Current Poll Rankings

Hi all,

I was just looking over the current poll rankings ( ) and thought it might be interesting for others to see the data, so far, and might encourage others to express their opinions. We’ve got over 500 registered users now and only a handful have voted so far, so maybe folks haven’t noticed the voting link. :wink:

Anyway, without further ado, here are the results:

<b>OS Support</b>

Ubuntu Linux: 2
Gentoo Linux: 3
Mandriva Linux: 2
Slackware Linux: 1
FreeBSD: 4
OpenBSD: 1
Windows 2003 Server: 2
Solaris: 3

<b>What new Virtualmin feature would you like most?</b>

Tools to help migrate domains from other control panels: 3
Integration with a billing application: 8
Commerce application configuration support: 3
Microsoft Windows support 1
Other UNIX support 0
Server migration: 2

There is another poll, but the answers are free text, so they don’t provide the simple satisfaction of multiple choice polls.

Anyway, from this, it looks like we’ll be prioritizing FreeBSD and Gentoo support over any other OS, and working with a billing application vendor to make sure Virtualmin Professional works with a billing system. If you disagree on these priorities, head on over to the booth and pull the lever for your preference. That address again is

Thanks for reading. Feel free to express your surprise, disgust, agreement, etc. in this thread. If you reckon I’ve left off an important option in either poll or if you reckon there ought to be a poll about some other question, speak up!

I see that integration with billing software is popular selection. I personally use GCDB and had considered working on GCDB to integrate better so I wouldn’t have to input duplicate information. Are there considerations for any specific Billing Suite for virtualmin pro?

Hi Danny,

Yes, billing has been a clear leader in all of our conversations with folks using Virtualmin. And we already have something up our sleeve on this front (Ok, it’s up someone elses sleeve, but it integrates with Virtualmin Professional using the new API, and we’ve been working with them for a couple of months to make it all spin nicely). We’ll be co-announcing the product integration with the other company next Tuesday. How’s that for responsive? :wink:

We won’t be locking anyone into any specific set of products, but this soon-to-be named product will be the Golden Path to a Billing+Virtualmin setup. It is a pretty popular and well-established host billing system with a responsive developer backing it, so I think it will satisfy a lot of folks requirements without having to do any custom development to make it all work.

Also, the completion of the APIs (remote and shell) allows folks to integrate with any other accounting or billing product as long as that product can be convinced to perform a few actions on the Virtualmin server to query it for domain accounts, possibly create new accounts, etc. One could use it in reverse as well, and have Virtualmin call out to the billing server on domain creation and modification, and use the Custom Fields feature to identify your customer to Virtualmin (so that your commands to your billing system could include a customer ID). At least, I’m pretty sure that would work–and if it doesn’t we’d consider it a bug. This would take some coding, but not a huge amount–a good perler could do it in a few days.

We’re all about flexibility.

Sounds awesome! I shall await the announcement eagerly.

I really do not know what would be nice to see with this module for webmin but the only thing I can think of is a multi level help desk for from user to reseller to server administrator. What do you think? If there is a third party module that you would like to see intergrated or made besides what is already there please let me know. Oh yeah I was working on a third party module (Text Editor) but I have been slacking on that project since this move.

Hey Vernon,

Yes, an integrated support ticket system would be very useful, though I’m not sure how we want to go about it. Writing one from scratch is foolish, as it is a very big set of problems mostly orthogonal to our core goals. It would be nice if there were a simple, but good, ticket tracker that we could integrate (possibly even matching up the theme and running it under the Webmin server…so maybe something in Perl). Most of the existing ones have pretty big dependencies and complex configuration. We’d want one that uses an embedded database, like SQLite or BDB, rather than PostgreSQL or MySQL, because database administration probably should not be imposed on anyone just to have an issue tracker.

This might be an area where third party plugin modules can play a role–maybe we can convince one or more of the existing ticket tracker vendors or Open Source projects to hook their product into Virtualmin. We’ll have to see what folks want us to spend our development time on, and whether any existing product can fit the bill in some way.

I’ve been thinking on it all day (I started this post this morning, and it’s 10PM now as I’m finishing it up…I got distracted by FreeBSD installer work), and something is bubbling to the top which might be a useful solution to the problem–without requiring a lot of work–that would integrate very well with Virtualmin. Virtualmin has something called Custom Fields, a per-domain storage mechanism, and an “Email Server Owner” function. Given a small modification to each of these, plus a catch-all email alias, one could construct a reasonable ticket system with minimal functionality but perfect integration and very good ease of use (very limited functionality is almost guaranteed to be easy to use–the Mac is a perfect example of this…if you strip things down to the minimum necessary and do them right, it’s often just the right thing for the majority of users, though some power users might miss the flexibility of a more complex implementation). There are several products that I’ve looked at (both Open Source and proprietary) that have ticket systems like I’ve just described, very limited but well-integrated with the whole system. I don’t know anyone using them heavily to know if they work well for their purpose, however.

Hmmm…Well, just some brainstorming.

Does anyone have any opinion on whether a very simple ticket system like that with the ability to provide tiers of tickets based on whether the logged in user is a domain owner, a reseller, or an administrator, would be more valuable than a full-featured ticket system that doesn’t know automatically about those tiers?

There’s no way we’re going to re-implement something like Bugzilla within Virtualmin, but the more I think about it, the more I think Bugzilla is way too big for this. It took me half an hour to figure out how to file an issue the first time I used bugzilla (five or six years ago, and its gotten easier since then, but it’s still way too big for normal users). Maybe we just need simple communication system for discussing issues with the interested parties automatically notified of changes in state and new notes, and with the ability to mark a “ticket” closed.

Anyway, it’s not on the plate for next week (stabilization and new OS versions get that honor), but it’s definitely something worth thinking about.

I have researched this for awhile and I think this might be the path that we need to take.

Open Ticket Request System

Let us try to apply this to Virtualmin. It is already a work and productive software all we need to do is plug it in.

Your thoughts and Jamie as well?

OTRS is probably a very good product…but I have a few concerns about it. It is quite complex in its usage, dependencies, installation, and maintenance. It relies on a half-dozen Perl modules, and a MySQL database, among other things.

It might be easier to deal with than I recall, but I have tried to install and use it in the distant past with disappointing results. I ended up dropping it in favor of Roundup (which is not strictly a ticket tracker, but it worked for my needs at the time). I’m sure others know more than I. Perhaps someone with better experience with it will tackle the job of writing a plugin module for it. If the task is going to be big (as I suspect OTRS will be), it might be best taken on as a third party plugin, much like the billing application integration we’re announcing Tuesday.

But, maybe we’ll find that customers consider this a core feature that we really ought to be focused on until we’ve got it. (I doubt this will be the case, as cPanel doesn’t offer a ticket tracker, and Plesk only has it as an optional purchase which I’ve found no one talking about online…seems like many hosts like to choose their own rather than have one selected for them by their virtual host administration tool vendor.)

I certainly wouldn’t argue with you writing up a minimal proof of concept plugin (or even a full-featured integration with user awareness and other good stuff), Vernon, if you think this is a good direction. You’ve certainly got more plugin writing experience than anyone other than Jamie. Might be a good challenge. :wink:

Speaking of third party modules, we need to plan on having a contest every year or so to reward the best third party plugins, application integrations via the API, and themes, with fabulous prizes (well, an iPod or something) and heaping praise. I’ll have to stew on that a bit and plan to budget for it for a few months from now when folks have had a chance to get a feel for the full API.

Hey Joe,

I noticed that “next Tuesday” has passed, and I haven’t seen the billing integration announcement yet. Just trying to keep you honest. :slight_smile: As others, I am looking forward to hearing more on this front.

Incidentally, while you are working on billing system integration, I think it is also very important to integrate with some of the domain registrar reseller APIs. Often, this is already supported by most billing applications, but some of them are limited in the registrars they support. My suggestion would be to support at least OpenSRS, and my preference, Go Daddy / Wild West Domains:

Here is a blurb about their integration options:
Hurry! Talk to your personal Reseller Consultant today!
(480) 505-8857
OR email us at:
Ask about our API solution
Integrate our product line & search and sales capability into your site. Call 480-505-8857


Hi Alan,

We’ve both (Virtualmin, Inc. and the up to now un-named billing app vendor) been so busy that I haven’t been able to corner them long enough to get the necessary information for the press release.

I’ll let the cat out of the bag here, though, since I’m making a bad habit of letting my self-imposed deadlines slip. Don’t tell anyone…we still want to do a press release on this. :wink:

We’ve been working with Tony over at AgileCo to fully integrate AgileBill with Virtualmin Professional. He’s made a lot of good suggestions for improving the API, and so it’s been a very productive agreement for us.

AgileBill has been around for several years, it had support for Virtualmin GPL to some degree in the past, and has a good and helpful vendor backing it (I made sure of this before we ever approached them about integration–I found many posts on forums from satisfied AgileCo customers, so I believe they’re a great fit in a Virtualmin Professional environment). Integration with Virtualmin Professional has been vastly improved over previous Virtualmin GPL support (there wasn’t an API to speak of in Virtualmin GPL…so we can’t blame Agile for the less-than-perfect integration!).

To find out more about AgileBill:

AgileBill is mature, full of the features that hosts really need (and quite a few niceties that aren’t necessities but nice to have), reasonably priced, and they offer a free trial version and an online demo. Certainly worth trying out, if you aren’t already committed to and/or happy with another billing system.

Questions about AgileBill, of course, should be brought up with AgileCo. They have forums at and they also provide a contact form at

We’ve got more partnerships in the works…But this one is definitely an exciting one. Billing for services reliably is at least as important as the services that you sell. :wink:

Anyway, the official announcement and press release will come soon, but I expect Tony will sell you AgileBill with Virtualmin Professional support today.

Hey Alan,

DNS registration integration is such a truly excellent idea that it deserved its own post!

There’s not actually much to say about it other than we’ll definitely tackle this, and soon. It would be very cool to be able to check a box and have the domain you’re setting up registered autuomatically with the right DNS entries, technical contact (the hosting provider), and other stuff. There are a few issues that would have to be dealt with:

We don’t have full Admin/Billing contact information…so we’ll need to add a form for that. It will also need to come into the API, since a billing app, like AgileBill, may be doing the provisioning and we’ll need to be able to get all of the right information from the billing app.

Billing…I’m not sure how domains sold in this way are billed (i.e. whether the hosting provider buys the domain from the registrar and the end-user buys it from the hosting provider or the registrar does the billing and kicks back referral payments to the hosting provider?). Will have to look into it, I reckon. This also presents the question of whether Virtualmin reseller accounts should be able to “sell” domains on their own GoDaddy or OpenSRS account and get the commission instead of the top-tier hosting provider. Since billing integration will probably always be a top-tier thing, it’s probable that the way the billing for the domains happens (i.e. host bills or registrar bills) will dictate whether we will even be able to give resellers that privilege.

I guess I’ll just have to do the research and try it out!

BTW-This also brings to mind SSL certificates. Who do folks like in this space, that has a good reseller API?

That’s great news! AgileBill looks like a great product, and I just downloaded a trial version to start getting familiar with it.

I guessed that AgileBill would be the product, since I already discovered their existing support for the GPL version. I actually e-mailed you about it earlier this month, so it must have been fun to keep the secret. :slight_smile:

Even though the press release hasn’t come out yet, I noticed in their Announcements forum that they listed Virtualmin Pro as a “New Provisioning Plugin” in the AgileBill v1.4.91 Release, which came out two months ago (on 7/25/2005). Is this the best one to use for now, or is there a newer unreleased version that I should ask Tony about?


Well, now that the cat is out of the bag on AgileBill, I see that they already have a plugin to support domain registrations, including the two I requested (OpenSRS and GoDaddy), among a bunch of others. So, I would be happy letting them handle this part of the process, while you guys concentrate on the the core Virtualmin functionality. Of course, you brought up great points about the reseller options, so there may need to be some additions to both the Virtualmin API and AgileBill to allow this to function properly. I’m not sure yet how they handle it with the other control panels.

Regarding SSL certificates, I think you discovered this already, but they are also available via both OpenSRS and GoDaddy, among others. However, it looks like AgileBill doesn’t support this feature yet.


Hey Alan,

Yes, AgileBill+Virtualmin Professional has been working for some time. I wasn’t aware they had already made a release, but I suspect the latest released version is the full implementation. We are keeping Tony in the loop on new releases, so he’ll be aware of API changes as they occur (the goal, of course, is not to change the API in incompatible ways…but new API functions might make new functionality available to AgileBill).

Hey Alan,

Yes, there is much to be said for letting apps do what they do best. And it does look like many billing systems support DNS and/or SSL reselling. I’m still in research mode on the issue…if it requires us to do anything that resembles billing, we will avoid it for the foreseeable future. We want to configure your servers (better than anyone)…we don’t want to do your accounting or billing (in a half-hearted way, which is all we could afford to do at this stage of our development–we just don’t have enough hours in the day to take on a second major problem domain…besides that, the “all-in-one” solutions in this space are universally lacking in very serious ways in either billing or administration areas, and it’s probably better to choose the best of each and integrate them cleanly through a good API).