Experience with a Unix system-administration tool

Raphael A. Finkel, Brian Sturgill, Harlan Stenn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unix administration in large sites must maintain a coherent organization of software across many machines of different architectures and operating systems. This paper describes the Sat package of tools intended for system administrators. The Sat package is centered around a distributed database manager that stores data pertaining to machines and users. The database provides replication, access control, and locking. It can be queried directly by programs in the Sat package and by programs written in scripting languages like Sal and Peri. When data change, programs run automatically on each host to rebuild its configuration files based on the data, the architecture of the host, and any host-specific requirements. The paper shows how these tools have been used in practice, and how various features have been reworked, enhanced, de-emphasized, or abandoned through ten years of experience. This package is currently in heavy use at the University of Kentucky Department of Computer Science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)953-971
Number of pages19
JournalSoftware - Practice and Experience
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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