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Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by nickos94, Mar 17, 2012.
Is OS X Lion Server an app that runs on lion or a standalone operating system?
It is an application, purchasable in the Mac App Store (MAS).
It's an upgrade pretty much. It changes your OS from Lion to Lion Server so you can't really call it an "App". But you do get it from the App Store, but you also get Lion from the App store as well and Lion most certainly is not an "App".
OSX lion Server is a full fledged operating system. Its OSX with additional services, and applications needed for a server implementation. Many (all?) of the core components are OSX server is identical to OSX, its what apple adds to the OS that makes it more specialized
Okay, seems I have been wrong or have misunderstood the complexity of the app. I always understood it was an additional app and another one, but some more research led me to see, that once Server.app is installed, Mac OS X is identified as "Mac OS X Server Lion".
I think you are more or less correct, sim. Server is a package of apps (or services)/configurations. It contains a Server Admin app, and so on.
its a collection of apps, plus some sort of script that just hacks your about this mac info to have "Server" tacked on the end of the mac os version.
no OS reinstall is required, the relevant apps just install themselves into your existing install of lion.
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Straight answer: No, it's not a standalone operating system. It's a package that you install on top of an existing Lion installation that adds various severs, tools and utilities. Many of these are just configuration utilities for server facilities already built into Lion (e.g. Apache and the email server) but there is some extra software as well. You are also given an option to "tune" various system settings to optimise your system for server, rather than desktop, use.
Whether that makes the result a "new" operating system or not is a matter of opinion, but practically speaking it feels more like installing an app than doing an OS upgrade, and shouldn't interfere with your existing applications. Lion Server is very different from older versions of OS X Sever in that respect.
NB: unless you'll be using something like the XGrid server or the mobile device profile manager I'd strongly advise first looking to see if there's an online HowTo showing how to add the facility you need to regular Lion, often just via config files or free software. My impression of Lion server was that unless you are setting up your system exactly as Apple envisioned, you're thrown back to the command line facilities included in Lion anyway.
There are also some glaring omissions for a home/small biz server: no friendly config for fetching POP/IMAP email or for name-based virtual hosting - again easily fixed with config-file edits but then firing up the server GUI tool will hose your config. YMMV depending on what features you use, but unless your ISP gives you multiple IP addresses and offers SMTP mail delivery, forget it as a mail/web server - it can be made to work, but you might as well set it up by hand on regular Lion.