Graphic Administration with Webmin
Can you benefit from Webmin? Who should use it? Jamie Cameron, Webmin's creator, said this program “may be better suited for less-experienced users who are unfamiliar with configuration file formats than for enterprise sysadmins who already have a detailed understanding of UNIX”. I fully agree with that opinion, although I'd add that even if you are quite familiar with configuration files and the like, you might welcome an easier (and sometimes quicker) way of doing things.
Webmin packs a quite impressive, always growing, number of functions, but it allows you to use only what you require, through clear menus and forms, and it detects possible errors before they can do any harm. You should at least consider it for its learning value, because you can examine configuration files before and after each change, and, thus, learn how something was (or should have been) done. You can't avoid learning about each function before diving in, but Webmin provides at least an easier road to becoming a more proficient sysadmin.
Usermin: a Tool for End Users
Usermin is a close relative of Webmin, designed to allow end users to manage several administrative functions on their own, such as changing passwords and user details, managing mail (though a standard e-mail client is a better solution) and more. Usermin is available by default when you install Webmin. You can access it by navigating to http://127.0.0.1:20000, where you'll see an interface very much like Webmin's, but with far fewer functions. In fact, you can configure which functions will appear with Webmin. Start that program, go to Webmin→Usermin Configuration→Available Modules, and select which modules should be available via Usermin. You don't need to log in to use Usermin; it will assume the rights of the current user.
Federico Kereki is an Uruguayan Systems Engineer, with more than 20 years' experience teaching at universities, doing development and consulting work, and writing articles and course material. He has been using Linux for many years, having installed it at several different companies. He is particularly interested in the better security and performance of Linux boxes.
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