Suggestion to make remote recovery easier

Bryce Harrington bryce at
Tue May 6 20:12:15 UTC 2008

On Tue, May 06, 2008 at 06:39:25PM +0100, Andrew Sayers wrote:
> I've now updated the page that Pedro kindly started at
> - this includes all the ideas
> I've got so far.  This is my first Ubuntu development thing, so yes, any
> help very much appreciated!

Well then welcome aboard!  :-)

> Then we can add a page to the help wiki, describing how to create a user
> for port-forwarding, how to create an SSH-only user, and how to make
> that user an administrator.  That would give intermediate users all the
> tools they need to set up a permanent remote help relationship that they
> can tune to their particular needs.

One other thing to consider is configuring an external router for the
ssh traffic, in case of routers that lock out ssh traffic.

> Help with managing a system is an interesting use case, but I'm not sure
> if we want to be targeting it with this particular solution.  I agree
> that sane defaults with powerful configuration is a good approach for
> users that know what the configuration options mean, but newbies with a
> broken system should be asked as few questions as possible (especially
> when they're paying for a long-distance phone call).  Also, I think
> you're talking about an ongoing remote help relationship, rather than an
> emergency one shot thing.

It's occurred to me that most of my non-technical friends and family who
use Linux, have a semi-formal relationship with their "tech guy"
(usually me, but not always).  I don't think this is unique to Linux -
most of these people bugged me with Windows questions before converting
(and indeed, a large part of their motivation to switch was me saying,
"Hey, I'd like to help, but honestly my windows knowledge is diminishing
since I no longer use it.")

So I've wondered if things like remote restore / remote management could
enable Ubuntu to expand further.  I know I have friends and folks out of
town I could move over to Linux if it were simpler to set them up for
remote operations.

> 1) Rather than create a "remote-recovery" user on the recovery machine,
> why not just let the expert log in as root?  Given all the other
> security measures, it wouldn't be any less secure, and would avoid the
> need to have a password kicking about.

Hmm, this sounds dangerous.
> 2) Experts that have just finished a remote recovery session are
> probably the best people there are for providing high quality bug
> reports.

Possibly, and a good point, although I'm not sure any special handling
for bug reporting is needed for these kinds of people.


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