Sunday, June 14, 2009

eBox Moves Onto the Desktop

I recently posted about eBox, an easy way for non-Unix admins to administrate Ubuntu boxes with a web GUI. In a surprising and exciting move, the devs have to integrate desktops. What's that mean?
  • Authentication against eBox LDAP: The user database is stored only on the eBox server and if you have an account on it you can login from any machine on the network. This works exactly as the PDC feature for Windows clients, but in this case with Ubuntu clients.
  • Autoconfiguration of desktop clients for the services provided by eBox (mail, samba, Jabber, VoIP, ...): The first time the user logs in a machine it creates a home directory with the proper preconfigured settings.
    • Evolution (Mail service): The mail account of the user is read from ldap and added.
    • Nautilus (File sharing): Links to the samba user share and all group shares for the user are added on the desktop.
    • Ekiga (VoIP): The asterisk account for the user is added. A workaround is needed to ask the user for the password before start Ekiga the first time because it can't do it if it isn't specified in the configuration.
    • Pidgin (Jabber service): The jabber account of the user (if it has one) is added. It also adds a conference to its buddy list for each group that the user belongs to.
    • Firefox (eGroupware & User corner): Links to this two services are added to the bookmarks toolbar. Currently it only works if the user corner port is the default one (8888).

Wow. This is the first dead-simple log-on service for Ubuntu clients (that I know of, anyway, and I try to keep my ear to the ground). SUSE and RHEL have had good solutions for their distributions for a while, but eBox sets Ubuntu 9.04 and beyond up for SME use.


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