[plug] making linux desktops consistent

Bill Kenworthy billk at iinet.net.au
Thu Apr 29 11:48:36 WST 2004

Once worked in an environment where all the /homes (and cvs, and ...)
were mounted via nfs.  Up to 35 users - mounts were from multiple linux
and sun machines.  Worked well enough for me to say go for it.  

Points where it can (and sometimes did) fail were full home partitions
(one user downloading an iso could kill everyone else when the partition
hit full) - requires "active" management - quotas may have fixed this,
but would have been at the cost of wasted space so were not implemented,
and flaky automounts were a constant source of grief (contention?). 
This was ~3 years ago so the code may have improved but my experience
then was automounters are appropriate for occasionally accessed mounts,
but manual (in the fstab as auto) mounts are more reliable for others
such as /home.  There is now an nfs over tcp option that may help with
network hassles which has helped on my home network.


On Thu, 2004-04-29 at 11:20, Ben Jensz wrote:
> 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?
> Thoughts?
> / 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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