterprise.

While the company has made great strides
in breaking out of its desktop shell (can you say supercomputing
powerhouse?), Apple said it is riding the momentum of its Mac OS X 10.3x
“Panther” server operating system and adding 200 features to the
industrial version of its Mac OS X 10.4x, code-named “Tiger.”

During his keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) here,
CEO Steve Jobs also pointed out that Apple’s developer
base was as strong as ever, with 12 million OS X users (half of Apple’s
install base) now using Mac OS X and upwards of 12,000 native applications
being built for Panther alone.

Apple will work with developers in the
coming months to bring Mac OS Tiger to market in the first half
of 2005. Both the client and enterprise versions of Tiger
will natively run 64-bit programs that use 16 exabytes of virtual memory.

The server version of the new OS comes with several companion programs to
support Apple’s push into popular platforms like RSS (really simple
syndication), with its Weblog Server application. Based on the popular open
source project ‘Blojsom,’ the platform comes with Kerberos authentication
support and LDAP integration to help users build their XML-RPC or Atom API
blogs.

Tiger Server also includes a brand new iChat server with SSL/TSL
encryption that is compatible with open source Jabber clients available on
Windows, Linux and PDAs. Apple has also addressed the growing number of
automation processes for which companies are increasingly using OS X.

Apple will add a new Software Update Server to Tiger, which will let
system administrators host their own proxy/cache servers to control the
availability of Apple’s software updates for Mac OS X Tiger and Tiger Server
systems. The OS will also include Access Control Lists that
will provide a more flexible permissions model giving administrators
better control over files, folders and network
services. The new Internet Gateway Setup Assistant will make it easy for small
business and home office users to set up complex network services, including
DHCP, NAT, DNS, Port Routing, Firewall and VPN services. The company will also include
the Xgrid 1.0 clustering software.

Tiger Server has also been updated with tools that make migrating from
Windows-based servers easier. With the new OS, Apple said administrators can
now migrate the user and group account information from an existing Windows
Primary Domain Controller (PDC) automatically into an Open Directory. Tiger Server
can then take over as the PDC for Windows clients and
even host Windows users’ home directories, group folders, roaming profiles
and shared printers.

“These are additions to make us a better citizen in the Windows world,”
Jobs said, noting that the relationship between the two companies is strong.

Brian Croll, Apple senior director of worldwide software product
marketing, told internetnews.com that the company is obviously
working to iron out the compatibility between the sometimes disparate
worlds.

“You will be able to move freely between an NT network and a Mac desktop,”
Croll said. “In that way, I can log into one machine on one environment and
get my password in the other. We’re also adding features so that our e-mail
platform can be applied against an Exchange Server. The
idea of being able to migrate controllers — we think this is important because
there is a large amount of customers that are sitting on older technology.”

Apple’s partners are also showing their support for OS X and an interest
in Tiger. The short list includes Microsoft’s Office 2004; Sun Microsystems’
OS X-enhanced developer platform; Borland, which said it will support
OS X in its next Optimizeit Suite; Quark and its QPS desktop publishing
system; PeopleSoft, which is certifying all apps for OS X; and Oracle, which
is scheduled to release its 10g Grid software for Mac OS X this week.

Ron Okamoto, Apple vice president of worldwide developer relations, told
internetnews.com that there will be some lag time for some
applications to port to Tiger, as Apple is catching some companies at the
beginning of their developer cycles and some in the middle.

“This is one of the earliest developer seed releases that we’ve had,”
Okamoto said.

In related news, Apple previewed the second generation of its Xcode
programmer’s tool. Version 2 has new features such as Dead Code Stripping
and Visual Modeling and Design. With Dead Code Stripping, developers can
remove unused executable code from compiled applications and see the effect
in smaller code sizes.

The platform also adds 64-bit development tools; an integrated Apple
Reference Library; Apple’s enhanced version of the GCC v3.5 compiler; a
graphical remote debugging system to display the debugging of data for full
screen applications on remote machines; Ant build system support to make
cross-platform development of Java applications easier; and support for
Subversion Source Code Management, in addition to supporting open source
technologies like CVS and Perforce.

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