Network aware dpkg.
It's very commonf for UNIX machines to be placed in labs, sharing
resources. However, to share applications through NFS is a non supported
task that requires knowledge about how dpkg works.. and isn't a trivial
thing. If I were a sysadmin looking for a Linux distribution to install in
20 machines I would choose someone that support this..
This is the idea:
Dpkg records the changes done by every package installed there (maybe
with a system switch, or per package) in non-shared/conffiles filesystem
components. e.g.: If a package creates a /var/spool/tool.out, that is
recorded by dpkg. If a package installs a conffile in /etc, the confffile
content are saved (in /var/lib/dpkg/shared ? ), the content can be the
modified to adapt to current configuration...
client-dpkg periodically (boot time? cron?) queries the server for new
installed packages. dpkg-server informs the changes that newly installed
packages require. Here we use the current conffile handling system: if the
server has a new version of the conffile, the new version is installed if
the MD5 of the local file hasn't changed.
The clients shouldn't have rw access to dpkg control files... Perhaps
they souldn't have dpkg at all.
Install a new client would be easy. Just performing all the local changes
the server has saved would do it.
Ugh... I don't know if all of this is clear... (Spanish version available
by private email.. =) )