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This spec describes Ubuntu's Small Business Server deployment strategy, a solution aimed at making it easy for non-technical businesses set up an Ubuntu based server and Ubuntu desktops and laptops for a simple but scalable solution.

Packages and tools to make configuring of a Small Business Server for Ubuntu as easy as possible.

Some goals:

  • Easy configuring deployment of five to a hundred workstations.
  • Easy maintance and monitoring of those desktops and laptops.
  • Focus on users pim-data and how to distribute and configure on a fresh installed machine. Information about usernames in corporate services and names of services (e-mail, calendar, im, contacts, file/documents)


The free software universe in general, and Ubuntu in particular, already provides most of the tools and infrastructure components needed to fulfill the needs of small businesses. What we need is good integration between these components and easy configuration.

Use Cases

  • Jane wants to deploy five new workstations for five new employees. Jane creates accounts for the new employees in the central corporate directory, when loggin in for the first time on the workstation e-mail and document stores are already configured / configures on the fly for the new user.
  • John wants reinstall his desktop with a new version of Ubuntu. This time he chooses to wipe the disc and start from scratch. He gets his old configuration when he logges in for the first time.
  • Steven has just bought a new laptop and wants to share configuration with his workstation.
  • Rose wants to choose another desktop background rather than the corporate default and can change this.


User configuration data like e-mail-account, accounts at file and document servers and contact / calendar-servers. Secondly configuration like background pictures and likes. Configuration can be both mandatory and be a default that is changeable by the user.

Following applications:

  • Nautilus (file and document-store)
  • Evolution (mail, calendar, contacts, todo and notes)
  • Empathy (IM)
  • Ekiga (Voip/SIP)
  • clock_applet (Location)
  • Mission Control / Telepathy (IM/Voip-accounts)


  • Gconf / gsettings
  • LDAP
  • Configuration personilized machine-centric or user centric


Everything in this spec will likely be done as deb-packages that will fit in well with other Ubuntu distributed software.


Personalized machine-centric

Machine-centric configuration can be implemented within package management and configuration done in the /etc-level using templates with added GECOS-information (user names and home-directory).


  • Easy distribution
  • Easy maintenance of a corporate policy
  • Scalable
  • Works when laptop is off-line, distribution of new templates can be done when on-line


  • Not possible to distribute user unique configurations
  • Only configuration made by templates are possible and personalization parameters are restricted by design

User centric

User centric configuration can be implemented with functions that consults corporate resources at login time or pushed by advanced configuration systems as cfengine, chef or puppet.


  • Easy distribution
  • User unique configuration can be centralized manage


  • Problem with off-line work (needs cfengine)
  • Not so easy to maintain a corporate policy
  • Not so scalable (user configuration has to be done at a individual basis)


CategorySpec CategoryServerTeam

UbuntuSmallBusinessServer/desktop-deployment (last edited 2010-09-13 08:53:34 by h-81-170-222-15)