snowleopard.jpg
Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.2 updates yesterday, fixing a number of issues, including the Guest Account bug posted earlier that could potentially delete a user’s home directory.

Other fixes include native support for Apple’s new, multi-touch Magic Mouse, mobile account creation for Active Directory users, file sync for portable home directories, a fix for Mail crashes during Exchange setup, & an issue with graphics distortion in Safari Top Sites, among others.

Updates are available via software update or directly from Apple. Download the 10.6.2 combo update for servers or the 10.6.2 combo update for clients.

As always, make sure you have a current backup before applying any software updates. Read on for the full list of features/fixes.

What’s included?

General operating system fixes provided for:
• an issue that caused data to be deleted when using a guest account
• an issue that might cause your system to logout unexpectedly
• Spotlight search results not showing Exchange contacts
• the reliability of menu extras
• an issue in Dictionary when using Hebrew as the primary language
• shutter-click sound effect when taking a screenshot
• an issue with the four-finger swipe gesture
• an issue adding images to contacts in Address Book
• an issue in Front Row that could cause sluggish or slow frame rates while watching videos
• creation of mobile accounts for Active Directory users
• reliability and duration of VPN connections
• general reliability improvements for iWork, iLife, Aperture, Final Cut Studio, MobileMe, and iDisk
• overall improvements to VoiceOver performance
• this update addresses video playback and performance issues for iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2009) and iMac (27-inch, Late 2009) computers that may occur in some situations while AirPort is turned on

Fonts fixes provided for:
• an issue with font spacing
• an issue in which some Fonts are missing
• font duplication issues
• an issue with some PostScript Type 1 fonts not working properly

Graphics fixes provided for:
• an issue when connecting monitors to DVI and Mini DisplayPort adapters
• an issue in which the brightness setting may not be remembered on restart
• addresses functionality with specific display models
• general reliability and performance improvements when using some applications

Mail fixes provided for:
• a situation in which Mail’s unread count may not update properly as messages are read on another computer
• an issue in which deleted RSS feeds may return
• an issue in which Mail cannot preview or Quick Look attachments when composing a new message
• an issue that can cause Address Book and/or Mail to stop responding when opened
• an issue in which email messages received from an Exchange Server are not formatted correctly
• an issue in which Mail reports “Account exceeded bandwidth limits” for some Gmail accounts

MobileMe fixes provided for:
• performance when accessing files from iDisk via the Finder and syncing iDisk files
• an issue in which syncing iDisk files does not proceed beyond “checking items”
• reliability and performance when syncing contacts, calendars, and bookmarks with MobileMe (syncing with iTunes and iSync are also improved)
• an issue that prevents some users from logging into MobileMe via the MobileMe System Preference pane

Network file systems fixes provided for:
• compatibility with third-party AFP servers
• file synchronization for portable home directories

Printing and faxing fixes provided for:
• automatic printer updates improvements
• Print dialog allowing you to enter and send to more than one fax recipient

Safari fixes provided for:
• a graphics distortion issue in Safari Top Sites
• Safari plug-in reliability

snowleopard.jpgMy last post looked at an issue where network users without a proper path assigned to their home directory in WorkGroup Manager would be unable to properly create a local home folder. This post looks at an issue with login failures that can arise with mobile network accounts under Snow Leopard Server. If you have mobile network accounts – AD or LDAP – that cannot login, jump to the bottom of this post for the fix.

After creating several network user accounts under Snow Leopard, I found that my test user account was unable to login. But instead of the standard shake of the login window that indicates a failed login attempt, the login window actually began to collapse as if the login process was starting – the login & password boxes disappeared briefly before reappearing suddenly & displaying the familiar shake to indicate that login had failed.

Interestingly, the user account could still be used to access system services without issue. Attempting to login to AFP shares or setup iCal for shared calendaring using the users login credentials worked fine.

Several reboots & rebinds later I dug through the system log to find the following error: error = Error Domain=NSOSStatusErrorDomain Code=-35 “Operation could not be completed. (OSStatus error -35.)” (no such volume).

Turns out the ManagedClient.app was unable to create the mobile account at login. The solution was to create it manually. On the client computer, login as an administrator & run the following two commands as root:

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/ManagedClient.app/Contents/Resources/createmobileaccount -n username

sudo createhomedir -c -u username

This forces the creation of both the mobile user account & their home directory. Log out & log in with your mobile user’s credentials – you should be able to login without issue. This should work for both Active Directory and Open Directory mobile user accounts.

Thanks to Rich Trouton of the macenterprise google group for posting the fix!

As of this writing, Snow Leopard Server is at version 10.6.1

snowleopard.jpgUPDATE: Due to some errors on my part, I have had to heavily edit this article. The information contained herein is now accurate. Sorry for the confusion!

I recently ran into a bit of an irritating issue while setting up directory services on a new server running Snow Leopard Server (10.6.1). It seems that as of 10.6, users without a value for their home directory (NFSHomeDirectory) are unable to create a home directory on managed clients. I had created a series of users and assigned them to groups. Every time I would log in to test, however, error messages would appear warning about problems creating the user’s home directory.

What is interesting, however, is that users can still access system services (AFP, iCal, etc) without issue. Attempting to login to AFP shares using the users login credentials works fine. Attempting to login to a managed client, however, generates a warning message about being unable to locate the users home directory. When logged in, the user cannot create new files or folders on the desktop – the whole system behaves as if the user has no permissions for the desktop.

A quick look at the logs on the server hinted that the issue was tied to home directories, with several warning messages about problems with home directories: CFPreferences: user home directory at /99 is unavailable. User domains will be volatile.

Sure enough, when I looked in WGM, I had forgotten to assign home directories to the accounts. I quickly corrected this (relatively large) oversight & BAM! clients were logging in without issue!

This is a fairly sharp departure from previous behavior. Prior to Snow Leopard, network users with no home directory assigned (NFSHomeDirectory=99) could still login; their home directories were simply created in a folder named “99” in the root of the boot volume (/99/user1). As of 10.6 this behavior seems to have changed. Why exactly, I’m not yet sure – although I imagine it must be tied to security.

My next post explores an issue where mobile account creation can sometime fail on login. Stay tuned!

As of this writing, Snow Leopard Server is at version 10.6.1.

Snow Leopard Cheat-sheet

August 31, 2009

SnowLeopardLast Friday, Apple released OS X 10.6, “Snow Leopard” to the general public. There’s been quite a bit of excitement building around it’s release, although unlike the media & PR hype surrounding the release of Leopard, this time around the buzz seems a little more organic, building more through blogs, consultants, techs, & users instead of corporate PR departments.

While I haven’t yet done extensive testing of Snow Leopard’s newest features & enhancements (I spent the days following it’s release in the mountains of Garibaldi Provincial Park), I did make some time to put together a quick ‘cheat-sheet’ of key features, enhancements, & system requirements for the new OS. Be sure to stay-tuned, however. There’s sure to be more Snow Leopard posts to follow…

Snow Leopard Cheat-Sheet

$35 Upgrades!!!:

Thats correct. Apple is offering a $35 (US$30) upgrade disc for users who have OS 10.5 (Leopard). What Apple has not announced is that this upgrade disc will also upgrade your OS X 10.4 (Tiger) systems as well!  Thank you Apple for the cheapest OS upgrade in history…

Snow Leopard System Requirements:

  • Intel processor with 1GB of memory
  • 5GB of free hard drive space
  • DVD drive (for installation)

Key Features:

  • Speed – the first thing everyone is noticing is how much of a performance boost Snow Leopard is over pervious versions of the OS
  • Mail – support for Microsoft Exchange!!!
  • Cisco VPN support – Finally!!!
  • Ejecting volumes – no more “unable to unmount <NAME> because the disk is in use” errors
  • Customizable spotlight searching
  • Automatic print driver updates – boring but practical!
  • HFS+ read support for Boot Camp – access your OS X files while booted to Windows