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Local Disk Depot - Customizing the Software Environment

Walter C. Wong
Carnegie Mellon University


The depot model, developed at Carnegie Mellon University, provides a method for managing third-party and locally developed software. Depot uses an object-oriented approach to managing software; each software package is managed as one or more logical objects. Yet, from the perspective of a user, the multiple "software objects'' appear as a single, integrated, software environment. Local disk depot (ldd) is an extension to the depot framework. ldd facilitates the management of environments that "inherit'' software from the "master'' software environments. The inherited software environment is formed by taking software and configuration information from the master software environments, and integrating that with local software and configuration information. The most common use of ldd is to have an inherited environment on the local disk of a workstation. This allows the workstation administrator to locally cache software in order to improve performance and availability of critical software in the event of server or network failure. The inherited environments, however, can be used for more than saving local copies of remote software. Workstation administrators can introduce customizations to the software environment, as well as add additional software, even from other software environments. Developers can easily test new or updated applications on their own machines in an environment that is otherwise identical to the released environment.

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