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Best practices: managing configuration files

From: John Locke <mail_at_freelock.com>
Date: 2003-08-12 20:28:57 CEST

Okay. I'm trying to figure out the best way to manage configuration
files in a couple of Linux servers. I'd like to be able to roll back
configuration changes if I do something that breaks the configuration.

I was able to import the whole /etc directory into Subversion, but I
can't seem to easily check it back out in place. In other words, I can't
make the original directory a working copy using Subversion. Am I
overlooking something?

So it seems my alternatives are:

1. Maintain a mirrored working copy of the /etc directory somewhere
else, and sync any changes to that.

2. Check out a working copy, then copy that to /etc to add version control.

Any other solution, or preferred way of doing this? Is there any
security considerations I should be thinking about here, storing
sensitive files like /etc/passwd & /etc/shadow, private keys, etc. in a
repository, as long as I lock it down? Any issues running svn as root in
the /etc directory?

Finally, I'm finding managing branches to be a bit confusing. When I add
a second server, with most configuration files identical, but a few
different, what's the best way to manage the common files so that I can
commit a change to something like a PAM module on one server, and update
the other servers? I'm thinking it involves checking out specific files
that vary from server to server from the correct branch for the server,
and then checking out the common files from the main branch--but how do
I do this without bringing the server down in the process?

If anybody is using Subversion to manage these types of files, I'd
appreciate your comments...

John Locke

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Received on Tue Aug 12 20:29:35 2003

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