My old desktop (PMG5 2x2GHz) is now at home, and I am installing Mac OS X Server 10.5 "Leopard" on it. I've done it at least half a dozen times already, sometimes finding bugs and often finding that I want to redo it for one reason or another, typically having to do with rearranging our home network. This is all since the latest beta was seeded, so I haven't had to reinstall to upgrade the beta, although that will happen as well.

When you boot the Mac OS X Server DVD, in addition to showing the normal graphical installer, it additionally starts sshd and Apple's ARD (VNC) server. You can log in via ssh as root with the machine serial number (first 8 characters, although the documentation incorrectly says 'digits'). I haven't tested non-Server, but for heavy-duty workstation deployments you'd probably want to be cloning images anyway, and Apple provides different tools for that. I did a bunch of seaerching for details on the procedure, but the only thing I found is Apple's CLI admin guide.

Unfortunately, Apple does not make their Server Admin Tools compatible with the previous version of the OS, so in a single-test-system scenario, we're stuck with running these nice client-server admin clients on the server. I mostly do it via ARD rather than sit in the "server room" in our basement after the initial install. Better if I can pop the DVD in, reboot, and do everything remotely. Since I'm using a third-party hacked firmware on my Linksys WRT54G which provides static DHCP, I get to skip the step of finding which IP the PMG5 acquired (Apple provides a tool for this, or an nmap ping scan would work if everything else was static) -- DHCP automatically assigns the correct IP, which is also listed in /etc/hosts. Now I am starting to work through the CLI installation process, which resembles the documented Tiger Server CLI installation process.

Unfortunately, my notes on the process have to remain private, since Leopard is under NDA.