Re: Which Linux distribution???
>But.... could it be possible that Debian will support some sort of
>GUI admin. tool? just like Redhat's control panel. maybe someone could
>port this thing to Debian.
>This GUI admin tool has:
>1. Printer Configurator.(easy to add printers locally, remote or using smb.)
>2. Network Configurator.(adding virtual hosts and/or dialup to an ISP.)
>3. Package Management. (sorta like a graphical dselect.)
>4. Apache Configurator. (add virtual web hostings, etc.)
>5. File System Configurator. (mount/unmounts filesystems and NFS.)
>6. Runlevel Editor. (Edit the runlevels of the system.)
>7. User & group configurator. (Add,delete or lock users/groups.)
>8. Time Machine. (Change the Time or Date Grahically.)
It doesn't even need to be gui. A system like the debian install disks
use would be good enough, and would be available in an X window. Although
it could be made 'prettier'.
>Hell, it's so easy to dialup to an ISP using this thing, we could then
>elimanate maybe 20% of the topic here in debian-user mailing list about
>how to connect to an ISP. :)
That is a result of not reading the documentation. Another 70% of topic
could be eliminated by having better links to the documentation, in a
format that a fairly initiated user could browse easily (i.e. html).
What I mean by this is all the documentation from FAQs, info sources, man
pages, /usr/doc/ and any other source possible should be converted to html.
With that, you have lynx in text mode and netscape (or amaya - amaya actually
is in the statistics files of the website I'm taking care of) in graphics
mode. While the documentation of info says it is easier to browse than
html, the quantity of documentation I read in html format makes a lie out
of that statement. 90% of ease of use is familiarity, 9% is in formatting
of the information, and 1% is in the vehicle of the information (even man
pages are tolerable with less). To set up linux initially (including
learning gcc and other tools, I had to read a combination of text files,
html documents, info documents, documents in dos format, ps files and
One might say that a good user interface eliminates a good percentage of
the need to read the documentation, but doesn't get rid of it all. A
series of browsable, linked documents accessible from the config menu as
help files (i.e., execute lynx with the appropriate parameters) to allow
the user to read as much documentation as they need or want to while setting
up the system would accomplish more than the target goal of easing
configuration. It would help to familiarize the user with the system and
to expose the user to concepts they need in order to take advantage of the
To reiterate and expand, I'm aware that Debian is working on documentation,
and that a gui would be a slick thing to have. I'm also aware that having
a from the ground up config program is often a good way to ensure consistency
and good results. What Debian already has though, is an almost menu driven
installation tool (dselect), and a menu driven installation disk set. The
software to expand these tools is available (lynx and programming tools).
I think the direction you've suggested is a good one, but should be attacked
from terminal mode first (after all, most configuration is done before
X is installed anyways).
>I think, that's one strength of Redhat compared to Debian.
>Webmin and Linuxconf has the same idea. Maybe we could tinker with it and
>start from there.
I think that the problem before was that we got bogged down in thinking
about a grand scheme of a system wide database of configuration values.
Such a thing already exists, in a multi-user form, in the /etc and /var
directories, and the various .*rc and similar files in the home heirarchy.
I think it is a bad thing to have some all-consuming system database. Look
at windows. They have a huge database that takes longer for the built-in
functions to search than it does for a simple good-bad character heuristic
to search an equivalently sized text file. Those binary-looking keys --
they seem to be stored in ascii, just another obfuscation. I'm ranting
Debian as an organization probably shouldn't get caught in the trap of a
proprietary method of organizing, retrieving, storing or displaying
information or configurations. It would be better to have a config shell
type setup with the current tools: dselect, dpkg and the setup disks.
Other useful things a configurator needs: ee, mc, lynx and tons of html
documentation and examples embedded in html documents. Even just sucking
text documents into a simple perl script to put all contiguous lines in an
html paragraph would eliminate most formatting problems, allowing dos text
and unix text to be easily slurped into the documentation, and thus all the
other formats which can be converted to text mode. More advanced formatting
could be done at leisure, and some formats have conversion programs for
Get that down first and then think about porting it to a gui (I would just make
a window manager menu entry or icon that ran the normal configrator).
The interesting thing about this idea is that you can easily attach other
configuration programs to the main package installer.
I think it is realistic, or I wouldn't throw it out here. Keep it simple,
use the most familiar methods, and methods available from the shell, and
you serve many purposes at once. You don't make the superuser a slave of
the config program and you teach the unix philosophy in the best possible
way at the same time.