Managing servers with the Cockpit admin tool

Cockpit Modules

Like many other software packages, Cockpit has a modular architecture, with a set of officially supported core modules and guidelines to develop and install third party modules, or addons. All the functions shown or described in this tutorial come from core modules that are not mandatory but are either included in the Cockpit basic packages for CentOS and Ubuntu or are declared as dependencies. These modules were therefore automatically installed by apt-get or yum. Third-party packages are another story: the documentation might not be up to date, and they might not work without debugging and manual fixes that you may or may not be able to afford. For example, I downloaded the Cockpit module for RSS feeds and placed it into the required Cockpit subfolder (addons), as explained in the documentation, but nothing happened.

Conclusion

Some Cockpit modules and documentation pages could benefit from a bit more attention, but that is no reason to avoid Cockpit. Webmin might offer finer control, and the command line might be more flexible, but Cockpit provides a nice, quick, user-friendly and mobile-friendly way to monitor and configure your physical or virtual Linux systems from the tab of any modern web browser. Cockpit is also useful as an aid for Linux trainers. A Cockpit dashboard is an effective way to monitor and configure all the computers in a Linux class, as well as a good tool for teaching about Linux configuration.

The Author

Marco Fioretti (http://stop.zona-m.net) is a freelance author, trainer, and researcher based in Rome, Italy, who has been working with Free/Open Source software since 1995 and on open digital standards since 2005. Marco is also a Board Member of the Free Knowledge Institute (http://freeknowledge.eu), and he blogs about digital rights at http://stop.zona-m.net.

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