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Ok. Apple changes things a fair bit from the user side recently.

I need to really know how to administer a mac system.

Now, this is quite different then programming such a system. the dev docs are quite detailed. The man pages also are quite good, except for most of the admin pages. Of course, much of the info links back to earlier versions.

10.6 is the last really detailed doc set that was put out. Now, I'm starting to think, and beginning to see, that much of the nuts and bolts knowledge is the same or similar... that I need to know the new features, but that Open directory and other core tools needed to administer users and the like can be learned from the older stuff.

Am I correct in thinking this? It would make things a lot easier, my main tool now is this site and

man -k

and tracing syscalls with DTrace. This can't be how everyone does it, "it" being the taking of man pages and "tips" and assembling them into a coherent mental map of Mac Sysadmin.

To summarize, I am wondering: Do I need the newest docs? Or can I read the concepts from 10.5, 10.6, the basics, and then just move forward from there?

Pls advise.

EDIT: To clarify, it'll be user management and Open Directory issues which I feel the greatest need for clarification. I've just been treating this like a nicer BSD variant, and am unsure of best practices and practical issues with managing users. I have also noticed that often there is an alarming ( to the novice ) gap between what the docs say works, and what the people in the field say. Of course, maybe I am concerned about the wrong things. That's where man pages won't help you, they tell you how to use a tool, but not really when to use a tool.

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What are you trying to do? There's a lot of setup and back story, but are you going to be maintaining a Mountain Lion server? – bmike Nov 15 '12 at 5:12
Yes. Mountain Lion is the platform, that and iOS. User and device management will be big, and I'm trying to become well versed enough to know when I can treat the os like BSD, and when I can't, which seems to be user management and iOS. – chiggsy Nov 15 '12 at 5:40
Lion Server changed things a great deal and has introduced new ways to do most things. Mountain Lion continues that change, so I would get the newest books you can and ignore the ones targeting Snow Leopard and older in general. – bmike Nov 15 '12 at 12:22
Ok, thanks, glad I checked this this am. – chiggsy Nov 15 '12 at 17:59

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