Login from any terminal to personalised desktop

Al Gordon runlevel7 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 11 17:47:06 UTC 2005

On 9/11/05, Tim Vaughan <talltim at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm investigating running an IT lab on Ubuntu.  It'll be used for
> internet, email and office tasks for a charity that I work for.  I
> want the users to be able to sit down at any PC, log in and have all
> their personalised settings, files, home directory etc. available
> regardless of which computer they use.
> What's the easiest way of doing this?  I'm aware of LTSP and am
> looking into that as well but it looks pretty complicated.  Another
> way which I think might work is to have GDM authenticate against an
> LDAP server but I've never done this and I don't know how to tell it
> to automatically mount a user's home directory.
> Any ideas?
> Thanks,
> Tim

The easiest way?  One easy way would be to use something like Safedesk
(http://www.safedesksolutions.com/).  You pretty much plug the server
in, boot the workstations from a floppy, and away you go!  I've
implemented this for a customer, and it was a breeze.  The Safedesk
guys seem to be distro-agnostic as well, so if you want Ubuntu on the
server, you should be able to do it.  Not free, but not overly
expensive, either.

Another solution would be to run OpenLDAP for authentication, and have
a server that serves up home directories for the users via NFS. 
There's a pretty good guide at
http://www.nomis52.net/?section=docs&page=samldap on how to do this
fairly quickly and easily, on Debian.  It shouldn't be much (if any)
different for Ubuntu.  They cover doing this for Samba, which is
something to consider.

Documentation that may be a little closer to what I describe is at
http://cs.dixie.edu/ldap/.  They cover the NFS side of things, at
least.  However, I like the one I recommended at nomis52.net, since it
uses phpldapadmin, which is a pretty slick interface.


  -- AL --

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