Many Windows admins turn up their nose when it comes to Linux system administration. Although there are good graphical desktop interfaces for Linux, most of the system management is still based on simple text files. Centeris Likewise is a Linux management solution targeting this kind of Windows sysop.
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Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is not really true. Likewise only supports a few Linux apps. However, they are probably the most popular Linux applications. From a Windows server you can manage Apache, Samba (including Active Directory integration), Linux log files and network printers. Not too bad for version 1.0.
The bad news is, for you, my dear Windows admin, that you have to install an agent first on the Linux machines. This can be done from the Likewise console running on the Windows server. The problematic part is that the agent relies on several Open Source packages. If they are not yet on your Linux server, it will install them for you. However, Linux is not Linux. Depending on your distribution you can't avoid touching, sometimes, the Linux system to install the missing packages yourself. Some Linux distributions like Mandrake or Debian are not supported at all.
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I find this concept of Likewise interesting. It not only allows the integration of Linux machines in a Windows network but also helps typical Windows admins to get started with Linux. On the other hand, I am sure that many Linux purists will turn up their nose if you take away their configuration files. They will complain that not all settings are available with a GUI. Considering how many configuration options Apache supports, you probably have to agree with them if you take a look at this screenshot.