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Re: Running X on servers

On Tue, 3 Dec 2002, M. Yu wrote:

>I was recently installing RedHat 8.0 in my office PC and noticed that it now
>comes with a package group labeled "Server Configuration Tools".  Clicking
>on Details show that the set contain RPMs that RH put together to provide
>GUI front ends to configuration tools (others are config tools in
>themselves) - they are named redhat-config-<something>.rpm.  It seems to me
>that RH is now leaning towards using a GUI-based system.  Brings me memories
>of when I had access to a Sun Netra-I running Solaris/SunOS, and x86
>machines running WinNT/2K.
>Anyway, I think this goes against keeping server installations as lean as
>possible.  Personally, I install and run servers using text mode only (most
>are headless machines with VERY low end video cards - most of my linux
>routers/firewalls/VPN gateways are even using ISA cards!!!).  To me, running
>X on a server is not only illogical but a waste of precious resources and
>introducing a potential security risk.  I also think that using text mode
>forces one to actually see/learn what is being done instead of hiding it
>behind GUI front-ends.  Then again, I know RH is just trying to make it easy
>for new hostmasters (I'll refrain from calling them sysads) to use/configure
>these machines.  In the end though, IMHO, it'll only introduce more
>incompetent hostmasters who call themselves sysadmins as soon as they learn
>the intricacies of the concept of point-and-click.  And when the proverbial
>sh*t hits the fan, i.e. X wouldn't load, they're stuck there staring at the
>screen feverishly typing in MS-DOS commands like HELP and wondering why
>typing a command followed by "/?" doesn't show a syntax/help screen (ok a
>bit harsh, but you get the point).
>So, what about you guys, where do you stand?  Do think running X on servers
>is the way to go?
>Informed opinions only, please cat flames/rants > /dev/null   :-)

X11 is a network protocol.  You do not EVER need to install an X 
server on any server machine *ever*.  You can run our X based 
configuration utilities just fine from an ssh shell with display 
to a remote X server.

Mike A. Harris     ftp://people.redhat.com/mharris
OS Systems Engineer - XFree86 maintainer - Red Hat

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