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depam 08-30-2006 03:35 AM

Controlling and managing cross platform OS

I've successfully worked on LDAP which handles the global addressbook of the company. I want to achieve other things such as:

1.) I need to have a centralized server which will save all the documents of the clients? In my previous company, I can logon to any Windows computer and I can still access my desktop and documents even on other computers. Is this possible in Linux?
2.) How about centralized password control? Where in all passwords of the clients (either Windows or Linux) are stored on one server. If I change the password on the server, the password on the client will also be changed (again either on Windows or Linux clients)
3.) Is there a way for me to know which computers are logged in? How long are they using the PC? etc.
4.) I also wanted to try Thin clients but I do have existing DHCP server and I don't know if our existing DHCP server can provide the IP Address and point the machine to the X-Server.

I don't intend to ask you for the how-to. I just need to know the principle so I can google around.
If you will be kind enough to tell me the URL where I can find the answers, I will be very much grateful.

hob 08-30-2006 05:52 AM

1) This is done with NFS, which enables you to attach directories from one system on to another (e.g. the workstations can use /home/ located on a central server). Use Version 4 of NFS if at all possible.

2) UNIX systems comonly use PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) to process logins. You may use a PAM module that checks an LDAP server for username/password information. There are standard LDAP schemas for attaching UNIX account details to an LDAP record. See also Kerberos, which provides single sign-on facilities, usually in conjunction with an LDAP directory.

3) Each service obviously tracks the active connections. If your workstations are using NFS then you can monitor those connections. You can also monitor the active sessions on the system itself.

4) Depends on the DHCP server. The DHCP protocol permits a server to provide various options to the clients, such as a network boot image. The boot image can launch remote access applications like telnet, RDP, or X. "PXES" is a pre-made boot image. See also LTSP, which provides a complete suite of software for making a Linux system into a thin-client server.

Hope that helps.

depam 08-30-2006 07:58 AM


Thanks for all the advice. But I am looking into the possibility to make a linux server serve not only linux clients but also Windows OS clients. How about RADIUS? Is it possible for the LDAP server to maintain the account informations (and passwords) of all Linux and WINDOWS clients? Up to now, I'm still kinda lost on the purpose of RADIUS. Since LDAP can also handle authentications, then what will be the role of RADIUS? As for my reading, LDAP is a centralized database and can also be used as an authentication mechanism to handle SMB accounts. I'm also looking trying to make a domain based instead of a workgroup for windows. What tools should I look into? Thanks.

hob 08-30-2006 08:18 AM

OK, in that case you should use the Samba suite, and probably not bother with NFS at all. The main Samba service provides file sharing facilities, and may also act as a NT domain controller. By default, Samba uses it's own set of user accounts, but you may configure it to use records from a separate LDAP service (by adding the LDAP schema supplied with Samba to your LDAP server). Linux systems may use a PAM module for Samba authentication services, and may attach Samba-provided directories in the same ways that they use NFS.

The Samba Web site has several sets of documentation, including the text of a couple of books. Standard distributions include copies of these with their Samba packages - see /usr/share/doc/samba/ (or similar). The "By Example" book shows how to configure Samba for common uses.

depam 09-01-2006 09:05 AM

Does Windows 98 support for domain based? I've heard that domain control will only work on W2K and XP.

hob 09-03-2006 03:48 PM

Windows 98 can use NT domains for user accounts, and run logon scripts to automatically map printers, network directories etc. It doesn't support the management features that you get with NT, 2000 and XP Professional.

Having said that, Microsoft won't release any more updates for Windows 98, nor will you get Windows 98 drivers for current hardware, so you need to upgrade any Windows 98 systems as soon as possible. If you need Windows 98 for software compatibility, try running it in a VMWare virtual machine on an XP or Linux system.

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