Intent to package: webmin (or another Web-based admin tool?)
I intent to package webmin <http://www.webmin.com/webmin/> or
<http://freshmeat.net/appindex/1998/01/11/884569976.html>. Before giving an
advice, read on.
I need a simple daily administration tool. I install Linux boxes in places
such as schools or small non-profit societies - sometimes in the Third World,
where I cannot perform a lot of support afterthat, who are used only to MacOS
(or MS-Windows). The Linux box is the Internet device: mail server, the access
router, the proxy server, etc and the file server. In most cases, using the
command line even to type 'adduser' is out of question. Even logging in the X
console is both non-Unix style (I love client-server) and out of question for
people who are scared by a three button mouse, because "it is not like the
normal mice". X or curses tools like COAS are therefore excluded (I accept to
discuss these assumptions, but outside this list).
So, a Web-based admin tool is the solution, at least for simple daily tasks,
such as adding and removing users, checking the UUCP status, "df" the disks
and so on. I don't think there is currently such a tool in Debian (flame me if
I did not search correctly). The only one I know is the admin tool of pingOO
<http://www.linuxedu.org/>, which is based on a Debian system, but the admin
tool itself is not distributed, not even under a non-free licence. The other
alternative is Ben Pfaff's work on "PPP connect" which has two problems: like
pingOO, it is a full distribution (which I don't need) and, at the present
time, it is only a router and proxy, there is no mail server, for instance.
So, webmin seems the be the only possibility. Technically, it is a fine job
and it is very modular, which is an important thing, since there are not two
identical admin policies. But is has a huge BUT: it is very non-free (see
If there is no problem, and if webmin.com grants me the authorization, I will
package it for non-free. But I would be delighted to learn that there is a
free tool to do the same, even if I must package it myself.
What licence is Webmin distributed under?
Versions of Webmin before 1.0 are available for free download, use and
You may re-distribute a version with additional modules, or change existing
your own use, but may not re-distribute a modified version of the original
Changes to the core modules may be submitted back to me for inclusion into the
Webmin version 1.0 and above will be split into two different distribtions - a
version with the same licence as described above, and a commercial version that
includes everything in the free one plus some modules that will be commercial.
Commercial modules will not be freely distributablea, and will only be usable
Because Webmin supports the concept of modules (like PhotoShop plugins), anyone
can develop and distribute their own Webmin modules for any purpose, and
them under any licence (such as GPL, commercial or shareware). More information
about the Webmin API and writing your own modules is available.