Madhav Kobal's Blog

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Using rdist to copy files to multiple hosts

Posted by madhavkobal on 18/06/2010

RDist is an open source program to maintain identical copies of files over multiple hosts. It preserves the owner, group, mode, and mtime of files if possible and can update programs that are executing.

Almost all versions of UNIX include RDist. However, most that do include a very old version sometimes referred to as “4.2BSD rdist”, “rdist classic”, or “rdist version 3”.

Major Features

This version of RDist does not need to be setuid “root” at all. Rdist now uses rsh(1c) (remote command) or ssh(1) program to make connections to remote hosts, instead of making the connection directly. This eliminates the need to be run as “root”. (Many thanks to Chris Siebenmann and John DiMarco who came up with an rsh version of rcmd() that makes this possible.)

One of the transports that can be used with RDist is SSH. When used with SSH (see the rdist(1) man page) RDist can perform secure and encrypted updates. If your SSH is compiled with SOCKS support, RDist can perform secure and encrypted updates through SOCKS compliant firewall systems.


View the INSTALL.html file which came with your distribution for instructions on how to build and install RDist.


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