[K12OSN] new principal ... wants new feature

John Lucas mrjohnlucas at gmail.com
Tue Jul 3 19:42:00 UTC 2007

On Tuesday 03 July 2007 14:57, Kari Matthews wrote:
> Oh my.
> My new principal says that at his last school, the IT guy had the server
> set up so that you could login from anywhere (like home) and have access to
> his documents (on the server).  He claims that the last school had some
> kind of web interface.  Hmmm.
> I currently have a Ubuntu 6 server and use smbldap for students -- students
> save papers and such on the server.  The main advantage of having a server,
> IMO, is DansGuardian.  None of the teachers do this -- they all save their
> stuff locally.  We use Google Apps for mail.
> Is there a way to set it up so people have access from outside the building
> to their stuff?  I only use open source, so if it costs anything, forget
> it.  This is a small school (80 students) with a small budget.  I am unsure
> how to proceed.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

With only 80 users and only for file access, I think the simplest option would 
be to use the sftp subsystem of ssh; just make sure that your perimeter 
firewall forward tcp port 22 to the server in question and that your ssh 
daemon is running and that the sftp subsystem hasn't been disabled (it is 
usually on by default). 

On the remote clients, you can any of several applications as your remote GUI 
"file manager" (anything that supports sftp). I use Konqueror on my Linux 
machines. The free "CoreFTP" application can be used from Windows machines.

An example URL for Konqueror would be: sftp://user@host.domain

All transactions use strong encryption, so it is relatively secure as long as 
you enforce "good" passwords (just like any other remote access strategy). 

If remote GUI desktop sessions are desired, you can again leverage ssh and use 
"freenx" on the server. On the clients you can get free NX clients for Linux, 
Windows, Mac, and Solaris from Nomachine: http://www.nomachine.com

NX uses SSH for transport. Combining sftp for file transport and NX for 
sessions is a solid and secure means of providing cross-platform remote 
access securely and for free.

        "History doesn't repeat itself; at best it rhymes."
                        - Mark Twain

| John Lucas                          MrJohnLucas at gmail.com               |
| St. Thomas, VI 00802                http://mrjohnlucas.googlepages.com/ |
| 18.3°N, 65°W                        AST (UTC-4)                         |

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