WatForm Meeting Minutes

19 August 0930 - 1030

Present: (CSCF) Mike Patterson, Lawrence Folland, (WatForm) Jo Atlee, Nancy Day, Mark Aagaard

Nancy gave a quick overview of what WatForm is, what it does, and what machines it has.

The servers and most PCs are Debian Linux, at Dave & Walter's suggestion (particularly Walter's).

2x4 way servers, tumbo.cs and quadra.math; 2x2 way servers, mudge and gooch.math, the latter being Mark's.

mudge has an extra HDD, where it mounts home dirs and exports them to the others. (Speculation: mudge is also the xhier regional? master.)

Issue: WatForm would like to know more about xhier - how it works, what are the implications, etc.

Desktop PCs are mostly dualboot, Windows and Debian Linux. They don't currently have root access on these machines, which normally isn't a problem although it can be - they can't do filesystem checks on their own, for instance. PCs are at least: laurier, banff, minaki, palliser (which may not be in production yet.)

Issue: Watform would like better passage of information on new versions of everyday software (as opposed to things that are upgraded for security reasons) - ie, LaTeX, text editors, etc.

Issue: mounting home directories from mudge to the workstations. Security implication of giving users root access on these workstations while doing so. Walter and Dave explored Samba and NFS. (mpatters - I think this is an issue with PLG as well, they'd like to do the same thing.) Mark expressed a desire to be able to perhaps keep data on the workstations, but have it available to other machines, should the students move around, etc. Reason for having stuff on the workstations is so that work can continue in the event of a network failure. Backup implications?

Issue: many laptops (particularly amongst faculty members) and if they're running Debian, how to get updates to them. (mpatters - even if they're "just" running Windows, same issues, although Windows updates, at least, can be pulled down.)

Issue: UPSen for various machines - where, how many, how much?

Idea: what about using thin clients in certain areas? Cost? Implications? Could this be cheaper than VMWare? Cost of Terminal Server + hardware. This would allow Unix-y machines to use rdesktop for people who would prefer to keep their desktops pure, but not have to use VMWare. Windows people can already use putty/cygwin.

Idea: monthly meetings with WatForm and CSCF. All involved thought it sounded like a good idea; Nancy said she'd look at scheduling the next one.

For the most part, machines are currently one per grad student, but open-area machines are sometimes used by undergrads. See above re replacing some of these with thin clients.

Outstanding issues - not in priority order:

  1. Nancy's tablet is not fully set up (Lawrence - ST#40753)
  2. dfc software (Mike - ST#40925)
  3. Mark has two Dells with dead video cards (Walter was handling this?) and two PCs that need to be converted from RH to Debian.
  4. Jo has a laptop that hasn't been useful for some time (2 years!) - there's an outstanding ST on this.
  5. The group is unsure as to the backup status of the various machines - what's getting backed up (and when, and where, and how) and what isn't?
  6. Lawrence and others will go through ST to find other issues that haven't yet been resolved, particularly old ones - Nancy and Jo thought there were several besides the above.

-- MikePatterson - 19 Mar 2005

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Topic revision: r2 - 2012-09-06 - BillInce
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