Web Users cannot log into FirstClass OS X Server

October 20, 2003 - A problem has been reported regarding the ability to log in using the web interface to a FirstClass OS X server. Here is the text of the bulletin from the FirstClass website.

Users are unable to login via the web interface on Apple OSX Server.

Briefly, Internet Services uses an operating system call to track the time of various operations. In particular, it uses a counter called a "tick count", which is supposed to be a simple ever-increasing counter, typically counting 1/60th of a second. IS uses this for a number of operations, including deciding if your login has timed out.

Now, the tick count is supposed to be an ever-increasing number, typically starting at 0 when the system is started. It is stored in a 32 bit number. However, in OS X Apple decided to derive the tick count from the system clock, which measures the number of seconds since 1970, instead of from the startup time. The net result of this is that every 2^31 sixtieths of a second (that's 2147483648 sixtieths, or 35791394 seconds, or about 414 days), the tick count will turn into a negative number. Such an event took place this past weekend. The final result of all of this is that IS thinks that your login expired about 414 days ago.

We are currently working on an IS service pack to address this issue.

A workaround is available. Instead of entering http://<Internet Services domain or IP>/login or using the login button (if provided), users can enter the following:

http://<Internet Services domain or IP>/login?userid=youruserid&password=yourpassword

This immediately logs the user in and bypasses the issue.

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