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In this article about Sun, the author talks about how using a Sun network meant that you could log onto any computer on a network and all of your personal tools and settings would be there. Is it possible to set up something like that with a Windows network? How about Linux?

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From memory they call that roaming profiles on a Win XP network. They may have changed the name since. You can find info below:

Logging on to a new machines requires the profile to be downloaded from the server. If you've got a ton of files on your desktop this first log-in could take a while. I also experienced some issues going from a dual monitor to a single monitor machine.

If you're looking to just have access to certain files, then user accessible shares on a server could work better.

As for tools, many companies have a site wide licence for software such as office etc so would have generic install on all of their machines.

Ak

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Correct, you can do this with roaming profiles. Typically, roaming profiles are deployed using Active Directory. They can be used for Windows 2000 through Windows 7. If you want to deploy this for a large user base, you'll probably want a Windows Server running Active Directory, and you will need a large amount of space to store all of the user profiles. –  nhinkle May 13 '10 at 3:25
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On the linux side, it's a question of having your home directory mounted on login, which is the same concept as Roaming Profiles in windows. The difference between Windows and Linux being that, on a basic level, Windows would try to cache the files locally ( hence the slow initial login time ) and Linux would just mount. At this level, there are some pretty obvious advantages / disandantages to each method ...

Were you to wish to implement such a thing in Linux, this would either mean a centralized /home mounted from an NFS server, or per-user settings loaded on login via pam_mount. With the information possibly coming from NIS ( Sun's drepecated information tree ), or from LDAP being the Linux alternative/not-so-equivalent to Active Directory.

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