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GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams

Using rdist

The rdist package can be used to update files on a collection of hosts from a central host. This is what I do from Alpine (104.27) where the password and group files are maintained.

On Alpine (104.27) in /root/distfile I have the following:

  KTNET = ( inco punto cultus festival atomic brick prefect )

  FILES  = ( /etc/passwd /etc/shadow /etc/group /etc/gshadow 
             /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/printcap /etc/resolv.conf )

  ${FILES} -> ${KTNET} 
                  install -oyounger,chknfs,savetargets;

Thus I have seveb hosts that are updated with seven files from alpine. The options for install include: younger so that if the remote host has update the files they won't be updated from alpine, and instead I need to have a look at them to see what has changed; chknfs so that NFS mounted files are not updated; and savetargets so that old copies are placed in .OLD files so I can then compare what has changed!

The command to do the update is:

  # rdist -F -P /usr/bin/ssh

This will use ssh to communicate and will do it serially (-F) so that the passwords that are asked for don't interfere with each other!

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