Roadmap for UbuntuServer

Liam Proven lproven at
Wed Feb 22 03:01:51 UTC 2006

On 2/21/06, Sebastien Estienne <sebastien.estienne at> wrote:

> exactly, i just wanted to say that there should be 2 kinds of ubuntu server:
> - One for real sysadmins who want to choose exactly what software they
> want to use. And know how to properly setup for example postfix with
> courier imap and all users stored in ldap.

That, it seems to me, is what we have now, and would be covered just
fine by having an option to, for example, just type "base" at the
install CD boot prompt, which would install just the Ubuntu base
system and then leave you to yourself. Just like the "server" install
does now.

> - And the ubuntu server for people who just want the job done, they
> don't mind that you provide postfix or exim4, they just want a mail
> server that works and is easy to administer and setup. These people
> are the one who buy appliances.


> The former (for real admin) is as far as i understand what we'll have
> for dapper: ubuntu-server

Yes. It's far too late to start making major changes in Dapper now,
but this could be something for the next release.

> But the later is something different in concept, it would be based on
> ubuntu-server, but would provide the a nice default choice of
> packages: one mail server, one web server, one ldap server... And all
> of this configured to nicely work together.
> The use case is most small and medium business that can't afford a
> real admin, but needs a server that is properly integrated with the
> desktop.

That is it exactly, yes.

There are some existing offerings already.

SME Server does this, but it's a slightly strange system, very deeply
integrated. You can't disable any of its functionality readily, and
adding more or customising it is very complicated.

Also, it's based on Red Hat 7.2, from many years ago. There have been
no security updates, patches or fixes since v6.0.1 at the start of
2004 and the only way to update it was to reinstall over the top. No
update tool, no apt-get for installing patches.

The members of the site,, are trying to update it. A
hand-updated version 6.5 never made it out of beta. A CentOS-based
v7.0 is in testing now and will fix a lot of the issues of datedness,
and enable loading updates with RH's "yum" tool, but it won't make it
any more modular or easier to customise.

ClarkConnect, I am told, isn't bad, but the free version is limited:
it's just a taster for the commercial product.

There used to be a thing called Trustix Office Server - I have a demo
version here - but I believe it's been discontinued.

I have talked to SuSE about their SLES and OES products...

... but they seem to be just a subset of SuSE Linux with extra support
and a little additional functionality, like LDAP. It's still
completely D-I-Y. ("Do it yourself.")

I have not seen Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Mandrake Corporate Server,
but I believe they are much the same.

E.g. look at this Mandrake CS3 review:

As far as I know, nobody is doing a modular dedicated server distro.

There are some instant-fileserver solutions out there:

FreeNAS: (Basic; ideosyncratic FreeBSD-based
thing with XML config files, based on m0n0wall)

NASlite: (only very basic single-floppy
version is free; others are commercial)

There are some excellent free firewall distros - my personal favourite
is Smoothwall, which I used to use a lot and have deployed many of,
but which has now been superseded by cheap hardware firewalls, which
use so much less electricity that they pay for themselves inside a
year. Smoothwall is excellent, though, and could act as a role model
of how to make a simple server-centric distro.

I don't know of anybody who is doing a simple dedicated LAMP server.
As this is one of the single most popular uses for Linux, this strikes
me as a priority! A good effort at this would, I suspect, be an
instant hit.

> This version of ubuntu-server could be tightly integrated with the
> ubuntu-desktop using zeroconf/avahi:
> - evolution would autodiscover smtp/imap
> - epiphany/firefox would autodiscover proxy, webadmin
> - apt would autodiscover apt-proxy
> - the same for fileserver (webdav/nfs/cifs)
> So you would setup the server, and all the desktop would be
> autoconfigured. Everywhere you normally type an IP/PORT on the
> workstation would be properly setup automatically

That is an inspired idea, but it's not an easy thing to do! Perhaps
that would be something to save for v2.0? :¬)

Liam Proven ·
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