LISA 2001 Abstract
GEORDI: A Handheld Tool For Remote System Administration
Stephen Okay, Road Knight Mobility Labs;
Gale Pedowitz, Protura Consulting, Inc.
This paper discusses the design and implementation of a tool for
allowing technical staff to perform diagnosis, triage and remediation
of system problems from a commodity handheld device (e.g., a PalmOS
PDA) with a wireless network connection using industry standard
encryption and privilege management software. We argue that this model
is equivalent to using a desktop or laptop from a security aspect but
is more convenient and efficient given its minimal resource
requirements, ``instant-on'' availability and usability from arbitrary
We explore previous work in this area and posit that our solution
offers significant advantages because it adopts the stylus and forms-
based usage model prevalent on many PDAs rather than trying to overlay
the classic command-line interface onto a system which was not
designed to use it.
Finally, consideration is given to how small mobile systems, like
the one used in this tool, will impact the task of system management
in the future in terms of benefits and risks.
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