Check out the new USENIX Web site.

Home About USENIX Events Membership Publications Students
USENIX Tenth System Administration Conference (LISA '96)

SLINK: Simple, Effective Filesystem Maintenance Abstractions for Community-Based Administration

Alva L. Couch
Tufts University


We manage several large UNIX program repositories through a community effort of volunteerism and advocacy. Our effort requires a carefully crafted interplay between administrative policy and tools that operate within the limits of that policy. Rather than restricting administrators' actions, our tools reinforce their own use by making it easier and more effective to comply with policy than to dissent. Our tool SLINK provides a small number of commands that aid in synthesizing user environments from sets of disjoint software package trees. SLINK's commands, while more powerful than typical UNIX commands, refuse to violate predefined policy restrictions, thus protecting the user environment even from mistakes of root users. Our administrative policy and SLINK allow us to employ an arbitrarily large number of volunteer administrators without degrading system behavior or utilizing large amounts of staff time.

View the full text of this paper in PDF, ASCII (43,277 Bytes) and POSTSCRIPT (519,898 Bytes) form.

To Become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.

?Need help? Use our Contacts page.

Last changed: 8 May 2002 aw
Conference Index