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i have stumbled upon these GUI tools that could help you manage your linux server through a web interface.

ebox, webmin, ispconfig, zivios, ispcp, plesk, cpanel etc.

i wonder what the pros and cons are with these solutions.

a lot of people is saying that they are not as good as using pure command line (ssh) to manage your server.

but i think thats yet another "linux are for advanced users" talk.

i agree that a lot of things may only be done with the command line by editing directly in the configuration files. but i don't really want to do that every time and for everything. especially basic configurations these could manage.

its like not having phpmyadmin for managing mysql. it would be a pain in the ass right?

so if one wants to throw up a web server serving a php site oneself developed and wants all the usual stuff up and running (mysql, phpmyadmin, svn, webdav etc) is these tools the right way to go? and for more advanced features, one just use the terminal like old days. is this a smart way of managing a linux server?

and which one would you choose? have you used any of these and could share your thoughts about them?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

One of the pros of using GUI tools is their ability to present management information in a convenient way that allows to see many aspects of the managed application at once, and to provide aggregated views of the system. GUI tolls can show information in tables, colors and layouts. In order words, they allow to "take a quick look" and access the situation quickly. That makes GUI tools better suitable for operations control and management.

On the other side, GUI tools are impossible to use for scripting.

The command line tools may allow to obtain detailed information that is not available to GUI tools, and allow to automate management activities by using scripting. But, they are not as good at providing aggregated views and long-term monitoring.

Summary: Use GUI tools if you are in the business of the daily monitoring and management. Use command line to perform specialized activities and to automate tasks. In other words, install both.

Hope this helps.

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I like these answers based on good reasoning. +1 –  Saeed Neamati Mar 31 '13 at 6:51
  1. Pros of GUI: convenience. you can do things fast with a click of a button.
  2. Cons of GUI: you can't (most often) do automated tasks. Also, if you are login in from remote through a shell, you can't use your GUI tool, not without some extra steps to configure to launch windows). (Note that some GUI tools allow you to script task as well)
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