[kwlug-disc] Centralized configuration tools

Bob Jonkman bjonkman at sobac.com
Wed Nov 25 01:45:31 EST 2009

unsolicited claims:

> At least until we have end to end homogeneous environments.

Or until we have ubiquitous standards. I'm a bit more optimistic than 
you -- and more pessimistic at the same time. 

Back in the last century there was the Desktop Management Task Force.  I 
thought it had become extinct, but it still appears to live as the 
Distributed Management Task Force http://www.dmtf.org/home

As I remember it, DMTF was driven by Intel and their LANDesk Manager 
application to bring SNMP-like monitoring and management to desktop 
computers and applications. License management too.  I researched 
LANDesk, but was using a Symantec offering at the time, which wasn't 
DMTF compliant.  The name of that product escapes me, but it gathered 
equipment inventory, did application distribution and configuration, and 
may even have had some end-user menuing capability.  All this for DOS 
and Win31...

So, even with 15 years of DMTF standards development we still haven't 
reached the point where we can plug it in and it "just works".


Bob Jonkman <bjonkman at sobac.com>         http://sobac.com/sobac/
SOBAC Microcomputer Services              Voice: +1-519-669-0388
6 James Street, Elmira ON  Canada  N3B 1L5  Cel: +1-519-635-9413
Software   ---   Office & Business Automation   ---   Consulting

unsolicited wrote:
> Paul Nijjar wrote, On 11/24/2009 1:11 AM:
>> Neat. I still don't understand the configuration management wars, but
> The wars exist because there is no magic wand that you can wave on 
> your computer to magically grok your network. Let alone have that 
> magic wand spawn sub-magic wand subroutines that go out and sub-wand 
> every other device on your network to compel cooperation with yours.
> At least until we have end to end homogeneous environments. e.g. Your 
> computer, the switch it connects to, your receptionist's computer, the 
> router both go through, and so on and so forth. i.e. Until everything 
> runs Windows. And the only reason I say that is in that scenario MS is 
> the central decider of the 5W's of how to manage something and can 
> embed the necessary hooks in their OS's. If it were that prevalent, 
> you could substitute Red Hat or Debian for Windows in the above. I 
> expect you have already encountered how such is unfortunately not 
> true, with SNMP implementation across all devices.
> So, ultimately, you are trying to bring a bunch of disparate devices 
> and software under one single management umbrella, with varying 
> degrees of inconsistent success, frequently depending upon common 
> agreement of what to implement, and whether it happens or not. KDE vs. 
> Gnome is an example. And a rather more successful example, at that, 
> than most. KDE/Gnome is pretty universally implemented 
> (implementable?) across Linux distros, probably many *nixes (e.g. Mac) 
> (?), and is making inroads into Windows. I'm not expecting AIX or 
> IBM's mini's / mainframes any time soon though. (Let alone the 
> management thereof.) Perhaps a similar example to what you are 
> observing are the various virtualization 'clients' out there 
> currently. [Especially when there used to be only 2 or 3.]
> Part of the problem then, inherent to the above, is if what you're 
> looking to capture on a remote machine does not have embedded within 
> the OS the exposure of it, you have to install a client piece of 
> software on the foreign computer, and that creates its own logistical 
> issues. Especially as you're usually remote, and must be root to do 
> so. Only root having the necessary permissions to interact at the 
> lowest hardware / service levels to extract events and / or extract 
> and impact configuration.
> And, there is always debate as to what to implement, let alone that 
> the world is a moving target. e.g. Home Servers - MythBuntu and LMCE 
> are arguably both home servers, yet don't 100% share feature sets. 
> There is no common agreement as to what is, and what is in a 'home 
> server.' Moreover (I'm supposing), LMCE being older, added Myth and 
> Asterisk to its home control functionality, while MythBuntu built on 
> Myth instead of home control, and added Asterisk to it. Home control 
> not being any part of MythBuntu's feature set. [Due less that they 
> don't agree it should be part of a home server, than lack of resources 
> to implement it, and, of course, even in home control systems you 
> (re)encounter this lack of common definition and implementation. A 
> light switch not even having any concept of temperature that a 
> thermostat does, and the light switch not even willing to understand 
> why temperature would be useful to anything - temperature not being 
> part of a light switch's world view.]
> Put another way, we have "configuration management wars" for the same 
> reasons we don't have world wide 10-digit phone dialling. Although 
> they're working on it. The schemes to do so being kludgey and 
> confusing. Or, for the same reasons we're not already all running IPv6.
> <sigh>
> If only I had a magic wand, the world would be a better place. By my 
> definition, only, of course.
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