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Re: Remote admin of intermittently-connected machine?

On Wed, May 29, 2002 at 07:07:05PM +0100, Karl E. Jorgensen wrote:
> Since I set up a Debian/GNU Linux box for a couple of friends, I find
> myself having to administer it remotely. Which is OK, as I did install
> ssh on it.
> But the box is only connected to the internet via a pay-as-you-go
> dial-up connection. And: I only want them to be connected to the
> internet when *they* like it (it's their phonebill after all). Which
> probably doesn't always coincide with when I want to log in and do
> things.
> So, this weird scheme occured to me: It is possible to do *some* of the
> admin via email? (not TCP/IP over SMTP/POP3...)  I'm thinking something
> along the lines of being able to email commands to the box (GNUPG signed
> and encrypted of course), and have it email me back the output (again,
> signed & encrypted). Similar to at(1), but remotely and via email.
> This won't work for interactive commands, but *should* work for the
> basics (i.e. "apt-get --download-only --yes install so-and-so" etc.)
> Writing something like the above is fraught with caveats and security
> holes, so I'd rather not write the lot from scratch. 
> Has anybody else been in the same situation? What was your solution?
> Ideas and comments are welcome!

Have you checked out "expect"? It is highly recommended for interactive
processes where you want to eliminate the "human" factor.

You could have an expect script that monitors a particular folder, where
the text of your email is deposited. After expect executes your
commands, it can email you back the output.


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