Knowledge tracking tools

Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 10:52:15 -0800 (PST)
From: Steve Gibbard <>

> I'm looking for a better (preferably open source) way to track change
> plans, event resolutions, etc.
> e.g. an easy way to dig up what the changes that occured on a system
> were for, who did them, etc.
> Obviously rancid et al shows us what changed when, but not the change
> plan that was responsbile or what problem it solved.

I like RCS better than RANCID for config change tracking, although an
ideal system would probably involve both.

RANCID is great for alerting you to changes people "forgot" to report, or
to unauthorized network changes, since it goes and diffs the configs
whether a change has happened or not.

Tracking config changes in RCS the way I've done it and seen it done
elsewhere involves manually checking the config out before making changes,
and manually copying the config to the TFTP server and checking it back in
whenever a change has been made. It's a bit more work, but it prompts the
user for an explanation of the changes whenever a config is checked back

This isn't a good defense against somebody who doesn't want their config
changes to be known about, but if people are serious about using it you
get a "this person did this because of this as reported in this ticket
number" notation to go along with every configuration change.

You can use RANCID by manually calling control_rancid to update a single
router in the archive and I have written some trivial mods to save a log
message of why the change took place and who made it. CVS is a big win
over RCS IMHO and the expect scripts in RANCID ame life much easier.