Disappointed with Ubuntu Server, could be used by such a wider audience

Tony Yarusso tonyyarusso at gmail.com
Thu Jul 31 15:18:48 UTC 2008

On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 8:14 PM, Anthony Watters
<tonyozwatters at yahoo.com> wrote:
> The Ubuntu server should come in two offerings; i.e. the unfriendly existing
> Ubuntu server, and, more importantly to the masses, a friendly
> pre-configured Ubuntu server that uses SME Server (http://smeserver.com) and
> ClarkConnect (http://clarkconnect.com) as a starting point only not
> crippled, and much better.

a)  It's not unfriendly to those who run servers and know how these
things are supposed to work.
b)  Servers absolutely should not come pre-configured, as that would
mean that they were full of bloat and unnecessary applications (along
with the security risks of having too many ports open), and would
likely not be correctly configured for anyone.
c)  I don't know what SME Server even is, since they don't have a
functional web site.  Why would I trust anything like that?
d)  ClarkConnect looks largely like what I mentioned in b) -
installing everything by default so you have as much bloat and open
entry points as possible, something no server admin would touch with a
20-foot pole.

> It is only a matter of time before people start running servers from home
> (check out Windows Home Server and no doubt Apple will have something up its
> sleeves before very long too). Ubuntu server should be leading the way and
> definitely before Microsoft cooks up its next bit of mischief. The last
> thing people want is to have to mess around down in the bowels to configure
> the thing (should be easy).

Most people use them for things like sharing files, which can be
accomplished just as easily from a standard desktop installation if
that's what you're going for.  Also, Apple already has all the server
functions built in, in a similar manner to Ubuntu - they just don't
call it "Home Server Edition" and charge more for it.

> The server section of the 2007 "The Official Ubuntu Book" is way too vague
> too and designed to scare people from using the server.

Server documentation is designed to teach server administrators how to
use a new piece of software, not new home users how to become server
administrators.  What you are looking for is running an Ubuntu system
that happens to perform some server functions, not an Ubuntu server.
Those are in fact different things.

> Preconfigure the thing, give it a GUI web admin, make it easy for someone to
> set up a Web server/Webmail/File server either in server only mode or server
> and gateway mode. All I should need to set up is a couple of users, provide
> the IP address and say whether I want RAID and maybe how I want the
> partitions configured (but with suggested recommendations along the way at
> every step).

I still don't know what you mean by "preconfigure".  Shall someone
from Canonical come out to survey my setup and interview me about my
needs, go back to their office and configure it, then ship it out to
me?  No configuration will be shared from one user to another, so
shipping anything by default would be worthless.  If you need someone
else to configure it, you want to hire an Ubuntu server administration

Agreed with other posters that eBox would be worth a look for you, and
that the ServerGUI wiki page would be a good read to start with.

Tony Yarusso

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