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GNU cfengine

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6.1 Cfengine network services

By starting the daemon called cfservd, you can set up a line of communication between hosts, allowing them to exchange files across the network or execute cfengine remotely on another system. Cfengine network services are built around the following components:

cfagent
The configuration engine, whose only contact with the network is via remote copy requests. This component does the hard work of configuring the system based on rules specified in the file `cfagent.conf'. It does not and cannot grant any access to a system from the network.

cfservd
A daemon which acts as both a file server and a remote-cfagent executor. This daemon authenticates requests from the network and processes them according to rules specified in `cfservd.conf'. It works as a file server and as a mechanism for starting cfagent on a local host and piping its output back to the network connection.

cfrun
This is a simple initiation program which can be used to run cfagent on a number of remote hosts. It cannot be used to tell cfagent what to do, it can only ask cfagent on the remote host to run the configuration file it already has. Anyone could be allowed to run this program, it does not require any special user privileges. A locking mechanism in cfengine prevents its abuse by spamming.

cfwatch
This program (which is not a part of the distribution: it is left for others to implement) should provide a graphical user interface for watching over the configuration of hosts running cfagent and logging their output.

With these components you can emulate programs like rdist whose job it is to check and maintain copies of files on client machines. You may also decide who has permission to run cfagent and how often it may be run, without giving away any special user privileges.


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