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Linux Annoyances for Geeks by Michael Jang

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Chapter 11. Administration Tips

For the final chapter, I'll describe some annoyances associated with computer administration. This chapter includes a number of topics (gateways, remote logins, logfile management, automated scripts) that don't quite fit with annoyances in other chapters. Perhaps the most important annoyance is the first, which deals with how every computer on a network downloads identical copies of the same updates, overloading your Internet connection.

Too Many Computers to Update over the Internet

If all you administer is one or two Linux computers, updates are a straightforward process. All you need to do is configure updates from the most appropriate mirror on the Internet. If desired, you can automate downloads and installations of updates using a cron job. For more information on how to configure updates from yum and apt-based mirrors, see Chapter 8.

However, when you administer a large number of Linux computers, the updates can easily overload standard high-speed Internet connections. For example, if you're downloading updates to the OpenOffice.org suite, you could be downloading hundreds of megabytes of packages. If you're downloading these packages on 100 computers simultaneously, that may be too much for your Internet connection, especially when other jobs are pending.

In this annoyance, I'll show you how you can create a local mirror of your favorite update server. You can then share the appropriate directory and configure your updates locally.

Where possible, ...

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