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Old 07-14-2004, 01:50 PM   #1
Artimus
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Setting up a Linux School Network (Long)


Okay, a little background information first:
This summer, I've got a local Linux User Group together. None of them have used Linux before, but they're all fairly knowledgable Windows users. And before you ask, yes, we're High School students.

After I show them the ropes of Linux, we've selected our first "project" - setting up a mini demo on how Linux could be implemented in a school setting. We have about four boxes or so, mine being the server. Whatever we do should be scaleable up to about 400 computers, which is how many are on the district network.

Note: Our school computers are semi decent (Over 1ghz with 128mb of ram and decent sized harddrives), so having them mount EVERYTHING over the network would be foolish.

Alright, on to the questions:
1. How do we implement users logging in to one box and instantly having all their files? I know /home will be mounted over NFS, but how do we handle logins?

2. Since Slackware is my distro of choice, that's what we'll be implementing. Starting with Slackware 10 using slapt-get+cron to keep up to date with patches should work. But how do I keep all the boxes from updating at the same time? Let's say this is implemented on said 400 computer network. Having 400 computers upgrading at the same time is going to kill the network. Any suggestions on how to get around this?

3. Teachers should be able to access students file's if needed. No problem, we can easily do this with groups. The problem is, there's some pretty absent minded teachers on the payroll, if you catch my drift. Its not uncommon for them to leave their computers just sitting logged in. Also, this is dangerous, as grades can be changed really easily... Are there any programs out there that would prompt for passwords after a set amount of time? I'd rather not just use a screensaver program and ask for a password, as if someone kills X and jumps into the CLI, they're still screwed

Finally, any other insight on this issue would be appreciated. Note: I know there are various distros out there meant to be run in a school environment. Unfortunitly, most are Red Hat based and seem to be pretty poorly documented. I can't find what they actually do that's any different than any other distro.

Thanks
-Jared
 
Old 07-14-2004, 02:00 PM   #2
LanRx
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For Authentication, I would be likely to use LDAP. Network based authentication will (obviously) dramatically lower the amount of administration required on the devices.

I assume that slapt-get uses http to obtain the patches? How about implementation of a squid to cache the information, without having to traverse the internet again to get the same information.?

As far as the timed authentication, I don't really have any good suggestions, other than possibly configure X to not permit ctrl-alt-backspace kills.
 
Old 07-14-2004, 02:16 PM   #3
hasnain
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School Network

hello

well its good to hear you try it by your self
Well i think may i can help....but i can just give u idea but cant give u a brief description here...coz it needs time


Ans 1:Well your question 1 seems to like that you want a centerlized authentication server and you also want to share there files ....well for that purpose use Samba ..it can fullfill your both desires

Ans 2: dnt have any idea of slackware

Ans3: for that purpose use crond scripting
 
Old 07-14-2004, 03:32 PM   #4
comp12345
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Re: Setting up a Linux School Network (Long)

Quote:
Originally posted by Artimus

3. Teachers should be able to access students file's if needed. No problem, we can easily do this with groups. The problem is, there's some pretty absent minded teachers on the payroll, if you catch my drift. Its not uncommon for them to leave their computers just sitting logged in. Also, this is dangerous, as grades can be changed really easily... Are there any programs out there that would prompt for passwords after a set amount of time? I'd rather not just use a screensaver program and ask for a password, as if someone kills X and jumps into the CLI, they're still screwed
There is a program called autolog. You can get it here:
http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/system/admin/idle/

Last edited by comp12345; 07-14-2004 at 03:33 PM.
 
Old 07-14-2004, 10:21 PM   #5
MS3FGX
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1. NIS and LDAP for centralized logins, and NFS to actually share the /home directories from the server.

2. I would agree with LanRx for the updates. The main server should download the updates nightly, and then the client machines should update themselves at login. Updating at login should keep the machines from all trying to download the updates from the server all at once.

However, if it were me, I wouldn't setup the machines to update themselves at all. Especially the server. Letting a server update itself without any user intervention can result in a broken server, which is something you need to avoid at all costs if you are running centralized logins. I would read the security bulletins and only update when necessary, and even then under close supervision.

Good choice going with Slackware too, that's what I would have done.
 
Old 07-14-2004, 11:06 PM   #6
pave_spectre
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Quote:
Originally posted by MS3FGX
However, if it were me, I wouldn't setup the machines to update themselves at all. Especially the server.

Good choice going with Slackware too, that's what I would have done.
I will second that. If you are going to use a tool to help with updates, just get it to download them and handle the actual installs manually. That way you know what causes the breakage.

Rather than having every machine update via the internet, you can use swaret-tools to create a local swaret package server, and can update the other machines from that.

Additionally, have a good backup plan, so that if you do accidentally hose something, it doesn't take a full re-install to get back up and running. This could also be used as part of the project demo. Deliberately hose something then restore.
 
Old 07-14-2004, 11:15 PM   #7
idaho
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You might want to look at the Linux Terminal Server Project:
http://www.ltsp.org/documentation/index.php

It lets you run a centrally administered Linux installation, and won't hose the MSWin already installed on your school's boxes.

Also, consider NIS for authentication.
 
Old 07-16-2004, 10:25 AM   #8
kmashraf
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Check this out !

I am surprised that you have not heard of
http://www.k12ltsp.org/
http://schoolforge.net/
and I live in India !

Last edited by kmashraf; 07-16-2004 at 10:29 AM.
 
  


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