By all means look for a panel but if you don't learn how to manage the machine from the command line, one day your lovely machine will face problems you can't manage and then what?
The machines are mostly commodities, like toasters. The software is not. People should not expect to be able to manage a Unix/Linux installation without actually trying to understand it. It isn't that hard but does require some ability to think logically.
Even seasoned admins get bit. Late last night I was working on a DNS machine and accidentally put the wrong comment character in a zone file, only to find this morning on waking through a ticket and via my mail system stopping up with undeliverable mail to one domain that things were foobared this morning. A panel might actually help you avoid that problem in the first place (I say might... as this depends on the panel) but it won't help you diagnose and correct the problem (took me about 15 seconds and one quick test to determine what was wrong).
"Appliance operators" can often get by for a long time but eventually something will challenge you and your panel and you'll be stumped, or worse, perhaps important data will go "poof". Then what?
So yes, get a panel, but also commit to learning about the OS from the command line. Install a Unix or Linux on a desktop in your home or office and force yourself to use it and practice on it.
Last edited by mwatkins; 06-12-2009 at 12:05 PM.
“Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under
considerable economic stress at this period in history.”