HowTos for general administration
The Getting Started and Maintenance chapters describe how to get started with Debian Edu and how to do the basic maintenance work. The howtos in this chapter have some more "advanced" tips and tricks.
HowTos for general administration
- Configuration history: tracking /etc/ using the Git version control system
- Resizing Partitions
- Using ldapvi
- Kerberized NFS
- JXplorer, an LDAP GUI
- ldap-createuser-krb, a command-line tool
- Using stable-updates
- Using backports to install newer software
- Upgrading with a CD or similar image
- Automatic cleanup of leftover processes
- Automatic installation of security upgrades
- Automatic shutdown of machines during the night
- Access Debian Edu servers located behind a firewall
- Installing additional service machines for spreading the load from the main server
- HowTos from wiki.debian.org
Configuration history: tracking /etc/ using the Git version control system
Using etckeeper, all files in /etc/ are tracked using Git as a version control system.
This makes it possible to see when a file is added, changed and removed, as well as what was changed if the file is a text file. The git repository is stored in /etc/.git/.
Every hour, any changes are automatically recorded, allowing configuration history to be extracted and reviewed.
To look at the history, the command etckeeper vcs log is used. To check the differences between two points in time, a command like etckeeper vcs diff can be used.
See the output of man etckeeper for more information.
List of useful commands:
etckeeper vcs log etckeeper vcs status etckeeper vcs diff etckeeper vcs add . etckeeper vcs commit -a man etckeeper
On a freshly installed system, try this to see all changes done since the system was installed:
etckeeper vcs log
See which files are currently not tracked and which are not up-to-date:
etckeeper vcs status
To manually commit a file, because you don't want to wait up to an hour:
etckeeper vcs commit -a /etc/resolv.conf
In Debian Edu, all partitions other than the /boot/ partition are on logical LVM volumes. With Linux kernels since version 2.6.10, it is possible to extend partitions while they are mounted. Shrinking partitions still needs to happen while the partition is unmounted.
It is a good idea to avoid creating very large partitions (over, say, 20GiB), because of the time it takes to run fsck on them or to restore them from backup if the need arises. It is better, if possible, to create several smaller partitions than one very large one.
The helper script debian-edu-fsautoresize is provided to make it easier to extend full partitions. When invoked, it reads the configuration from /usr/share/debian-edu-config/fsautoresizetab, /site/etc/fsautoresizetab and /etc/fsautoresizetab. It then proposes to extend partitions with too little free space, according to the rules provided in these files. If run with no arguments, it will only show the commands needed to extend the file system. The argument -n is needed to actually execute these commands to extend the file systems.
The script is executed automatically every hour on every client listed in the fsautoresize-hosts netgroup.
When the partition used by the Squid proxy is resized, the value for cache size in etc/squid/squid.conf needs to be updated as well. The helper script /usr/share/debian-edu-config/tools/squid-update-cachedir is provided to do this automatically, checking the current partition size of /var/spool/squid/ and configuring Squid to use 80% of this as its cache size.
Logical Volume Management
Logical Volume Management (LVM) enables resizing the partitions while they are mounted and in use. You can learn more about LVM from the LVM HowTo.
To extend a logical volume manually you simply tell the lvextend command how large you want it to grow to. For example, to extend home0 to 30GiB you use the following commands:
lvextend -L30G /dev/vg_system/skole+tjener+home0 resize2fs /dev/vg_system/skole+tjener+home0
To extend home0 by additional 30GiB, you insert a '+' (-L+30G).
ldapvi is a tool to edit the LDAP database with a normal text editor on the commandline.
The following needs to be executed:
ldapvi -ZD '(cn=admin)'
Note: ldapvi will use whatever is the default editor. By executing export EDITOR=vim in the shell prompt one can configure the environment to get a vi clone as editor.
Warning: ldapvi is a very powerful tool. Be careful and don't mess up the LDAP database, same warning applies for JXplorer.
Using Kerberos for NFS to mount home directories is a security feature. Workstations and LTSP clients won't work without Kerberos. The levels krb5, krb5i and krb5p are supported (krb5 means Kerberos authentication, i stands for integrity check and p for privacy, i.e. encryption); the load on both server and workstation increases with the security level, krb5i is a good choice and has been chosen as default.
How to change the default
- login as root
run ldapvi -ZD '(cn=admin)', search for sec=krb5i and replace it with sec=krb5 or sec=krb5p.
edit /etc/exports.d/edu.exports and adjust these entries accordingly:
/srv/nfs4 gss/krb5i(rw,sync,fsid=0,crossmnt,no_subtree_check) /srv/nfs4/home0 gss/krb5i(rw,sync,no_subtree_check)
run exportfs -r.
This tool allows to set the default printer depending on location, machine, or group membership. For more information, see /usr/share/doc/standardskriver/README.md.
The configuration file /etc/standardskriver.cfg has to be provided by the admin, see /usr/share/doc/standardskriver/examples/standardskriver.cfg as an example.
JXplorer, an LDAP GUI
If you prefer a GUI to work with the LDAP database, check out the jxplorer package, which is installed by default. To get write access connect like this:
host: ldap.intern port: 636e Security level: ssl + user + password User dn: cn=admin,ou=ldap-access,dc=skole,dc=skolelinux,dc=no
ldap-createuser-krb, a command-line tool
ldap-createuser-krb is a small command line tool to create LDAP users and set their passwords in Kerberos. It's mostly useful for testing, though.
While you can use stable-updates directly, you don't have to: stable-updates are pushed into the stable suite regularly when stable point releases are done, which roughly happens every two months.
Using backports to install newer software
You are running Debian Edu because you prefer the stability of Debian Edu. It runs great; there is just one problem: sometimes software is a little bit more outdated than you like. This is where backports.debian.org steps in.
Backports are recompiled packages from Debian testing (mostly) and Debian unstable (in a few cases only, e.g. security updates), so they will run without new libraries (wherever this is possible) on a stable Debian distribution like Debian Edu. We recommend you to pick out individual backports which fit your needs, and not to use all backports available there.
Using backports is simple:
echo "deb http://deb.debian.org/debian/ bookworm-backports main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/bookworm-backports.sources.list apt update
After which one can install backported packages easily, the following command will install a backported version of tuxtype:
apt install tuxtype/bookworm-backports
Backports are automatically updated (if available) just like other packages. Like the normal archive, backports has three sections: main, contrib and non-free.
Upgrading with a CD or similar image
If you want to upgrade from one version to another (for example from Bookworm 12.1 to 12.2) but you do not have Internet connectivity, only physical media, follow these steps:
Insert the CD / DVD / Blu-ray disc / USB flash drive and use the apt-cdrom command:
To quote the apt-cdrom(8) man page:
- apt-cdrom is used to add a new CD-ROM to APTs list of available sources. apt-cdrom takes care of determining the structure of the disc as well as correcting for several possible mis-burns and verifying the index files.
- It is necessary to use apt-cdrom to add CDs to the APT system, it cannot be done by hand. Furthermore each disk in a multi-CD set must be inserted and scanned separately to account for possible mis-burns.
Then run these two commands to upgrade the system:
apt update apt full-upgrade
Automatic cleanup of leftover processes
killer is a perl script that gets rid of background jobs. Background jobs are defined as processes that belong to users who are not currently logged into the machine. It's run by cron job once an hour.
Automatic installation of security upgrades
unattended-upgrades is a Debian package which will install security (and other) upgrades automatically. If installed, the package is preconfigured to install security upgrades. The logs are available in /var/log/unattended-upgrades/; also, there are always /var/log/dpkg.log and /var/log/apt/.
Automatic shutdown of machines during the night
It is possible to save energy and money by automatically turning client machines off at night and back on in the morning. The package shutdown-at-night will try to turn off the machine every hour on the hour from 16:00 in the afternoon, but will not turn it off if it seems to have users. It will try to tell the BIOS to turn on the machine around 07:00 in the morning, and the main server will try to turn on machines from 06:30 by sending Wake-on-LAN packets. These times can be changed in the crontabs of individual machines.
Some considerations should be kept in mind when setting this up:
The clients should not be shut down when someone is using them. This is ensured by checking the output from who, and as a special case, checking for the SSH connection command to work with X2Go thin clients.
- To avoid blowing electrical fuses, it is a good idea to make sure all clients do not start at the same time.
There are two different methods available to wake up clients. One uses a BIOS feature and requires a working and correct hardware clock, as well as a motherboard and BIOS version supported by nvram-wakeup; the other requires clients to have support for Wake-on-LAN, and the server to know about all the clients that need to be woken up.
How to set up shutdown-at-night
On clients that should turn off at night, touch /etc/shutdown-at-night/shutdown-at-night, or add the hostname (that is, the output from 'uname -n' on the client) to the netgroup "shutdown-at-night-hosts". Adding hosts to the netgroup in LDAP can be done using the GOsa² web tool. The clients might need to have Wake-on-LAN configured in the BIOS. It is also important that the switches and routers used between the Wake-on-LAN server and the clients will pass the WOL packets to the clients even if the clients are turned off. Some switches fail to pass on packets to clients that are missing in the ARP table on the switch, and this blocks the WOL packets.
To enable Wake-on-LAN on the server, add the clients to /etc/shutdown-at-night/clients, with one line per client, IP address first, followed by MAC address (ethernet address), separated by a space; or create a script /etc/shutdown-at-night/clients-generator to generate the list of clients on the fly.
Here is an example /etc/shutdown-at-night/clients-generator for use with sitesummary:
#!/bin/sh PATH=/usr/sbin:$PATH export PATH sitesummary-nodes -w
An alternative if the netgroup is used to activate shutdown-at-night on clients is this script using the netgroup tool from the ng-utils package:
#!/bin/sh PATH=/usr/sbin:$PATH export PATH netgroup -h shutdown-at-night-hosts
Access Debian Edu servers located behind a firewall
To access machines behind a firewall from the Internet, consider installing the package autossh. It can be used to set up an SSH tunnel to a machine on the Internet that you have access to. From that machine, you can access the server behind the firewall via the SSH tunnel.
Installing additional service machines for spreading the load from the main server
In the default installation, all services are running on the main server, hostname tjener. To simplify moving some to another machine, there is a minimal installation profile available. Installing with this profile will lead to a machine, which is part of the Debian Edu network, but which doesn't have any services running (yet).
These are the required steps to setup a machine dedicated to some services:
choose the Minimal profile during installation
- install the packages for the service
- configure the service
- disable the service on the main server
- update DNS (via LDAP/GOsa²) on the main server
HowTos from wiki.debian.org
FIXME: The HowTos from https://wiki.debian.org/DebianEdu/HowTo/ are either user- or developer-specific. Let's move the user-specific HowTos over here (and delete them over there)! (But first ask the authors (see the history of those pages to find them) if they are fine with moving the howto and putting it under the GPL.)