Packages to notify users of system changes?

Packages to notify users of system changes?

Post by Doron Mey » Fri, 09 Jul 1993 05:16:59



I'm looking to hear what various admins use to keep users informed
of various system changes, downtime, new software installs, etc.

If there's some response I'll summarize and repost.

What I'm looking for (in an ideal case):

* Multiple messages, unlike /etc/motd, so if users are away for awhile
  they don't miss messages.

* Simplicity.  We'd like to force all users to run the program at login,
  so it'd be nice if it had a facility, like msgs, to pop up only if there
  are new messages.

* Some sort of control so that users can't post their own messages.

* Multiple architecture support.

* A nifty X client version would be nice.

Thanks.

Doron

 
 
 

Packages to notify users of system changes?

Post by Frank Pete » Sat, 10 Jul 1993 03:09:27




: >I'm looking to hear what various admins use to keep users informed
: >of various system changes, downtime, new software installs, etc.
:
: A combination of using e-mail and a local newsgroup (within Usenet
: News!) restricted to your site does the trick well.

This works well for small to mid-sized sites.  It starts to break down
for large sites that may have hundreds or thousands of users who rarely,
if ever log on  (an academic site with class accounts that may never
get used for example).  We already have a couple of hundred megabytes
of mail spool.  I can't imagine how big it would be if we began mailing
system announcements to each user.

News isn't a resource problem but only works if all of your users read
news.  That isn't the case for most large sites.

:
: And you can restrict posting to the newsgroup ... although I would
: encourage users to post on local system issues to get a good dialog
: between system admin and users.

If you want dialog you should have a separate group for it.  The last
thing you want is users not reading announcements because they are
lost in the clutter of "dialog".

--
Frank Peters  -  UNIX Systems Programmer  -  Mississippi State University


 
 
 

Packages to notify users of system changes?

Post by Syed Zaeem Hosa » Sat, 10 Jul 1993 00:30:30



Quote:>I'm looking to hear what various admins use to keep users informed
>of various system changes, downtime, new software installs, etc.

>If there's some response I'll summarize and repost.

>What I'm looking for (in an ideal case):

>* Multiple messages, unlike /etc/motd, so if users are away for awhile
>  they don't miss messages.

>* Simplicity.  We'd like to force all users to run the program at login,
>  so it'd be nice if it had a facility, like msgs, to pop up only if there
>  are new messages.

>* Some sort of control so that users can't post their own messages.

>* Multiple architecture support.

>* A nifty X client version would be nice.

A combination of using e-mail and a local newsgroup (within Usenet
News!) restricted to your site does the trick well. If you want X, then
use xvnews. Yes, it does require people to read news for older messages
but they would have seen the e-mail, which is sort of a "forced read".

And you can restrict posting to the newsgroup ... although I would
encourage users to post on local system issues to get a good dialog
between system admin and users.

To get old messages kept for a long time, simply prevent expiry of
the newsgroup (it should not be a disk hog like the a.b.p... groups!)
for some significant length of time.

                                                                Z

--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Syed Zaeem Hosain          P. O. Box 610097            (408) 441-7021 |

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Packages to notify users of system changes?

Post by R. Stewart Ell » Sat, 10 Jul 1993 07:19:50





>: >I'm looking to hear what various admins use to keep users informed
>: >of various system changes, downtime, new software installs, etc.
>:
>: A combination of using e-mail and a local newsgroup (within Usenet
>: News!) restricted to your site does the trick well.
>This works well for small to mid-sized sites.  It starts to break down
>for large sites that may have hundreds or thousands of users who rarely,
>if ever log on  (an academic site with class accounts that may never
>get used for example).  We already have a couple of hundred megabytes
>of mail spool.  I can't imagine how big it would be if we began mailing
>system announcements to each user.
>News isn't a resource problem but only works if all of your users read
>news.  That isn't the case for most large sites.
>:
>: And you can restrict posting to the newsgroup ... although I would
>: encourage users to post on local system issues to get a good dialog
>: between system admin and users.
>If you want dialog you should have a separate group for it.  The last
>thing you want is users not reading announcements because they are
>lost in the clutter of "dialog".

I have used a series of scripts and gopher to test whether users have read
changes in our policy and continue to nag them to run policy to read the
changes.  The 'policy' script simply calls gopher in the subdirectory where
the policy is kept.  Something similar could be done for system changes.  Of
course users can circumvent this by looking for and destroying the flag file
I set in their directory.  They can also comment out the line in their
.cshrc that sources the system wide rc file.

I have wondered about setting up a fifo in place of /etc/motd and doing a
bunch of housekeeping from there that would check for system changes and
policy changes.  If I were the lead sysadmin I might try this.  A few users
here have fifos in place of .plan.

--
                                                          ___________________
  R.Stewart(Stew) Ellis, Assoc.Prof., (Off)313-762-9765  /   _____  ______
  Humanities & Social Science,  GMI Eng.& Mgmt. Inst.   /        / /  /  / /

 
 
 

Packages to notify users of system changes?

Post by Yedidya Isra » Mon, 12 Jul 1993 23:50:11


Msgs is an old utility in unix, doesn't it exist anymore ?
If you don't want everyone to send messages write a simple filter and
put msgs:|filter in /etc/aliases.

Good luck,

                                                          msgs(1)

NAME
     msgs - system messages and junk mail program

SYNTAX
     msgs [ -fhlpq ] [ number ] [ -number ]

DESCRIPTION
     Msgs is used to read system messages.  These messages are
     sent by mailing to the login `msgs' and should be short
     pieces of information which are suitable to be read once by
     most users of the system.

     Msgs is normally invoked each time you login, by placing it
     in the file .login (.profile if you use /bin/sh).  It will
     then prompt you with the source and subject of each new mes-
     sage.  If there is no subject line, the first few non-blank
     lines of the message will be displayed.  If there is more to
     the message, you will be told how long it is and asked
     whether you wish to see the rest of the message.  The possi-
     ble responses are:

     y      type the rest of the message

     RETURN synonym for y.

     n      skip this message and go on to the next message.

     -      redisplay the last message.

     q      drops you out of msgs; the next time you run the pro-
            gram it will pick up where you left off.

     s      append the current message to the file ``Messages''
            in the current directory; `s-' will save the previ-
            ously displayed message. A `s' or `s-' may be fol-
            lowed by a space and a filename to receive the mes-
            sage replacing the default ``Messages''.

     m      or `m-' causes a copy of the specified message to be
            placed in a temporary mailbox and mail(1) to be
            invoked on that mailbox.  Both `m' and `s' accept a
            numeric argument in place of the `-'.

     Msgs keeps track of the next message you will see by a
     number in the file .msgsrc in your home directory.  In the
     directory /usr/msgs it keeps a set of files whose names are
     the (sequential) numbers of the messages they represent.
     The file /usr/msgs/bounds shows the low and high number of
     the messages in the directory so that msgs can quickly
     determine if there are no messages for you.  If the contents
     of bounds is incorrect it can be fixed by removing it; msgs
     will make a new bounds file the next time it is run.

                                                                1

msgs(1)

     Options to msgs include:

     -f     which causes it not to say ``No new messages.''.
            This is useful in your .login file since this is
            often the case here.

     -q     Queries whether there are messages, printing ``There
            are new messages.'' if there are.  The command ``msgs
            -q'' is often used in login scripts.

     -h     causes msgs to print the first part of messages only.

     -l     option causes only locally originated messages to be
            reported.

     num    A message number can be given on the command line,
            causing msgs to start at the specified message rather
            than at the next message indicated by your .msgsrc
            file.  Thus

                msgs -h 1

            prints the first part of all messages.

     -number
            will cause msgs to start number messages back from
            the one indicated by your .msgsrc file, useful for
            reviews of recent messages.

     -p     causes long messages to be piped through more(1).

     Within msgs you can also go to any specific message by typ-
     ing its number when msgs requests input as to what to do.

FILES
     /usr/msgs/*         database
     ~/.msgsrc           number of next message to be presented

SEE ALSO
     mail(1), more(1)

2

--
Israel Yedidya,         Phone:  +972-3-531-8953 or ...8682 or ...8407/8
System Administrator,   Fax:    +972-3-535-3325


Ramat-Gan, ISRAEL.      Uucp:   ...!uunet!pucc.princeton.edu!bimacs!yedidya
If someone proves there is no God, I'll stop being religious!

 
 
 

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