Wild-eyed thinking aloud: Python System Management Infrastructure
quinn at retch.ugcs.caltech.edu
Thu Aug 9 22:37:11 CEST 2001
On 7 Aug 2001 09:26:54 -0700, Aahz Maruch <aahz at panix.com> wrote:
>In article <jtg0b5guox.fsf at wazor.biostat.wisc.edu>,
>William Annis <annis at biostat.wisc.edu> wrote:
>> I was with you up to the web interface. I don't know about
>>you, but *this* sysadmin breaks out in hives at the idea of putting
>>system control and configuration behind a web server... by definition
>>a public service.
>On the gut level, I kind of agree with you. But let's walk through
>this, shall we? What, really, is the difference between a telnet
>session and a web session?
Security: I can install and use ssh easily. For http, I'm not so sure. It's
probably pretty easy if you know what you're doing, but I recall all sorts of
stuff about apache patches, httpd.conf changes, certificate authorities,
authentication realms, etc.
Complexity: With an ssh link you can use plain text. Over http you have to
use complicated html and use some giant bloated browser to see it. I use
systems that have no web browser, but do have ssh. And a web thing is going
to have some complicated nest of cgi scripts that will wind up doing the same
stuff you can do directly with a shell.
Debugging: I hate debugging web stuff.
Speed: Web forms are slow and clumsy.
Flexibility: It's quite handy to write shell or python scripts to mangle and
pipe things into system configuration tools, or grab the output and pass it
And most importantly, what would a web interface give you? It just seems like
a slower, more complicated and awkward way to solve the same problems. It's
like using a complicated remote-control robot to clean your room instead of
just walking in and picking stuff up. Or, since this is a hypothetical
management system, using a remote control robot to manipulate a a control
panel to manipulate a herd of remote control robots to clean a bunch of rooms.
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