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  • Launchpad Entry: ebox

  • Packages affected: openldap, samba, ntp-server, dhcp3-server, openvpn, network-manager-openvpn


Package ebox (http://www.ebox-platform.com/) for Ubuntu and provide it as an easily accessible installation option on the server cd.

Release Note

This version of Ubuntu features a new Ebox install option. Put in the server CD, select the Ebox option and just wait. You'll be greeted by a web interface allowing you to set up network and install other services.


EBox fill a big gap in our Ubuntu Server offering. It provides easily configurable file and printer sharing, jabber service, ntp server, dhcp server, vrtual mail server, openvpn server, and other things we may want to add to it later. We have all these things already, but setting them up is difficult to new users.

Use Cases

  • Mark runs a small business. He knows other companies have snazzy ways of sharing files and printers and he wants in on the fun.




eBox upstream has tended to consider eBox a server platform by itself, rather than simply a configuration frontend. This means that many things have been implemented by setting up separate instances of services with separate configuration files, etc. (e.g. LDAP data was kept in /var/lib/ebox/ldap). Also, when removing eBox, the system was back to the way it was before eBox was installed. We will be working towards making eBox work as more of a configuration frontend for the existing system services, so that eBox could be dropped in, used to configure stuff, ripped out, and everything will keep running.

To comply with Debian Policy certain changes must also be made.. When first enabling a new module in eBox it must ask the user if it's ok to overwrite his existing configuration. Also, if the user has made changes to his configuration since eBox last wrote it, eBox must make it obvious to the user that his configuration files are about to be overwritten (or at least edited).

With regard to installation, an extra option will be added to the bootsplash ("Install Ebox server"). This would allow us to preseed things like network configuration since that is much more elegantly handled by ebox than by d-i.

Modules to target for Hardy

  • SAMBA [required]
    • PDC [optional]
    • File
    • Print
    • Join Domain (front end to jerry's CLI)
  • User Management
    • should use whatever backend has been configured (AD, LDAP, passwd) [not required but highly recomended] only if LDAP is local
    • Add/Remove user/group
    • Add/remove user to group
  • Printer [required]
    • Not sure that it is working
    • Printer level CUPS management
  • DHCP [required]
    • Trivial
  • DNS [not required]
  • NTP [not required]
  • Mail Server [not required, users]

UI Changes

It would be nice to have ebox more ubuntu-looking.


eBox has a mechanism for importing existing configurations. This should be thoroughly tested to make sure that eBox does not break things that already work. Also, the user must acknowledge that eBox is about start managing a service.

Test/Demo Plan

It's important that we are able to test new features, and demonstrate them to users. Use this section to describe a short plan that anybody can follow that demonstrates the feature is working. This can then be used during CD testing, and to show off after release.

This need not be added or completed until the specification is nearing beta.

Outstanding Issues (a.k.a. the todo list)

Please do not add anything to this list without asking SorenHansen.

  • Replace sudo with userv
  • Figure out how to handle complex (e.g. Samba) configuration (only changing the minimal necessary to achieve what the user asked in the eBox ui is practically impossible)
  • Be painfully sure that no existing configuration is overwritten without the user's consent.
  • Don't have a default ebox password. Rather set it to something random and make it easy to reset from the console.

BoF agenda and discussion

Webmin is often mentioned as an alternative for web-based GUI admininstration of servers. Webmin was part of the Ubuntu "universe" early on, but was dropped before the 6.06 Dapper release. See "Why was webmin dropped?" at https://answers.edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/2873 for the reasons, but among other things, it is not compatible with the way that Ubuntu packages handle configuration files, and is likely to cause unexpected issues with system upgrades, etc.


EboxSpec (last edited 2008-08-06 16:20:54 by localhost)