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Webmin - system administration for beginners

     
10:58 am on Aug 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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So after having some difficulties setting up and configuring a fully functional LAMP environment, yesterday I finally went for webmin - and I'm amazed at what this thing can do for me.
It's pretty much a complete GUI for system administration, right?

For the linux beginner this looks like a tool solving many many problems.

Any downfalls in using this?

12:41 pm on Aug 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I use it from time to time.

I don't know of any downside - but then I don't fully understand all the features. I mostly use it for moving files about and setting up cron jobs. I like it.

There was a security update about 2 months ago, but my system chappie had that covered well before I went into panic mode:)

1:06 pm on Aug 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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To clarify - I set it up on my main home machine, where i want to test and play around with web programs and scripts before putting them up on servers.

In fact administering all apache, database etc stuff is a snap with webmin, plus you can administer services, users, cronjobs etc etc.

The downside I'm seeing is, like with any other graphical interface, it prevents me from going into the nitty-gritty of things, thus keeping me from fully understanding what I'm doing...

1:15 pm on Aug 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Webmin is brilliant. Saves so much time if your a newbie.

Use it every month to check for Webmin updates and upgrades - latest is 0.99 I think.

I also use to upgrade all of apache, php, debian, everything.

The file manager is useful for browsing files and doing a quick check on log files.

Setting up things like timesync'ing is also cool.

Oh yes, dont forget apache admin. It's a breeze to add new virtual servers, configure cgi-bin stuff, etc.

Air

4:11 pm on Aug 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>it prevents me from going into the nitty-gritty

That is pretty much the downside, if getting into the nitty gritty is something you want. Most *nix GUIs built are most useful if you already know how to accomplish something without the GUI (go figure). Webmin goes well beyond that, and is very useful as a remote sysadmin tool, easy access from anywhere you can get you hands on a browser.

4:20 pm on Aug 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Is webmin available for Cobalt?

Air

4:37 pm on Aug 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>Is webmin available for Cobalt?

yes

[webmin.com...]

9:26 am on Aug 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Yes, webmin is it!

Just be careful if you have a large number of users accounts, it can put line breaks in the etc/groups file and break it. Outside of that I have never had a problem with it and is installed by default on new machines I set up.

5:30 pm on Aug 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I am looking at moving to a new dedicated server with out a gui. I am currently on a Cobalt and the only thing I have used the gui for is dns and mx records.I know webmin can do this but,

How secure can it be ?

Will I have to spend as much time learning how to secure this new door-way to the OS as learning the actual config files ?

5:43 pm on Aug 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Good point, David. For the moment I use it for testing etc at home, it's running at localhost.
As far as I know there have been security issues before?
5:57 pm on Aug 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

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There were a number of alerts back in May about Webmin on BugTraq, though I think they were for versions 0.97 and earlier. You can check at securityfocus.com for additional info.

Call me paranoid, but I'm not a fan of web based server administration. :)

6:48 pm on Aug 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

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There's also a new book on webmin out you may wanna check out.
8:06 am on Aug 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

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good Q David..

Webmin does run as a server process and has root privaliges so there are always concerns. Though security settings are easily changed and if you have a static IP can be set to ignore anthing but communication from your specific IP. It is a good idea to run Webmin on a obscure port and have a program like PortSentry running to keep port scanners at bay.

I feel safe with it.