About me

My name is Richard Valk and I’ve started this blog to document my experiences as a switcher from Windows and Linux to Mac OS X.

Fortunatly the switching was quite easy and painless when it concerned applications on the desktop. OS X was far more intuitive then any other OS I’ve ever encountered. The only difficulty was to discover the easier way to do things.

Therefore the purpose of the blog somewhat changed because I had more problems getting the server side of things to work as they where not that obvious as the desktop apps. I wanted the Mac mini to replace the old Sun Ultra 5 sparcstations I had running as my internet infrastructure at home.

Documentation was available on the internet but mostly for Linux or FreeBSD installs, the docs for OS X mostly concerned older versions of the OS or the applications. I was spending a lot of time googling, posting on forums to find the specific info needed to get everything I want in working order. I documented the results in the blog and tried to come up with a manual of some sorts which others can use to install the software themselves.

Why, you might ask, am I going through all this trouble documenting when I just could go ahead and set it up and keep it running. I will tell you I did, a few years ago, when I got some spare Sun Ultra 5 machines that where discarded as obsolete. I installed Debian on it and used the package manager to install the packages needed. Then configured it all by gathering the information needed by doing a lot of googling. The information you need to set this up is available on the internet but widely dispersed.

I never documented anything properly, just tweaked and tweaked until I got something running and left it as it was. When a few months later I wanted to upgrade a version of a package the system broke down and it took me a few days of googling and tweaking to get it working again. I never touched the installation again, I only added users, domains and web-sites. I keep my fingers crossed that it all will keep working and the hardware won’t breakdown otherwise I’ll have a problem. A big one…

I didn’t want to have that problem again, so this blog is mostly a result of all the effort and googling being documented in a central place.

I’m not pretending to be an expert on any off the stuff you find here. I’m just writing down my findings that made it work for me. I do learn a lot by helping out others in solving the problems they encounter with installing the software. I don’t have all the answers but the ones I do find I try to write down as clear and understandable as possible.

a picture of Richard

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17 Responses to “About me”

  1. snozle Says:

    Hey, great tutorial, I have the web/mail server running on my Macmini.

    I was wondering however, you say that this easily supports multiple users with individual accounts. How would I, for instance, set up my friend with an account on my server?

    Richard5: Just create a domain or an extra mailbox using the postfix admin tool. If you add a domain, make sure the DNS MX records point to your server. Give the address, username and password to your friend so that he can login and your ready for the mail part. For adding a website you need to setup a virtual domain in the httpd.conf, something I will document later on… But if you can’t wait try Google…

  2. Mike Says:

    If you have not already seen this:


    Download and install webmin. The file that I downloaded, was:


    That expands to: webmin-1.250

    Therein, is a README that explains the installation routine is simply to run (therein) a script (as root):


    I followed the prompts and accepted the recommendations.

    Suddenly, using webmin, here are these webpages “expressing” the Mac-UNIX “side” of what you either have or could have, working on the Mac.

  3. Stone Says:

    My 4yr old OpenBSD box got hacked b/c I hadn’t kept up on patches – in this case php. I’m in the process of replacing it with a Mac Mini. Most of the Apache virtual hosts are moved and I’ve just started working on the mail config.

    When I started this project last November, the help and docs I found was pretty scarce and scattered.

    Richard, you may be my godsend…


    Richard5: Thanks, you’re to kind…

  4. Luc Marivoet Says:

    I was wondering why you use Mac OSX and not the server version ?
    Myself I have a OSX server version, but I want to have a more easier way of administration
    Thanks in advance

  5. thijs Says:

    hi can you install roundcube mail on me mac mini you get 3GB hosting for help

  6. lauren Says:

    Hi Richard,
    Thanks so much for putting all this information together – you’re right, tutorials and documentation for setting up a testing environment on the mac is all spread out! I’ve succeeded in setting up MySQL and PHP, I think, but I can’t seem to find this question ansered anywhere:
    I installed MySQL 5.0.27 successfully as well as PHP 5. However, I installed the MySQL while I was running OS 10.3.9. Then I realized that to install PHP 5 easily, i’d have to upgrade to Tiger. I’ve done that now, but the question is: Do I have to update my MySQL installation? It seems to start fine, though I haven’t tested it any other ways.
    Any advice much appreciated!

  7. Richard5 Says:

    @Lauren: There is no real need to upgrade MySQL, there are no major bugs in that release to force you to upgrade.

  8. Robbert Hamburg Says:

    Hoi Richard,

    Goed initiatief. Mocht ik iets op hosting gebied voor je kunnen betekenen. Contact me dan even.


  9. Brian Blood Says:


    Nice blog.

    Take a look at the article I just posted detailing how we setup a farm of MacMinis as load balanced web application servers for a client of ours this past year.

    Intel MacMinis – The OS X Blade Server


  10. Ron Garret Says:

    I have made some progress debugging the lighttpd bus error that occurs when pcre is used. Contact me or see the comments on the Trac ticket for details.

  11. Rocky Says:

    I to have switched from Windows to Mac/OS X.
    I have not touched a UNIX OS system in 15 years and had forgotten a lot.
    I just wanted to let you know that the documentation is extremely helpful and I appreciate the time and effort you have put in, so that people like myself can benefit from your experiences.

    Again Thanks

  12. Thom Says:

    You helped me in the past on setting my server up. Thanks again. It has been running strong for quite some time. I was wondering if you were going to publish something on how to setup WebDav? I need to share a calendar with two other people (all three to be able to edit) .mac only allows the host to edit it.

    Thanks in advance.

  13. Richard5 Says:

    I’m not actually working on it yet, I’m waiting to see when http://trac.calendarserver.org/projects/calendarserver gets to a stable release. Then I will document how to set it up untill then I can’t think of any other software that would help to set up a proper calender server.

  14. Michael Says:


    I’m having a problem with the Apache/PHP/MySQL setup. Basically I receive a MySQL connection timeout from my PHP pages. I’ve made sure that all permissions are properly configured, but it makes no difference. I have no *NO* idea what is causing it.

    I’ve been forced to use MAMP for the time being, although MAMP won’t let me “ALTER TABLE”; but that’s a different issue entirely.

    If you have any suggestions it would be much appreciated.


  15. Larry Says:

    Hello Richard,

    First, thanks for posting your installation guidelines! I’m (nearly) happily using Apache/MySQL/PHP on my iMac, after using MAMP.

    The one damper on my happiness – since I switched from MAMP, I can’t log php errors. I’ve posted to an Apple Discussion forum, so far without replies:


    I hope you can read my forum posting and suggest a solution, either here or in the forum thread.

    Web Team
    De Anza College

  16. Richard5 Says:

    You’ve got to make sure that the php.ini file is expected in that location. To make sure create a sample php file with the statement phpinfo(); in it. It will output the configuration of PHP and where it is expecting the ini file to be.

  17. Larry Says:

    Following your suggestion, I found out that my installation expected php.ini to be in /Library/PHP5/lib/, and it was actually in /etc/. I don’t remember if I moved it there or what exactly.

    I copied the php.ini file to /Library/PHP5/lib/, toggled Apache, and php error logging works now.

    Thanks so much for the help!