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I am managing a number of machines (about 20, their hardware is quite different) which can be used by people in my college.

Both ArchLinux and Ubuntu are installed on these machines, and I'd like to manage in a centralized way the configuration of these systems.

I'm thinking about creating a Git repository for ArchLinux and one for Ubuntu, putting there the /etc directory and creating (in both repositories) a branch for each machine, useful to keep machine-specific data (ie: hostname, network settings, fstab, grub configuration and so on).

Is there any better way to do handle the configuration?
Or any software that already does this?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Look into puppet or chef and a version control system on the master configuration server.

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Also look at standardizing on one operating system if at all possible -- this substantially reduces complexity and makes your environment easier to manage. –  voretaq7 Feb 4 '12 at 22:49
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