Apple's new server, the long-awaited Mac OS X Server v.10.4 "Tiger" will ship at the same time as Tiger itself on April 29.

The next major release of Apple’s Unix-based server operating system, Tiger Server integrates over 100 leading open source projects and standards-based software applications with easy-to-use management tools that make it easy to deploy for Mac, Windows and Linux clients.

Tiger Server offers a series of significant new features, including native support for 64-bit applications, iChat Server to deploy secure instant messaging within an organization; Weblog Server (to publish weblogs, or blogs); and Xgrid so users can set-up a group of Macs to be a virtual supercomputer.

64-bit Tiger Server masters mixed networks

Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller said: “Tiger Server continues Apple’s blazing pace of innovation and is the best release of Mac OS X Server yet. With no client access fees and over 100 open source projects combined with Apple’s legendary ease of use, Tiger Server is the clear choice for all Mac and PC workgroups and an ideal alternative to Windows and Linux servers.”

Tiger Server will be available from April 29 and cost £349 (including VAT) for a 10-client edition and £699 (including VAT) for an unlimited-client edition. The software is available for pre-order today.

The significance of the system's ability to support true 64-bit computing cannot be ignored. It means applications will be able to exploit 64-bit performance, will be able to access huge chunks of memory using 64-bit addressing and to undertake high precision math calculations with 64-bit optimized math libraries, at the same time as running 32-bit applications.


The new iChat Server is designed for organizations that need to keep internal communications private. iChat Server integrates within existing directory services. It uses SSL/TSL encryption to ensure privacy, and will work with iChat and open source Jabber clients.

The new Weblog Server fetaure is fully Safari-compatible. It has been designed to help users "publish and syndicate content using their existing browsers". This feature meets most bloggers needs: calendar-based navigation, user and group blogs and support for HTML, RSS, RSS2, RDF or ATOM protocols. Weblog Server can integrate with Open Directory, LDAP and access control lists for authentication. It ships with several Apple-designed blog themes.

Use your Macs, Xgrid as standard

Apple has also added Xgrid to both Tiger and Tiger Server. Xgrid is the company's homebuilt distributed computing environment. Users can employ Xgrid to turn "an ad hoc group of Macs into a virtual supercomputer by streamlining the process of assembling nodes, submitting jobs, and retrieving results", Apple said. This could be used to harness the power of multiple Macs to perform video rendering tasks, for example.

Additional features include:

Support for Access Control Lists and native file permissions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Active Directory environments. This offers a more flexible way to help administrators control mixed platform environments.

Apple has paid a little attention to Mac users who have lost patience with downloading software updates - particularly those within enterprises where many Macs may hog bandwidth when an update ships. The new Software Update Server lets system admins host their own proxy/cache server to control the availability of Apple’s software updates within their firm.

Adaptive Junk Mail Filtering with virus detection and quarantine helps protect all clients connected to the mail server from viruses and unwanted junk email.

Gateway Setup Assistant to make it easier for small business and home office users to set up complex network services, including DHCP, NAT, DNS, port routing, firewall and VPN services.

Ethernet Link Aggregation and Network Interface Failover that support the IEEE 802.3ad standard to increase potential I/O performance and eliminate single points of failure by allowing multiple network interfaces to appear as a single interface.

The standard Mac OS Up-To-Date upgrade package is available to all customers who purchase a new Xserve G5 system from Apple or an Apple Authorised Reseller on or after April 12 for a shipping and handling fee of £11.99 (including VAT).