Friday, April 13, 2007

SystemImager Client Update Excludes

The si_updateclient command run on an SystemImager client doesn't just update the client. It searches for any differences between it and the image and deletes, overwrites, or adds any files that don't conform.

What if there are some things you would prefer don't change on the workstation when you update them? You guessed it, exclude to the rescue!

/etc/systemimager/updateclient.local.exclude

This is a configuration file kept on the client that determines what files are left alone during an update. It is delivered with the first image and, as long as /etc/systemimager/updateclient.local.exclude is not actually listed in itself, it will be updated with each update. Keep in mind, however, that it is the file on the client being updated, not the file in the image that matters. Check it out with your favorite super-user editing command:

$ sudo gedit /etc/systemimager/updateclient.local.exclude

What kind of changes might I want to make?

Well, let me talk you through some changes I've made in that file to make things run smoother here.

Under the "Debian stuff" section, I've commented out the /etc/hostname entry. This is because I have an autoconfiguration script that assigns the hostname the first time the workstation boots up after being imaged. By keeping /etc/hostname from remaining the same after an update, I can rename a workstation by modifying the autoconfiguration settings and updating it. If you prefer to have the hostname remain the same, I'd suggest adding /etc/hosts and /etc/samba/smb.conf to the list as well, so those aren't modified either (though this would make updating Samba preferences less than convenient).

...

# Debian stuff

# /etc/hostname

/etc/network/interfaces

...

I've also commented out /home/* in the "generic stuff" section because I want the administrator home and the student account default settings to be updated. I amend this a little later...

...

# generic stuff

/etc/fstab

# /home/*

/mnt/*

...

The following section I added to the end:

# North specific stuff



/home/teacher/*

/home/student/*

/etc/italc/keys/private/*

The first two are to compensate for commenting out /home/* above; I don't want anything that's saved on the users' Desktop to vanish. The last one is to keep from having to set up iTALC's private teacher key after every update of the teacher workstation.

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