Multiple Machines

Roland Smith rsmith at
Mon Sep 27 18:55:45 UTC 2010

On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 03:04:45PM -0800, David Allen wrote:
> Multiple Machines
> This is sort of a "best practices" kind of question so all comments are
> welcome.  I'm wondering what folks are doing when setting up multiple
> (more than 1, but less than 10) machines.
> Consider, for example, some ordinary files such as the following:
>     /root/.cshrc
>     /root/.bashrc           # toor account
>     /root/.bash_profile     # toor account
>     /home/username/.bashrc
>     /home/username/.bash_profile
>     /etc/make.conf
>     /etc/src.conf
>     /etc/fstab              # nfs mount entries
>     /etc/resolv.conf
>     /etc/ntp.conf
> Some files are identical, some require different permissions, and some
> (like fstab) consist of customizations that need to be added.
> Short of enabling root ssh logins or writing makefiles, what would be the
> best approach to handing the above?

Every configuration file that I want to change, I copy first to
~/setup/<hostname>/, each of which is a git repository. (Of course you can use
any revision control system you like.)

For managing files, I use "list" files combined with a couple of
perl-scripts, called and The list file details where each
file is to be copied to and what permissions it should have. The check scripts
checks for differences between the files in the repository and the installed
files. The does the obvious. :-)

You can find this elaborated on one of my webpages: 

I tend to use rsync to copy these setup directories from my workstation to
other machines (which also backs them up!). Then I log in by ssh to run the
check and install scripts.

It should be possible to extend the check and install scripts to work over ssh

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