UbuntuEasyBusinessServer

Please check the status of this specification in Launchpad before editing it. If it is Approved, contact the Assignee or another knowledgeable person before making changes.

Summary

This spec describes Ubuntu's Easy Business Server, a configuration utility aimed at making it easy for non-technical businesses set up an Ubuntu based server for various things. I specifically does not deal with file and print services as that's covered in UbuntuEasyFilePrintServer

Rationale

The free software universe in general, and Ubuntu in particular, already provides most of the tools and infrastructure components needed to fulfill the needs of small businesses. What we need is good integration between these components and easy configuration.

Use Cases

  • John is a Sysadmin with experience in other Microsoft-Branded OSes. He expects that Ubuntu Easy Bussiness Server brings similar features 'out-of-the-box' as Microsoft-branded OSes. He expects a simple way to connect remotely to the server configured out-of-the-box (VNC will be fine).

Scope

User management, file and print services are covered in UbuntuEasyFilePrintServer.

The following services will be included(in no particular order):

  • Groupware
    • Mail server (internal and external)
      • Multiple domains
      • Aliases
      • vacation integration
    • Calendar server
      • Sharing of free/busy schedule
    • Contact Management (Added by gQuigs 2007-3-15)
      • Optional: Storing telephone call information
    • Jabber or IRC server
  • Infrastructure
    • DHCP
    • DNS
    • Time
    • Firewall/Internet gateway
    • VPN

Design

The single most important keyword is simplicity.

The interface will be web based and some means of accessing it on the machine's console will be provided.

The interface will in every possible way help the user make good decisions.

While providing a really simple frontend, the backend should set up a system that any experienced admin will find professional and pleasing to work with.

Implementation

Everything in this spec will likely be done as plugins to whatever the outcome of UbuntuEasyFilePrintServer may be.

Data preservation and migration

Unresolved issues

BoF agenda and discussion

Comments

Comment by ArtCancro on 2007-03-15: may I suggest Citadel http://www.citadel.org as the groupware component? It would save an awful lot of work because it's got all of the mail and calendar stuff built in.

Comment by PaulKishimoto on 2007-03-20: I added UbuntuServerTasks and AdministerServerViaWebInterface to the related specs list. The former has already been approved, and the creator seems to know something about tasksel, which sounds like it would be useful.

Comment by SorenHansen on 2007-03-20: UbuntuServerTasks (and tasksel) is not quite what I'm after. Those tasks are simply a collection of existing packages. E.g. a web server task would just install apache and a number of interpreters. This spec is more about configuration. AdministerServerViaWebInterface on the other hand looks very similar to this. Interesting.

Comment by PaulKishimoto on 2007-03-22: I'm not a packaging expert, but I suspect .deb install scripts for different groupware packages may interact with each other and modify configuration files. I imagined a use case where Bob installs Ubuntu Server from a CD, chooses certain tasks (ie. package sets), adds the "uebs" package, and then points a web browser at the new server. Several of the tasks in UbuntuServerTasks install the groupware UEBS would configure, so instead of depending on packages directly it could recognizes and enable modules for only those packages which are installed.

I also should have mentioned two blog posts by Herman Bos from Planet Ubuntu: http://dev.osso.nl/herman/blog/2006/12/27/management-framework-2/ and http://dev.osso.nl/herman/blog/2007/01/31/ambition-readjustment/. I'm not sure what you had planned, a client-server model would make it possible to use either the web client or develop a PyGTK client to run on an administrator's desktop. He might have some helpful thoughts on this.

Comment by SorenHansen on 2007-03-22: Yes, postinst scripts might change configurations and whatnot, but that will not be a problem here. When installing uebs, it will "take over" the proper configuration files. Besides, the configuration file handling outlined should mitigate any problems that might arise from other things (possibly a human) changing the configuration files. UEBS will also be modular in nature, so if someone doesn't want certain bits managed, he will just not install the corresponding module. Only when used as an install option (the common use case, I suspect) will all modules be enabled by default. I've also seen Heman Bos' blog posts, but as far as I can tell, we're solving different problems here. That said, there might very well be basis for some cooperation along the way. By the way: Please don't just insert extra spaces here and there unless there's a reason. It's a pain to go through the diffs and try to figure out what was changed. Smile :-)

Comment by EdwardMurrell on 2007-04-13: Have you considered using Kerberos for authentication? NFSv4 practically requires it, and it would mean that you get automagic secure authentication. If you're already implementing DNS and NTP, then you're halfway there. If you need some help on intergrating it with LDAP, I can feed you the work I've done to get it going here.

Comment by SorenHansen on 2007-04-13: This has turned into a Summer of Code project for me. My main focus is going to be on getting the framework together and building all the groupware-like plugins. The target group for this is mostly the not-so-technical bunch of people who want to use Ubuntu as a server, and I think Kerberos is a bit out of scope for them. Nevertheless, there's nothing per se wrong with having a Kerberos plugin available. I can ping you when the plugin API starts to stabilize, then maybe you can work on the plugin your self. Thanks for your input

Please also add jabber and wiki, as both authenticate off of ldap this should be reasonable, also another great addition would be dyndns, though that's a little pie in the sky. ~~~

Comment by AndyB on 2007-05-15: Don't reinvent the wheel. A good webinterface wich meets a lot of these requirement already exists: eBox (www.ebox-platform.com) It's written in Perl and based on Debian, so the changes should not be too big. I think if a collaboration comes up, that would be a very successful one.

Comment by MathiasGug on 2007-05-28 : Related to configuration files generation in ebox : it would be better to detect when configuration files have been modified locally, ie not by ebox. If so warn the user about it and put the configuration file and his corresponding module out of ebox control (make the module unavailable in ebox for example). That way, advanced sysadmins can still administer the server if they don't want to use ebox. As soon as end user start to play with the configuration files directly, it can be assumed that they know what they're doing and ebox should get out of their way. Yast uses the same approach, which raised some comments from users at UDS Sevilla : they want to have the choice to use Yast (if it suits them) or not (if they need more control).

Comment by Isaac Clerencia on 2007-05-30: As others have said eBox already provides the whole infrastructure part and more. Working from eBox, adding groupware modules and, if deemed necessary, enabling the system administrator to do local modifications should be the easiest path towards UbuntuEasyBusinessServer. We would be thrilled if eBox would be used as the base for the Ubuntu SME server.

Comment by Leen Toelen on 2007-10-23: Maybe look at zimbra for the mailserver part? --> [Response by DaveWalker] In my experience with Zimbra, it doesn't co-exist with other application very well. Other's opinions might differ.

Comment by Michael Lustfield (MTecknology) on 2007-05-22: Zimbra doesn't work well with other applications. One reason for this is it's need for performance. It has a lot going on and that makes it need a buff system. My server has 512MB Registered RAM. I suffer lag during load time, but the AJAX part reduced the load afterward. The other reason, and perhaps the biggest, is the custom software. When installing Zimbra, there is a custom apache, postfix, etc. package installed. In fact, everything it uses is custom. Therefor, it probably isn't well suited for this project, unless you get together with Zimbra themselves.

Comment by Christian Merlin on 2008-06-30: I think that for groupware SoGO http://sogo.opengroupware.org/ would be very nice: Open Source Licence. Use Ldap for authentication and PostgreSQL for data managment. The web interface is equal to Thunderbid plus Lightning. There is a plugin for syncronization with Funambol.

Comment by NealMcBurnett on 2008-07-31: See for comparison SME Server based on CentOS.

Comment by Christiaan on 2012-11-09: Something long the lines of How to setup an Ubuntu Business Box Server


CategorySpec

UbuntuEasyBusinessServer (last edited 2012-11-09 15:46:51 by bj7u6139zdyf2a6nz2ly74oe-info-jjcftv6wldnzq84cskygyvhq)