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Use a GUI tool for system management - revisited Apps
Back in December of 2000, I published an article about using Webmin as a web-based administrative tool for OS X. At that time, OS X wasn't directly supported, and not all features worked as expected. Read the original article for an overview of the Webmin feature, but basically, it puts full control of most of the UNIX command-line applications (configure Apache, FTP, etc.) into a browser-based interface.

At some point in the release cycle, Webmin added support for both OS X and OS X Server, which means that everything works as expected under OS X. Installation is trivial; download the package, put it where you want it to run from, and then type
sudo ./
to run the setup script. You can use the default answers to every question, just make sure you pick the correct OS from the list (OS X is number 40). It even supports versions 10.0.x and 10.1. It even comes with a nice uninstaller. Just type
sudo /etc/webmin/
and it will stop the server and remove itself from your system.

I highly recommend Webmin as an easy way to administer the UNIX side of Mac OS X. Be careful, however, as you can easily change some things that may have unintended consequences ... that's the downside of easy access to everything!
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Use a GUI tool for system management - revisited | 12 comments | Create New Account
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Authored by: charlietuna on Nov 02, '01 01:29:47PM

this is a very smart product!

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Authored by: tomsinclair on Nov 04, '01 11:08:37PM

Webmin is one of the packages I install on every *NIX system I set up. I've been using it
to configure Samba (ver. 2.2.2 is the latest) and it works just great.

One thing, though. I'd like it to start up at boot-time automatically. Rather than
edit the system boot scripts (/etc/rc) I'm trying to set this up under /Library/StartupItems.

However, I can't seem to get it to start up correctly. I tried to use the Samba startup
files for a guide but I still seem to be missing something.

Anyone have any clues on this?

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Got startup working
Authored by: tomsinclair on Nov 07, '01 04:42:11PM

First of all, thanks to all the folks here who e-mailed me with suggestions to
fix the problem.

I think the problem was that the StartupItems folder webmin was looking for didn't
exist. I uninstalled Webmin and re-installed it and now it comes up fine.

I love this product....

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Authored by: bluehz on Nov 05, '01 10:37:11AM

I don't care what anyone says about the security issues involved with this (and they seem minimal) - after installing this and playing around with it this weekend I have a MUCH DEEPER understanding of the processes that are going on. Sure these items can all be set in the CLI - but if nothing else, this makes a great product for learning what everything does, how it affects other processes, etc. I am very pleased!!!

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Authored by: sharumpe on Nov 02, '01 03:00:56PM

Wow. The thought of ever using a Web-based interface to administer my system is TERRIFYING. The thing is run by Apache, right? And the scripts/programs underlying this must have root access to do what they're doing. So, you have something running through a Web server that has root access - if the machine is connected to a network, this is asking for big trouble. Considering the audience, it is possible that Apache's access configuration may be incorrect or less-than-totally secure. I can't even concentrate, this is so scary.


I'm not one for knocking cool tech (and it IS cool that someone managed to do this) but the risks FAR outweigh the benefits, IMO.

Mr. Sharumpe

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Authored by: charlietuna on Nov 02, '01 04:10:02PM

it doesn't run on apache. it has its own server. you can also restrict logins to localhost.

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Authored by: charlietuna on Nov 02, '01 04:12:21PM

i also forgot to mention that it includes support for SSL too. i'm trying to redo the makefile for the perl SSL module so it will work with my fink installation of openssl.

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Authored by: mickeycoke on Nov 03, '01 09:04:24PM

Does anyone know where FTP is supposed to be located under os X.1? Way back I had manually installed apache and mysql and since then i am not sure if my ftp works properly.

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Authored by: rushmoom on Nov 04, '01 09:54:46PM

ftp should already be in your path (/usr/bin/ftp). You can make sure that ftp is running/working by ftp'ing to localhost:

>ftp localhost

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where is FTP?
Authored by: ~dp on Apr 15, '02 11:01:11PM

Stating the obvious, but I hope it may be of help to some:

*nix has an easy to remember command to find out where some executable is:

[eisvogel:~] eisvogel% whereis ftp

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Yes, but how do I get it to always run?
Authored by: allenhuffman on Feb 12, '02 06:50:26PM

I've been using Webmin ever since I found out about it (probably here) but I don't know how to make it auto-start. I always drop in and run again <grin> after a reboot. I can't really find anything specific in the docs under the keywords I am using. Do I need to stick it in inetd so it can run like the other deamons? Is that the appropriate place?

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Yes, but how do I get it to always run?
Authored by: allenhuffman on Aug 12, '02 07:09:59PM

Okay, so now I run ./start in the /etc/webmin area. I've found only one example in all of DejaNews (er, Google Groups) about making it auto start and I followed their pattern and it doesn't do a thing. Ah well. Anyone?

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