Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server

Snow Leopard Server is here and a month earlier than expected. Let’s have a quick look at the differences between 10.5 and 10.6 Server. Given our sites’ content, the focus will be on Web and Mail Services.

Our tools and tutorials will be updated over the next few weeks to be compatible with and cover Mac OS X 10.6 Server.

Web Services:
10.6 ships with Apache 2.2.11, PHP 5.3.0 and MySQL 5.0.82. This means it is now current with the latest versions available. The configuration is similar to 10.5.x with one very welcome exception: The GD Graphic Library is finally included.

Mail Services:
Mac OS X 10.6 Server’s mail services have been updated as well and include reasonably recent versions. Snow Leopard Server ships with Postfix 2.5.5, Dovecot 1.1.17, amavisd 2.5.1, SpamAssassin 3.2.1, ClamAV 0.95.2, SquirrelMail 1.4.17 and Mailman 2.1.12.

Besides the new versions, there is also one major change. Cyrus has been replaced by Dovecot. Is this good or bad? Essentially, Dovecot and Cyrus are both very good IMAP servers. Both can handle load and large installations very well. Cyrus however is slightly more prone to database inconsistencies. Dovecot should be less affected thanks to its “self-healing” capability. Real life use on a larger scale will show if there are tangible benefits. Dovecot is also capable of clustering, but to take advantage of it you will need Xsan.

Also improved are the Postfix settings. Although by no means perfect, they now provide a reasonable protection against spam out of the box. Furthermore, simple greylisting is used which will help fighting spam as well.

We are currently testing and upgrading our tools and tutorials. So far the following have been updated:

  • spamtrainer has been updated and is available immediately in a Snow Leopard compatible version. For 10.5/10.6 the -f option is not needed anymore and thus disabled.
  • More info will be posted over the next few days.

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