Webmin alternatives


Everyone knows that Webmin is nasty - it does things in wrong way on a pure and nice Debian (and Ubuntu) systems and for some reason is not included in Debian (post-sarge) or Ubuntu. That does not inspire confidence in a root-running web based software to say the least.
I have a need to have a Linux server and give an administrator the ability to add/remove users, configure some LAMP settings, some email settings (SMTP, POP, IMAP, Spam/Virus protection), Samba and those kinds of everyday system administration tasks on a SOHO Linux server without having to know much about Linux.

Unfortunately I am very hard pressed to find anything that I could just set up and forget. Does anyone have any good experiences on this?

Current rating: 3


Pharao 13 years, 3 months ago

>without having to know much about
I don't want to start a good old flameware about this topic, but are you really sure you want to give them privileges to configure the system if they have no clue what they are doing?

LAMP and email should IMHO be easy with a "hosting control panel" like you find enough on the net - syscp e.x

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Dzhonijs 13 years, 3 months ago


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orvils 13 years, 3 months ago


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ackron 13 years, 3 months ago


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aigarius 13 years, 3 months ago

Imagine a common scenario - a small company with 5 computers has a need for an email server. They have a guy that does IT and does it cheap. The guy knows his WinXP desktop inside out, but has only dabbled in Linux. Setting up a functional and secure system would require a lot of time and work for him and ultimately the security and stability of the result is .. well, not certain. However if someone else sets up a good Linux server with a web based admin panel, that guy can add users, change their passwords and even start to learn Linux without the pressure of needing to have a system running by Monday.

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aigarius 13 years, 3 months ago

Hosting control panels have a lot of options that can be quite confusing, such as the separation between "admin" and "customer" interfaces that ISPs need.
GAdminTools have a major problem - those are Gnome applications and I am looking for a web based solution, so that the Linux server can easily live in a Windows shop.
And the eBox is more of an slightly expanded router package. It is not bad as such, but the parts that I am interested in are quite lacking in functionality and it is very harsh about people modifying underlining config files directly.

So far Webmin looks as the most useful of them all for the day-to-day administration of a SOHO server.

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wjl (Wolfgang Lonien 13 years, 3 months ago


why is Webmin nasty? And if it is - why shouldn't we go and improve it? AFAIR the reason for dropping it from Debian wasn't the code quality or the way Webmin does things, but that the work wasn't distributed equally enough - it all summed up to one(!) DD doing all the work.

At least two people I know installed Webmin recently - both newbies who were relived to find something like that.

I would ITP it, but I also cannot do the work alone...


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Jeff Schroeder 13 years, 2 months ago

Like someone already said, http://www.ebox-platform.com

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VE 13 years, 2 months ago

With webmin you have to stay on top of security updates. This can be done automatically with on major gotcha. If you install using the .deb available at the webmin site and then have webmin phone home for security updates, dpkg will not be happy. That's what happened to me anyway.

That said, the postfix control panel really is superb.

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Jake 13 years, 2 months ago

I think you're being unfair to Webmin, and just causing yourself a lot of unnecessary grief by refusing to use it.

The "nasty" things you're speaking of were almost entirely problems with the Debian package, and its configuration. It was a buggy and barely maintained set of packages--the deb from Webmin.com works great.

I did some research on this before using it, myself, because I'd heard people saying this kind of stuff. I dug up all of the Debian bug tracker issues. The ones that weren't packaging bugs were merely configuration file management issues that people got in a huff about (like how are rc start/stop links managed, where a few Debian users were pissed that Webmin created them directly, or where do Apache VirtualHost entries go, which has been configurable for years and the Debian package just had it set wrong by default). The issues weren't brought to the attention of the Webmin developers for years, but once they were, it got fixed really quickly. None of the bugs in the Debian tracker that I could find that were about Webmin proper rather than the Debian Webmin package are still relevant.

The security history of Webmin is also really quite good--on par with OpenSSH, in terms of serious exploits, and they've historically been corrected really quickly.

Don't make yourself suffer because a few misguided command-line weenies over on teh Debian bug tracker think they know everything about system administration. Install Webmin, setup reasonable access controls, and enjoy. It's a great tool with a long history of basically doing the right thing.

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ankur 12 years, 9 months ago

i have been using webmin with the .deb package and i think its great. A lot of things are easy to setup including PPTP tunnels and now hopefully LDAP. I wish it was included as installable with apt-get.

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carlos 12 years, 2 months ago

I have deployed on many servers and it works great.
The LDAP administration, Webminstat (graphs) modules and Cluster capabilities are very helpful when you have to troubleshoot and maintain hundreds of servers.

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houms 9 years, 11 months ago

I completely agree with you and others (jake). I would be willing to commit to the ITP. Granted I am no guru, but will work hard to learn and help get the job done. Please let me know if you would like to collaborate on this effort. I would like to see webmin back in debian.

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