On Wed, Nov 21, 2007 at 03:00:42PM -0600, Loye Young wrote:
>> The problem might be that using the Ubuntu Server edition is too
>> difficult for these users. Does that sound about right? If so, please
>> let's work on solving that, rather than worrying about whether our
>> desktop edition does something you disagree with.
> For those "in the know," the server edition is fine as it is. However,
> many (perhaps most?) users will need or want a gui desktop to
> administer the server.
I disagree. On several levels, actually, but let's keep things simple:
Assuming users will need a graphical interface for administering their
servers does not imply the need for a desktop environment on the server.
The (perceived, IMO) ease of use of a graphical representation of things
does not stem from all the bells and whistles of the surrounding
desktop, but rather from the management interface itself. As such, a
rich web interface should (and IMO does) provide the same fuzzy feeling
to users as a separate application. On top of this, a web interface has
the added advantage that we needn't control the desktop (i.e. the
desktop does not need to run Ubuntu) to provide a usable server
management system. Sure, having the desktop run Ubuntu would be
benificial as well, but requiring this will cost us potential users, and
there's no particular reason why we can't provide a more seamless
experience if the user runs Ubuntu on the desktop, too. For instance, I
have a cunning plan about defining a configuration file format for
OpenVPN which will make it trivially easy to setup Ubuntu (and other
OS's when they catch up) as OpenVPN clients. The world is at our feet,
we just need to identify the actual problems and fix them.
> Avahi in particular is fundamentally inconsistent with a server
> install, for the reasons I've been harping on for two days. (If you
> are beginning to think I'm obsessive, tedious, or anything like that,
> you aren't alone. My own wife agrees.)
Forgive me if I just let the avahi issue rest in this part of the
thread. Personally, I'm not running avahi on my servers, but if I were,
I wouldn't be losing much sleep over it.
> > Again: Wrong question. Wrong problem. Actual problem: Getting from a
> > plain server install to one with eBox ready to go is too difficult.
> > See?
> No, installing eBox isn't the "actual problem." The actual installing
> of eBox and apache isn't difficult, thanks to our beloved APT system
> and related tools. The actual problem is that the users still need a
> comfortable interface to administer the server, including the http
> server, whether or not the http server is running or even installed.
Help me out here... With "eBox ready to go" (my words) what is it
exactly you feel you (and by "you" I mean these imaginary people we're
both making assumptions about
) need that is not there? eBox *is* the
comfortable interface to administer the server. Granted, it does not
currently have an interface for fiddling with apache configuration, I
don't consider that a problem in itself. (Compare "An interface to
configure apache" to "An interface to configure sharing of files" and
"An interface to configure a website")
> Besides, even if everyone in this conversation agreed that eBox is the
> "best" administrative solution, users still want a desktop
> environment, because that's what they know how to use.
And that's fine. The point is: It should not be a requirement to use
Ubuntu as a server.
> > Right tool for the right job.
> Can't disagree with you in principle, and you have put your finger on
> the central question: What's the right tool?
We won't know until we've defined the problem.
> The vast majority of server administrators in small businesses would
> answer that a desktop gui is what a modern OS should provide.
Because that's all they've ever known. They're not the innovators, so I
don't expect them to come up with the idea that maybe, just maybe, it's
not a hard requirement to have my adminsitration tools use the same GUI
widgets as my text editor. People *do* manage to set up routers and
stuff even though that's over a web interface (and a shoddy one in most
> It's what they're accustomed to now,
If they can't handle the tiny switch from using an application to using
a rich web interface, they wouldn't be able to handle a switch from
Windows to Ubuntu anyway, IMO.
> it's what they are willing to pay for,
> I've tested many of the available open-source desktop GUI server
> administration tools. While they could use some polish, they are
> extremely helpful and have the added advantage of being already built.
eBox is built, too.
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