Café Server

Please note: the Howtos are still work in progress. Expect changes within the next days and weeks (for your reference: today is 2005-09-02 in international notation). Don’t trust these Howtos. They might contain errors and are definately not meant to demonstrate a secure installation.

The following Howtos describe the setup of a general purpose server that can be used in a small office environment or in an internet café. The start point for the server is a fresh install of Debian GNU/Linux Sarge with no extra packages. We will prompt you to install new packages as we need them. The clients, too, will run Debian GNU/Linux or some derivative (like – mjamm! – Ubuntu). The Howtos presented in this collection can be read in nearly any order as they should provide some helpful tips for your own setup. You can also follow the setup step by step, adding a new feature to your server with every Howto completed.

The final state of your server includes means for automated and automatic configuration of the clients (DHCP, DNS, cfengine), network wide user accounts (AKA roaming profiles) and a network wide home directory that is encrypted on server side for added privacy.

Please note that these Howtos are compiled from information of other Howtos and brought into a consistent state. If you are trying to get this setup woking and fail with a sensible setup for mounting Samba shares, this is due to a bug in this PAM module. We will present the bug fix needed later in the according Howto. Unfortunately, the current maintainer of has no time to include the diff and create a new release.

In the examples given we assume the following network configuration:

  • The network address is
  • The domain name of the network is
  • Clients get planet names like
  • The cafe server we are working on is with the IP address
  • The LDAP server is and links to server.
  • The Samba server is and links to server.
  • The name server is with the IP address
  • The internet router is with the IP address

The available Howtos are:

  1. DHCP setup to assign a simple network configuration to your clients at boot time.
  2. DNS setup for added beauty in addressing local hosts
  3. LDAP account storage for maintaining network wide accounts
  4. Samba for storing network wide home directories
  5. pam_mount to mount users’ home directories automatically at login time
  6. CryptoFS for securing the users’ home directories on the Samba Server
  7. cfengine to automate configuration changes on connected hosts