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Webmin works... was Re: RFC: GUI tools for common Debian admin tasks

On Thu, 7 Sep 2000, Frederic Peters wrote:

> > Agreed.  If you want to do something USEFUL, write a better webmin, debconf
> > or linuxconf module.
>  - webmin: I think it is useful (and nice) not to have to launch mozilla
>    to add an user or change a password.

Excuse me?  if you don't want to launch a browser (and NOT mozilla thank
you... ANY browser, even lynx will (mostly) work), then you should use a
command line tool:  adduser and passwd are fine for any user who is smart
enough to know how.  For the rest, a web pointandclick is one of the only
interfaces they not only _should_ know how to use, but is also remote
controlable easily (yes, true sysadmins can telnet/ssh/remoteX, but we are
talking newbies here), so Windows/Mac/whatever users with a Linux server
to admin can fix things from a remote machine.

Webmin is _really_ well done, and VERY customizable.  I have given users
access to only certain sections, because that is all I have had time to
train them on, and I don't want them messing with other settings.

It's secure... it uses ssl if you want.

It's supported by a strong mailing list, developers, and outside vendors

it's been _packaged_ already.  It requires NO httpd, just perl (so it will
run on a base-floppies system, without X or anything else)

Daniel suggested this list:

  (a) set up a printer. 
  (b) Add/delete users
  (c) Install and configure hardware devices and modules 
  (d) Manage fstab and partitions?
  (e) package management stuff
  (f) Set up a PPP connection.
  (g) See available documentation
  (h) Display network configuration (IP address) as well as modifying it.

Every one of these can be done right _now_ by webmin, I believe, with the
possible exception of (e), because I think there is an RPM but not a
dpkg/apt module.  I bet coding an apt-get module would be trivial.
The nice thing is that if you want to write a module for it, it's easy.
If you do anything Debian specific, great, webmin is smart enough to know
the OS it runs on, and will use that module.

If you haven't tried webmin, please do.  http://www.webmin.com
Last time I looked, webmin packages were sitting in incoming, but rejected
due to the ssl option (Jaldhar wanted it in main, and James bounced it
over the ssl linking).  The deb installed fine for me from 

If you want to create a new tool, please _don't_. After trying all of the
horrible ones like yast & linuxconf, and installing hundreds of systems
for people at LUG meetings, I'm convinced that if you want something that
makes sense to new users, just spend your energy improving webmin.  

Mandrake did.  They wanted something that looked nicer, so they created
new icons for it and contributed to development (wrote a postfix module
among others). Caldera is sponsoring it at this point, also.

Instead of creating yet another rift, let's add true Debian support to it.  
A single frontend makes much more sense than tons of incompatible,
non-similar frontends.  A non-power user who switches from Mandrake or
Caldera or RedHat or whatever to Debian (and I have many at our local LUG
who are doing just that...) shouldn't have to learn a whole new frontend,
when something like webmin can handle the cross distributional
differences, which it can and does well right now.

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