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Re: Administering a network

Albert Cervera Areny wrote:
> The tricky thing (well... hope not ;) seems to be administering all
> computers..

Go here and read this paper.


I am a firm believer in the principles there.  Not a big deal if you
only have a few machines.  But I have over two thousand and then
methodology is extremely important.

> I'd like to have a server in which I download (update) the latests
> debs and all other machines update from this.

Install apt-proxy.  This will cache the debs you are using locally.

Install cron-apt.  The version is woody is missing some features I
like and use from cron-apt-0.0.12 in sid.  It is only scripts and so I
recommend backporting it.  Ask again if you need help on how to do

> Is there a way to avoid *all* of the questions when updating
> software with apt-get, or even better select the answers in one
> computer and update the rest of them?

Mostly you only see those questions during initial installation.  If
you are going to be installing on many systems then the three big
hitters are these.  I use systemimager to good effect myself.

  - apt-cache show systemimager-doc
  - http://www.systemimager.org/
  Fully Automated Install (FAI)
  - apt-cache show fai
  - http://www.informatik.uni-koeln.de/fai/
  Partition Image
  - apt-cache show partimage-doc
  - http://www.partimage.org/

After initial installation you will only see questions when installing
additional packages.  How often do you expect to be doing that over
the entire pool of machines?  Security updates (usually) do not ask
you questions since you are getting a patched version of the same
package that you already have and the configuration will be identical
to before.  Therefore no questions on security updates.

> Also, has somebody used this strategy but downloading source-debs,
> compile them and then offer them to the rest of the network?

Not sure what you are asking for.  But check out apt-src and the
Debian Repository HOWTO.

I have my own repositories of debs created locally.  Some are original
work.  Some are backports.  Some are caches of other repositories.
Local repositories and your own local packaging means you can offer
your own customizations and localizations as apt-get'able packages
seemlessly with everything else.  Very nice.

> what about the kernel???

I try to use a modular initrd kernel if possible.  That way I can use
the same kernel across different types of hardware.


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