EHLO; MAIL FROM: Aaron; RCPT TO: You; SUBJECT: Enjoy!
There are a lot of places to start when discussing IMAP email. I could start with its technical aspects, postives, negatives, supported platforms, etc. I think that it makes the most sense to start by discussing IMAP’s history.
IMAP was originally conceived at Stanford in 1986 by Mark Crispin who was later hired by the University of Washington in 1989. The first IMAP server was deployed at Stanford for testing in 1987, but it wasn’t until 1992 that the first IMAP server was truly implemented. In 1992 with the help of Mark Crispin and many others contributing to the UW-IMAP server application, the University of Washington rolled out one of the largest IMAP implementations to date using the IMAP2bis protocol, along with the Pine 2.0 front-end client application. It was during this same year, 1992, that Carnegie Mellon University began development of their own Cyrus IMAP project which is the mostly widely used IMAP service today. It was at the University of Washington in 1996 that together with vendors such as Sun and Netscape, the current IMAP4rev1 protocols specifications were completed.
When Apple designed its directory service, simplicity was the likely the central focus. Open Directory is easy to configure and easy to administer, when it is working. Apple’s Open Directory quickly became the single most frustrating point of my research. Although Apple has created Open Directory from the solid foundation of Kerberos and OpenLDAP, they made a mistake at some point. I have been working on these issues for almost a year now, and I frequently ran into them while I was consulting for another Mac IT firm in Seattle. During this consulting stint that lasted for 6 months I completed over twenty OS X server installations had had direct access to resources at Apple to solve problems and report bugs. The issues that I ran into with Open Directory were ignored and denied by Apple. The stock answers that I continually received never addressed the problem.
Open Directory is Apple’s answer to Microsoft’s enterprise directory standard, Active Directory. Open Directory is the directory service and network authentication architecture at the core of Mac OS X Server starting with OS X Server 10.3 “Panther”. As with most of Apple’s technologies Open Directory is based on an open source technology, OpenLDAP, as well as its primary authentication protocol, Kerberos, which is borrowed from MIT’s Kerberos project
As a company, Apple has a very long history but Mac OS X’s history is actually more closely tied to its current CEO, Steven P. Jobs. Although Steve Jobs founded Apple Computers, now Apple Inc., with his friend Steve “Woz” Wozniak, he was demoted from his executive position on May 31, 1985 and then resigned on September 13, 1985. During his time away he formed a company by the name of NeXT Inc. Steve Jobs’ new company was in business from 1985 until December 20, 1996 when it was bought out by Apple.
The seed was planted for Mac OS X’s birth in 1985 when Steve Jobs met with Paul Berg, a Nobel Laureate and biochemist from Stanford, at an event held in Silicon Valley. Berg complained to Jobs about the of expense in teaching students about recombinant DNA from textbooks instead of in the wet lab. Berg explained to Jobs that he needed Apple to create something similar to a 3M workstation, due to the fact that they had more than 1MB of RAM, a megapixel display and over a megaflop of performance.
An incredible product for businesses looking into purchasing a server on a budget. The biggest difference between Mac OS X Server and its competitors is the licensing model Apple has chosen to use. Mac OS X Server 10.4 offers a wallop of features at its $499 price point for 10-clients. If there is a need for greater than 10 users Apple also offers an unlimited client version that is only limited by the processing power of the server it is installed onto. My testing has revolved around the unlimited client version which will be the focus of this post, but both versions contain the exact same feature set.