eBox per sysadmin

eBox, parlando di Ubuntu Gusty Server. Il tool è una console amministrativa dotata di interfaccia web che permette la gestione di tutti i servizi di una Linux box con semplicità.


eBox is a web interface for sysadmins similar to for example Webmin or ClarkConnect. The development began 2004 and was initiated by some spanish companies. Today it is driven by Warp Networks and the community..
The web interface it provides is easy-to-use and is targeted at non-computer/linux people to manage and configure a server. And the feature list is pretty impressive: eBox can manage most services needed in daily tasks, including such things like a Jabber server, content filters and PDC.
However, I also miss three things: configuration plugins for an Asterisk server, for backup solutions like bacula – and statistics. Especially the last point is a bit odd for such a tool, but it is a planned feature.

Compared to Webmin it offers the advantage of a really polished and appealing interface – Webmin is ugly (it uses frames, for a start, and the general design should be re-created in favour of a usability wise developed one), and that is indeed a reason why I would not use it. Technically it also differs because eBox stores the configuration in its own xml file, and therefore overwrites any manual changes made in the meantime. This is somewhat two edged: it can make things more reliable because the service config files are generated out of the xml file and will have no wrong entries. But it also makes it quite difficult to change the config file by hand – you have to use eBox all the time.
Also, eBox is currently available to Debian distributions only. I think this is connected to the abstraction layer which I guess is pretty Debian specific. Webmin can be used on many different distributions.

In comparison to ClarkConnect the advantage of CC is that is has much more modules (and an even nicer web interface I think) including for example a bacula interface. On the other side CC is connected to its own distributions so you are somewhat forced in regards of your platform. eBox simply sits on top of a distribution you can modify as you want and work with as you are used to.

If eBox now really becomes the standard of server management in Ubuntu it is likely that it will include more features and more modules pretty soon. It is nice to see such a web interface as a default choice for managing servers. I would like to see something similar in Fedora or CentOS/RHEL for example, but I’m not aware of anything similar.