Configuration Management of root files system

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Hi folks,

Looking to put my rfs under configuration management and am trying to
figure out the best way to do that.   I'd like to archive the entire
rfs as I would source code for a project ... but CM tools would hammer
the permissions/users/groups.  Tarring the whole thing up is
unattractive.    It was also suggested that I write a script to
restore permissions/users/groups.

How is this typically done? What other options are available and what
are the repercussions of those options?


John Miller

Re: Configuration Management of root files system

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Not quite sure how much CM you want to do. If you just want the "current
baseline" for your root file system, I suggest using System Imager /
which I've used to manage the master image of several clusters of systems.

The tools are pretty simple - an "image" of your system is a chroot'd
directory tree under the image server. Whatever you apply to that tree
will be downloaded to the next machine you build from it (or when you
update a system). The script used to do the downloads also allows for
some customization of each machine (e.g., host name). You can have
several images on a single image server; we have a handful of system
types we manage that way.

If you really want to keep multiple versions of the root file system, I
am not aware of any good tools to do that.

Re: Configuration Management of root files system
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Thanks for the feedback Mark.  

Keeping multiple versions is what I'm really aiming for.  I'm thinking
that as we progress through development that the /etc files will
undergo change while most others probably won't.  I'm looking at the
different products and seeing that BitKeeper perserves permissions.
But I'm guessing that most of the linux developers out there just tar
the entire thing up, and archive the tar ball. So, /etc files are
managed by release, not by version.   Perhaps I'm over estimating the
need for CM on this issue.  Please enlighten me.


Re: Configuration Management of root files system

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Hmm. I would guess that most developers keep track of their source files
using CVS, BitKeeper, or some other tool. The usual sequence of
   ./config; make; ./install
(or an RPM build / install)
would then build and put the files in the right place and fix them up.
However, we may be saying the same thing in different ways - where you
say "the files are managed by release".

Like I said in my previous message - we only manage the root file system
as the "current baseline" and don't care all that much about how we got
to that point (other than having all the source necessary to get there).
The source on the other hand is managed by version - with a few years of
history to show the changes and who made them.

I haven't seen any one else speak up on this issue - perhaps they do the


Re: Configuration Management of root files system
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We do the same, more or less.  I have a VMware session with the base OS
I am building the root from and a set of scripts to build a RFS from that.
The advantage of using a VMWare session are several, first you can install
from  any old distro, and second that you can do kernel builds in place
and at the end of the job just tar up the VMware session for retrieval
later if neccessary.  That means that you always have a compatible
environment and all the build tools no matter what you do with your
desktop in the meantime.  VMware seems to maintain compatibility fairly
well, I still occasionally boot an old NT session I originally built with
VMWare V2.? on my modern V4.5 release.

Trevor Barton

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