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Old 08-20-2008, 01:05 AM   #1
Woodsman
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Some Network Questions


I added a third box box to my home network and I'm considering a fourth. My three-box network works fine as far as the basics: nfs, samba, cups, sshd, squid proxy, shared directories, gateway, router, firewalls, etc. Yet I am beginning to appreciate some issues with network maintenance. Life was simpler when I had only two boxes connected.

1. KDE provides some tools supporting remote desktop access and control. Yet KDE is not always the preferred desktop by some users. How then in Slackware do I remotely access other desktops? (Tunneling X through sshd works fine here --- I'm looking at remote desktop control.) Do I have to install third-party VNC packages to support desktops other than KDE or can I use the underlying KDE packages even when not running KDE? If not then what are the preferred packages?

2. Can I use remote desktop software when the remote machine is in console mode rather than in X? If not, then do I have to configure other machines to always boot into runlevel 4? Or am I "stuck" using ssh when a remote box is in console mode?

3. What are some common ways to keep various scripts and configuration files synchronized automatically across network workstations? For example, if I modify a file in /etc/logrotate.d, how do I replicate that change automatically to other workstations?

4. What are typical Slackware strategies toward common/central authentication? I do not want to maintain individual password lists on each machine. Too much work. Additionally, users should be able to log on at any machine. The stock Slackware LDAP package is client only. I can recompile to provide the server tools, but will they work when Slackware does not provide PAM? (I'm guessing no.) LDAP seems the best option because of cross-platform support. I have read about NIS, found one mini how-to that caused me headaches (perhaps there are better howtos ). How then to provide common authentication in Slackware?

I don't want to become a network guru here --- just tackle some basics. This LAN is small and will remain that way. LTSP would eliminate these issues, but that is a project on my to-do list for another day. Still, I prefer a typical professional and scalable approach to hone my skills. What are some typical Slackware approaches toward these issues?

As always, thanks for sharing.
 
Old 08-20-2008, 06:56 AM   #2
keefaz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
4. What are typical Slackware strategies toward common/central authentication? I do not want to maintain individual password lists on each machine. Too much work.
How much users will be on your network?
I worked as network assistant on a company, there were like 500 users or so, there was a network authentication (it was a netware network) but each user had his local account set on his machine, so in case the server was not reachable they could login and work.
For my part, I have used a small home network for 5 years, 2 PCs + 1 Mac (so Linux + Unix OS) with only 3 users, I don't use any network authentication, for me it is just more work than benefit, also network authentication add another potential security breach, so care must be taken in installation and configuration, not worth it imho.
I just configured the 3 machines with the same users (matched UID) and I use only SSH, NFS and HTTP services on the network (easy to configure, easy to set up firewall etc). Life is too short, it took less than 15mn to configure the 3 machines for my network
Just my opinion, I don't wan't to discourage you to experiment network authentication though

Last edited by keefaz; 08-20-2008 at 07:00 AM. Reason: spelling, spelling and spelling
 
Old 08-20-2008, 10:06 AM   #3
gbonvehi
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1 and 2. Well, with VNC for X you've two possibilities, one is starting a new X server when connecting when VNC and the other is sharing an already running X server (this is common in Windows enviroments). Both have pro's and con's. Also, you may want to try screen (the program, man screen) to share console sessions.
I don't know about KDE programs, sorry.

3. I personally use unison (with ssh, see 4.) to sync config/personal files between machines.

4. Using keys with ssh you can avoid some authentications and it's pretty secure.

Last edited by gbonvehi; 08-20-2008 at 10:09 AM.
 
Old 08-21-2008, 06:07 PM   #4
Woodsman
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Quote:
How much users will be on your network?
This is a home LAN. There never will be more than a handful of users.

Quote:
Life is too short, it took less than 15mn to configure the 3 machines for my network. Just my opinion, I don't want to discourage you to experiment network authentication though
Hardly discouraged! After browsing (emphasis on browsing) several howtos about OpenLDAP and NIS, my eyes got pretty glassy. Yes, centralizing some things is ideal and scalable, but with a home LAN perhaps overkill. Learning the skills is a goal but not a priority. I've done well with synchronizing between two workstations --- expanding to three or four is hardly unthinkable. I just need to develop a more flexible way to keep things in sync. I already have the same user IDs on all boxes and recently I remapped /home and /usr/local on the secondary workstations to my primary workstation. So really now all I am concerned with is synchronizing certain system configuration files and scripts.

Quote:
I personally use unison (with ssh, see 4.) to sync config/personal files between machines.
Running unison is a good idea. I have the package compiled and installed. To maintain various system configuration files, however, I am leaning toward a shell script using scp, run from cron or within rc.local.

Regarding personal files, recently on my secondary workstations I remapped /home to my primary machine. Any user logging in at any workstation will always have their /home directory in the same place. Except in emergencies or hardware failures, I am unlikely to run any secondary workstation without my primary workstation also running, which hosts the shared partitions. I might run another shell script from cron to quietly mount a local unused partition and synchronize user files to each secondary local machine, and then if there is a hardware emergency with my primary machine, I can manually edit fstab to use the local version of /home.

Quote:
Using keys with ssh you can avoid some authentications and it's pretty secure.
I just updated my sshd_config PermitRootLogin to 'without-password'. That allows me to ssh into a box but only with keys. Doing that also allows me to run scp as root from within a script. So perhaps this thread has already provided me with most of my solutions.
 
Old 08-22-2008, 12:22 AM   #5
gbonvehi
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I'm glad you're working it out, you may want to take a look to rsync
Good luck!
 
  


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