I just spent a looooooong time trying to use Macports' Apache2 to serve documents out of my home directory. She no work!!!11 In the absence of any meaningful log data (that I could find) to go on, I decided to just plop the whole thing into the default document root ("/opt/local/apache2/htdocs"). Voila! Immense anger!

So, does Mac OS X have something like SELinux that might prevent Apache from doing something silly, like serve files from the place I want to serve them from? I read a little about Mac OS X's MAC framework, but that didn't seem to be what I was looking for.

I was using virtual hosts, as initially configured by Macports.

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    No; more likely the user that Apache was running as didn't have rights to the files. And how did you have Apache configured to point to the files in that location? – Shane Madden Sep 13 '11 at 21:25
  • I experimented with the file and directory permissions, finally resorting to making everything 777. Apache runs as www:www, so I modified the owner and group to match, finally resorting to root:wheel, same as the owner:group of the default htdocs. I had DocumentRoot pointing to the full path of my home directory ("/Users/alinabavi/projects/quickstart"), and created a Directory container with a default allow. – Ali Nabavi Sep 13 '11 at 21:27
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    Why not use Apple's supplied Apache? – mmmmmm Sep 13 '11 at 21:35

To answer your question as stated: Yes, MAC OS X has something similar to SELinux providing mandatory access control security polices and roles. As you have discovered it's called MAC and I believe it's based on the TrustedBSD implementation of the same name.

To answer your implicit question: No. MAC should not interfere with the ability to serve documents out of your home directory. Most likely either your permissions or your virtual host configuration is incorrect.

If I remember correctly the logs should be in /var/log/apache2 or /var/log/httpd. Please edit your question to contain the relevant parts of your virtual host configuration and logs.

  • Ack! I started going back up the directory tree, changing the virtual host's document root to the parent directory, then that directory's parent, then that directory's parent, etc., until a directory index was finally served on a directory. Looks like there were extended file attributes on my Dropbox directory that were unchanged by my recursive chmods. :-) Great! I have to leave work now but will investigate this further (xattr et al.). – Ali Nabavi Sep 13 '11 at 22:28
  • See my annotated link: diigo.com/0jkat Yep. Permissions :-) There was one directory up the tree that didn't have the right permissions, and that seems to be what was causing the error. Thank you all for your ideas! – hourback Sep 14 '11 at 19:11

Might this provide a clue? I'm not the expert here, but there are sharing preferences and permissions involved.

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