If you think that's bad...
...try administering Linux servers for five years & then trying to set up IIS. Now that's painful.
Asking a Windows administrator to give Linux a chance as a server operating system is doubly difficult. To a Windows admin, the Linux world is a hostile place, a collection of dozens of different operating systems sharing the same basic kernel. So then a junior sysadmin will often turn to the internet for help. Posting on …
You can wipe that smug grin off your face, because Linux market share has the same percentages as the survey rounding errors.
I don't care about how hard it is to learn a new OS. I just don't want to have to deal with people like you.
And there is no apostrophe in Windows.
I just dislike the attitude of the Linux zealots who see any mention of their beloved OS as an excuse to start banging on about how much better it is than Windows.
The psychological price they force people to pay is just one reason amongst many that people stick with Windows, however good, bad, ugly or indifferent it is.
If they put their time to better use, such as making Linux friendly and easy for new users, they might actually gain a measurable increase in their userbase. But as long as they continue to act as they do, Windows will dominate. Not because of marketing, not because of legacy systems issues, not because people are too stupid to try anything else, not because of familiarity. Because of these zealots.
"Not because of marketing, not because of legacy systems issues, not because people are too stupid to try anything else, not because of familiarity. Because of these zealots."
None of these are mutually-exclusive.
Windows gets a really bad rap as a network OS, when in fact later incarnations of the Windows OS itself aren't really all that bad. It's just that many Windows sysadmins are disgracefully under-qualified as *sysadmins*; no amount of learning to clickety-click does a sysadmin make - learning systems administration does. That's a long, hard road and there's nothing that gets in the way of that like a shiny GUI.
houses get a really bad rap as a dwelling, when in fact later incarnations of the house itself aren't really all that bad. It's just that many House dwellers are disgracefully under-qualified as *men*; no amount of learning to sleep warmly at night does a man make - living in caves do. That's a long, hard road and there's nothing that gets in the way of that like a comfortable, safe, house.
Now there i have to say i agree with you.
Zelots of all kinds tend to be obnoxious and pointless, whether they are for Linux, Mac or Windows.
Lots of people forget that the idea of an operating system is to provide a common interface between programs and the hardware. I really dont give a damn what way round i have to put my folder slashes, or wether drive letters or mount points are better.
For me, Linux on the server and a combinatation of Ubuntu and Windows XP on the desktop. Nuff said.
Since the first place most admins learn their job is on the desktop (remember the days of the helldesk?) most will be entering the world of Windows and MS apps. So they proceed on to third-line and Admin as Windows people. And until there is a user-friendly linux desktop for the business, Linux is going to continue to creep in via the backdoor.
Linux is usually installed because there is one specific application the business is looking to use. And so they end up with say, RHEL. Then a second app is bought, because we already have some linux. Only this will only run on Suse. The difference between the command lines can mean someone unfamiliar with Linux can make mistakes.
The way I can see for Linux to progress is for it to have a single GUI that works for all distro's. A desktop user doesn't care if they have Suse or Ubuntu. They want to just do their job. The admin doesn't want to have to know thirteen different commands to delete a folder. They just want to do their job.
"Oh but the command line is so powerful." But power that sits unused is wasted.
Mate, sorry to nit pick, but most UN*X variants & clones tend to use the same commands.
In my experience the only one of the bunch that’s "different" is AIX, even then it's not too hard to find your way around. I've worked on various flavors of linux, Irix, Solaris, Tru64 even a few from the dark ages running on REALLY old HP's & DEC's, the situation is not nearly as bad as you make out :)
As for desktop environments there are quite a few but you will find KDE & Gnome on most if not all Even Solaris these days.
You're quite right that end users don't really give a damn about which distro they use, but these days the differences between them will probably go noticed by the vast majority of the unwashed masses.
Don't judge Linux SA's by the few teenage fanbois you meet online. Remember Fanbois of any stripe tend to be a little shall we say "Enthusiastic"
Linux market share poor you say ? Does that include all the BT Home Hubs out there, nas devices, smart phones (got an Android?)
...mainframes, cisco switches ... most of the world's web servers.
... radios, TVs, TIVO, set top boxes, toys, DVRs, media servers...
Surely we don't want Linux to actually be used? Then the Linux admins won't be able to feel superior and might realise that their job is no different, they just opted for the less used OS.
Totally agree with you about webmin or such tools. MS did well to take the same GUI from their desktop product and apply it to the server OS, that way ensuring that newbie Windows folks aren't intimidated by a command line.
Sometimes, for example in a small business, you have no choice but to multi-task and be a sysadmin even if you don't want to do that as a day job. For example, you may be a great software engineer so people just dump all of the sysadmin jobs on you because "you're good with computers" and there's no cash for getting someone else in.
I've been around all the same loops with understanding, installing and configuring OSS - poor quality or obsolete documentation, incompatible updates, every feature you never wanted, useless forums all with the same questions and no answers, infinite references to Yet More Stuff You Need To Know First, etc. Still I plough on... I'm actually in the pro-Linux and OSS camp but I have first-hand experience of how bloody annoying and hard work it can be.
And sure, we all love to use the CLI as much as we can, and learn as we're going, but Webmin is a great help and a useful weapon in the arsenal - especially when you haven't got time to spend two weeks reading up on iptables just to open a port on the firewall...
note that, especially with the enhanced ability to do thing from the command-line (remember there's a version of server 08 that doesn't have a GUI), microsoft are increasingly giving instructions out in the form of "run these commands"... not because it's more intuitive, but because IT'S EASIER TO COMMUNICATE OVER THE INTERNET. All the other person has to do is copy and paste the commands.
In a similar vein, if I were on a linux server and needed to install apache*, I might fire up my GUI package manager, search for it, and click "install". but were someone to ask me how to install apache, i'd say "apt-get install apache" - not because this is the most intuitive way to install server software on linux, but because it's the easiest instructions for the other person to follow. the downside is that the other person hasn't learned anything about installing software in general.
*bad example since in that case I _DO_ know the exact package name and would probably just do it from command-line, but this isn't always the case
...Is not a helpful or friendly response to those taking their first steps towards trying a Linux OS.
I don't care if Linux sneezes double rainbows and craps gold, as long as this attitude prevails amongst it's users, I won't be among them.
Bill, because a GUI's learning curve is less steep, making it easier to just get on with my job instead of memorising "rm /usr/src/linux ; ln -s /usr/src/linux-*.*.* ; cd /usr/src/linux". I have actual work to do, thanks.
You must know intuitively where each setting in windows is then, cos the GUI is only helpful to a point, and that point is usually quite basic. I would say that administering Exchange and IIS via a gui is no more or less complicated than configuring exim or apache via configuration files. You still have to know what you are doing, and you don't get that without reading and experimenting. I also find hostile admins on all sides, certainly not just *nix. HornyBill - to bring balance to the thread
but the "know where each setting is" is not quite right. For example, in IE if I want to increase the text size in a page, but not the pictures, how can I do it? Is it even possible?
A quick poke around in the menu bar, under View, says yes it is. And I don't risk changing anything else unless I am a bit heavy-handed with the mouse. A simplified example, but true. You can do the same in Exchange (although some stuff is in the Powershell), OCS, SCOM.
And whilst there are some GUIs for linux, that is the minority. Most of the work is done in the command line (don't think I am solely GUI. I am having great fun with Powershell) whilst in MS products the reverse is true: the command line and Powershell are for rare tasks that need them.
Command line linux is a place where mistakes can cause great damage. I wouldn't want to experiment in there without a hazmat suit and a box of rabbits feet.
Speaking at a linux administrator myself, this is not helpful or even correct.
Fortunately, people who live outside the basement have been working on making these things work. The latest versions of Ubuntu, Redhat and Suse are in many ways a lot easier to administer than Windows Server. Even Solaris has been getting a lot easier to set up.
I cant remember the last time i read a man page.
...is that there are dozens of different configuration tools all clamouring to be heard. Here we are, adding another to the mix. This is all fair and well if it gains widespread adoption, but what I suspect will happen is that you'll have a bunch of admins who know how to use this particular configuration tool, but when they go to a new job, where it's not in use, they'll just have to start all over again with something else...
Disclaimer: Of course I'd love to be proven wrong!
Yup, there are lots of people writing variants of the same thing. Everyone can write tools to do a job, but eventually the ones that are the most useful/popular/some other metric continue to grow whilst others fall behind. This applies to the distributions and the applications. I don't think choice is a bad thing.
Webmin's been around for over 13 years, and is far and away the best GUI config tool for Linux servers. Possibly the only one worthy of the name. It's not hard to use - at all - if you can use a web browser and you have some clue of how what you're administering works (eg: it's no use trying to configure a mail server if you don't know a bit about what variables you need to plug in!), it's a breeze. As of 2007 (most recent stats I could easily find,) Webmin has racked up 8 million downloads with an extra 2 million added every year. It has modules for just about everything you might want to do with a server, including EC2 hosting, virtual machine management and more.
I've been administering linux systems for only slightly longer than Webmin's been around, and I don't know of another tool that even comes close. Why would anyone bother, when Webmin's so good and you can just make a module for it if it doesn't admin the thing you need it to? Of course, I'd love to be proven wrong too. :)
But personally I never found that the Linux community was hostile to newcomers, back when I was a wet-behind-the-ears wannabe BOFH. Provided I was doing a bit more than asking a forum to parse a man page for me, people were nothing but helpful. Posts like "How does I X?" don't get quite the response that "I've googled and RTFM'd and tried A, B and C; but X is still doing Y, how can I make it Z?" do - but then I'd expect the same thing on any forum for any subject. Search, RTFM, then ask is pretty normal protocol, especially on busy fora.
In return for the help I got, I try to be as helpful as I can when noobs ask me "stupid" questions.
Coming from the OpenBSD community I have to agree with johnnytruant. Linux folks are downright friendly. There's unspoken rules in every community of endeavor, systems administration is no different. With Linux, you get expert help--after you've demonstrated effort on your part, and there's the rub. Nobody wants to help someone who could care less.
So long as you're not asking dumb questions and you've already done all the research you can reasonably be expected to do without asking the question, people are often very willing to help.
Very often, though, it's not even necessary to ask the question, because someone's already asked it before, and the result of that will come up when you google. I find that's the great thing about popular open source software - there's just so much information and support out there for you on the Web.
Webmin sounds attractive, even to me as an experienced unix admin. On the subject of "The Linux community is hostile to newcomers", it would be more accurately stated as "a lot of jerks have internet access", the jerks being those "experienced" admins who dump on the newbies. Today I read an HP-UX forum where a newby asked for help. Responder 3 provided a link that looked helpful but just lead to a weighty manual download. I am sure the Windows world has jerks too, probably loads more of them.
Most unhelpful jerks have between 4 and 8 years experience in the subject.
I used webmin a few years back for admin'ing a redhat and an ubuntu server boxes making everything a lot easier for a windows simpleton like me.
Unfortuntatly no one else in the company could understand it, IT deemed it therefore unsupportable (can't rely on one bloke) and we went windows. :(
But as the author says, its not a friendly environment for newcomers.
As soon as they see an article on here about a windows problem, they sit flaming it, saying people should migrate to their bombproof world. Then they go off too support forums and give newbies (new to Linux at least) hell for asking questions that are now simple to them.
If we did get everyone over to Linux, your support forums would be filled with all the people who can't work a computer in the first place asking for help to play their video of kittens and having a blue fit when they don't get a full keypress-by-keypress how to guide within 5 minutes.
Maybe thats why they are unhelpful, they want to keep the lusers out.
...if you don't know how to configure it from learning or experience. Most people can turn a desktop PC on with Windows/X/Gnome/OSx/CDE and reasonably navigate to USE it, but how many OSs actually make administration of complex tasks easy. you HAVE to learn regardless, it's just different. I may joke about windows pointy clicky being for those simple windows admins, but the reality is if I were to go into exchange or IIS in the same degree that I understand exim and apache I would have a learning curve.
but Linux fragmentation certainly does not help. I administer a few OpenSuSE systems, and now have admin rights on my ubuntu desktop machine at work. Having used RPM-based machines for
so long, I do have to get used to Ubuntu (and that is just on a single machine). Webmin sounds interesting in many situations where you have a mix of machines.
>The Linux community is hostile to newcomers.
Veterans frequently respond to questions by pointing rookies at a dense and difficult to understand man page or responding to any requests with a snarky “let me Google that for you.” <
And this so doesn't happen on Windows forums (fora?)...
If you're used to Windows admin then of course you need a GUI rather than a (shudder) command line or maybe you know something about the technology and use commands at the "DOS" prompt like IPCONFIG and NSLOOKUP?
In Linux you always have a multiplicity of choices (e.g. WEBMIN) choose the one that suits your style/needs but that doesn't remove understanding what you are messing with (Think chimp playing with hand grenade. Predicted result is a rain of monkey bits, the variable is time taken for the result).
Linux servers are a doddle to administer. To anyone who doesn't think a command line is totally opaque, its a walk in the park, efficient and usually trouble free. There's also quite effective GUI and web interfaces that do this without resorting to the command line at all and have been for years. Its just down to personal preference
Setting up web servers that are ready to go inside twenty minutes is easy with any bog-standard LAMP stack. This can be expanded with mirroring and clustering as needs dictate and its no harder (probably easier) than its is with Windows.
Windows *does* certainly have some very pretty and well-designed tools for administrators -- its just a pity the whole OS is such a pile of shit.
The biggest problem I've had with Linux in the last few years is that more and more of them install with everything and the kitchen sink, unless you specifically go through package by package to tune the system. That's certainly true a dozen times over for Windows, but it seems to be getting much worse for the major distro that we have to use (SLES) as well as Fedora. And with a department more concerned about simple than robust, server installs are mandated to come direct from the DVD, with a couple of key components enabled, rather than templates or custom installs. So almost every server has everything from torrent clients to games to sql servers, necessary or not. Ugh.
You're right that distros are tending towards bloat - that, I'm afraid, is a the result of all the "Linux is too hard" moaning. It's unfortunate, but it's the way things seem to be heading.
> server installs are mandated to come direct from the DVD, with a couple of key components
> enabled, rather than templates or custom installs. So almost every server has everything from
> torrent clients to games to sql servers, necessary or not
With Fedora (and other RH-type distributions), that's pretty easy to fix - set up the installation as you want it (with system-config-kickstart) and build your own installation media with livecd-creator. You can make bootable USB versions as well, if you want.
I haven't tried that approach with Suse. I suspect it would work without too much effort if Suse doesn't have a similar tool
I think the last numbers I saw (2008/2009) were Windows 33.6%, Unix 33.3%, Linux 17% and 16.1% "other". I'll try and find a link , but I don't want to start "my graph beats your graph".
My numbers were close. I'll leave the
The growth in linux is down to things like blades, virtualisation kit, etc.
But servers do not sit in isolation. Users access them through the desktop environment, and as long as there exists the combination of multiple "incompatible" distros, lack of a unified GUI for regular business users, and the holier-than-thou attitude amongst Linux afficionados, Windows is going to still be dominant.
(Note: Yes, I'm an MS user. But I think Vista sucked, and I find IIS unwieldy. Nothing MS makes is perfect. But most is good enough to get the job done, and there are some hidden gems. That's all I expect Linux to be as well. If only the zealots would calm down and admit it, we could all move on.)
Kind of, but the same skills are also needed to look after a Linux desktop. Linux users love to advocate how easy it is to install software with package managers, etc. but not everybody is on board. I wonder why, here's the installation guide for Spotify on Linux:
# 1. Add this line to your list of repositories by
# editing your /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://repository.spotify.com stable non-free
# 2. Run apt-get update
# 3. (optional) If you want to verify the downloaded packages,
# you will need to add our public key
gpg --keyserver wwwkeys.de.pgp.net --recv-keys 4E9CFF4E
gpg --export 4E9CFF4E |sudo apt-key add -
# 4. Run apt-get install spotify-client-qt spotify-client-gnome-support
You understand why grandma won't be using it anytime soon? Easy for you and me but try talking your parents through it. The installation guide doesn't mention how to edit your source list, or mention that sudo will be required to do so. Try going to the forums to ask about it and watch how badly you get flamed for being a n00b. I've been trying out Linux distros for a decade, but only now with the latest Ubuntu or Fedora is it useful and easy enough to have as a full time OS on any of my machines. And there STILL is no GUI to edit xorg.conf when it inevitably needs custom resolutions adding.
That's a typical example of software install isn't it? no. Perhaps you should also show an example of a standard app install, or an equivalent "Application that doesn't have a real windows version" on doze. I put my Aunt on ubuntu a couple of years ago, having never had her own computer before, and only using word on windows on work PC's, and she's got along just fine. She even managed a distribution upgrade when prompted by the system, without me even mentioning it (I'm so proud :)). Can't see her having the same ease with a service pack can you?
Being a Linux sysadmin for the last 10 years or so of my career in IT (and Windows before that) I can say that there are a large number of businesses out there who use Linux over Windows in their production environments for some pretty simple reasons:
It's stable. It's actively developed by lots of people who are not necessarily interested in the bottom line, but in making a product that does what they want. Some companies sponsor OSS development as well of course.
Oh, and it's free. As in speech, beer, whatever.
Granted there are many distributions to choose from, but why on earth if you go to a restaurant to eat some good food should you be presented with a menu with only one meal on it? The choice is all about how well you understand your requirements. Oh and if you get a side order of fries.
I have been using webmin since around 2001 on various systems- from SGI IRIX to the latest Ubuntu, and I must say that it took a lot of the pain out of administering an OS. It gives you an enormous amount of power (also read: ability to doorstop a box if you are not careful). You can build a fully working Linux server with a webmin interface within 15 minutes. Less if you have a big fat internet connection and the right setup. In the previous job I used to look after 200+ servers, a mix of RHEL, Ubuntu and Solaris. All with webmin set up in a cluster. Very handy when it comes to deployments, patching etc.
In certain environments, the ability to commission new servers quickly and efficiently can make all the difference to a business deal coming together or the company falling flat on it's arse.
Now do that with Windows, fanbois.
"why on earth if you go to a restaurant to eat some good food should you be presented with a menu with only one meal on it? The choice is all about how well you understand your requirements"
No one's denying that having more than one solution is a good thing - using your restaurant analogy, the problem is more that if you're a full-time chef or you regularly eat out and the names of the dishes are written in a language that you don't understand, that's ok because you probably know what everything on the menu is anyway. Chances are that if there isn't a translation it's because it's a more authentic restaurant anyway and so the food will probably be better.
If you are eating out for the first time and know full well that the waiter is going to take the piss because you didn't learn the language before you showed up a lot of people will just go somewhere else.
That is why there's such a huge gap in user takeup between Linux on the server and desktop - on the whole, linux servers are generally only administered by people who use it every day. For the vast majority of people who need to use computers, configuration changes are made only a handful of times during the lifetime of an installed OS. Learning how to make each change from the command line is disproportionately complex for these users as they don't do it often enough to remember how it's done the next time they need it and so they'll just find something else to avoid the inevitable ballache that they know will come whenever they need to change something.
That's is why a GUI is so critical for mainstream takeup of a platform and why tools like Webmin are essential to soften the pain that newcomers feel when trying a new OS. Chances are they probably will learn to do things properly in time anyway but at least with a shallower learning curve they won't just turn and run.
The only positive effect that I can see in knocking management tools and things that simplify things for beginners is for the people who have already got over the initial learning curve - the fewer people who gain the skills to use Linux competently, the more their skills will be in demand with clients who use Linux on a commercial basis.
I post to the internet: I have been trying to get DRDB to work for [insert arbitrarily long timeframe]. I have [series of steps] only to encounter [series of completely incomprehensible errors]. I am using CentOS 5.5, with both test systems in a VM (ESXi, hardware emulation 7). Thoughts?
The Internet respondeth (paraphrased): “zomfgwtf are you doing using such a pathetic distro, that’s half your problem right there. You should be using $distro instead! Anyways, you suck and need to read the man page more. It’s all there don’t you know?
I respond: “I have read the man page, but like any good man page it lacks examples of any kind whatsoever. I have run across [wiki/howto/whathaveyou] but it is written for $otherdistro, not CentOS. There has to be some config difference somewhere that I am missing, but I can’t for the life of me pin it down. Maybe these will help. [Log file contents].
The Internet respondeth: [thread derailed by distro jihad].
I’ve been fighting that one for about a month. Do I qualify as a clueless idiot then?
> The Internet respondeth (paraphrased): “zomfgwtf are you doing using such a pathetic distro,
You encountered a cock. There are lots of them in most fora - Windows, Linux, you name it. Please don't judge the entire community by the bottom-quartile twats.
If you are having problems with a RH-based distro (such as is CentOS), you could do worse than to grab the Red Hat Deployment Guide. It's available online, but install it on your machine as well - it's invaluable. I don't know if CentOS have it in the repository - if they don't, grab the SRPM from Red Hat and rebuild.
 If you don't know how to rebuild SRPMs from RedHat - learn! it's a singularly vital skill. Just download the SRPM from RH's FTP site & type "rpmbuild --rebuild wotijustdownloaded.src.rpm".
One experience shouldn't inform someone's opinion on a group of people. Fifteen years of slogging up and down the trenches however makes me a feel a little more than qualified to comment. I’m not exactly new to the Linux game. I’ve been at it since just after Redhat was born. Nearly half of all servers I have deployed are Linux, with an ever increasing number of desktops.
My experience above was but one example amongst countless thousands. This thread can implode into a shower of wailing and gnashing of teeth it won’t for a second change my opinion that on the whole the Linux community is hostile to newcomers. Arrogance is part and parcel of the larger Linux community, and condescension is a way of life for a deplorable number of the individuals that make it up.
I do my ardent best to help newbs to the cause, as I am certain there are thousands of Penguinistas who do so as well. That doesn’t for a second change the fact that finding actual helpful human beings is difficult. The arrogance bug coupled with a lavish helping of condescension are *THE* biggest barrier to adoption of Linux in the server rooms of Windows admins.
As far as I am concerned this means that if a Windows admin wants to take the plunge they need to consider all the various idiosyncrasies of Linux as damage and route around it. Webmin is an excellent way to abstract that all away for the early user. They can get their feet wet there, and slowly work their way into the wider world. If they run up against a block erected by a bunch of cocks, they can always fall back on Webmin to get the job done.
It doesn’t work 100% of the time…but I find it’s been more reliable than praying for help from one’s fellow “human beings.”
That…and frankly once you get used to Linux…Webmin saves even an experienced admin a lot of time. My VM at work has Webmin sessions into something like 50 servers at the moment. I wouldn’t want to try doing my job without it.
Many years ago, ken himself gave me a GreatBigClue: When you need a specific bit of code to do $JOB, find out what OS it runs on ... and what hardware that OS runs on. Acquire the hardware, install the OS, and then (and ONLY then) install the code you need to run. I took this advice to heart, and in nearly forty years of making money with these often infuriating boxen, I have NEVER struggled with getting code to run (except code in development, of course).
Q1: With off-the-shelf PC computers more than capable of running any FOSS code available for the price of a day's pay for a wet-behind-the-ears, fresh out of college new hire, why are you mucking about professionally in your smallish shop with virtual machines?
Q2: What forum, exactly, did you post to with your "code-on-OS-on-VM" question? Was it an appropriate forum for the question?
Re: Q1. If you don't understand the benefits of virtual machines by now, you probably never will. Suffice it to say that using virtual machines makes my life easier. You may have unlimited hardware budget, space, cooling and everything else...I don't. Besides which, it's just a Linux VM. They are free, and disposable. Make a dozen and store the configs and data outside the VM on a networked server.
Not "the most efficient possible" in a purist sense, but I'll accept a 5% performance hit for the ability to throw the VM away like a used diaper when one element or another decides "BTW your distro is too old, we're not going to update properly." Or worse yet "BTW you ran an update and we radically changed the package such that your old config file is meaningless." Configure a VM once, point the configs somewhere central. Make a copy. If your update borks it, throw the VM away and reload the backup.
I know, I know "waa waa waa, test lab." And if wishes were horses, we'd all be eating steak. (It's a reference from a show, don't have an apoplepsy.) Sometimes you don’t have the TIME to do it according to the whitepaper. An update blows up a Linux VM once every six months. Treating a broken Linux VM like a soiled diaper is simply time efficient when compared to stepping through a testing cycle for every round of updates, or frankly for reading the change logs on all 382 updates for my given Linux box.
So why VMs? Because they make my life waaaaaaaaaaaay easier.
Re: Q2 What forum specifically? The hell if I know. One of the dozens I post on. Was it an appropriate forum for the question? Sure! Linux is hostile to newcomers, or anyone seeking to beg information for the great and knowledgeable (but remarkably sensitive) gurus. I know the game, and have for quite some time. You must hold the teacup on one finger while balancing on one leg and chanting the American national anthem during an earthquake. Yes, I asked the right question with the right amount of information in the right place. Even then, you’ve only got a 50/50 shot at get anything other than a pile of static.
Trevor, if you've spent more than a couple days mucking about with code on OS on VM without actually getting a positive result, you have been wasting corporate money. This is especially true when a "known good" code+OS+hardware platform exists. I dunno about most of your readership, but the sysadmin and MBA in me says "go with what works, every time".
VMs are another level of abstraction that have no real place in any but the largest shops, with (nearly) unlimited R&D budgets, and in home/hobby systems where the sysadmin's time isn't worth anything beyond the learning factor. In my opinion, of course. This will likely change in the near future, but the time isn't quite yet.
Re. both Q1 & Q2 ... Methinks thou dost protest too much.
 Which I don't discount, at all. The ability to fiddle about with FOSS code at home is a learning experience that closed source outfits are running scared in front of ... with reason.
 Yes, I know, the real quote is "The lady doth protest too much, methinks.", but I'm pretty sure that would get nixed for all the wrong reasons ...
"VMs are another level of abstraction that have no real place in any but the largest shops, with (nearly) unlimited R&D budgets, and in home/hobby systems where the sysadmin's time isn't worth anything beyond the learning factor. In my opinion, of course. This will likely change in the near future, but the time isn't quite yet."
Which does nothing but show your personal bias against the technology and/or a complete lack of understanding of the challenges faced by real people in the real world. Let me make this simple.
THERE ISN'T ENOUGH ROOM TO PUT ANY MORE COMPUTERS.
THERE IS NO MORE COOLING CAPACITY AVAILABLE.
THE POWER LINES ARE MAXED.
WE CAN'T MOVE BUILDINGS, IT'S TOO DAMNED EXPENSIVE.
VMs have a place where they have a place. For the record, Linux is "known working" on VM hardware. Because an age or two ago, they got the code working FINE on VMware's ESXi virtual hardware...and the POINT of a VM is that it's the VIRTUAL hardware presented to the OS that matters. NOT the host.
You go on believing what you want to believe. I've been using virtualisation in production for a little over five years now, using RedHat based Linuxes from the very start. IT. WORKS. FINE. Maybe the MBA in you needs to step back and realise that there are more critical things than eeking every single last theoretical possible % of efficiency out of a given chunk of hardware. Sometimes a little overhead (such as with virtualisation) allows you to drive utilisation up high enough to make use of limited resources more efficiently.
You really do seem to live in a completely different world from any SME out there. Methinks you’ve spent too long flying high and not enough time wallowing in the muck with the common folk.
We're moving into Winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. You are maxed out on power, HVAC, space, and soon CPU.
::insert Moore's Law & similar observations:::
What happens come next summer? CPU usage is maxed out, AC use goes up, power is maxed out, AC freezes solid, halon dumps (or the place burns down, literally or figuratively). Do you know what "diminishing returns" are? And why chasing them is a fool's errand? And why YOU will be the one taking the blame? Is your management *completely* clueless?
Get your resume out there, you deserve better ... And for those wondering, no, I've not been trolling. If I were, I'd have snickered at Trevor's CAPS shouting. No snickering here ... I know stress when I see/read it.
Trevor, if you're ever in the SF Bay Area, drop me a line ... I'll buy you lunch and a pint or six. You need^Wdeserve it.
Re: virtualization ... I'll mostly leave it alone for now. Suffice to say that I don't see it as a diaper, but rather as a bandaid ... on a sword wound. Consider your:
"Maybe the MBA in you needs to step back and realise that there are more critical things than eeking every single last theoretical possible % of efficiency out of a given chunk of hardware. Sometimes a little overhead (such as with virtualisation) allows you to drive utilisation up high enough to make use of limited resources more efficiently."
That's just it, I *don't* believe that each & every CPU cycle should be used, always. Frankly, if you are not doing CPU intensive stuff (all of which requires a dedicated CPU or CPUs, in my mind), getting much over 25% spare CPU utilization over baseline over time is a waste of the admin's time & resources. It's always better/cheaper/faster to increase the size/capacity of the data center over the long haul.
I'm not an SME (in the common sense; there are between 1 and 24 folks on the payroll when I'm wearing this hat, depending), rather I'm a consultant that gets paid to muck out SMEs who are in over their heads as far as computer/networking resources go.
Surely you mean "don't go apoploptic"?
Three little old ladies were walking down a street, when they encountered a flasher. The first little old lady had a stroke. The second little old lady had a stroke. The third refused to touch it ...
Mine's the plastic Mac ...
While it does raise some salient points and bring forth some good ideas, I despise that article. Perhaps I read more into it than I should, but the tone of that article just exudes pure attitude and contradicts itself more than once. In particular, one overriding theme that I've noticed is "hey, you be nice to us, take these painstaking steps to make sure you're asking the question in just the right way and MAYBE someone will answer. But it might be a terse if not somewhat rude answer and you'll be glad you got any answer at all."
I'm one of these people who does Know Things about Some Things and I do believe in helping my fellow man. I dislike idiots (the 'OMG can y0u like h3lp me 'cuz my c0mputers shooting flamez LOL' crowd is right out), but I see no reason to treat someone badly who needs help and maybe doesn't yet know everything they ought to be doing to phrase their question as best they possibly can. The way I see it (others might well differ), acting as that article suggests only serves to foster hostility--remember that "bad news sells"!
Helping people who want to use your software is the best form of software evangelism there is. I do understand how easy it is to get burnt out when you're doing support. Take a break, don't force yourself and let other people in the community help when that happens.
Later, the article does give a few pointers to those answering questions and many of them contradict what's said earlier.
There is a better article that was typed up by a software developer. It too raises the same points in a much more polite fashion. Ah yes, there it is:
Yeah, I picked that one. For a reason ... and considering the local readership.
I look on it as more of a sysadmin's guide to drawing useful questions out of users than a document to point newbies at. As always, YMMV, of course ...
If your skin is so thin that you can't take the advice, you're in the wrong line of work.
Have you READ the comments in this forum? Are you not capable of processing what you read from the perspective of someone who doesn’t live and breathe open source? I make a statement that the wider Linux community is hostile to newcomers. Essentially that the arrogant and condescending attitude that you find amongst the knowledgeable Linux Elite is exceptionally off-putting to those seeking to learn about the OS and make the transition.
What is the response? “We’re not arrogant and condescending, how DARE you? Do you not know who I am?” This is mixed in with “if you don’t already know the answer to the question you are seeking, you shouldn’t be working in computers, you useless waste of base elements.” Don’t forget the healthy dose of “if you don’t learn to play by our very exacting set of rules all the time and never break decorum then you are obviously not serious about your job and you suck.”
Disregard that these rules are different for every group of nerds and the fact that Linux nerds enjoy nothing more than running little Jihads against anyone and everyone who disagrees with them…including other Linux nerds.
But surely, the Linux community isn’t hostile. Surely it’s not condescending. Everyone is simply READING IT WRONG.
Are you kidding me? Really? Are you, and the rest of the fire-breathing folk in this thread actually completely incapable of seeing the condescension, arrogance and hostility dripping from the very posts you guys are making to try to tell the world the bulk of the proselytizers of Linux AREN’T condescending and arrogant? It’s like talking to a schizophrenic. It all makes sense to them, somehow…but other people look in and go “WTF?”
Listen, I’ve been working with Linux for about 15 years. I would even consider myself an evangelist of its use where appropriate. But it’s not a way of life. It’s not a religion. It’s a TOOL. It is no more or less important than Windows, or a blackberry…a hammer or a goddamend SPOON. For the right job, it’s the bees knees. For the inappropriate job, it’s simply not useful.
Laying a thick layer of condescension on people ask questions according to some unbelievably convoluted social code whose sole purpose seems to be to weed out those who don’t think like you do or use exactly the same tools in the same manner you do, is what’s known as HOSTILE. “Lusers are idiots.” “Windows admins are idiots.” “People who use $distro instead of $otherdistro are idiots.” “People who use emacs/vi/whatever are idiots” and on and on and on…
Right. This is BENEFICIAL. This is MOVING LINUX FORWARD. It’s helping it be embraced by new people who are a little bit afraid of stepping into foreign waters. Re-read this thread, sir. Read it from the point of view of a Windows guy who has heard 15 years of “Linux is hard.” Someone who wants to learn, but doesn’t quite know where to start.
Now, make that guy a slightly overworked junior numpty in an IT shop somewhere that is largely Windows-only, surrounded by folks resistant to its introduction. Put him in a situation where he doesn’t have unlimited resources (personally or professionally) nor unlimited time to futz with things. He needs a solution and he needs it quickly…he’s counting on a little bit of help and sympathy to get him to make that first step into a brave new world.
Yeah, from that perspective you would stay the HELL AWAY from Linux reading this thread, or any of literally thousands like it across the wide, wolly web. Being pressed for time or backed against a wall doesn’t mean you aren’t trying to learn. Starting from zero and trying to find a specific solution shouldn’t require that you basically absorb everything there is to know about an operating system before someone will treat you like a human being.
I wish the whole lot of the condescending arrogant twats on all the various threads in all the forums across the whole internet would take a moment to get off their damned high horses and wallow in the muck for a while. Not everyone has the luxury of time and infinite resources that apparently the “gods of the internet” possess. It was not to long ago that I was a wet-behind-the-ears Windows admin seeking information on Linux and trying very hard to wrap my mind around the differences. I watch my friends go through that process now and wince in sympathy.
If someone came to me and asked me “what’s the best way to wield this hammer” I wouldn’t laugh in their face, call them an idiot and tell them they are wasting my time unless they’d built at least three test houses and read a dozen best practice manuals on hammer holding. I’d ask “well, what are you trying to do with that hammer?” Then I’d give them my honest advice on how best to hold it to accomplish that specific task.
I wouldn’t condescend and say “until you get a different type of hammer, I won’t help you.” “What do you mean you are trying to use a hammer to accomplish that job. A rubber mallet is the tool you need, go get one of those.” “You hammer has a BLUE handle? What that’s your first mistake. And the nails you’re using are ALL wrong…”
Dude has a hammer. He ONLY has a hammer. That ONE hammer. He’s got to get a nail that’s in an inconvenient place struck in, and is unsure how best to do it. He already abased himself to you by asking for help. (This is difficult enough for many people to do, why kick them while they’re down.) If you can’t help, then say that. If you won’t help, then just walk away. There’s no need for the kind of elitist crap that this thread is slathered in.
It’s a TOOL. You are CRAFTSMEN. It’s not a religion, and someone trying to use that tool in an unfamiliar way isn’t a blasphemer.
"Are you, and the rest of the fire-breathing folk in this thread"
Fire-breathing? Me? And here I thought I was being moderate ... Currently, and from my perspective, your skin is so thin that it tears when you get out of bed in the morning.
My offer of lunch & a pint or six stands. Maybe we'll both learn something ...
I have found the Linux community inconsistent - Sometimes people are willing to do everything they can to help you, really go beyond the call of duty, other times queries remain unanswered or you get snide comments, just like the one Jake posts above. Someone asking something that is blindingly obvious to you, probably isn't to them!
I use Linux, Unix and Windows on a daily basis, at work we help each other when we temporarily forget even the simplest things or are learning new aspects of each OS, it doesn't take long and is a nice, helpful thing to do. It makes me wonder when people bitch about a newbie asking easy questions that they should have been able to find out: If it's so simple and easy, why not just answer rather than spend more time posting a reply that is rude and insulting. It doesn't do any good for the wider community and can only serve to make the newbie disheartened and put them off adopting a new skill set.
I started using Linux at my work and found it to be a very different system, so at home I installed mandrivia and yes I know a very basic distro.
But that helped me get the hang of how in linux you configure stuff, then I installed webmin and found that even more help.
Now I run CentOS 5 and can edit any config file and tail log files and even SCP files home, the best advice I have is to start with a newbie system like mandrivia and work up to a server system like CentOS.
Tsk. Here's the REAL way to get Spotify running on Linux:
1. Download the windows version
2. Install it.
Works perfectly. Perfectly in the same way as the native Linux version will as soon as they finish writing it and deliver it wrapped up in a one-click installer.
Scrobbles and everything, yi ken.
Usermin is a client (versus BOFH) tool to let users do their own customization. It's useful to add at the same time you install Webmin. Usermin requires port 20000 to be open to your users. Virtualmin is a BOFH plugin to Webmin that is used to configure virtual hosts on a web server. I usually install it at the same time as Webmin and Usermin.
Are you saying that expertise is required to do system administration, but somehow that expertise must spring, fully formed, into the head of a "junior sysadmin," and if it doesn't, it's the fault of the community who's not supporting him or her properly? System administration of /any/ system is knowledge and experience, and Linux is no different. Yes, the leap from the windows world to the *nix world is a big one, but if that's the issue, then management of the "junior sysadmin" needs to look to itself. Still, now that the webmin utility is set up to take the blame for inept management expectations, all will, no doubt, be well.
If you are a Windows admin, and you can't figure out Webmin, then you've no business in Systems Administration. I can understand the need to ease into the command line, or editing config files...but Webmin is dirt simple. That’s the point. Webmin *I*S how you ease a Windows admin into the Linux world. It’s not there to take blame, but to be a tool to help people get used to the new OS environment.
In all honesty, I find it’s great backup for when a new admin ventures out into the command line. If they break it somehow…they can always go back to Webmin and fix it. What to a senior administrator is a time-saving systems administration tool is a simple-to-use safety net for junior admins.
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> Thing is I didn't know what apt-get is
Did you try to find out?
Very few fora care about people being ignorant - we all were at some time. What annoys people is when new users assiduously refuse to try to help themselves. You'll see 1000-word flames from people who won't even put the term they don't understand into a search engine.
>,it's not easy to find if you've never heard of it before.
On the contrary. Google is my search engine of choice - typing "apt-get" into the search box gives me lots of results pertaining to apt-get - just as it would had I searched on some other term I don't understand.
Now occasionally, you might be so stumped by something as not even to know where to start searching. That's a perfectly reasonable thing to post to a forum - someone will respond with some appropriate search terms, at the very least. What they're unlikely to do is to do all your research for you...
If you're a (wannabe) server admin and you can't even use a search engine, then why should I help you for free? Go and pay a helpdesk if you just want someone to proxy google for you. I'll be here, earning my own money to pay my own rent/bills, while you do that.
If you come to me having made a bit of your own effort and asking me questions that google can't answer for you in seconds flat - then I'll happily give up hours of my valuable time to help you out.
That said, I tailor my forum efforts to the forum in question - on ubuntuforums, I'll walk you through click-by-click (or command-by-command) because I know there are a lot of completely new linuxers on there who need that level of assistance. But then they're not asking me how to adjust the size of a MySQL query cache or flush Postfix's mail queue.
On a sysadmin forum, I expect a reasonable level of effort on your part, and in return I will share as much of my knowledge as I can, in as clear and simple a fashion as I can. I'll more than not learn new stuff myself by helping others, and I've even installed whole systems (in a VM) to help answer other people's questions for them. I don't mind doing this at all - I enjoy the challenge and I like being able to help other people, but only if they're prepared to put in some effort too.
I don't think that's me being hostile, or unreasonable. Remember I'm not being paid to help you, although if you do want that, I think you'll find my rates are extortionately high :-)
In my experience of using Linux (getting on for 15 years now), I've never encountered any of this hostility, wailing and gnashing of teeth and lack-of-helpfulness online. That's administering Windows and Linux boxes alike. I guess I just hang out in the wrong places - the places where people are nice and helpful and friendly... Or perhaps I'm just better at asking questions..
I was going to suggest that this is a PR piece masquerading as an article, but then i went to the site and saw that it's free to download and use. Although the '.com' domain does suggest it's a commercial company.
Why not mention some of the alternatives? cpanel or ebox?
(i do appreciate this is a blog, but all the same....)
You forgot ISPConfig. Why? Because I don't use them. Tried them, still do from time to time...but I keep going back to Webmin. I love Webmin. Webmin is the only thing that makes the Linux administration side of my job remotely worthwhile. Shill advertisement? No. That would imply I got paid for it. Am I completely and utterly in love with the application though? Hell yes.
A commenter on one of my other articles said “moar linux plox.” I thought a set on Webmin and it’s companions was an excellent place to start.
Anyone who opens webmin to the net deserves what they get. That's no different than leaving cpanel or phpmyadmin open to all and sundry. Absolutely idiotic security practice. Lock it down to the IP/domain you will use, or set it to only respond to internal addresses.
In my environment I have a Windows VM set up for administration on all of my networks with Linux boxen. I can RDP into the Windows VM from outside. The Windows VM is on an internal subnet with the Linux VMs, and they are set to only pass Webmin access to that internal subnet.
A neat configuration tool doesn’t alleviate the need for the proper care and feeding of your firewall.
Find and join your local linux user group!
Each one is different, but most have BAB (bring a box) sessions and/or pub (semi social) meets and "newbies" are welcomed. There are lots of desktop centric users but some
server, data centre and HPC folks.
You do get a few rabid antiMS zealots but they are usually frowned upon or ignored.
As long as you dont expect an instant reply or "do an indian" you should have no problems.
> Maybe otehr LUGs are less elitist
As with any self-ortganising group of people, the quality of LUGs varies dramatically.
I've joined two. One was awful - one of the members started putting conditions on reading his posts on the mailing list, FFS. I flounced out - there was no way I was going to remain part of that lot.
The other one is truly excellent. There are some odd-bods in there, and there is the occasionaly "difference of opinion", but by and large, everyone works towards helping each other out. It's great.
 I suspect this might be the same LUG as Jacqui belongs to...
Hey Vic, wanna join a LUG?
I'm going to call it El Reg's Linux User Group. At the moment the membership is me. The local LUG and I didn't get along all to well, but I don't mind any but the worst of the Reg commenters...so why not a Reg LUG? We can argue amidst threads just like we always have…
> Hey Vic, wanna join a LUG?
> At the moment the membership is me.
Depending on how long you continue your head-in-the-sand approach to issues laid out to you, I suspect it might continue at that level.
> The local LUG and I didn't get along all to well
I can see their point.
> but I don't mind any but the worst of the Reg commenters...so why not a Reg LUG? We can argue amidst threads just like we always have…
And is this going to be a group set up to try to advance its members' knowledge of Linux, or is it a grandstanding and point-scoring exercise? The latter is unlikely to last long.
 I decided to be charitable and not spell that "member's".
You sir, may be the single most serious man on the Internet. We need a tongue in check icon.
Being *fully serious* for a second, a Reg LUG might well not be a bad idea...I suspect given the zealotry of it's reader base there are quite a few folks who would lot right in to such an organisation quite well.
Personally, I don't get along with the local LUG because they are quite an inflexible bunch. They are a beautiful self-selecting collection of individuals who aren't open to any form of new ideas or thought. I don't say this because I was particularly interested in brining much new thought to the group...I attended to listen, hear...see what there was to see. I did on the other hand bring with me a buddy who was an order of magnitude smarter than I, and very much the Linux nerd. Moreover he is generally better with people.
Didn’t go down well with the Linux nerds though when he had the termidity to ask some obviously taboo or banned question about something or other. I think the topic was typesetting in Linux. The next attempt involved asking a question about working around a limitation in Samba, which apparently would cause the world to implode for merely considering going against some sacred unwritten rule somewhere.
As for grandstanding and point-scoring…what’s the point? I have never seen any benefit from either. I am a pragmatic individual, which I suspect is why I don’t get along with many die hard believers of anything. It’s also I think why I do get along with quite a few Reg commenters; they too are by and large a pragmatic bunch.
If an El Reg LUG were ever seriously put together by someone, I expect it would be a wholly unique LUG amidst those of the world. A group for Linux users and administrators to come together to discuss the implementation of Linux in a practical environment and what could be done to encourage the uptake without completely alienating the very people you are trying to convince to use it.
A LUG full of pragmatists in which there were no sacred cow. That would be AWESOME.
Take just about any subject on earth & discuss on-line, there's always the zealots, tards, or whatever, that having acquired a certain amount of knowledge elevates them to a slightly higher ivory tower than the rest of civilisation - & post with every venomous expletive to vent their spleen on all who might pose a humble question at their sacred pulpit or particular forum.
Im sure by day, they're actually quite reasonable people, but given a keyboard & half an hours boredom on a wet evening the were-wolf within takes over.
The rest of us just want the job done in the way we know how, which wont get us fired for spending too much or taking too long & may not be the best or prettiest but if you have a bow and arrow or a gun with no bullets I know what I would go for.
So yes, I might give it whirl, warts and all.
I'm a big fan of Webmin - I install it on pretty much every machine I build.
But it is not without issues. Here are the two foremost in my mind :-
- Beware having multiple users. User separation is decidedly dodgy in Webmin - it just affects which Webmin modules you can use. All operations are actually performed by the root user. So if you give someone access to file upload/download, he can modify /etc/shadow. Instant root access...
- Be very careful administering sendmail with Webmin, if you ever plan on administering it in any other way. Webmin modifies the sendmail.cf file directly - which is near-unintelligible to humans. We mere mortals generall modify sendmail.mc, and convert that to sendmail.cf with the m4 tool - but if you've used sendmail for anything that is controlled by sendmail.cf, your files are now out of sync.
Aside from those two irks, itis a fabulous tool.
> M4 Config is your friend
It certainly is.
But that doesn't address the point I made - it is important to be careful when using Webmin with sendmail because most of the options on the page do not change the sendmail.mc file, they change the sendmail.cf file. This leads to inconsistencies - the .mc file gets out of date, and using it to make subsequent changes will over-write changes to the .cf file, removing all the work you've done beforehand.
I'm not claiming Webmin cannot be used - I use it myself.
I am saying that there is a pitfall here, and the unwary can be caught out.
> Oh, and a nugget of fun for you
Errr - what am I looking for? It's a mail server setup. And you haven't included an SPF milter.
It's a simple front-end to use SpamAssassin to filter for exchange. (Exchange’s native filtering is poo.) I am still torn in re: adding SPF. (It has in the past caused me more problems than the minor % of spam that gets through without it.) The point was that you can get away with not needing anything but Webmin to manage Sendmail. Yes; Sendmail and other management tools may need care and attention to coexist...
...but I think it's a pretty exceptional scenario (clustering of Sendmail perhaps) where this might be an issue. Small enoguh at least ot make it a very viable tool for single servers and small businesses without any of the fancier config tools.
> It's a simple front-end to use SpamAssassin to filter for exchange.
Yes. I've run out many MTAs - I recommend one to pretty much all my customers. I still don't really get why you think I should be reading your blog post...
>it has in the past caused me more problems than the minor % of spam that gets through without it
Then you have misunderstood SPF. It is *NOT* an anti-spam tool. It is an anti-forgery tool.
> The point was that you can get away with not needing anything but Webmin to manage Sendmail
Yes you can. But care needs to be taken if you are going to use any other tools as well, because Webmin does not keep the .mc and .cf files synchronised.
> but I think it's a pretty exceptional scenario (clustering of Sendmail perhaps) where this might be an issue.
Try using any of the basic setup tools in Webmin - say, "sendmail options" (the very first entry on the page in my version). Make some changes there.
Now do something that needs the .mc file to be edited - say, add a milter with the "sendmail M4 configuration" tool. Rebuild the config with the button on that page.
Oh look - all those changes you made beforehand have disappeared.
This isn't rocket science - it just needs a little caution. Endless responses about how you don't think it's a problem just show that you aren't taking this in. I find it worrying that you set yourself up as an authority on this topic without understanding the propensity for this to go very wrong indeed; your advice so far is likely to leave anyone following it with a configuration they don't understand, and which is likely to roll back their changes without warning. This is not a responsible position to take.
> Small enoguh at least ot make it a very viable tool for single servers and small businesses without any of the fancier config tools.
Yes, and I've said all along that I am a fan of Webmin, and I use it on almost every machine I build. But, as I said at the very beginning, it has a few foibles that need to be treated very carefully. Its manner of dealing with the sendmail config files is one of those foibles.
Perhaps it is that the reporter in trying to hype a good tool (webmin) that he lost style points with the audience.
Using Webmin makes life easier than trying to remember all of the different flavors of *nix that exist. Not to mention that gui based tools have been around for a long time with Sun system admins really doing most from the command lines. (Back in the 90's you had SAM (IBM) and SMIT (HP-UX)
So it made life easier for the system admins who had to manage multiple machines from different types of vendors and/or had to trouble shoot various systems.
GUI tools also made it easier so you didn't have to memorize all of the options or constantly flip back to the man pages ...
I took offense at the El Reg reporter who slammed the senior admin types who tease newbies for asking stupid questions when they could easily google or RTFM. System Admins tend to remain old school when it comes to training the next generation. Now if only software developers retained that same standard, we might actually have better code...
(If you're a software developer and don't understand the difference between today's environment and 'old school', well that's too bad...)
The problem with "webmin" like tools is that it lets people that don't have a clue do stuff that they wouldn't do if they understood what they are doing.
This sort of problem is OS independant.
Windows has it built in that people can see GUIs and click buttons and create terrible solutions very easily.
It's like Java "write once, crash anywhere" now we've got webmin "fail to understand once, distribute crap everywhere".
There are no tools that are a subsititue for knowing what you're doing REGARDLESS of the operating system.
MS Guys: "Getting help for Linux is a pain because when you ask questions you just get insulted"
Linux guys: "If you have to ask questions you shouldn't be using Linux, go back to 'Doze you n00b"
Either this is some really good choreographed irony, or the Linux guys posting here are the equivalent of those Muslims who protested about the Koran burning plans by that fuckwit American pastor by burning American flags.
Kudos for keeping cool through yet another pointless offtopic flame war.
That said, I'm not a fan of webmin or any of the web based control panels. IMHO, going through the pain of manual configuration ( on any platform ) is greatly beneficial to greenhorns because of the knowledge gained.
It's like watching a very long, slow motion, moderated footie match. Team A runs out onto the field and says "we're going to win this!" Team B tells Team A they are arrogant and overconfident, then proceeds to repeatedly put the ball in to their own net. The "arrogant" Team A doesn't even have to do anything; they just stand by in astonishment as Team B defeats itself whilst loudly proclaiming victory.
I have to disagree on that, but more on that in a minute.
As to the man pages... I started my computing career with a Unix machine and a whole shelf full of manuals. I got the job on the "we don't know anything about it either, so why not you" basis (I had done some techie things like introducing in-house phototypesetting into the company). I taught myself to be a Unix systems administrator, and to write simple shell scripts. In an unbelievably short time I was correcting data corrupted by our new accounting system by using regular expression matching and editing in vi. sed and awk came later. I had never touched a PC before in my life. The man pages are surprisingly readable!
Fast forward a decade or two (could it even be three?) and you find me, retired for several years, sitting in front of a Windows machine. An ex Unix specialist. Basically, lost interest in doing the techie thing, taking the line of least resistance. I had not, anyway, thought very much of the couple of Linux distros I had looked at back in the office days.
I went Ubuntu about six months ago.
For a start, Ubuntu, even in a dual (or multi) boot environment is a dream to install these days, and most people will find a working system, networked, in front of them in not much time.
In so far as I did have any difficulties, I found of the answers on the net. It's a funny place, so it is not always a matter of checking out ubuntu-answers-dot-something. The car forum I belong to has IT pros with linux knowledge; so does the hifi forum. I don't think I asked any questions on specific ubuntu forums --- because usually I found they had been asked already, and people had taken the trouble to answer them. Maybe they wouldn't have wanted to repeat themselves to me, but that doesn't mean they are not friendly.
I don't know the tool of which you speak, but if it works for you, then that is part of the deal.
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"How DARE you suggest that people like me are hostile, arrogant and condescending? DO YOU NOT KNOW WHO I AM? (Hint: I am your better.)”
My deep and sincere apologies sir. Your eloquent argument demonstrating the warm and inviting nature of the large Linux community has set me straight. I repent.
<disclaimer> I develop DB systems under *NIX, so I at least know my way around the command line. That said, the front-end is written for Windows, so it straddles both world. I also have 8-odd PC/Servers/Laptops at home running everything from XP to Ubuntu.</disclaimer>
It was not so long ago I wanted to try my hand at setting up a Linux server (mail and web). While I could make my way around a *nix system, I had never had to set one up or even administer it, so I was in for a steep learning curve. And yes, being pointed to Webmin helped a lot (especially with the DNS).
But I never encountered this closed-wall Linux mentality people refer to here. Maybe it's because of how I approached people with my problems: my questions were generally along the lines of "Can anyone point me to a simple description of how to do X that a newbie might understand?", or "I have read the instructions at <url> and am having trouble with point Y. Could someone please elucidate?"
*All* responses I have had were helpful (though in some cases, a little gruff). Maybe the problem comes from newcomers (generally from Windows environments) expecting the answers to be handed to them on a silver platter and being annoyed when their demands for immediate help are rejected.
Since then, my servers have expanded to a dedicated Web server, a dedicated Mail server (with DNS) and (just recently) a full-blown 9x2TB RAID-5 fileserver providing NFS and SMB access to my video library as well as running MythTV on top. *That* was fun ^_^ - spent two enjoyable, and sometimes frustrating, weekends on it. And it was the help of the on-line *nix community that helped me get over the line (someone kindly pointed me to a step-by-step LVM-on-RAID5 recipe for dummies, just what I needed to figure out what I was doing wrong).
Remember - if you aren't being polite (and I'm talking netiquette here), why would people be polite back at you?
Dig down far enough into key Windows part (Registry is obvious but pretty much everything else to do with large scale roll out) and what do we find?
1)It takes a text file written in some funny special purpose (and poorly documented) command language that *totally* bypasses the *hours* of fiddling with forms, filling in text boxes, clicking on options.
2) Some option to spew the information you want out to a text file
3)A tool which *only* runs under cmd to do the setup/query task (with or without the file spewing).
So GUI, fine for letting lusers fiddle around with their *own* kit, but *far* too wasteful to do volume admin with.
Disclosure. I'm not a Windows admin (or indeed any kind of admin). Just a guy with a big nose.
It's been fun reading the flames - nothing like a nice warm fire on a wet and windy evening ! I thought the article was quite good. I'd disagree with it in some details, but overall I'd agree - Webmin is a great tool for making Linux admin a lot easier.
But just like the Windows GUI, it has it's limitations. And for all the "but you end up using the command line" crap thrown at Linux, the same is true of Windows. I'm the "non conformist" at work and run our Linux servers, sat either side of me are Windows guys. What's quite clear to me is :
1) there is no such thing as "Windows" - there are multiple different "Windows" with different capabilities and different tool available to administer them. Just like Linux really. 2000, 2003, 2008, 2010, I think we've got rid of the last NT box, base version, R1, R2, SP1, SP2, ... And then is it the standard version, Small Business version, some other version - all of these change the capabilities and management tools available. And that's just the server versions.
2) If you can't randomly poke around in GUI screens and find a tick box for it, then it either doesn't exist or it needs a command line/powershell/registry edit/something else to do it. Once you get to that level, then Windows really is no easier than Linux - it's just different and if you want to do the job right then you have to learn how to do it.
3) It can be equally difficult getting help !
Not long ago I'd probably not have written this, but neither is inherently better, or easier, or insert several other comparisons. They are different, but both are non-trivial to administer well. Windows is definitely easier to administer at a basic level (and as already pointed out you have the starting point of it being familiar on the desktop), but once you reach the limit of random clicking till it does something vaguely like you want, then the complexity arrives. As far as I can make out, Windows can do a lot of stuff people use Linux for - but few people know how to do it. Many of my linux boxes are there simply because we want to do stuff that no-one knows how to do in Windows - I suspect some of it could be, but it's not going to be any easier and there's no licences to buy for the linux stuff we use.
I think one of the big problems is the number of people (as already mentioned) who think that being able to insert a CD and click "Next", "Next", ... makes them an administrator - and yes I've met a few.
With most Linux distros, you can near enough install a working system (and install Webmin) without a great deal of difficulty. With Webmin you can do a great many of the standard admin tasks. And equally there are people who can't go past this "point and click" level who consider themselves to be full admins.
I suspect a few people have now labelled me as one of those "I'm a god, look up to me little poeple" types. Far from it - one of the biggest areas of continued learning for me is how much more there is to know. I know a fair bit about the stuff I use regularly (much of which is beyond GUI config), but I also know that I know only a tiny bit.
Regrading the article -- I like it! I saw webmin years and years ago, and it looked nice. Excellent suggestion to help a rookie admin get 'er done until he gets a hang of things.
@Peter Jones 2 "If they put their time to better use, such as making Linux friendly and easy
for new users, they might actually gain a measurable increase in their
That's like complaining Microsoft just works on games because the XBox360 division does. There isn't one homogenous group "them", companies such as Canonical ARE working to make Linux easy for new users and doing a very good job of it.
"Linux is usually installed because there is one specific application the business is looking to use. And so they end up with say, RHEL. Then a second app is bought, because we already have some linux. Only this will only run on Suse."
Not in my experience -- I mean, you could argue a WIndows server is put in for one specific application too. But really, where I've seen Linux servers they do file serving, web serving, sometimes print serving, database software, all kinds of stuff, not just "Oh we have one app that is Linux only". And I have not had problems with apps being distro-specific -- these do exist, but they are about as uncommon as those Windows apps that "require" one specific service pack of one specific version of Windows. And in both cases, it's usually a matter of the company wanting to support that one configuration, in actuality the software will typically run fine on numerous distros (and numerous Windows versions in the case of Windows.)
I'm not going to quote it, but your view that Linux is extremely insignificant and a rounding error is ridiculous, as several have pointed out, by your standards Windows is also a rounding error. I think the whole thing about GUIs being different is overblown too -- it's not like every distro has a totally different GUI these days -- you can install one, but almost all distros now come with Gnome so they actually look pretty similar. The package manager and control of what daemons start on bootup being different is unfortunate but true. This isn't a large portion of administrating though to be honest.
@Sarev "I've been around all the same loops with understanding, installing and configuring OSS - poor quality or obsolete documentation, incompatible updates, every feature you never wanted, useless forums all with the same questions and no answers, infinite references to Yet More Stuff You Need To Know First, etc. Still I plough on... I'm actually in the pro-Linux and OSS camp but I have first-hand experience of how bloody annoying and hard work it can be."
I agree, and it sucks! However, I've seen the same in Windows (both within the OS, addons, and products Microsoft sells that don't quite work as documented, and are poorly documented.) I've seen it BIG TIME with OSX, where Jobs et. al HATE admitting to bugs so they can know about one and simply not document it, and assume apps are intuitive and so not document them properly.
webmin requires an https connection. the link given at:
"Drop the firewall for just long enough to go here."
won't work. it's always been https://yourserver:10000
unfortunately Ubuntu dropped it from the repos after sarge -
but the "old" repo is updated so just set up a file in sources.list.d
for the old sarge repo
# Webmin packages
deb http://download.webmin.com/download/repository sarge contrib
webmin is not "point and click" but provides a nice overview that you can't get from the command line - and it is very light on resources, unlike windows GUI bloatware
As someone who tries to work in Linux and Windows, Linux guys, Linux is a disaster and Webmin is the saving grace. Sure, if you know your onions then I'm sure Linux is just great.
Disappointingly the response in comments here from Linuxers attests to the problems faced by people moving to Linux: disregard for the outsider. The documentation is next to useless. Clearly Linuxers don't write documentation. Unless you can find somebody who has created a recipe for exactly what you want to do, you're stuck. And I mean *exactly* the same thing: same apps, same version of the same OS.
Why do I have to recompile a kernel to get some stuff installed? Why do I *have* to upgrade the OS to get recent builds of software installed? Having established a server using Ubuntu Hardy (following a script by Ivar Abramson) Postfix stopped working. After burrowing through log files I see that ClamAV stopped because it hit a magic date I knew nothing about. Just stopped. However I was unable to install an upgrade because more recent versions of Clam require an OS upgrade. *What*?? SO Hardy was what, 2007 and it's effectively dead already. Not because Canonical don't support it but because software suppliers are not minded to look after backwards compatibility.
Of course the seasoned Linuxer will comment that I've done it all wrong. But they didn't at the time.
Which goes to the question "Why still on Windows 2003" to which the answer is that you can install your software on just about any post-98 version of Windows. There's great comfort in being reasonably sure the OS will be around for a few years and that vendors software will probably run on it.
> Why do I have to recompile a kernel to get some stuff installed?
You don't. That's very old, very stinky bait.
> Why do I *have* to upgrade the OS to get recent builds of software installed?
Some authors require certain underlying suppprt code. That is true on many OSes.
> However I was unable to install an upgrade because more recent versions of Clam require an OS upgrade.
Hardy has a version of ClamAV that will work just fine. There are a variety of reasons why you might not have it - but they all boil down to you not installing updates in a timely fashion.
> SO Hardy was what, 2007 and it's effectively dead already.
No. Hardy was an LTS release, so it will have desktop support for 3 years - that takes you to next April.
> Not because Canonical don't support it but because software suppliers are not minded to look after backwards compatibility.
ClamAV had good reason to change the way they do things. I'd have preferred a slightly less catastrophic failure mechanism - but then every problem installation had been flagging the problem for about a year before they did this, so a "soft" fail would probably have been ignored.
The distributions I use all had packages ready to roll for the new ClamAV engine. That you didn't get it installed would appear to be a local administration problem, because the repos had the code you needed.
> Of course the seasoned Linuxer will comment that I've done it all wrong.
Yes, I'm afraid so.
> There's great comfort in being reasonably sure the OS will be around for a few years and that
> vendors software will probably run on it.
There are flavours of Linux around that provide a very stable platform - I'm using one right now. But you chose a distribution that has a stated policy of bringing out a new OS every six months.
"Linux is a disaster and Webmin is the saving grace." WRONG.
webmin is useful, but as I indicated earlier, not if you follow the
instructions given by the author of this article.
The correct address is given at the end of the installation,
in case if you do decide to give Webmin a try.
(by the way, it won't install on windoze -;)
Also to clarify the Ubuntu LTS policy:
"A new LTS version is usually released every 2 years. With the Long Term Support (LTS) version you get 3 years support on Ubuntu Desktop, and 5 years on Ubuntu Server."
We're talking about SERVER versions here. Quite a number of the previous posts seem hypothetical, others seem to be thinking more in terms of desktop than server.
I think a lot of you have forgotten or never learned that trolling was invented long before Linux.
The Linux community is hostile to newcomers.
Veterans frequently respond to questions by pointing rookies at a dense and difficult to understand man page or responding to any requests with a snarky “let me Google that for you.”
Is self defeating. The snarky hostile behaviour can be found on all blogs, comment sections, forums, IRC channels, BBS systems, and whatever else you can think of on any kind of subject. It was actually only two weeks ago I overheard someone with an overpowered transmitter trolling CB channel 35 with derogatory comments and polka music. Pity for him, because radio pirates are actively prosecuted here. Can't say the same for forum trolls.
>I think a lot of you have forgotten or never learned
>that trolling was invented long before Linux.
OK, so it's normal to be snarky and hostile. I can believe that.
And it must be that the Windows newsgroups (recently killed by MS) attracted a higher form of life. Perhaps from another planet.
You expected the BSD group to be snarky and arrogant: They had that reputation long before Linux, and they knew it.
What amazed me was the comp.* newsgroups who thought they WEREN'T snarky and arrogant. Arrogance may be the perogative of all programmers, but self-delusion is self-delusion where ever it is found.
And the delusion that comp.* was as friendly and helpful as microsoft.public was an amazingly arrogant delusion.
It occurred to me sort of recently that compared to WINDOZE - my neato linux OS, has had about 5-10% of the hassleware maintenance that all the microsoft stuff has...
I am not spending "days per week" scanning and running "spyware" + "malware" + "rootkits" + "defrag or scandisk" (and trying to find where the dickheads in microsoft hide the results).
I guess tho, long gone are the days of DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11 etc., and thus the capability and complexity increases thus....
Compared to Linux tho - Windows it's self is malware.