System Administration

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System administration at Free Geek is primarily concerned with maintaining servers and network infrastructure to support Free Geek's day to day operations. This includes services for various stations like memtest and diskwipe.

Troubleshooting and repair

Something is broke and it needs to be fixed. Your first stop will be the tracker, look for an issue already open describing this problem, there may be a work around or somebody else may already be working on it. If there is not an open issue please create one describing the problem.

Debugging resources:

The goal during troubleshooting is to correct malfunctioning systems. Once services are returned to normal review the issue and decide if something needs to be developed to fix the issue permanently or a maintenance procedure needs to be implemented

Systems maintenance

Routine tasks. Refer to System Administration/Guides

Systems configuration

The server configuration at Free Geek is managed by puppet. Puppet is a server automation tool which allows automatically configuring servers for a given task based on manifests. By managing configuration in this manner all of our custom configuration and effort is consolidated into one of three places, the puppet manifests, custom applications or data generated by applications all of which can be backed up easily. With these three things we can rebuild a server in an identical manner with the remaining system software pulled from the internet. Additionally the changes in manifests and applications can be tracked with version control software so changes can be reverted easily and reliably. For more information see puppet overview and software overview.

Provided Services

Internal Services

Asterisk PBX

Asterisk runs our phone system, both incoming and outgoing calls. It is currently hosted on copper.

Basic Connectivity

Provide basic network connectivity to all computers. Anybody should be able to plug in and talk to google. Users get cranky if they can't access the net... (Though not as cranky as System Administrators.)


Tracks volunteer hours and gizmo flow. Hosted on radon.


Built on top of Netboot, Install provides automated installs oem configured for the build program and install infrastructure for Windowsless Wednesdays. Hosted on lithium


Provides PXE diskless booting for the network, supports Install, and Testing. Hosted on lithium and nut


Built on top of Netboot, provides utilities for testing machines, and components. Currently consists of Memtest, Diskwipe and a general debugging boot.


Wireless access for testing and general use.

External Services

None, yet...

Supporting Services



Provides backup for servers and services hopefully allowing painless system rebuild after catastrophe. The backup store is hosted on alder.


Centralized authentication and authorization. Provides all user accounts to the network. Hosted on boron.


Centralized home directories and group folders, mounted from alder on all servers via autofs on /net/home