For my home network, comprised of one tower/workstation/file-n-print server and several laptops (for each member of the family), all running Ubuntu 9.10 or 9.04, I want to be able to do what the über-cool UNIX/FreeBSD/Linux developers have been doing for almost two decades, namely, from any machine on the network, any user (i.e., family member) is able to log on and have their settings, bookmarks, documents - i.e., her home folder.
The only additional trick I need is that when I travel away from home, I still need to log on and access my stuff on my laptop, and when I plug the laptop back into the network at home, it would need to sync things like updated documents and new bookmarks. A complication would be, however, that I might have done some work from another machine on the network before the laptop was reconnected to the network.
I've done a little research, and I have wondered if something like UnionFS might help with the laptop/network datasync issue. I've looked at NIS vs. LDAP for authentication, but there is too much information out there - it gets overwhelming.
What advice/pointers/links might you offer me to get me started on this endeavour?