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Report: The Transname Patch

 Has anyone heard of the Transname Patch for Linux?  I downloaded it
and am testing it now, and it seems to work very well!  There is a
version against kernel 2.0.25 on my WWW site that you can have.

 Transnames promises to greatly simplify management of cluster
workstations and large networks by allowing you to mount the root
partion of your server as the root '/' partition of diskless or
dataless clients!

 Sharable files are shared, and a suffix is added to the ones that
should differ from machine to machine, which indicates to the kernel
which version of a file it should let programs see.

 It does this by adding a filename translation feature to the Linux
virtual filesystem layer that is selectable with a set of 'make
menuconfig' or 'make xconfig' compile-time options in the filesystems

 The translation is active under directories owned by group 'adm'
(configurable).  Any filename in a directory of group 'adm' can be
given a suffix consisting of a tagtype=tagname pair, and each machine
using that filesystem will perform a name translation where it will
only see the base filename meant for itself.

 If you have, say:


 ...and /etc & /etc/init.d are group 'adm', then the bootscripts on
machines with kernels compiled with ktype=server will see the server
setups, and ones with ktype=client will see the client setups!

 The README can explain Transnames better than I can, and you can find
it through my page, near the top.

 I am running a DX4/120 40Mb with a kernel booting from the HD as a
server, and on an ethernet I have another machine, a DX33 12Mb,
booting from a floppy with ktype=server.  The floppy I made using the
nfsroot.txt instructions from linux/Docu...  It boots using bootp; and
the server has the bootp service in my xinetd.conf.  The
/etc/fstab#host=cherryflower# file mounts the server's /usr and /home
partions, and a small 80Mb /aux drive in the client machine.  I am
able to run programs on either machine, sending their DISPLAYs to the
X server on the rootfileserver.

 A thing we may try: At a local ISP (Internet Arena, inetarena.com),
it may become possible to do sysadmin stuff from a workstation
downstairs, (allowing the proprietor to keep an eye on his place while
he gets some work done so he doesn't have to stay so late doing it
after hours.) ...which normally runs Win95, by booting it as a
diskless client from a floppy.  It will mount the root partition of
the Linux box upstairs, configured with the no_root_squash option to
allow full access.

 I am unsure about swap partition shareing between win95 and Linux;
perhaps the nfs-swap patch may be the answer here.

 I could not get the /tmp directory structure to function the way they
show it in their docs; instead, I placed /tmp dirs directly under my /
for each machine:


 There is an option called 'failsafe'.  It is meant to make it so that
you can create a symlink to the server's version of a suffixed file,
so that you can boot your un-transname-patched kernel and still have
it find the files.  With transname on, that symlink (file or tree)
will appear to be a normal file or tree!!!  If you 'rm -r' the tree it
points to, it will suddenly become a symlink again.  So, don't do
that.  I accidently rm -r'd my log directory, after discovering that
both machines can use the same logfiles. (and should)

 The original patch applies almost cleanly to 2.0.25.  There was one
.rej which can be easily hand-fixed.

 Since CVS makes it so easy to do, I've uploaded a patch against
2.0.25 to my website.  The patch includes the README under the
Documantation directory, and two sample configuration files; the ones
I'm using on my two computers here at home. :-)

 Let me know if you try this; an in-the-list discussion would be

Karl M. Hegbloom <karlheg@teleport.com>
(K0D) AYG-GE01  Portland, OR, USA
:) Proudly running Linux 2.0.25 transname
and Debian GNU public software!

This message was distributed manually by Bruce@debian.org after the list
initially failed to distribute it.

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