Roaming User Profiles
Thomas L. Bevan
tom at regex.com.au
Thu Jun 20 06:59:58 BST 2002
This is the sort of thing that Linux does very well.
From your question, I get the feeling that your
intranet has not been set up to take advantage of
Linux's strengths. It might be worth getting
someone with experience to look at it.
People have already mentioned NFS, the network file system.
This allows files and directories to be accessed on remote
machines completely transparently as if they were local.
The users will notice no difference.
Typically, all the user and company data should be stored on one
file server ( just a specially configured Linux box ) and the terminals
would mount the user directories at boot.
This is good not just for roaming profiles but also because it
facilitates backingup et al. There are no security problems here that I know
of if set up correctly.
NIS, Network Information Service, can also be used to centralise
user and password information - also in a completely transparent fashion.
Finally, one of the beauties of X is that it too is network transparent.
This means that the windows and graphics ( ie KDE ) can be run on one machine
and displayed on any other. So, if you wanted to, you could have one large
server running all the necessary software and people would log on from their
terminals. The advantage of this is that patches and software updates and
additions would only need to occur on one machine. There are also gains in
speed because common programmes are held in memory.
The relevant acronym here is XDMCP.
Detailed descriptions of all this stuff can be found at, http://www.tldp.org
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