Separate Linux home folders from data
Posted on 2006-07-17
In Windows, the roaming profile is completely separate from the user's home folder. This allows for super-easy cleanup at the end of each college semester, where I can safely erase all the student profiles, but backup & store their home folders. Also, as I update the default profile everyone receives, I know that each new semester when everyone logs in, they'll get a good, clean, updated profile.
Not so in Linux.
We're using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (both server & clients). By default, the user's home folder IS their profile store. This makes it very difficult to ever update profiles or archive user data without including a bunch of profile junk.
Aside from creating a special mount point, or forcing students to only store real data in a special place (which I know they won't do), is there a way to separate home folders (~) from the profile store? I'd like ~ to store only data the student actually put there, while the profile (dot files, browser cache, etc) to go somewhere else that can be wiped after each semester.
I was thinking that there might be some sort of env variable or something that would do the trick.