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Is it possible to install/copy over the server configuration tool without actually installing OSX Lion Server? I want to avoid any system configuration changes on the client machine but still make use of the server utility to connect to a remote machine. Is this possible (maybe with a little bash-fu)?

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The short answer is: YES!

  1. Simply grab "/Applications/Server.app" from an existing installation of OS X Lion Server, and place it in the same directory on the desired client machine.
  2. Then disregard the prompt to install, and go to "Manage -> Connect to Server" (⌘-n) and specify the desired host.
  3. Done!

(didn't work the first time I tried this a few months ago, must have been a fluke!)

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