Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

A GUI for system management Apps
Surfing randomly the other day, I happened upon webmin, a collection of Perl scripts that are designed to help manage a UNIX system via a web-based front end. Webmin includes a mini web-server which serves up browser pages designed to help you visually manage a number of basic UNIX tasks, such as process management; scheduling tasks (including a visual scheduler, quite cool!); viewing system logs in real time, managing servers such as apache, dns, sendmail, and mysql; installing custom commands; and a numer of other key tasks.

You can get a flavor for the front-end from this screenshot of the Apache management panel. As you can see, it can customize nearly every piece of the Apache configuration file.

I downloaded and installed webmin just to see if it would work. It supports a huge number of UNIX variants, including freeBSD and Mac OS X Server. I told it I had OS X Server, and found that some modules worked, and some did not. The important ones (the scheduler, Apache configuration, system log browsing) all seemed to work fine. I had to edit a couple paths in the webmin settings, but this was easily done via the web browser.

One note of caution - this is a large package, consisting of over 4,000 files and 17+mb of disk space. It comes with a very nice installer and uninstaller, both of which worked as advertised ... with one exception. Make sure you install it on a volume with no spaces in the volume name, otherwise the installer will complain and fail.

Read the rest if you'd like to see how to install it.

Installing webmin is quite simple; there are instructions on their site, but the basics are to decompress the package, and then run the setup program as root. That's about all it requires.

I had to manually edit the path for Apache files in order to make that module work. You can access this in the webmin configuration panel of the program itself. There are a huge number of UNIX variants to pick from as the base OS, and they can be changed post-install via the web browser. I didn't experiment with any of the BSD options to see how well they might work.

Overall, it's a quite impressive package ... as with anything this powerful, however, the potential to greatly damage your system is probably equally impressive. Use it with caution!
    •    
  • Currently 1.82 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (11 votes cast)
 
[14,595 views]  

A GUI for system management | 6 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'A GUI for system management' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Webmin rocks
Authored by: tomsinclair on Dec 13, '00 09:59:05AM

I use Webmin to manage Linux servers both at home and at work (I teach computer
networking at a small technical college). There are a couple of seriously cool things about
webmin that weren't mentioned:

- You can delegate administrator tasks without giving out an administrator password.
- You can create your own Webmin modules using perl, which is included with OS X. (See
the Webmin page http://www.webmin.com/webmin for more instructions on this.

All in all, webmin would be a great way to add a gui to just about all of the tasks that are now
done at the terminal prompt. In addition, it can allow you to remotely administer your OS X
machine (or multiple OS X machines along with UNIX/Linux machines) through a simple
Web browser.

So, not for the faint of heart, but worth checking into if you're interested in digging into
administration.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Webmin rocks
Authored by: pascalpp on Jun 01, '01 01:07:12AM

so i've installed webmin and played around with it, and decided it's not for me. very cool, but not for me. the article mentions an uninstaller script, but i can't find it. where is it?

-p



[ Reply to This | # ]
Webmin rocks
Authored by: carsten on Mar 02, '03 02:33:33AM

The uninstall script is somewhere like /etc/webmin/uninstall.sh

If you can't locate it for some reason, just delete the webmin folder from the directory etc, as well as the webmin folder itself (wherever is was when you first installed it.)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Help w/ Webmin
Authored by: Anonymous on Dec 23, '00 06:06:22AM

Aloha Guys,

I've had Mac OS X Server for about a year and a half and happen to try Webmin once. It was
really cool but Mac OS X Server was hard to use. So I got Mac OS X PB which is much more
easy. Well I'm ready to get my hand wet on Webmin. So could you guys figure out all the
technical stuff for us (the wannabe) to run on PB with out any problem:)

Much Mahalo,
Guest W.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Securing Webmin via SSL
Authored by: Anonymous on Feb 24, '02 06:45:19PM

Webmin is a great tool for Unices, just OK for OS X client and server. I use it to manage my Sun Solaris 8 servers at work rather than SMC. The big caveat is that using it as-is over http is unsecure. Anyone using snoop or a packet sniffer can compromise your machine(s). Using OpenSSL under MacOS X secures this wonderful and free tool.

Until recently, the headers for ssl were not available, now they are. Apple has released the "Darwin Development Environment" with includes these headers.

Get Webmin at:

curl -0 http://www.webmin.com/download/webmin-0.92.tar.gz

I mv'd it to WebMin and placed it in the Utilities Folder. You can put it anywhere.

do your extract mojo

RTFM to setup webmin first.

Under recently, the headers for ssl were not available, now they are. Apple has released the "Darwin Development Environment" with includes these headers.


Download "Darwin Development Environment for Mac OS X" at:

curl -0 http://www.opensource.apple.com/projects/darwin/1.4/darwintools.pkg.tar

Extract it:

tar -xvf darwintools.pkg.tar

Install it with your admin password.

Download the Perl Mod "Net_SSLeay.pm"

curl -0 http://www.cpan.org/modules/by-module/Net/Net_SSLeay.pm-1.13.tar.gz

do your extract mojo

cd Net_SSLeay.pm-1.13


./Makefile.PL -t # builds and tests it, or "perl Makefile.PL"
make install # You probably have to su to root to do this
perldoc Net::SSLeay # optional, but highly recommended
perldoc Net::SSLeay::Handle

If the command perl -e 'use Net::SSLeay' doesn't output any error message, then the SSL support that Webmin needs is properly installed.

Go to:

http://127.0.0.1:10000/webmin/edit_ssl.cgi

Of course you installed Webmin didn't you? It may just take you back to the login. If not use https.

Enable SSL

Go to https://127.0.0.1:10000/

You'll notice your browser with say somethings wrong (can't be verified) with the certificate. It's a "self-signed certificate" not verified by an external yahoo like verisign, hence the error. It is encrypted however.

You can create other certificates per webmin user. You'll have to change the path to openssl in webmin at:

https://127.0.0.1:10000/config.cgi?acl

The correct path under 10.1 is:

/usr/bin/openssl

You can also create another certificate authority (CA) at:

https://127.0.0.1:10000/webmin/edit_ca.cgi

For your webmin server.

Abracafiggindabra your done!




[ Reply to This | # ]
Addendum: Securing Webmin via SSL
Authored by: Anonymous on Feb 24, '02 08:34:56PM

You may have to use:

perl ./Makefile.PL /usr/bin/openssl

for it to successfully find openssl



[ Reply to This | # ]