[plug] making linux desktops consistent

Ben Jensz plug at jensz.id.au
Thu Apr 29 11:20:57 WST 2004

Sorry for coming late into this discussion (been sick for the last 
couple of days).  This is one thing I've been curious about myself - 
that is having essentially user desktop profiles that can be used to log 
onto any standard Linux desktop workstation in the network.

My thoughts though are that there could potentially be issues with using 
something like NFS to maintain a persistent connection to a central 
server where data is constantly being read/written for the profile over 
the network.  To me the two main issues are as such (without getting 
into the flaws of any specific protocol/system):

1)  Network dropouts - how would NFS, or any other networked filesystem 
handle this?
2)  Data being written / read constantly from the server.. creates 
constant network load and constant server load (in particular disk load) 
on the server handling it.

The other approach I can see being used is somewhat along the lines of 
what Windows does, and that is.. load the profile up onto the client's 
desktop and manipulate the profile data there.. and sync it back with 
the copy on the server once the user logs off.  That means that 
generally if there is a short network dropout, the client wouldn't even 
notice (unless it was in the middle of logging off).  Under Linux I 
suppose you would be using rsync to do the syncing and this would 
probably be a lot more efficient at syncing the changed files back and 
forth than Windows does with its system (it seems to just sync things 
that haven't even been modified a lot of the time).

So then the question I suppose would be.... how would one setup an 
efficient system along the lines of this as opposed to doing it via a 
persistent connection to a server?


/ Ben

Craig Ringer wrote:

> I've had good results with this. Typically I prefer terminal server 
> setups instead, but NFS homedirs do work fine.
> Depending on the programs being run, you'll need to make sure that 
> only one copy of each user account is logged in at any one time, 
> though. Some apps don't deal with this well.

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