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Old 06-30-2008, 12:37 PM
Soren Hansen
 
Default Ubuntu server GUI

On Sat, Jun 28, 2008 at 12:02:13PM -0500, Luke L wrote:
> You're one of "those"... Listen, Linux is powerful and can do anything
> you want it to do in terms of software (Except play Supreme Commander)
> from the command line. We are all aware. But GUIs really can and do
> help productivity with increasingly complicated tasks.

I think you're abusing the term "productivity" a bit here. In most
cases, GUI's make things simple. "Simple" in this context mostly means
"discoverable". Even if you have to click through half a dozen wizards
and dialogs and stuff, most people find this simpler (more discoverable)
than the CLI equivalent. However, clicking through a stack of dialogs,
ticking check boxes, etc. might be simple, but it's not easy[1].

Remember that the vast majority of the stuff you do on a computer,
you're going to do lots and lots of times, and it's only the first time
you're doing it without any prior knowledge. CLI's might be complex and
difficult to begin with, but grow simpler and easier the more you use
them. GUI's, on the other hand, don't become much easier than they are
to begin with, but at that point, discoverability is not key anymore.
You still have to go through the same dialogs, tick the same boxes and
all that. That's hardly productive.

The first time you find out that you want your computer to run a few
commands something every 10 minutes, you need to:

* Discover cron (to know the mechanism for doing things periodically)
* Learn the syntax of a crontab entry (to be able to add your own
stuff)
* Learn to use a text editor (to actually add your crontab entry)
* Learn to write a shell script (to actually get your commands
executed)
* Learn about the filesystem (so that you can put the shell script in
the right place (not necessarily master the FHS, but at least figure
out that /tmp is not the right place nor is ~/Desktop).
* Learn about file permissions (to set the execute bit on the shell
script)

This is daunting the first time. The second time, you might be able to
make do with your notes from the first time. The third time, you just do
it, because you understand the process.

I'm not implying that discoverability isn't important (it certainly is),
but it certainly doesn't imply productivity.

[1]: Think of it this way: Most people will find it *simple* to run 20
km (you just get up and start putting one foot in front of the other
until you're done) but few will find it *easy*.

--
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Virtualisation specialist | Ubuntu Server Team
Canonical Ltd. | http://www.ubuntu.com/
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:08 PM
"John Klockenkemper"
 
Default Ubuntu server GUI

From the viewpoint of an employee of a company that deals with a huge group of servers running many different applications, a gui application for administering individual servers would ruin productivity like Soren described. Scripting and using cron are bread and butter activites of any *nix sysadmin. While a gui would make it easier for new sysadmins, I think that it would do more harm than good when it comes to them understanding what is actually happening to their server. Most gui's of this type that I have dealt with were of lesser quality and did not give me the configuration options that the cli would allow.


We implement a two tier approach to administration at my workplace. We have an active web-based monitoring service called hyperic ,(www.hyperic.com), that allows for both active alerting and a degree of remote administration. The rest of the administration and application installation/configuration is done by company engineers. All of the work the engineers do is done on the cli.


The cli allows precise control. The cli allows for almost instant gratification. The cli forces you to learn more about the system you are working with because under the right permissions, your actions dictate the function and availiabity of the machine.


I think that a gui would be a great tool for new syadmins to use say for instance in a home or small buisness enviroment, but in a large server enviroment something much more powerful, straightforward, and efficient would have to be designed. It would have to allow for scripting, multiple logins, and many other features that are present in large-scale monitoring and administration applications.




On Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 7:37 AM, Soren Hansen <soren@ubuntu.com> wrote:

On Sat, Jun 28, 2008 at 12:02:13PM -0500, Luke L wrote:

> You're one of "those"... Listen, Linux is powerful and can do anything

> you want it to do in terms of software (Except play Supreme Commander)

> from the command line. We are all aware. But GUIs really can and do

> help productivity with increasingly complicated tasks.



I think you're abusing the term "productivity" a bit here. In most

cases, GUI's make things simple. "Simple" in this context mostly means

"discoverable". Even if you have to click through half a dozen wizards

and dialogs and stuff, most people find this simpler (more discoverable)

than the CLI equivalent. *However, clicking through a stack of dialogs,

ticking check boxes, etc. might be simple, but it's not easy[1].



Remember that the vast majority of the stuff you do on a computer,

you're going to do lots and lots of times, and it's only the first time

you're doing it without any prior knowledge. CLI's might be complex and

difficult to begin with, but grow simpler and easier the more you use

them. GUI's, on the other hand, don't become much easier than they are

to begin with, but at that point, discoverability is not key anymore.

You still have to go through the same dialogs, tick the same boxes and

all that. That's hardly productive.



The first time you find out that you want your computer to run a few

commands something every 10 minutes, you need to:



** Discover cron (to know the mechanism for doing things periodically)

** Learn the syntax of a crontab entry (to be able to add your own

* stuff)

** Learn to use a text editor (to actually add your crontab entry)

** Learn to write a shell script (to actually get your commands

* executed)

** Learn about the filesystem (so that you can put the shell script in

* the right place (not necessarily master the FHS, but at least figure

* out that /tmp is not the right place nor is ~/Desktop).

** Learn about file permissions (to set the execute bit on the shell

* script)



This is daunting the first time. The second time, you might be able to

make do with your notes from the first time. The third time, you just do

it, because you understand the process.



I'm not implying that discoverability isn't important (it certainly is),

but it certainly doesn't imply productivity.



[1]: Think of it this way: Most people will find it *simple* to run 20

km (you just get up and start putting one foot in front of the other

until you're done) but few will find it *easy*.



--

Soren Hansen * * * * * * * |

Virtualisation specialist *| Ubuntu Server Team

Canonical Ltd. * * * * * * | http://www.ubuntu.com/


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Old 06-30-2008, 05:43 PM
Serge van Ginderachter
 
Default Ubuntu server GUI

Since when did this discussion went off to "GUI's"

I thought it all started with some console for automating basic stuff.
Think Landscape style, but with more features.

Wat I'd like:
- something Nagios style
- with added features to configure basic OS stuff (cron, users & group management, better ldap integration, software deployment (apt style), security updates, ....




Serge

Serge van Ginderachter http://www.vanginderachter.be/

Kreeg u een "odt" bestand en kan u deze niet openen? Zie http://ginsys.be/odf


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Old 06-30-2008, 06:31 PM
Oliver Brakmann
 
Default Ubuntu server GUI

On Fri, 2008-06-27 15:08, JAWUD wrote...
> There are several options for a GUI.
> [...]
> The last option is to make a remote GUI system.

I like that.

> All the interfaces are just different front ends. So I think ubuntu needs a
> configuration abstraction layer. Something like Augeas. Augeas can become the
> back end and then it's easier to build different GUIs. Augeas intend to cover
> all commonly used configuration files and it is still possible to edit the
> config files manual.

I'm a bit concerned that there is only talk about editing configuration
files in all these discussions. There's more to system administration
than that.

I'm also surprised that noone has mentioned 'func' yet, even though it
was prominently featured on LWN's front page an issue or two ago:
<http://lwn.net/Articles/286496/>. I believe it could be a good
supplement to augeas.

Oliver


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Old 07-01-2008, 04:54 AM
"Greg Wallace"
 
Default Ubuntu server GUI

On Sun, Jun 29, 2008 at 5:05 PM, Neal McBurnett <neal@bcn.boulder.co.us> wrote:

Thanks, Greg - sounds like good news. *I remember your presentation at

the Boston UDS.



On Sun, Jun 29, 2008 at 04:53:36PM -0400, Greg Wallace wrote:

> Yes - The source for 3.2 is also available on SourceForge.



I didn't see any downloads for 3.2 on sourceforge other than the .deb.

A .tgz of just the source would seem helpful, as Scott points out.



A quick grep of the files extracted from the .deb shows about 300

files with the NetDirector Public License, and perhaps 470 with the

GNU General Public License v2. *Do you plan to relicense the .jsp

files etc to GPL also?
Yes we do - I'm guessing this was an oversight - Aidan can you confirm?
*





Cheers,



Neal McBurnett * * * * * * * * http://mcburnett.org/neal/



--
Greg

Greg Wallace
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Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/gtewallace
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:07 PM
"Greg Wallace"
 
Default Ubuntu server GUI

On Sun, Jun 29, 2008 at 5:20 PM, Scott Kitterman <ubuntu@kitterman.com> wrote:

On Sun, 29 Jun 2008 16:53:36 -0400 "Greg Wallace" <gtewallace@gmail.com>

wrote:

Top posting fixed. *Please don't.

>

>On Sun, Jun 29, 2008 at 4:10 PM, Scott Kitterman <ubuntu@kitterman.com>

>wrote:

>

>> On Sun, 29 Jun 2008 15:52:09 -0400 "Greg Wallace" <gtewallace@gmail.com>

>> wrote:

>> >Hi all,

>> >

>> >I want to add one more option to the list - www.netdirector.org

>> >

>> >release 3.2 which went on SourceForge last week moves the project to

GPL,

>> >fixes some bugs, adds some features and, importantly for folks here,

>> offers

>> >a deb package for easily installing NetDirector's server manager.

Here's

>> >the release notes for

>> >3.2<http://sourceforge.net/project/shownotes.php?release_id=609239>

>> In my experience upstream Debian packaging ranges from poor to very poor.

>> Do they provide a source package that we can review?

>>

>> How do they manage other package's config files?

>> Scott K

>>

>Yes - The source for 3.2 is also available on SourceForge.

>

>NetDirector manages the following services or packages across the major

>linux distros as well as

>solaris<http://www.netdirector.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemi d=49>


>:

>

> * - http

> * - DNS

> * - DHCP

> * - vs-ftp

> * - NFS

> * - Samba

> * - Sendmail

> * - Postfix

>

>In addition to these services which you can manage with the base NetDirector

>install, there are also the following plugins that can be installed into a

>live NetDirector deployment. *All future service modules will be added as

>plugins.

>

> * - Kerberos

> * - LDAP

> * - RHN Satellite (rls 4)

> * - SSH Plugin - allows secure ssh that uses NetDirector's role-based

> * permissions so admins can manually configure anything running on a

> * NetDirector managed server

>

>I hope that answers the question.

>



No. *Neither of them actually.



By source package I mean the debian directory that has the information that

was used to build the .debs they provide.
From Aidan:

I uploaded a new build, 3.2.1 with .tar.gz file as requested, with Java source code
separated into a src/ directory and packaging control metadata in a
DEBIAN/ directory, as per dpkg requirements.

3.2.1 also removes all traces of NPL, thanks Neal for spotting bringing this to our attention!





As an example of the config file question, if I want to add a Postfix

service in /etc/postfix/master.cf to feed mail back into Postfix from

amavisd-new after content filtering, can it support that, how does it

manage to modify the Postfix owned config file, will it break if I've

already made other changes to the file?



Scott K
the short and not very technical answer to this question is that, using the ND GUI to configure a tricked-out config file could stomp on changes made outside the "standard parameters" that ND understands.* ND will handle some level of customization, like finding and incorporating Apache includes, but certainly not all possible tweaks.


This is why the roadmap consists of the following 2 really key features:* allow experienced *nix admins to run their own scripts through ND (a la func) and also allow ND to suck foo config file (in all its tricked-out glory) into ND for manual editing - why would you want this second one versus ssh?* primarily for role-based access control, automated revision control, change auditing, etc - basically for "enterprise" benefits - I freely admit this doesn't add much admin-level benefits.


thanks!
--
Greg

Greg Wallace
SkypeID: gregwallaceemu

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Old 07-01-2008, 12:37 PM
"Jonathan Jesse"
 
Default Ubuntu server GUI

On Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 2:31 PM, Oliver Brakmann <obrakmann@gmx.net> wrote:

On Fri, 2008-06-27 15:08, JAWUD wrote...

> There are several options for a GUI.
> [...]

> The last option is to make a remote GUI system.

I like that.


> All the interfaces are just different front ends. So I think ubuntu needs a
> configuration abstraction layer. Something like Augeas. Augeas can become the
> back end and then it's easier to build different GUIs. Augeas intend to cover

> all commonly used configuration files and it is still possible to edit the
> config files manual.

I'm a bit concerned that there is only talk about editing configuration
files in all these discussions. *There's more to system administration

than that.

I'm also surprised that noone has mentioned 'func' yet, even though it
was prominently featured on LWN's front page an issue or two ago:
<http://lwn.net/Articles/286496/>. I believe it could be a good

supplement to augeas.

Oliver





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I agree, server administration is not just getting a configuration file in place.* System administration is also about deploying software and updates in a repeatable fashion over and over again.* Alos it is about determinng the current status of my hardware and more importantly being able to report on it.

*
Not being a full time server administration, but someone who works in the system management space doing the above is a large hole that Ubuntu has, not only on the server side, but also on the client side.* How can I prove all of my servers have the latest software patch deployed on all 250 of my servers.* Or when budget time, how many of these machines do I need to upgrade any machines hardware to meet hte coming projects?

*
A combination of editing configuration files, deploying software and updates and reporting that what I wanted to do in a very repeatable maner is done.
*
Jonathan
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