I have always administered my server via the command line but I am considering using a control. I tried a control panel a while back. I think that it was plesk. It installed all of the software in to non-standard directories on the server. Is there a control panel that will install software such as apache and the MTA in standard directories on the server?
And control panels handling server upgrades is just plain scary. The distribution of linux you use should be handling that for you. They should also be installing them to standard directories as specified by the filesystem hierarchy standard (version 2.2, I'm not fond of version 2.3 myself because of some senseless extra directories they added that nobody really wants).
I have webmin running but I never even use it. I just want something like cpanel but I don't want to have to go looking for binaries and config files when I need to edit them. I need everything to be where it should be.
webmin is the closest thing between command line and cpanel you're going to find that I'm aware of. Could you try using webmin once to see if it's what you need? If not, it would be good to know so the webmin devels can get good feedback.
My control panel, Domain Technologie Control (DTC), does NOT install the necessary software. Under Debian, all is totaly automated. Under FreeBSD, it's a little bit more hard if you are not a FreeBSD guru, but it's not my fault (mod_log_sql wants this version of mysql, php wants another, etc...). And for RPM based work is to be done so that the package has necessary dependancies (you have to install the necessary packages prior installing first), and on Mac OS X Server, it integrate with provided daemons.
If fewer words: it just rely on the OS dependencies as you expected.
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