Managing a Gentoo Linux Server Configuration with Subversion, GLCU, and Trac

Keeping track of configuration changes to servers is a tough job made tougher when some of the sysadmins work from home. Questions of who did what when and why can be exacerbated by the lack of physical proximity — in other words, I can’t simply yell over the cubical wall to the colleague down the hall to ask him about the new package installed on the server. Besides, that oral history tradition is difficult to maintain and harder to sustain as the number of machines grows. This essay describes a practice for maintaining a Gentoo Linux distribution using GLCU, Subversion, and Trac that is lightweight (doesn’t impose a large burden on the sysadmin staff), effective (although it is lightweight it better documents and makes accessible the state of our systems over the oral history tradition), and cheap (no operating budget dollars were harmed in the creation of this process — only staff time overhead).