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I'm new to Ubuntu networking and I am wondering if there are methods for me to do the following with Ubuntu.

  1. Maintain Network users and a single network admin.
  2. Maintain Software state between machines, all clients must have same software that can only be modified by the Admin.
  3. Maintain config file state between machines.

Again, the software states of each of the computers should be equal at all times, and the software state can only be modified by the admin. Each users will have storage space on network drives on a central server.

Right now I have 6 Ubuntu 12.04 machines on the same local area network, I would like to have one server and 5 client machines that follow the constraints above. If somebody could give me some advice or at least a general guideline to follow to accomplish this type of system, that would be excellent.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Sounds like a job for configuration management software.

The two most popular for Linux are Puppet and Chef.

They can be rather daunting and difficult to deal with at first, but if you manage to overcome the initial hurdles, learn to use them and get some good experience using them, not only are they great for doing what you ask about in your question, they could land you a job as a Linux admin. They seem to be very in-demand tools to know how to use in larger environments with a lot of Linux machines (and it's not hard to see why).

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