new to the mac server scene


Good afternoon.
The following questions are probably very basic to most of you but any help will be appreiciated.
Setting up my first standalone Mac server to a small local network (4 machines)
If I were setting up a Windows network I would create a new user in the active directory and then I would be able to logon as that user from any other pc as long as it on the same domain.

How does open directory work? I Created a new account in workgroup manager and i can access that account from another mac using that test account but only if i am already logged in locally and going down the Network>server>login road.

How can I login to the server automaticly using the new account I have created without having to login to a local account first?

Server is on the same network using the same subnet mask and router IP.

Another thing.. when installing the mac OSX server software I could create a local host name and computer name but not a host name, any ideas why?

Luckilly I have the next week off to learn about this as I am the only one in the office who wants to learn about macs. I know what your thinkin.. damn windows users!!
You can very much liken Open Directory to Active Directory. Both are LDAP implementations with Kerberos support for SSO environments. With Windows, you'd join your computer to the AD domain, in OS X, its much the same. You'd use Directory Access (located in Applications -> Utilities) to join your client machine to your OD using the LDAPv3 plugin. Then you'll enable usage for it in the Authentication tab. This enables loginWindow to use your OD stored account information as a proper authentication node on your network and will look there after it checks against the local NetInfo DB on the client system (local accounts).

Hope this gets you started! :)
Thanks for your help, however a guide that I have been reading says that you can only use the LDAPv3 plug in if you have another external LDAP server,we are just running the one dual processor G4 server,can I still connect to the server via the way do described or do I have to use another method?
My server admin for OS X is a little rusty, but I do recall you can force the path to authentication vie the Directory Access app in the client's utilities folder. From within the app hit up the Authentication tab and add a path to the server's netinfo directory. The client's default authentication should show up second in the list in the case of the server is not online they would have local access to their machine. The LDAP implimentation is much cleaner, but that should do the trick.
Thanks for the advice.

At the risk of sounding dumb I get where your coming from but not quite sure how to arrive there....

Is there an online step by step guide that anyone could reccomend in completing this process as to someone new in the mac field this seems quite a daunting task.

When I have setup a network user once and it works I will be fine but just need some guidance for that inital setup.
Go over to and grab the Server docs. You'll want to look at the Open Directory docs and the User Management Admin docs. They're all up there in PDF format.

For your server to provide login/auth information, it needs to be an Open Directory Master (in this case) and the usernames and passwords need to be created in the LDAP directory in Workgroup Manager. In WGM, you can see on the top left hand side, below the toolbar, which directory your writing to. LDAP is published for client usage, NetInfo will be a local DB. LDAP is what OD uses for all of its resources.

You'll then want to create authentication nodes and bind to the LDAP on your clients. You do this in Directory Access, which is located in Applications -> Utilities -> Directory Access. Open it up and set up the LDAPv3 with a record of your Open Directory server, then add in the node to the authentication list, under the authentication tab.
That has made things so much clearer.

Thanks a lot for your advice.

I knew it couldn't be that complecated (he says in hope!!!!)

Ok i have now created a directory server and all is working fine,

However when logged in as a directory administrator creating anaccount is no problem but I am having a problem creating a home folder for the new users created.

When you login from the client machine the username and password authenticates fine but cannot find a home folder as one has not been created.

When i try and create a new path in the home directory options it will not accept anything?

Any ideas? is it something to do with the sharing options in workgroup

Please see page 2 for more updates...

Ok managed to create a new home folder via the following method:

after creating the account i accessed the sharing folder.

selected "all" and then the main drive OSX server is installed on.

selected users folder and did the following:

selected network mount.

Clicked on the useres and groups icon and selected the account in question.

clicked on "enable mounting of this sharepoint"

Selected that this was used for home user directories.

However this share point now shows up as afp:// (ip address) /users under the home tab in the user account whereas the diectory admin account just has the drive icon and /users/

Is the way I setup this home folder correct ?? any senior techies out there please advise...

Also under the server admin under directory access I did enable the directory binding..

Whoud this make any differance? Im guessing no as authenticatng with the server via LDAP has not been a problem, creating a home folder has been.

i look forward to ANYONES thoughts please especially regarding the setting up of the home folders.