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Dominique_71
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Distant administration of a laptop Reply with quote

I am preparing a gentoo laptop for a boy and his family. They are living in Cuba. This challenge me because

1) the electricity supply in Cuba is functioning normally very well, but sometimes and without warning, the electricity can be gone under several minutes or several hours.

2) he doesn't have access at internet at that time. It is something I will try to fix, but that is not actual.

3) I hope 2) to be fixed for my next trip to Cuba in a few months

That is the context.

1) imply that the best thing to do will be to make all the installation-updates into a virtual environment into my home desktop, and to transfer it to the laptop.

2) imply that I can not use internet for the moment in order to make distant administration of any kind. I must make a fake install in some virtual environment, transfer it to a CD or DVD, and transfer it to the laptop.

3) imply that my virtual environment and the whole process must be compatible with the future possibility of distant administration trough internet.

1) imply that the final process must be fast enough to resist in case of power outrage,

1) imply that, in case of distant administration, and maybe even when installing from a dvd, the uploading of the files to the laptop must be a separated process from the actual update/installation of the files.

I never experimented with distant administration, so I am a little bit lost (its an euphemism :roll: ). So, what can I do?

A complementary issue is that I don't want them to be able to use portage. I will not give them the root password.

EDIT:

I am thinking to make a chrooted environment in /var/alian into my home desktop. This will be the root of the distant laptop. Into it, I can install gentoo and make all the updates as if I was into the laptop.

With this chrooted environment, the remaining problem is that I need a 2 step "backup" process:
- put the files into the laptop
- update the installation into the laptop
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remote admin is a pain in the a$$.

I remote admin my parents machines and after thinking about it, I probably should have just let them run Ubuntu or something that they can admin themselves. Portage requires some effort to remote-debug.

That out the way there's even more issues: Internet itself. They tend to be placed behind NAT routers making it hard to access the machine, plus getting them to tell me their IP address would be hard too. So ideally you also auto-setup dynamic DNS to help "locate" the machine... but that doesn't solve the NAT router issue...
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Dominique_71
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All distros do have their plus and cons. I installed suse for my mother, and she was completely unable to administrate it. Also all the distribution that use custom programs to manage the system configuration made very strange choices about where should be the files and re-invent the wheel in manners that made administration a real pain in the a$$ in case of problems, that even in case of local administration.

For the IP problem, I can make some scripts for that.
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are more pitfalls with Gentoo I think with remote admin. Just recently I forgot to revdep-rebuild and now it doesn't load in Gnome properly anymore. With a binary distribution this shouldn't happen very frequently...
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ulenrich
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@eccerr0r, this bin thingy - isn't this Sabayon all about ?
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably, but I was initially thinking it'd be easier to have all machines that I have to maintain (my own and my parents) to have the same OS... It turns out it's probably not.

Since I do have USE flags on the remote machines, this makes it harder... if I were just using generic options, binaries should work just fine...

Tough call...
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is Sabayon as stable than Gentoo?

I ask it because I find gentoo ~arch to be more stable than Debian stable, as long you are using safe cflags. I done this test at the time with the 3D capability of openoffice. I never succeeded to crash OO with gentoo, when it was only a question of seconds or a few minutes with debian.

Is it possible to install sabayon over gentoo?
And what about sabayon and multiple repository?

Also I get a problem with this particular laptop, an acer aspire 7250G. I try 3 other distributions before gentoo, and the mouse cursor was randomly working in X with all 3 of them. With gentoo, it just work, as with Icaros desktop (aros).
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Dominique_71
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r wrote:
There are more pitfalls with Gentoo I think with remote admin. Just recently I forgot to revdep-rebuild and now it doesn't load in Gnome properly anymore. With a binary distribution this shouldn't happen very frequently...


Gentoo do have some main advantages:
1) You will never reformat, this is just to update the system.
2) Multiple repositories with a binary distribution will soon or later be broken. It is just a matter of time.

Anyway, gentoo do have a main disadvantage: the huge compilation times are very hard for the machine on the long run, especially for the hard disk used by portage. It is why I will try sabayon too on that cheap laptop.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using VirtualBox seems like a good idea, but I'd avoid Gentoo - use Ubuntu or Mint.
It's just too much work to tinker with it over unreliable connections and with unskilled
users.

Will
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Dominique_71
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I am thinking about is to use dyndns at home. That way, a script into the laptop must be able to automatize the connection.

Another issue is how to synchronize the files. And I am lost with this for the moment.
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you can guarantee a connection even behind a NAT router without the recipient user knowing how to set up a hole in the router, as long as you have sshd running on that machine and you can connect to it, it opens a lot of possibilities. DynDNS is one thing that is pretty much mandatory, unless you have static ip on your own machines and you can make that remote machine "phone home" - in which this can also be a tunnel with ssh.

With the ssh tunnel you can rsync your local directory with the remote machine, but you still have to be careful with partial installs and leaving a broken machine... It may be best to leave them with enough tools and knowledge of how to setup an emergency backdoor to the computer.
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Dominique_71
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am thinking to make a 2 steps process for the update.

1) Have a local and separated copy of the installation in something like /var/alian that must be synchronized trough the internet. That way, I can be sure than the synchronization is complete.

2) Make a local synchronization between /var/alian and the real installation. That way I can be sure than even in case of power outrage, this will be fast enough and not exhaust the battery.
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Dominique_71
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a few more concerns. I succeeded to use ssh and rsync between the 2 computers. I also made a second host on no-ip.org for the laptop. Its ip is updated with noip-updater which is in portage.

I see that rsnapshot seam to be a good rsync wrapper for the backups.

In order to make a backdoor trough a NAT router, what tools are needed?
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