Administering a Linux OS like CentOS requires you to break down an high knowledge barrier to obtain a comprehensive solution. Consider this example: a system administrator needs to create a CentOS-based mail server on a VM or cloud instance. The administrator installs CentOS, along with: Postfix, Cyrus IMAP (or Dovecot), SpamAssassin, ClamAV (from EPEL), OpenSSL for user certificates. He pulls it all together with OpenLDAP for user and group management. Now all that needs to be done is configuring all those open source packages into a cohesive mail solution. When that’s done, he breakouts the OpenSSL documentation to figure out all the security certificate jargon.
NethServer does all this stuff with some clicks and minimal configuration.
What’s NethServer? An operating system designed for small offices and medium enterprises, based on CentOS/RHEL, the widespread and popular server distribution, with some extra packages, particularly a powerful and extensible web interface that simplifies common administration tasks.
NethServer is focusing on maintainability, extensibility and standard compliance with CentOS.
It’s for the sysadmin who appreciates the effectiveness of a user interface which saves time compared to direct configuration file modification and for users who want to approach CentOS without having Linux skills.
NethServer architecture explicitly supports developers by making it easy to install and integrate additional software. We quickly added some pre-configured modules, installable with a “single click”, for example: LAMP framework, Caching + filtering web proxy with SSL filter (Squid), Groupware (SOGo), Bandwidth Monitor (ntopng), Mail Server with Antispam and Antivirus (Postifx + Spamassassin + Clamav + Amavis), VPN (OpenVPN and IPsec/L2TP), Firewall (Shorewall), Intrusion detection (Snort), ownCloud.
NethServer is an open source project, all the sources are GPL, all the documentation is under CC, and everyone can access to the bug tracker and join the project.
So far it has been designed and supported almost entirely by a company called Nethesis (an Italian IT company of Linux enthusiasts, committed to FOSS since 2003) but now we hope other people and communities will join (see this for example http://wiki.centos.org/SpecialInterestGroup/SLS) because joining our community is a great way to interact with other users, ask questions to sysadmin and developer professionals, increase awareness of the work that you are doing, improve your skills, or give back.
The aim is to have widespread, innovative, robust and well tested product