serving debian to redhat boxen

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Gregory Seidman

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Sep 8, 2002, 4:52:25 PM9/8/02
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I am in the unenviable position of having to support a small (8 machines, 4
Linux and 4 WinXP) network. Worse, at least two of the linux boxen are
RedHat and will have to stay that way (due to a lack of comprehension on
the part of the higher-ups, i.e. policy). Furthermore, it is necessary that
all four Linux boxen have the same development environment (gcc/g++ 3.2, a
few C++ libraries compiled with 3.2, and up-to-date versions of both vim
and emacs, plus the same version of Gnome). Oh, yeah, and any of the four
users (yes, each Linux box is sitting at someone's desk) should be able to
log in to any of the four Linux boxen and have the same password and home
directory. Oops! One more thing: all the users have the root password to
all the machines. And, finally, there must be some space for each user
which is shared between the Linux boxen and the WinXP boxen. To summarize:

Hardware
* two redhat linux boxen
* one debian linux box
* one box (not yet bought) which may have redhat or debian (TBD)
* four Windows XP boxen

Requirements
* maintain common development platform across all linux boxen, including:
= gcc/g++ 3.2
= some C++ libraries, compiled for linking w/ 3.2
= recent vim and emacs
= some version of Gnome, preferably recent
* home directories to be shared across all linux boxen
* passwords must stay synchronized across linux boxen
* all users have root on all linux boxen
* each user must have a space to share between linux and windows
* stability and reliability are important; security is not

I have some ideas on how to handle this. The goal is to minimize setup time
in the short term and minimize headaches in the long term. In that context,
I would like some feedback on these ideas.

1) export /usr with NFS from my Debian box, and mount it over /usr on the
other linux boxen (only solves development platform maintenance)

2) home directories are folders shared from each WinXP box (i.e. each
user's WinXP box shares a folder, and it gets mounted by all the linux
boxen as the appropriate user's home directory) (there are probably huge
pitfalls here, but it seems to provide both common home directories and
a way to share with Windows)

3) home directories are NFS- or Samba-shared from each linux box (similar
problems as #2, and only provides Windows sharing if it is Samba)

4) Debian box runs NIS, NFS, and Samba, sharing passwords and home
directories across Linux and Windows boxen alike (if this includes #1,
satisfies all the requirements, but it introduces a single point of
failure, especially if idiots users decide that they need to do
something as root on the designated server; also may take a while to get
going, since I've never administered NIS, NFS, or Samba)

Any thoughts? Any bright ideas I've just missed?

--Greg


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Miquel van Smoorenburg

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Sep 8, 2002, 5:19:25 PM9/8/02
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In article <20020908205...@cs.brown.edu>,

Gregory Seidman <gss+d...@cs.brown.edu> wrote:
>1) export /usr with NFS from my Debian box, and mount it over /usr on the
> other linux boxen (only solves development platform maintenance)

You really cannot share /usr over NFS between debian boxes right
now (dpkg would throw a fit), and forget about sharing it between
debian and redhat - they are way to different.

>2) home directories are folders shared from each WinXP box (i.e. each
> user's WinXP box shares a folder, and it gets mounted by all the linux
> boxen as the appropriate user's home directory) (there are probably huge
> pitfalls here, but it seems to provide both common home directories and
> a way to share with Windows)

Samba server support in Linux is much better than SMB client support,
so why not keep the homedirs on one Linux server and make that
server both an NFS server for the other Linux boxes and a samba
server for the windows boxes.

Or, as they are desktop boxes, have each user have their homedir
on the local box and export it to the other boxes over NFS and
samba on each box. You'd do this by using automount for /home,
put the local homedir under say /homelocal define the homedirs
for the other users as NFS mounts, and for the local users as
a bind mount

An example auto.home map

joe -rw,nfsvers=3 joeserver:/homelocal/joe
steve -rw,nfsvers=3 steveserver:/homelocal/steve
greg -rw,fstype=bind :/homelocal/greg

(This assumes a 2.4 kernel and recent automount)

Mike.

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