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Sysadmin's Guide

Our lab maintains the following types of software packages:

  • Internal Packages: Software packages developed internally by this lab. These packages are managed by CVS but we install stable versions in a common location for global lab use.


  • Research Packages: Software packages developed by other research institutions. These packages vary on their ease of deployment (e.g., may not cleanly compile on all platforms) and may be lacking adequate documentation. Knowledge of the research, user experience with the package, and sometimes just pure luck greatly aid in the deployment process.

  • Non-standard Packages: Software packages used in our lab but not supported by CSG (i.e., only useful to us). These packages are fairly stable and usually require very little effort to install.

  • CSG-supported Packages: Standard well-known and used software packages which include a server as part of their deployment process. CGS maintains versions of these packages as well but we choose to deploy our own server for maintainability reasons.

Each software package is maintained by one or more members of the lab. Maintenance of a package includes the following:

  • Installation and maintenance: The following links provide guidelines for how to install a software package within our directory infrastructure and should cover most types of package installs. In the interest of neatness, try to follow these guidelines as closely as possible. However, there will inevitably be some software packages which do not follow any kind of conventional installation procedures. In these cases, use your own judgement to pick and choose which guidelines make sense to follow (in these cases, documentation is very important).


  • Documentation: Most packages we install can greatly benefit from documentation. However, some packages are so simple and straightforward that very little documentation is needed. So, use your best judgement and when reasonable, please provide the following types of documentation:

    • The software page tracks which packages are maintained, by whom, what versions, etc. Please try to keep this up-to-date.


    • User's Guide: Any type of information that will help a user use the package installation on our machines. Types of documentation include:
      • Package configuration (especially if it differs from the package installation instructions)
      • Pointers to package documentation (local and/or web)
      • 'Getting started' guide
      • Helpful hints
      • Server installations (what machines, what port, etc.)

      Please make this guide accessible from the software page.

    • Sysadmin's Guide: Any type of information that will help a maintainer administer the package installation on our machines (i.e., target audience is your successor). Types of documentation include:
      • Package distribution download URL
      • Package configuration - the sysadmin view (more nitty gritty than what's in the User's Guide).
      • Helpful hints
      • Pointers to package sysadmin documentation (local and/or web)
      • Server installations (what machines, what port, etc.)

      Please make this guide accessible from the software page.

    • Install Logs: Commands you ran to install a package. Store the logs in web directory:

      /u/ewww/sysadmin/packages/< name>

      and link the logs from the sysadmin's guide. An easy way to maintain an install log is to use the unix tool script. It will capture everything printed to your terminal (run man script for more information). For example, to start the log, run

      script install_log

      and type ^D when done to close the log.

Last updated 31 Mar 2006 by machrist@cs.indiana.edu