[clug] Installfest / Install-off

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Thu Oct 2 02:52:51 GMT 2008

One little idea that occurred to me after Installfest was to have a  
scenario-based "install-off" where we pose a scenario and get teams  
(or just "the mob") to set up a Linux environment to support the  

For example, a plain vanilla install-off could be to set up a SOHO  
infrastructure consisting of:
  - DHCP
  - LDAP
  - Web proxy
  - firewall / router
  - Samba
  - CUPS
  - (backup software such as Backula)
  - Intranet server (eg: Apache web server, some kind of Wiki)
  - Mail server (SMTP, IMAP) with virus scanning
  - DNS set up as securely as possible
  - Monitoring software such as Nagios

Ideally, the final "product" would undergo a series of automated and  
manual tests (eg: a test suite that would verify all services being  
available as expected, then try to connect up Mac OS X, Windows XP  
and Windows Vista computers and have them communicate files and emails).

I know that I don't know how to do all of this stuff (Backula and  
Nagios are still foreign territory to me), and I personally would  
benefit from having a bunch of people putting their heads together to  
set up this environment and invent new ways of testing the system and  
reporting on the "health" of the SOHO network. The more we can learn  
from such a scenario, the better - new-to-us ways of monitoring  
network performance, new ideas on how to predict failures, new ideas  
on how to set up the network to avoid common problems, etc.

As an example of where I'd like to go with this, the SOHO network is  
only one suggestion. Another might be to find the lowest power system  
that can talk to GPS/Galileo/GLONASS and provide voice navigation. Or  
perhaps a challenge to build the lowest power megaflop beowulf  

I'm not sure that there's anything useful for me to learn from  
setting up beowulf clusters, but if folks think it might be fun to go  
ahead with the SOHO installfest idea, I'd love to get some feedback  
on how we'd evaluate the success of the installed network (what  
testing we can do to prove that the purpose had been achieved, and  
what testing/reporting can we provide to the hypothetical users so  
they know that things are working).

If there's any support for this idea, I'll get started on the "rules  
of the game" along with setting up a battery of tests to be passed in  
order for us to consider the objectives accomplished.

Ideally the result of such an "install-off" would be a bunch of  
people becoming more knowledgeable about the use of Linux in the  
scenarios covered by the event. Perhaps we'd even be able to produce  
reusable tools to help people bring their own installations up to the  
same standard as we produce in these events!


PS: It occurs to me that the first "install-off" would be "set up a  
source control system and blog/wiki for tracking install-off  

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