With last week’s release of OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion, Mac users have been given a lot to digest. True to Apple form, there is a lot of marketing info about the release but not much in the way of specific changes or documentation for power users. Usually not a problem as the Internet does a good job of ferreting out the significant items. But there is one change that slipped under the radar that should have every Web developer who uses a Mac up in arms.
In OS X 10.8, Apple has eliminated Web Sharing. Yep, that’s right. The Sharing System Pref no long has a way to start or stop your Mac’s built-in Apache Web server. If you are a command line guru, you’ll already know how to do this or perhaps this. But most people who use their Macs to develop web pages, test software that works with web servers, or just host a small site for friends, family, or co-workers are out of luck.
What’s worse, Apple clearly didn’t think this through because they really hose people who are upgrading from 10.7 or earlier. Whatever you had Web Sharing set to do under your older O/S version is preserved and that’s what it will do when 10.8 starts up. That means if Web Sharing was enabled under 10.7, it’ll still be running under 10.8. But you will have absolutely no GUI to turn it off, or start it up again if you do. Derp. This little nugget of dumbassery prompted me to file a bug report with Apple ( #11982135 ).
As the long-ago author of the MacHTTP and WebSTAR web servers, I’m quite thrilled that Apple has opened up the market for third party web servers again with this bone-headed move. But I am sure it wasn’t their intent. It seems to be the opposite, actually, where someone in Apple marketing thought that disabling the Web server on the consumer O/S would somehow drive OS X Server sales. In any case, it’s time to dust off the old MacHTTP source code!
In all seriousness, however, one Mac developer has already solved the problem with a replacement preferences pane. So until Apple figures out what a bad mistake they’ve made, this is a reasonable work-around.
I guess the real question is, how can the hundreds of thousands of people who use their Macs as web servers let Apple know they screwed this one up? Not everyone can file bug reports. Suggestions?