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I'm using an old iBook with OS X 10.4 as a server. Is there any way I can run it headless, ideally to cut down the memory usage and aid performance?

Is a headless mode possible with any version of OS X, standard or server?

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If you set it up to have a login screen with name/password instead of list of users, you can enter >console as the username. The Aqua window server will then shut down and you get a classic login prompt. If you exit out of this session, the window server will start again.

It should be possible to get this login screen via VNC or ARD.

I haven't tested the following, but it should work even better.

Edit /etc/ttys and comment out (with #) the line looking like this:

console "/System/Library/CoreServices/loginwindow.app/Contents/MacOS/loginwindow

and remove the # from the line looking like this:

#console        "/usr/libexec/getty std.57600"  vt100   on secure

After a reboot, the GUI shouldn't start at all.

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As far as I know no. You could run it "headless" using remote desktop/vlc/console but the GUI would still be running in the background using memory/cpu.

Other options would be Darwin, linux or bsd.

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