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Essential Mac OS X Panther Server Administration by Ryan Faas, Michael Bartosh

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Chapter 25. Managing Preferences for Mac OS X Clients

As I’ve noted in earlier chapters, Apple designed Mac OS X with the intention for it to be used in a network environment as much as in a standalone workstation environment. So far, we’ve looked at how directory services play a role in this network-centric design, but in this chapter, the real power and granularity offered by Open Directory becomes visible. By leveraging the capability of Open Directory, Apple has designed a system that enables administrators to define preferences and access restrictions for virtually every part of a workstation that is bound to a directory domain.

A managed preference or managed client environment is configured using Workgroup Manager; you can manage the user environment for individual users, groups, workstations, or a combination of all three. Managed preferences allow you to preconfigure many of the settings users would typically configure on a standalone Mac OS X workstation. This enables you to give users a customized environment based on their needs and job functions without needing to manually configure a workstation for them. Even better, because you can apply managed preference by group or computer list, you can apply them simply by adding a user to a managed group or based on the workstation they are using.

Another advantage is that settings applied to a user or group are applied to a user regardless of which workstation they login at. This feature, combined with network home directories, ...

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