"Logon Scripts" (but NOT for Windows NT!)

Hi everybody! I hope this isn't off topic - but I was thinking (that's dangerous!) about starting a new project - and I wanted to be sure it wouldn't be a duplicate effort or something people find useless (if so, I won't waste my time)....

Let me start off with the problem I see and aim to solve: I'm a system administrator for ~20 Linux boxes, all running GNOME (of course!). While I was sitting in traffic one day, I thought about how nice Windows logon scripts were (I used to maintain 70 Windows NT boxes) - for things as simple as time syncronization, maintaining a uniform desktop look, and mapping network drives - and also thinking how useless they were, as they can't be run as the Administrator (and thus can't change some properties of the system [without special services to run scripts as Administrator])

Then I thought, what if GNOME had the same type of system? So, basically, I am soliciting ideas/comments on a project I might start to develop a logon-script-like system for GNOME. I guess the script would run before GNOME starts (so it can change GNOME setup without GNOME knowing) and could be signed or something using PGP - if signed, part of it would run as 'root', and part as the user. Or the entire thing could just run as the user. I was thinking that instead of using some elaborate RPC setup to get the script itself, I could just download the script from either 1) FTP or 2) connect to a TCP port and copy the resultant data to a file. The client could keep MD5 hashes of the scripts in its cache, and thus perform some sort of caching of these scripts. I could also make the client, when connecting to the server, tell the server the user, hostname, etc. so the server could customize the script it gives the client! Thus, each user could get their own script at the administrator's choice. The script itself could do things such as mount/unmount NFS volumes, sync the time, change gconfd values, etc, etc. Instead of writing an entirely new language, I'd just use bash's syntax (and use bash itself to process it, I guess). NIS can do some of these things, but things like updating the Message of the Day, and changing GNOME config NIS can't do.... what do you guys think? Good idea? Bad idea? Already been done? It might be another feature that will make GNOME more attractive for "enterprise" rollout. (Especially if Sun is going to start supporting it....)


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