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Remote administration of Linux

The glory of Windows, Gates and the fences surrounding them ...

Ever wondered why you pay so much for those closed source products that

help you manage your system remotely on Windows. I guess it comes with the

territory. Realistically speaking there aren't many tools available out

there in the market that make remote administering of Windows a real easy

task. One of the most slick pieces of software that I know of comes from

the stables of Symantec called PC Anywhere.

In sharp contrast, the open source movement has several options for

remotely administering your PC. One of them is a nifty utility called

Webmin. Its home page is located at http://www.webmin.com.

Webmin as the name suggests is a Web Based tool for configuring and

tweaking your Linux box remotely. By remote I mean via a LAN/WAN or even

accessing a server hosted at some server farm or data center on a

broadband network with your service provider. Where your Linux box is

located doesn't really matter. All that you need to remotely maintain

your Linux box is a browser and a connection to the network. Preferably

you should be using a browser which supports JAVA and SSL.

Seasoned Linux users will claim that remote administration can be more

safely accomplished via a simple TELNET or SSH connection to the Linux

box. I do not dispute this point. However, there are a large section of

Linux users who are not comfortable typing cryptic commands at the Unix

shell prompt. A graphical and easy to use web based interface is no doubt

better from their point of view. And even for seasoned Linux users,

web-based administration does give you a certain level of flexibility. For

instance if you are traveling, you could walk up to a cybercafe and

configure your Linux box back home through a Windows based web browser.

Getting and Installing Webmin

As I mentioned earlier, you can download Webmin from it's home page

located at http://www.webmin.com or any of the mirrors mentioned out

there. The download size is a manageable 3 MB or so in the RPM format (Red

Hat Package Manager). I would suggest that you download the Webmin RPM's

from the site as they are comparatively easier to install. At present

Webmin is at version 0.82. Before you install Webmin you must make sure

you have Perl, version 5.005 or above, installed on your system. Every