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The user interface toolkit provide a high level API. This allows
one to write code once and run it in the 3 user interfaces without
General properties of the API
- Some pass through exist allowing one to write code which is
aware of the user interface currently running. It is
barely used in Linuxconf (Not necessary).
- Use a classical programming model (also known as modal).
This is much easier to use than event driven toolkits so
more people may learn how to write modules.
- Supports an advanced user interface threading allowing
the creation of amodal dialogs (making event driven technology
unnecessary). This is why you can visit various aspect of
Linuxconf at once while running the GUI version.
The graphical user interface has these characteristics
- The graphical user interface is made with a separated graphical
front-end which may operate on a separate machine.
- The protocol between the two parts may be run on top
of something else (such as ssh). The offers maximum
flexibility and security.
- It is possible to create graphical front-end for other
operating system, allowing them easy and sophisticated
remote administration of Linux workstation and servers.
- The current GUI front-end is done with the wxXt toolkit
which is portable to windows. A remadmin.exe utility
would be doable with very little efforts.
- Another front-end written in Java is almost complete, giving
the ability to cover almost any operating system.
- A remadmin clone is currently developed for the gnome
project, using the gtk toolkit. Status unknown at this time.
- The graphical frontend has the ability to create arbitrary
complex dialogs. Its might be use for something else than
- There is no pass though in Linuxconf user interface API allowing
fancier usage of the GUI front-end. Some monitoring modules might
be created one day that will rely on more flexible dialogs
as will require enhancing the API to provide better control.
- Usage of the pass through is not encouraged though. Having
a common look for most/all administration component is a goal
of Linuxconf. User are not using the admin tool all the time, so
it has to be as uniform as possible.
Linuxconf provides some special entry points (command line options)
which are especially suitable for desktop users
- "linuxconf --shutdown" jumps right in the shutdown dialog
of the control panel. Users need proper privilege to get there
though. Because of the GUI, this may be include in a desktop
menu or icon.
- "passwd". Linuxconf provides a replacement for the passwd
command. It enhances its look both in text mode and GUI.
Because it runs from the GUI, this is also suitable for
inclusion in a desktop menu.
- "netconf --dialctl": This pops the PPP dialout control panel.
Proper privilege is needed to use that.
The HTML user interface has these characteristics
- No web server needed. Linuxconf manage the HTTP protocol from
port 98. This ports is also used for remote administration
and cluster management.
- Linuxconf does not support SSL on that port, so the HTML
interface is limited security wise.
- Special entry points are provided to give access to
some aspect of Linuxconf without seeing the rest of the menu
- One special entry point is provided to let user change
- Modules can define new entry points on the fly.
- Currently the HTML presentation is a bit weak. It could be enhance
by reusing the various icons now available for the GUI version
and it could also use frame. All those changes are easily
done at a central part in the toolkit, so does not affect
any components of Linuxconf (no recoding).
About the help screens
- They are written in linuxdoc-sgml.
- In text and GUI mode, a simple text viewer is used. In HTML
mode, the HTML version is used. We hope to go to HTML
for every user interfaces. In text mode, lynx is considered
to display the help. In GUI, various solutions are possible.
- Only one or two help screens are translated.
- As of this writing, there are 123 help screens defined
and 44 of them are missing.
- By using HTML for all version, those help screens might become
the starting point to investigate various aspect of Linux. Link
to htmlised man page and other resources could be hooked at the
end of various help screens.
UN-bundling the user interface toolkit from Linuxconf
- The user interface toolkit is small enough to fit
on an install disk. A prototype of this has been done.
- The advantage of using this toolkit for installation
tasks are very important: Programmers would need
to develop a single expertise to do administration
modules and installation component.
- If one day, one goes for a graphical install, most
of the component will work unmodified.
- the user interface toolkit of Linuxconf is actively
maintained because Linuxconf is growing all the time.
So using it might be a good alternative to investing into
a limited toolkit for install disk.
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