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Occasionally Relevant Insights from a Software Builder

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The World’s First Web Page

I’ve been using the Internet since 1987. At that time, there was no World Wide Web. All that we did was use e-mail, newsgroups, and download files from FTP servers hosted at universities and American missile bases.

I thought it was really cool to be able to send e-mail to another country without paying for it. You could already send e-mail around the world through a BBS (bulletin board service) that was on an international network, but you would have to pay for the e-mail that you sent. Back then, computers running BBS’s communicated with each other by making long distance phone calls, so the sysops felt justified in asking for money to send your e-mail to far away lands.

The Internet as we know it today didn’t start until around the end of 1990. This was when the first web page was posted. It appeared at

http://nxoc01.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

Don’t try opening this URL in your web browser because it doesn’t exist anymore. Instead, you can find this page at

http://www.w3.org/History/19921103-hypertext/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

The World Wide Web concept was developed in 1989 at the CERN (the European center for High Energy Physics) labs in Geneva by Tim Berners-Lee and his team. They created the WWW to make it easier to retrieve research documentation. He created the first web browser a year later and named the application the World Wide Web. I’m not sure if he realized that history was being made then. Anyone at that time who had to use command line FTP commands to get information from the Internet could really appreciate what CERN had developed.

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Managing Linux with Webmin

Linux can be a very complex operating system. New system administrators are often overwhelmed by the amount of information they need to know to maintain it.

Fortunately, there are tools to make your life easier as a sysadmin. One of these is Webmin from Jamie Cameron.

This is a web-based system administration tool for Linux. You can use it for setting up users and groups, file sharing, Apache, cron jobs, and many more options. One useful thing I was able to do was to change the “Other” option in the Grub Boot Loader to “Windows XP” for my dual boot system. You can do this when you install Fedora but I never could figure out how to do it after the OS was installed.

Webmin is run rather strangely by logging into http://localhost:10000/ as a Linux user. Normally, you would log in as the root user.

With the many settings that you can control through Webmin, one has to wonder how they ever got along without it. Webmin is definitely an application every system administrator should be using.