If you have decided it's time to serve some information, either to the whole world via the Internet or to a single organization, large or small, via an intranet, this may be the book for you. Our first job is to turn that "may" into a yes or a no. If you want a succinct—that is, short and inexpensive—guide to establishing a complete Internet server, complete with ftp, list server, and Web server, read on. If you really want a 600-page dissertation on a project that might take you about 30 minutes, then put this back before you get the cover dirty.
As we see it, there are three types of people still reading:
Mac addicts who will use a Mac for their Internet server even if they have to write the code themselves,
UNIX techies or Windows drones who thought they might get a cheap laugh at the Mac from this book, and
Users who are considering Macs for their Internet server but aren't sure if Macs are up to it.
To the Mac addicts, we'd like to say: Relax. Setting up a solid, secure Mac Internet server is just as easy as installing any Mac application. It might take as little as 15 minutes (see Section 6.7.1).
To the UNIX and Windows proponents: Would you be willing to offer $10,000 to the first person in the Internet community of hackers who successfully hacks into your UNIX or Windows Web server? We've found several such hacking challenges on the Web, and all were running a Mac server. And only recently has one had to pay up (see Section 2.1.1).
And to those of you on the fence, we'll just say: If you want an Internet server that takes about 30 minutes to set up and can handle just as many hits, yet can withstand advertised hacking challenges, you might want to look closely at the Mac. Surveys have shown that the proportion of Mac servers on the Web is far greater than the overall Mac market share (see Section 2.1.1). If you want a Web server running on an operating system that requires years of training to administer, go with UNIX. If you're really looking forward to the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), you might look into Windows.
If you're still with us, dear Reader, you should be leaning strongly toward a Mac server. Now we just have to convince you to buy this book.
Let's begin by making sure you understand the scope of the material presented in this book.
Emphasis on Information Servers, Not Clients. Downloading a file with ftp, sending e-mail, or surfing the Web are client activities. Setting up a secure ftp environment, redistributing an incoming message to a mailing list, or making a Web home page available are server activities. Most Internet-related books deal only with the client side of the Internet. This is not a book about using Web browsers like Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer, nor is it a book of "cool" sites. Having said that, Chapter 5 helps you install and configure client software so you can review the information on your own server.
Not Just the Web. Of the books available that do describe how to set up an Internet server, the focus is almost always on a Web server. This book is about designing and maintaining a server to support ftp (file transfer protocol), list servers (e-mail access to information), as well as the Web.
Emphasis on Organizing Your Information. From the client's perspective, a good server is not necessarily determined by fancy presentation, but rather by the quality and organization of the information. We can't help you with your information quality; however, we have included some tips and guidance to make it easier to navigate your server and find information.
Establishing a Mac OS-based Information Server. Many of the principles in this book apply to servers using any of the UNIX and Microsoft Windows variants, as well as to Mac OS servers. However, this book will have much shorter chapters on installing software, configuring the system, and administering the server.
Degree of Macintosh Proficiency. In setting up a Macintosh server, you need a basic familiarity with configuring and operating the Mac OS. For example, you should understand the basics of folders, files, system extensions and control panels, and software installation. If you can perform these tasks, you can run an Internet server.
Established Local Area Networks. For those wishing to set up an Internet server on a Local Area Network (LAN), this book assumes the LAN has already been established. This book does not discuss how to set up Macintosh networks, although some pointers for further information are provided. For the most part, we provide instructions for connecting a single Macintosh (from a home or business) to the Internet.
Why This Book
If you are still reading, either you are lucky enough to have too much time on your hands, or you belong to the intended audience and have satisfied the prerequisites. The next question to ask yourself is whether the format of this book is going to help you. To answer this question, consider our motivations for writing the book.
Dave's Reasons. I have had the chance to operate UNIX systems (as a user, not an administrator), Windows systems, and Macintoshes over the past decade or so. UNIX has its advantages where you have multiuser systems, where you have armies of system administrators available if you have a problem, and where you just need to have a command-line interface. It is, however, by no means easy or fun. Microsoft Windows I have simply learned to dislike. In my opinion, Windows simply is not as pleasant to use as the Mac OS. Macintosh did windows first and still does it better.
By co-authoring this book, I wanted to learn more about Macs so I would have even more reasons to love ” em. Not surprisingly—at least to Mac aficionados—I have confirmed all of my preconceived notions and found very few trouble spots. So that's why there is a Mac version of the book. Phil deserves the credit for getting a contract for a Mac version and for the reasons why this book is laid out the way it is.
Phil's Reasons. Over the past couple of years, I have been responsible for establishing and supporting information and information servers on UNIX and Windows NT platforms. What frustrated me in the beginning was the lack of a good overview of what software I should be installing, where I could get it, and how I could organize my information to make its presentation most effective. I would be misleading you if I said sources, either on-line or printed, are not available today to help. In fact, the opposite is true. The problem is that there is so much information, it is hard to know where to start.
My goal is to make this cookbook that place to start. You decide with our help what to cook and then gather a set of ingredients—software obtained free from the Internet, commercial software, and of course the information itself. You put these ingredients together using the right utensils and follow steps a through z. Dave's note: On the Mac, it's usually steps a through e. The result should be an Internet feast for a world of information consumers. The problem for me is that I have had virtually no exposure to the Mac. Nevertheless, I do recognize the need for a Mac version of this cookbook and am very grateful that Dave has agreed to provide the technical impetus. Together we hope you find this book informative and of lasting value.
The Cookbook Format
Like a cookbook, this book presents the ingredients and procedures in a recipe format. This cookbook goes one step further in that it contains a Global Recipe—a recipe of recipes—to get you to all the other recipes. You can also think of the Global Recipe as a road map. With a traditional map, you begin with something that covers a large area—the introduction in this book—and gradually homes in on where you need to go—individual chapters and sections.
Choosing the route raises questions: Do I go on the interstate? Do I take the scenic route? In Web terms, choosing your route leads to questions like: Should I support video clips? Is Gopher still necessary? Which is the most secure of the Web servers? Should I support a forms interface? Should I support Java applets for access from Java-ready browsers?
Beyond answering the global questions, each chapter takes pieces of the Global Recipe, provides a list of software ingredients and where you can get them, and describes in a step-by-step recipe how to put them together to get the job done. But getting the software installed is the beginning, not the end, of the process.