[LONG] Maintaining several identical installations of (B)LFS

Alexander E. Patrakov semzx at newmail.ru
Wed Jul 30 22:06:55 PDT 2003

On Wednesday 30 July 2003 23:47, Dagmar d'Surreal wrote:
> On Wed, 2003-07-30 at 08:58, Alexander E. Patrakov wrote:
> > Hi all,
> > the problem is as follows. In the classroom, we have 15 computers which
> > must have both Windows 2000 (maybe we'll move to XP) and Linux (of
> > course, from scratch). While maintaining Windows installation is not
> > among my duties, I have to ensure that the installations of Linux are
> > good and as identical as possible (there are some hardware differences).
> _Why_ from scratch?  When trying to maintain numerous machines, building
> everything from scratch is no longer a sane and reasonable option.  You
> need to either start using a packaging tool (like rpm or something) or
> just give in and use a canned distro like Mandrake.

I already use Slackware package manager together with checkinstall. And why 
LFS... Optimization is NOT the reason of choosing it here. Rather, full 
information about each package, much less bugs, ability to import patches 
from bug tracking systems, ability to customize the system as I want (not as 
those guys in RedHat want). Consider fixing a Kate bug in RedHat :-)

> Umm... side note.  Most DHCP server implementations can identify
> machines by MAC address and by client name.  It would have probably been
> easier than cooking up some script.

Yes, and my script just uses this fact.

> You won't buy a switch but in a later email you're glibly talking about
> gigE??
> Buy a switch.  Switches are good, m'kay?

I said "probably", and I didn't mean that gigE will be used here. This is an 
unchecked recommendation for others. BTW, with 7-8 workstations, I would not 
ask questions and would continue to use NFS-root. But there are 15 

Also, I don't have right to buy anything and all recommendations from admins 
get ignored here. They wasted money and bought that P4 monster (now 
practically unused, only mail server with 5 users and a web server with 10 
visits a day) instead of a switch.

> > So I would like to know what is used by you for similar tasks (keeping
> > several installations of BLFS identical).
> Packages.  Build binary packages.  (My last job involved me both
> installing and maintaining machines in different facilities around the
> _planet_.  Enough different places that not even the greatest of travel
> fans would have been able to do them in person.)  Otherwise you're
> pretty dewmed.  Better yet, use someone else's distro like Debian or
> Mandrake as both will allow the use of relatively local software
> repositories, and it's only a few shell script commands to check the
> status of all currently installed packages to know to pull and install
> new versions if something gets mangled or out of sync.

That applies to packages, but the problem with nondefault settings remains. 
I.e.: How do I schedule the update in /etc/sane.d so all users can use the 
new scanner via saned?

Thanks anyway.
Alexander E. Patrakov

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