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USENIX Tenth System Administration Conference (LISA '96)

PC Administration Tools: Using Linux to Manage Personal Computers

Jim Trocki
American Cyanamid Company


Personal computers in a networked environment can provide users with access to a broad set of distributed resources. Unfortunately, the management overhead of maintaining PC clients can become overwhelming, especially with a large installed base. Popular PC operating systems do not provide system administrators with a set of efficient and flexible management tools that can take advantage of a networked environment. UNIX system administrators are accustomed to having such tools at their disposal to handle common administration tasks, such as software upgrades, initial machine installation, networked file transfer, and remote backup.

This paper describes the PC Administration (PCADM) tools developed to provide PCs with a UNIX environment and robust tool set for client administration purposes, without installing supporting software on individual clients. Linux, custom scripts and libraries, MD5 signatures, and freely available software including Perl [Schwartz], Bash, and SAMBA are used to accomplish this task - all made accessible from a single floppy disk.

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