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iTools 5.0 General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

iTools version 5.0 for Mac OS X Server

Updated: September 5, 2000

This collection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) provides brief answers to many common questions about the features, functionality and powerful networking capabilities of Tenon's iTools software. Please check here or the iTools Technical FAQ for answers before contacting Technical Support.

1. Question: If I use iTools 5.0, instead of the open source Apache in OS X Server, will I be able to easily update my version of Apache with freely available patches to plug security and programming bugs?

Answer: iTools comes equipped with a newer version of the Apache Foundation's Apache than is included with OS X. When Apache update patches are released, it is easy for Tenon to provide incremental updates reflecting the most up-to-date Apache software. Our policy is to make these kind of patches freely available to iTools customers.

2. Question: Does Apple's free Apache for OS X Server include SSL?

Answer: No. There is no support for SSL in the Apache web server included with Mac OS X Server. iTools 5.0 provides complete SSL 3.0 support including multiple site certificates and the new Verisign intermediate certificates that were released in this year.

3. Question: A recent issue of Macworld said that WebTen on Mac OS is a faster web server than Apple's OS X Server Apache. Why should I move to OS X Server for web service, if I can get better performance on Mac OS?

Answer: It is true that WebTen's static HTML performance on Mac OS today outperforms Apache on OS X Server. In fact, it also outperforms Apache on Linux and Solaris. However, web service is more than static HTML. You have to take into consideration the backend processing requirements, e.g. database accesses, as well. OS X Server is a very robust and well-performing operating system. It does a better job with backend processing than Mac OS. So in choosing a web server platform, the question comes down to what are my web server backend processing needs? If you need FileMaker Pro, you might want to stay on Mac OS. For eCommerce, WebCatalog on OS X Server does a better job than WebCatalog on Mac OS. Lots of third party applications, Apache modules, and databases are bundled with iTools. You need to look at the total picture. If you can meet your needs on OS X Server, now is the time to move. And moving to OS X Server now, is a first step toward OS X.

4. Question: How will WebSTAR for OS X Server compare to iTools 5.0 for Mac OS X Server?

Answer: StarNine does not plan to offer a web server for Mac OS X Server. They plan to support WebSTAR on the upcoming Mac OS X (not Mac OS X Server) that is due to be released in January 2001. Since iTools 5.0 runs on Mac OS X Server today, you can start taking advantage of Apple's next generation OS right now. When Mac OS X is available, iTools will run on that platform as well. In fact, we have a free pre-release version of iTools available for OS X Developer Release 3.

5. Question: Is it true that WebSTAR for Mac OS X will support preemptive multitasking and that Apache does not because it "only supports threads and forks"?

Answer: No. In fact this question is in itself a contradiction. Under any OS with a preemptive multitasking kernel, like Unix or Mac OS X Server, programs (which consist of one or more threads) continue to get processor time even under heavy system load. This is a benefit in several aspects: it is harder to "hang" the system and programs generally run "smoother". iTools 5.0 for Mac OS X Server supports preemptive multitasking of itself and its subprocesses (or threads, which are internally started by an OS command called 'fork'). Similarly, when Mac OS X is released, it will be based on a preemptive multitasking kernel like Mac OS X Server and iTools for Mac OS X will be preemptively multitasked by the Mac OS X kernel.

6. Question: Is Apple planning to provide a GUI interface to Apache?

Answer: This is a question for Apple. There is no GUI interface in their 'raw' Apache for OS X Server. There are a number of open source efforts towards giving Apache a GUI. Apple may incorporate some of these technologies as they mature. Apple has not made any announcements about Apache beyond Mac OS X Server.

7. Question: Does iTools 5.0 support DNS control and administration?

Answer: Yes. iTools includes a point & click interface to the latest Bind 8.2. Check out our new features list to see what else has been added to iTools 5.0.

8. Question: Does iTools 5.0 support Squid caching?

Answer: Yes. All of Tenon's webserver products incorporate Squid's caching techniques.

9. Question: Is WEBmail a mail client or mail server?

Answer: Both. The WEBmail client can be used to send mail or retrieve mail via POP from any SMTP server. WEBmail is also a mail server based on 'sendmail.' The WEBmail mail server can be used via POP or IMAP with any mail client.

10. Question: I just purchased the customizable scripts from Tenon for WEBmail, what do I do now?

Answer: If you have purchased the customizable WEBmail package from Tenon, send an email to sales@tenon.com and we will provide you with the expansion pack. Once you have the expansion pack, while logged in as root, move the file to the "/" directory with the following command: "mv webmail.pro.tgz /". Then, unzip the file via the terminal window with the command: "tar xvfz webmail.pro.tgz" (without the quotes). This will install the banner-free version of WEBmail. Once this is done, also from the command line, type: "apachectl restart" (without the quotes) to restart the webserver. To customize the html for your personal use, edit the html files located in the /Local/Library/WebServer/web_mail/ext directory.

11. Question: How secure is Apache and iTools?

Answer: No system is completely secure just as no software is completely bug free. At Tenon, we take special care to implement the latest versions of the software components used in iTools and keep on top of security updates.

At Tenon, we have attempted to make our iTools product as secure as possible. For example, in creating iTools, we have taken special care to make sure that only those users who are assigned the home directory of /Local/Library/WebServer have the permission to upload to the "CGI-Executables" directory, and we have made the SSL key readable only by the "root" user. It as these and many other security features that are built into iTools that make it secure and easy-to-use.

12. Question: What software versions are included in iTools 5.0?

Answer: iTools includes the following software versions.

Main iTools package

  • Apache 1.3.9
  • wu-ftpd 2.6.0
  • BIND 8.2.2 patchlevel 5
  • Squid 1.1.20
  • Sendmail 8.9.3
  • mod_fastcgi 2.2.2

SSL Package

  • mod_ssl 2.4.9
  • OpenSSL 0.9.4

ht://Dig package

  • ht://dig 3.1.2

WEBmail package

  • WEBmail 2.7

WebEvent package (demo)

  • WebEvent 3.1

WebCatalog Package (demo)

  • WebCatalog 3.0.518

FrontBase package (lite)

  • FrontBase 1.2

PHP3 package

  • PHP3 3.0

PHP4 package

  • PHP4 4.0b21

MySQL package

  • MySQL 3.22

HTML/OS package (lite)

  • HTML/OS 1.72

JServ package

  • JServ 1.001

13. Question: Is it possible to run iTools on the newly-released Darwin 1.0 from Apple?

Answer: Since Darwin is an "Open Source" version of Mac OS X Server (without the GUI and other parts), there is no technical reason why iTools will not run on Darwin. You will need the command-line "iTools-installer.sh" script to install the package (this shell script is located in "/usr/bin" on an iTools/Mac OS X Server system) since Darwin does not provide the graphical package installer that Mac OS X Server does. You also will not be able to use the iTools.app since Darwin does not provide a GUI.

Please beware that this is an unsupported mode of operation for iTools. There is no support -- you're on your own.

14. Question: How can I make sure my permissions are correct when using WebCatalog with iTools?

Answer: 1. Set your text/code editor to UNIX line breaks.
2. Upload templates "binary" (this works more reliably when cr/lf are involved)
3. Upload databases "binary". (Otherwise you won't be able to search for special characters)
4. After uploading, set all permissions of all databases to 777 (read write execute for everyone)

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