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[Discuss] webmin

On Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 2:14 PM, joe at <joe at> wrote:
>   The problem I have with GUI administration is if you make a mistake, you never quite know what file got configured incorrectly, then you end up troubleshooting the GUI to find out what to fix. 10 points for open-source. But if you know what you're doing in the first place, it's nice to click once and get it done.

I know it had its detractors (including me), but I think that IBM's
SMIT for AIX had a good idea.    Put a "gui/text-based" wrapper around
the command line tools/config files and then show the user of the
wrapper exactly what commands/file changes were being done as a result
of their requested configuration change.   (Or at least that is how I
vaguely remember how SMIT worked.)   Such a wrapper both allows novice
admins to get things done while (hopefully) teaching them something
about what is really happening under the covers.

For whatever reason, that idea doesn't seem to have caught on.   I
would even argue that we have gone backwards in the Linux world.   For
example, it seems like every Linux distribution now hides its boot
time status messages behind a contentless graphical boot image.  The
result is that users never have a clue what is going on when their
system is booting.   I understand that we don't want to "scare people
away", but it seems like in the process we are losing out on educating
them as well.   If it was truly the case that our computer system
never required human intervention to make them work, then it wouldn't
matter; but it seems unlikely that is going to happen any time soon.

Bill Bogstad

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