ServInt and UI Design Rant

So far, I am not very happy with my ServInt VPS account.  It's freaky slow for some reason and the machine seems to be down half the time I tried to access it.  When it's up both SSH and cPanel was dog slow.  If things don't improve within a week, I am going to get a dedicated server elsewhere.

As I mentioned before, cPanel is pretty popular in the webhosting business.  What I didn't know was it's price tag: $1500!  Just look at this screenshot and tell me if this is software worth $1500.  Notice the crappy layout.  Font size on the default cPanel theme was fixed too.  List of commands were ordered like the content of a grocery bag too.  I also looked at other players in this market to see if they are any better.  Elsim and Plesk has cleaner looking UI, but were about same as cPanel: difficult to use.

Most engineers think replacing command-line UI with form-based UI makes it easy to use.  All that does is making the parameters visible which is no where near explaining what the command and parameters are, when they are useful, what the expected values are, explaining side effects and other issues.  Even a simple term like IP and name server should be linked to full explainations so the users can learn as they use the product.

I think a client-side, platform-independent, super easy to use, extensible Linux management console selling for $100 per user will do really well.  It should also have integrated extensible P2P help system for sharing knowledge and helplets.  To use it, copy a directory over, run it on your desktop, and point it to a server machine.  The program then conects via SSH and scans the machine to see what and where things are and configures it the way user wants, downloading and installing necessary packages after checking online issue database and validating the packages.  One could potentially sell one for every Linux box out there.