Some projects turn out to be harder than expected, and while Charles Edge’s “Take Control of OS X Server” was one of them, we’re extremely pleased to announce that the full 235-page book is now available in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket versions to help anyone in a home or small office environment looking to get started with Apple’s OS X Server.
As you’ll likely remember, we published this book chapter by chapter for TidBITS members, finishing it in early September (see “‘Take Control of OS X Server’ Streaming in TidBITS,” 12 May 2014). Doing so got the information out more quickly, broke up the writing and editing effort, and elicited reader comments that helped us refine the text.
Normally, we would have moved right into final editing and published the book quickly, but from mid-September on, our attention has been focused on OS X 10.10 Yosemite, iOS 8, and our new Take Control Crash Course series. We were working non-stop, and while we wanted to release “Take Control of OS X Server,” we felt it was more important to finish the books about Apple’s new operating systems for the thousands of people who rely on Take Control for technical assistance.
During that time, we had the entire book copyedited by Caroline Rose, who’s best known for writing and editing Inside Macintosh Volumes I through III at Apple and being the editor in chief at NeXT. Plus, we went over the book carefully to ensure that it used consistent terminology and examples, optimized the outline, and improved many of the screenshots.
The main problem with this delay was that Apple has now updated OS X Server from version 3.2.2 (Mavericks Server, which is what we used when writing the book) to 4.0 (Yosemite Server, which is all that works in Yosemite). Updating the book for Yosemite Server would delay it even longer. Luckily for us, veteran system administrators say that you should never upgrade OS X Server on a production machine right away. And even luckier, the changes in Yosemite Server turn out to be extremely minor (a sidebar in the Introduction outlines them), so those who want to get started now can use the instructions in the book with no problem. It’s also still possible to buy Mavericks Server and install it on a Mac running Mavericks, as long as you have the right Mac App Store link from the book. We are planning to update the book for Yosemite Server (which mostly involves retaking screenshots and changing the “mavserver” name used in examples) in early 2015 — it will be a free update for all purchasers.
If you’re a TidBITS member, you can continue to read the chapters on our Web site for free, but if you’d prefer a fully linked PDF, EPUB, or Mobipocket version that you can read outside of a Web browser, you can pick up a copy of “Take Control of OS X Server” for 30 percent off the cover price of $20 (click through to the Take Control site from your member benefits page to load the coupon). For those who aren’t TidBITS members and wanted to stand by for the final book, we think you’ll find it worth the wait.
In its published form, the book documents OS X Server for home or small office users. In it, Charles Edge draws on years of experience as CTO of a national consultancy and managed services provider to give the essential background explanations, step-by-step instructions, and real-world advice you need to set up and run OS X Server successfully. He describes how to set up file sharing, create shared calendars, run your own Web server and wiki, coordinate Mac and iOS software updates for your users, manage your organization’s iOS devices, and provide networked Time Machine backups, among much else. A final chapter offers advice on how to keep your server running smoothly.
We won’t beat around the bush — running OS X Server requires a lot more knowledge and effort than most other activities on the Mac. No matter how easy Apple makes working within the Server app, there are terms, concepts, and procedures you should understand before tackling server installation and management. Unless you know what to enter and why, your server won’t work, or worse, its important data might be vulnerable to outside attack or hardware failure. With “Take Control of OS X Server,” you’ll have all the information you need.