Apple has announced Mac OS X Server 10.2 – the Jaguar version of its Unix-based server software.

This version includes over 50 new features and network-management tools. Highlights include: NetBoot and the NetInstall network-management tools, based on Apple’s new LDAPv3 (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) Open Directory architecture. These simplify user and computer management for business, education and government customers. Apple has distributed this technology through the Darwin Open Source project.

Though this solution wasn't mentioned during Jobs' Macworld Expo keynote speech, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior VP worldwide product marketing, said: “Jaguar Server is the world’s easiest-to-manage UNIX-based server software. It unleashes the power of our new Xserve rack-mount server. Combining affordable hardware with powerful open-standards-based software, Xserve and Jaguar Server offer the perfect networking solution for Mac, UNIX and Windows environments.”

Feature set OS X 10.2 Server's key features include:

A new NetBoot for booting multiple Macs from the network instead of their local disks in order to make system admins life easier, Apple said.

The Network Install feature lets sys admins install Mac OS X and application software directly from the network.

The Workgroup Manager is a new management console. This works with any LDAPv3 directory server to provide centralized management of users, groups and computers.

Also new is OpenDirectory, which is an "easy to set up" directory server with a built-in, secure, password server.

Mac OS X Server 10.2 also includes QuickTime Streaming Server 4 and QuickTime Broadcaster. Together, these solutions will capture and encode QuickTime content into MPEG-4 for live streaming over the Web.

Additional new features and improvements include: improved file and print services, including support for quotas, secure-file transfers and NFS resharing via AFP; improved support for Web services, including SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), XML-RPC (XML-Remote Procedure Calling), server-optimized Java VM, JSP's and Java Servlets; and remote server management features including the Server Status Tool and support for SNMP (Simple Network Managment Protocol).

The product will be available August 24 in the US. Mac OS X v10.2 ten-client edition costs $499, while the unlimited client version costs $999.