Petter Reinholdtsen

Entries from April 2010.

Thoughts on roaming laptop setup for Debian Edu
28th April 2010

For some years now, I have wondered how we should handle laptops in Debian Edu. The Debian Edu infrastructure is mostly designed to handle stationary computers, and less suited for computers that come and go.

Now I finally believe I have an sensible idea on how to adjust Debian Edu for laptops, by introducing a new profile for them, for example called Roaming Workstations. Here are my thought on this. The setup would consist of the following:

I believe all the pieces to implement this are in Debian/testing at the moment. If we work quickly, we should be able to get this ready in time for the Squeeze release to freeze. Some of the pieces need tweaking, like libpam-ccreds should get support for pam-auth-update (#566718) and nslcd (or perhaps debian-edu-config) should get some integration code to stop its daemon when the LDAP server is unavailable to avoid long timeouts when disconnected from the net. If we get Kerberos enabled, we need to make sure we avoid long timeouts there too.

If you want to help out with implementing this for Debian Edu, please contact us on

Tags: debian edu, english, nuug.
Great book: "Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future"
19th April 2010

The last few weeks i have had the pleasure of reading a thought-provoking collection of essays by Cory Doctorow, on topics touching copyright, virtual worlds, the future of man when the conscience mind can be duplicated into a computer and many more. The book titled "Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future" is available with few restrictions on the web, for example from his own site. I read the epub-version from feedbooks using fbreader and my N810. I strongly recommend this book.

Tags: english, fildeling, nuug, opphavsrett, personvern, sikkerhet, web.
Kerberos for Debian Edu/Squeeze?
14th April 2010

Yesterdays NUUG presentation about Kerberos was inspiring, and reminded me about the need to start using Kerberos in Skolelinux. Setting up a Kerberos server seem to be straight forward, and if we get this in place a long time before the Squeeze version of Debian freezes, we have a chance to migrate Skolelinux away from NFSv3 for the home directories, and over to an architecture where the infrastructure do not have to trust IP addresses and machines, and instead can trust users and cryptographic keys instead.

A challenge will be integration and administration. Is there a Kerberos implementation for Debian where one can control the administration access in Kerberos using LDAP groups? With it, the school administration will have to maintain access control using flat files on the main server, which give a huge potential for errors.

A related question I would like to know is how well Kerberos and pam-ccreds (offline password check) work together. Anyone know?

Next step will be to use Kerberos for access control in Lwat and Nagios. I have no idea how much work that will be to implement. We would also need to document how to integrate with Windows AD, as such shared network will require two Kerberos realms that need to cooperate to work properly.

I believe a good start would be to start using Kerberos on the machines, and this way get ourselves experience with configuration and integration. A natural starting point would be setting up as the Kerberos server, and migrate the rest of the machines from PAM via LDAP to PAM via Kerberos one at the time.

If you would like to contribute to get this working in Skolelinux, I recommend you to see the video recording from yesterdays NUUG presentation, and start using Kerberos at home. The video show show up in a few days.

Tags: debian edu, english, nuug.

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