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Transform a Mac into an Open-Source Server

The Tutorial


Webmin is a web-based interface for system administration for Unix. Using any modern web browser, you can setup user accounts, Apache, MySQL, Postfix, BIND (DNS), file sharing and much more. It is absolutely essential for anyone who prefers a GUI interface rather than a command line.

Webmin is the must-have GUI environemnt for Mac OS X open-source system administration. I have suggested that it be first MacPorts installation, as many of the MacPorts installations can be later configured to be managed in Webmin. Comprehensive documentation for Webmin is freely available online, including The Book of Webmin.

Webmin is written entirely in PERL, so you are encouraged to install an up-to-date MacPorts PERL environment before installing Webmin. To install PERL, just execute the following from a command line (you may be required to enter a Mac OS X administrative password):

sudo port install perl5.8

After this PERL installation, the /opt/local/bin directory has perl and perl5.8.8, compared to the default Mac OS X /usr/bin directory with perl and perl5.8.6. A log of the PERL installation can be found here.

Before installing Webmin, it is also good to install ssleay as support for SSL. This can be done by executing the following from a command line (you may be required to enter a Mac OS X administrative password again):

sudo port install p5-net-ssleay

A log of the SSLeay installation can be found here.

To install Webmin, first download the latest tar.gz package, either using a browser from You can then double-click on the tar.gz file to expand the file into a Webmin directory. Alternatively, you can do the download and installation entirely from the command line:

cd /
curl -O
gnutar zxf webmin-1.470.tar.gz

Regardless of browser or command line, you will then need to run the install shell script from the command line:

cd webmin-1.470
sudo ./ /opt/local/webmin

This instruction starts a shell script which installs Webmin using a number of default responses. We want to change many of those default responses so that Webmin is installed in the MacPorts opt directory. The following is a transcript of the installation shell script, with the required responses: