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Old 02-28-2006, 07:32 PM   #1
Registered: Dec 2001
Distribution: Debian unstable
Posts: 36

Rep: Reputation: 15
need some general help with remote logins

So I work in this lab and we have a small network setup, which is currently only two computers strong but will soon be four. That doesn't really matter. Anyway, the Computer Science department has one Linux lab on campus where everything's done remotely. That is, when you login, it's authenticated remotely and then your home directory from a central server is mounted at /home. I've got no idea how to accomplish this. I've done some research and found Kerberos and RADIUS. Kerberos seems a little too involved for what we're doing, plus it scares me. I know RADIUS isn't technically meant for this kind of thing, but the documentation I've read says that it will work fine. I installed FreeRadius on the server, but haven't gotten a chance to try it. But assuming this still works, how do I mount a remote home directory?

Honestly, I would love to just use SSH somehow, perhaps in conjunction with sshfs or something, but again, I've got no idea how to actually force a remote login or anything. It would be great if someone could just point me in the right direction.

(Debian Etch Beta 1)

Old 02-28-2006, 11:05 PM   #2
Registered: May 2002
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Distribution: Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat/CentOS
Posts: 624

Rep: Reputation: 31
Why not just NFS share the home directories and keep them permanently mounted on all the clients? A lot less involved than Kerberos/RADIUS and probably less prone to failure.
Old 03-01-2006, 03:51 AM   #3
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Lviv, Ukraine
Distribution: Something self-made
Posts: 69

Rep: Reputation: 16
you can try to setup PAM to use pam_mount module for mounting remote shares as home directory and pam_mysql or pam_dbpasswd for authentication if you don't want to dig in kerberos, ssl, ldap etc.
Old 03-01-2006, 12:57 PM   #4
Registered: Dec 2001
Distribution: Debian unstable
Posts: 36

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
I did the NFS mount thing, and that's fine. What I don't want to do, however, is have to create accounts on every workstation. I don't really feel that comfortable using pam-mysql, but even if I did, how would I go about telling the clients to authenticate against a MySQL server on a remote machine? Isn't there a (secure) way to have the client's login program authenticate against /etc/passwd on the server? I thank you both for your help, but I'm still rather lost.
Old 03-01-2006, 03:48 PM   #5
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Distribution: RH, SL
Posts: 37

Rep: Reputation: 15
Try using NIS for centralized logins

What is recommended for use in this situation, is called NIS - Network Information Services. It lets you have centralized accounts and logins on the server, and you don't need to create users on each machine.

Check out the following step-by-step tutorial:

Just for reference, in our lab with 8 computers, we just set up the accounts by hand on each machine, since there are only new users added about once every 4 months at most. Of course if you are adding or changing users more frequently, or have a lot more machines to configure, then NIS will do it all for you.

Hope this helps.
- Dave Asgeirsson
Old 03-01-2006, 05:20 PM   #6
Registered: Dec 2001
Distribution: Debian unstable
Posts: 36

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Fantastic. I just used that tutorial and everything's working just as I had envisioned. Thanks very much.



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