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I have a server which has a NFS4 server running and exports the home directories for all my users. This setup work great when the user have direct access via LAN or WLAN to the server. But if a laptop user wants to login at a remote place without access to the server the login will fail.

Is there some way to prepare the NFS home directory for offline usage? Sync the home directory with the server while the laptop has access to the server and use the latest copy of the home directory when the server is inaccessible?

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You may use CacheFS for this. This is supported in the kernel. There is a short and concise cache-fs howto on the Gentoo Wiki that is applicable to any distro as long as you know how to install software on it.

I have not used this myself, so I can not say how syncing would work in case you have newer files on the client. Getting the newest from the server should be as easy as finding and reading all the files, though (find /home/user -exec cat {} >/dev/null \;).

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