Server issues

Loye Young loye.young at
Wed Nov 21 16:41:42 UTC 2007

> On Nov 21, 2007 6:39 AM, Soren Hansen <soren at> wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 20, 2007 at 08:52:33AM -0600, Loye Young wrote:
> > I absolutely hate avahi.

>Then why did you install it in the first place?

I didn't! That's the whole problem! Avahi gets dragged in as a dependency to
all the *buntu desktop GUIs, the CUPS server, and various client
applications as well.

The only method I see to avoid having avahi on a system is to use only a
command line interface and not use the CUPS server, or else spend a few days
trying to figure out how to roll-your-own desktop. That's a difficult pill
to swallow for customers who are making the switch from MS Server and other
GUI-based server products.

You have to understand the market for the Ubuntu Server Edition. Enterprise
customers are largely using RedHat, SUSE, or other products built
specifically for the enterprise. Those customers have system administrators
and network administrators dedicated to taking care of the server. They are
comfortable with the command line, or else are paid to get comfortable with

Ubuntu Server Edition, by contrast, appeals to the small and medium sized
company, which typically has a very small IT department, if it have one at
all. The poor soul managing the IT "department" of a small business has to
administer client systems, the network, and the servers, plus provide tech
support for user applications. Basically, everything connected to a keyboard
or a monitor. That IT manager wants a GUI because he or she can't remember
every geek-speak command necessary to run everything.

When the GUI desktop gets installed, the desktop dependencies drag in avahi
and network-manager, which both hijack the network configuration in thinly
documented ways. Although I'm not in love with network-manager either, at
least it does provide an intuitive and explicit method to opt out of it.
Avahi, on the other hand, lurks behind the scenes looking for and responding
to other machines. It doesn't tell you what it's up to, what it's found, or
what has found it. If several *buntu systems are around, they all start
setting up connections to each other without telling you. To add insult to
injury, getting avahi off the system (or even disabling it), requires an a
priori understanding of zeroconf and a knowledge of exactly where and how it
has embedded itself in the network subsystem.

If we ever get around to creating a server GUI, as I have proposed from
time-to-time, perhaps the issue can quietly die because such a GUI could
simply run the administrative applications, but without avahi. (See, e.g.,
the gadmintools, gbindadmin, gdhcpd, gproftpd, gsambad, gkdebconf, gps,
tinyca, fwbuilder, bluefish, system-config-cluster, and mysql-admin

Loye Young
Isaac & Young Computer Company
Laredo, Texas
(956) 857-1172
loye.young at
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