[clug] Local configuration on a non-homogeneous LAN

Bob Edwards bob at cs.anu.edu.au
Fri Jun 21 20:10:11 UTC 2019

On 21/6/19 11:39 pm, Brenton Ross via linux wrote:
> Hi
> I am looking for some thoughts...
> I am trying to set up a LAN consisting of a CentOS 7 server, plus a
> variety clients.
> The users will be defined in LDAP, and that part is working OK - they
> can log into the clients.
> The user's files will be stored on the server and made available via
> NFS - this is where I am foreseeing some issues that I would like some
> opinions on.
> As I mentioned, the clients will be mostly different from each other -
> some Scientific Linux, Fedora, Ubuntu, and others. They might also be
> at different releases. Basically the operating systems will be tailored
> to the software installed on each machine.
> It occurs to me that a lot of software stores its user specific
> configurations in the ~/.config and ~/.local directories. If these are
> stored centrally then there could be conflicts when a user changes from
> one machine to another and the configuration data is then out of sync
> with the programs installed on the second machine.
> Does anyone have any ideas on how to handle this ?
> Brenton

Hi Brenton,

We have faced similar issues at work (ANU) where we maintain student
home directories using NFS (and we also use LDAP for identity and

When we move our lab image from (eg.) Ubuntu 17.04 to 18.04 we sometimes
need to support both environments for a period during cut-over and
occasionally find that one environment is updating files in users home
dirs that the other env. is no longer happy with.

We find this mainly affects the desktop manager - most cmdline tools
seem happy enough, although PATHs may be slightly different. We also
have Debian login servers thrown into the mix, but they usually don't
provide a desktop manager (in our environment).

I have no particular solution, so am interested in what others may

(in the past we managed a heterogenous env. with Linux and Solaris
desktops - even more fun with PATHs etc. there...).

NFS and LDAP are both very solid technologies and have served us
reliably for several decades...

Bob Edwards.

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