rdist

Jeff LaCoursiere jeff at jeff.net
Thu Jul 6 15:40:23 BST 2006


[Sorry if you are seeing this twice - it was pointed out to me that my bad
habit of replying to a list message and rewriting the subject is bad for
thread tracking :) ]

Howdy,

I suppose this is not a FreeBSD specific question, though the equipment
involved is all FreeBSD based.  I guess I am looking for some design
advice.

I run a bunch of FreeBSD based Internet terminals on a bunch of mini-ITX
motherboards and custom cases (by the way I have about 700 of these things
and am selling them if anyone is interested).  My partner and I wrote the
"interface", which is a hacked wdm (to authenticate the customer, who
types in the secret PIN number on the back of a scratch-off phone card),
and a highly customized fvwm that only allows a few applications (and
looks amazingly like Windows XP).  All of this is working great.

Now we have a new version, and we also have new constraints.  First, we
have had trouble with the 2.5" laptop hard drives failing (the terminals
are in bars and restaurants in the US Virgin Islands, where it is both hot
and extremely humid!).  So I have new 1GB flash drives on the way to see
if it is more stable.  First challenge is to make FBSD+X+utilities fit in
1GB with at least 200MB of swap.  Lets assume that that is possible.  What
I will end up with is a subset of the standard release plus our stuff.

Whew!  Now to the question.  How to distribute this new version?  Today I
make a new terminal by installing FBSD6.0-R and dumping a tar image of my
"master" onto it (literally a tar from / minus dev, proc, etc).  This is
fine because I have 40GB to play with, over 90% of which will never be
used.  This won't work with the 1GB flash drive, obviously, as stuff needs
to be automatically deleted.

So I have been thinking that rdist might be a good candidate, and may give
me additionally the ability to do "automatic" upgrades, if a cron job or
something could fire off rdist at midnight every night or something.
Anyone (Alan?) have experience using rdist to synch the actual OS tree?
Or something better?

TIA,

j





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