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Old 06-22-2015, 05:30 PM   #1
papakota
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Your opinion about Webmin for Ubuntu Desktop


Hello!
Recently I found out about nice looking GUI interface for system administration tasks -- Webmin. I'm talking about Ubuntu desktop environment to be more specific. What I'm asking is... If this tool seems to be so convenient (at a first glance!), then why most experienced Linux system administrators prefer to work in CLI?
 
Old 06-23-2015, 09:53 AM   #2
Keith Hedger
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Webmin is very handy I admit and I always used to install and use when I first started using Linux, but frankly when you have a bit more experience its easier to just do what admin tasks you need directly, sometimes it's a little awkward finding a particular module in webmin, as a learning tool it's great but after a while you will find you use it less and less, one other good point about webmin is tries not to let you do stupid stuff which you can do in the cli, so recommended for the beginner.
 
Old 06-23-2015, 10:34 AM   #3
CedSha
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Webmin and more...

Hi,
I had the opportunity to use Webmin for a few months and I found it quite interesting and well done.
A good base of users to answer newbies questions, self update and lots of options...(Sometime I get lost...)
IMHO It looks more suitable for the administration of a Server system than for a Desktop one.
I believed after a while for experienced users, they will always find this or that option
not implemented in webmin and need to put their hand in the system...and once you start....
Also note their other software Virtualmin, and check competitor at web-control-panels-to-manage-linux-servers.
 
Old 06-23-2015, 01:31 PM   #4
suicidaleggroll
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As with nearly all GUIs, it's great for beginners and cumbersome/tedious for experts.

When you don't know what you're doing, GUIs are fantastic. They hold your hand through everything and let you get it up and running with minimal fuss.

When you do know what you're doing, GUIs are tedious. It's a PITA to have to mouse around and click through stupid menus when you know that all of it could be accomplished by one or two commands.

Take adding a user for example. If you don't know how to add a new user to your system on the CLI, then you run the GUI tool to do it. It walks you through selecting their user name, home directory, user and group IDs, etc. It's nice. It lets you enter all of the requisite information without fuss, worry, or research.

Now say you want to add 10 users to four different machines. You could still use the GUI, but it would take HOURS to go through all of the menus, it would be subject to typos and other errors, face planting the keyboard due to boredome, etc. OR, you could just ssh to the four different machines in four terminals, open up vi in a 5th, type this out:
Code:
ids=(1000 1001 1002 1003 1004 1005 1006 1007 1008 1009)
names=(user1 user2 user3 user4 user5 user6 user7 user8 user9 user10)
for ((i=0; i<${#ids[@]}; i++)); do
  groupadd -g ${ids[$i]} ${names[$i]}
  useradd -m -g ${ids[$i]} -u ${ids[$i]} ${names[$i]}
done
highlight it with your mouse, then middle click in the four ssh windows, and you're done in less than a minute.

You might ask, "well how on earth could I remember that complicated mess?"
You don't have to. Keep a file on your system with notes on system commands, title this one "adding users". Any time you need to add a user or a batch of users, pull up your notes, find the command, tweak the names/IDs, and copy and paste it into the terminal for your server.

You only need to learn the command once, write down some notes on it, and you're set for life. With GUIs, you need to re-learn them every time the developers decide to change the layout. And even if you know it like the back of your hand, you STILL need to go through all of the button-clicky menus to select your options, which will almost always be slower than typing out the equivalent command on the CLI.

With the GUI, you have maybe a 1 minute "learning time", and a 5 minute "execution time" whenever you have to use it. With the CLI, you have maybe a 30 minute "learning time", and a 10 second "execution time" whenever you have to use it. If you only have to do it once, the GUI is the clear winner, but as soon as you have to do something 5+ times, you're far better off learning how to do it on the CLI.

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 06-23-2015 at 01:37 PM.
 
Old 06-23-2015, 02:29 PM   #5
Keith Hedger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suicidaleggroll View Post
As with nearly all GUIs, it's great for beginners and cumbersome/tedious for experts.

When you don't know what you're doing, GUIs are fantastic. They hold your hand through everything and let you get it up and running with minimal fuss.

When you do know what you're doing, GUIs are tedious. It's a PITA to have to mouse around and click through stupid menus when you know that all of it could be accomplished by one or two commands ...
Completely untrue, badly written GUI's can be a pain ( Libre Office I'm looking at you! ), but to blanket say that only the CLI is the 'one true way' just exposes your own prejudices/preferences, I quite freely use a mix of GUI based apps and CLI based apps, the best tool for the job is the one that works best for you and what you want to do, you should not attempt to make other people feel bad/inferior because they choose to use a GUI based app, I for instance learned to program nearly 40 years ago on a single board machine with 512b of ram a hex keypad and a calculator type display, I have seen GUIs come and go and CLIs come and go they all have their strong points and weak points neither is better than the other and both ( should ) compliment each other, another for instance, when I rip a ( legal ) CD to my machine I use a gtk app that I wrote, which scans the cd gives me a list of tracks to rip and what format etc, I click ONE box to rip all tracks and ONE button to rip to FLAC/m4a/mp3, it pulls the cover from the web and arranges the folder hierarchy how I like it, I then randomly test a track or two to make sure they have been ripped OK via the command line with mplayer. Both apps do what they both should do well one is not superior to the other because it uses a GUI or a CLI.

And breathe ... Rant over, please don't take it personally.
 
Old 06-23-2015, 02:37 PM   #6
suicidaleggroll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Hedger View Post
Completely untrue, badly written GUI's can be a pain ( Libre Office I'm looking at you! ), but to blanket say that only the CLI is the 'one true way' just exposes your own prejudices/preferences
I didn't mean to say that all GUIs are tedious and worthless, I was primarily referring to server management GUIs, since Webmin is a server management GUI. There are many areas where GUI tools are far more efficient than CLI tools. For example web browsing, many media players, or anything that's touch-based (phones, tablets, etc.).

I've used a lot of server management GUIs over the years though, and I have yet to find one that's anywhere near as capable or quick as doing the job on the CLI, once you know what you need to do and how to do it.

This was in response to the OP's question:
Quote:
Originally Posted by papakota
What I'm asking is... If this tool seems to be so convenient (at a first glance!), then why most experienced Linux system administrators prefer to work in CLI?
 
Old 06-23-2015, 02:40 PM   #7
Keith Hedger
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If I got the wrong end of the stick I apologize but that was the impression I got.
 
Old 06-23-2015, 03:59 PM   #8
papakota
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Thank you all for sharing your opinions!
 
  


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