Fwd: Roadmap for UbuntuServer

Sebastien Estienne sebastien.estienne at gmail.com
Tue Feb 21 22:57:46 UTC 2006

forwarding to the list sorry.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sebastien Estienne <sebastien.estienne at gmail.com>
Date: Feb 21, 2006 11:56 PM
Subject: Re: Roadmap for UbuntuServer
To: Liam Proven <lproven at gmail.com>

On 2/21/06, Liam Proven <lproven at gmail.com> wrote:
> Since I must pick just one message to reply to...
> On 2/20/06, Joao Inacio <jcinacio at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > As you can see everything isn't black and white.
> > >
> >
> > that's exactly my point.
> > though i believe that if there is a good-enough selection of server
> > software included in main, creating some meta-packages for installing
> > and pre-configuring these packages would be a good starting point.
> Exactly so.
> It is not easy to pick the "best" package for a job, no. But this is
> true on the desktop as well - nonetheless, the Ubuntu team did it.
> Certainly some people would prefer AbiWord and Gnumeric to Openoffice;
> some would prefer Opera or Seamonkey to Firefox; some prefer KDE to
> But to make something that a non-expert can use, it's necessary to
> simplify the huge range of choices of open-source software down to one
> "best" application - one program that does the job, offers the core
> 20% of the functionality that 80% of the people need.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle
> OpenOffice isn't perfect, but it works, it does the job, it can read
> and write Microsoft files - so in OpenOffice went.
> GAIM may not be the best instant messenger, but it talks to all the
> main services and it is easy to use so in it went.
> And so on.
> We (if I may say that) can do the same thing.
> We can say, "look, if people want a LAMP server, then they will need
> Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl", and include them, and put a management
> screen on the front.
> We can say, "for a file server, they will need Samba, SWAT, netatalk
> and nfs-utils", and include them, and put an admin screen on the
> front.
> For a print server, CUPS and Ghostscript and admin.
> The only one where the choices would be difficult would be for a mail
> server, but I do not this this is insuperable. Sendmail is too hard,
> Qmail is controversial due to its development methods, and so on.
> There is nothing to stop a range of packages being included in the
> repository, for experts to install whatever they wish, but that alone
> is not enough.
> Not everyone who wants a network server is an expert. If Ubuntu itself
> had just offered a set of refined Debian packages and a base install
> and left people to build their own desktop, it would not have got
> anywhere. Few would have bothered because very few have the skills.
> If we want Ubuntu Server to have the same kind of success as the
> desktop version has been, we need to make it a lot simpler for people.
> Here is a true story, by way of illustration.
> Recently, I have built myself an Ubuntu fileserver for my home
> network. It took me many weeks of effort, consulting more
> knowledgeable friends, fiddling with configurations, reinstalling and
> reinstalling again and reinstalling again. Debian 3.1 with the 2.4
> kernel couldn't see all my RAID drives; Debian 3.1 with 2.6 could, but
> kernel panicked when it loaded the network driver; ClarkConnect
> wouldn't even install; SME Server doesn't support RAID5 directly;
> finally, Ubuntu did it, but then I had to work out what packages to
> add for SMB, then how to mount my RAID, then what permissions to give
> the mount point and the RAID filesystem itself, and how to configure
> my user accounts so that they could write to the share.
> This took me more than a month of work in my spare time. I still don't
> have classic MacOS support or NFS support because I don't know how to
> do that. What I need most is Windows support - Mac OS X and Linux can
> connect using that, even if it isn't very efficient.
> And I have been using Linux for 9 years now and Unix for nearly 20
> years. I have put in dozens of Unix and Linux machines in live
> commercial environments. Linux has been my main desktop OS for more
> than 2 years now.
> These kind of things are /hard to do/ on a server if you do not
> already have the expert knowledge.
> At the moment, Ubuntu Server does not install a server. It installs a
> toolkit and leaves you with access to a kit of parts, and the admin
> must build the server themselves.
> As such, there is little reason for anyone to use it; if they have the
> knowledge to do that, why not use Debian itself? It at least will
> pre-install a set of components for a fileserver or a webserver or
> whatever for you! It just leaves you to /configure/ it - and my home
> Debian webserver still is not live after more than 6 months, because
> I've not yet worked out how to make it possible for me to upload
> content to it from another machine.
> > experts are still free to choose their prefered applications and
> > manage everything "by hand", but any user wanting to set up a simple
> > web/mail/whatever server could start by just installing a
> > meta-package.
> That is a start, but even if we do that, we are still not offering
> anything more than raw Debian offers.
> > also, i think software like webmin[1] is a very valuable tool to have.
> I agree with that. It is not perfect, but it is a lot more helpful for
> a novice administrator than a bash prompt. I run Webmin on all my
> servers. Because the default Debian installation leaves Webmin
> unusable, with no actual modules installed, I install Debian's webmin
> package to fulfil any dependencies, then I remove it again, install
> Links and go and fetch the  latest Webmin tarball from webmin.com and
> install that myself.
> But if people don't like Webmin, let's hear about alternatives! Or
> would it be preferable to design and build a web-based management
> system from scratch?
> I really think this is worth doing. As far as I know, nobody in the
> Linux world is doing anything quite like this as a free product, and
> so if it were done right, it could be hugely successful. It will be
> good for Ubuntu and good for Linux and open source software in
> general.
i second all of this.

for web ui, existing solutions:

other suggestions welcome

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Sebastien Estienne

Sebastien Estienne

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