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NetMax Professional: Bringing Linux to the Less Technically Inclined - page 2

Out-of-the-Box Linux Administration

  • August 28, 2003
  • By Aaron Weiss

Cybernet Systems is positioning NetMax as a kind of meta-distribution. Even though the included Linux is the Red Hat variant, Cybernet offers its own package (RPM) updates for ongoing system maintenance. The advantage of this is that Cybernet has followed the Debian model of offering dependency-aware packages that can release system updates in one-click. On the other hand, this makes the enterprise more reliant on Cybernet's viability as a distributor of Linux updates in comparison to more established vendors such as Red Hat, Debian, and SuSE. Cybernet itself even acknowledges that some updates for NetMax may lag behind those of Red Hat.

NetMax is reminiscent of the free software, Webmin, which also provides a Web-based management interface for Linux systems. Webmin itself is fairly sophisticated, and much of what can be done with NetMax can also be done with Webmin. In this sense, NetMax's primary advantage is its easy setup and turnkey installation. For an installed Linux distribution, Webmin provides a similar level of functionality at no license cost, although it is admittedly not quite as user friendly as NetMax's Web interface.

Ultimately, NetMax fulfills on its promise. Within a few minutes of popping in the CD-ROM, a PC can become a network server capable of handling DHCP, DNS, firewalling, NAT, dial-in and dial-out modem support, Web serving, cache, and proxy services, VPN, e-mail, and file sharing. Of course, all Linux boxes can do this--the difference with NetMax is the ease of getting off the ground.

To that end, the value of its $300 price tag is highly dependent on just how important the turnkey, off-the-shelf readiness is to an organization.

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