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I've got a bunch of laptops for my classroom and I'm using Ubuntu. I want to be able to add/update/remove software across them as easily as possible and I'm not sure how to go about it.

I was thinking of editing the /etc/profile file on each machine to curl pipe sh a script that I would host on github. That script would include mostly apt-gets. I don't even know if that will work, but what I imagine it will do is run the script each time someone logs on with any account on the laptop (first question: is that true?)

I added nautilus ~ to the end of /etc/profile to test this approach out. I thought that was harmless, but upon login it opens the home directory and the rest of the startup seems to fail... no menu bar or launcher, just a mouse and desktop image. I'm kinda f***ed there and may end up asking a separate question!

Before I go too far down this rabbit-hole, I was hoping that some super users on here would be able to give me some tips on how to manage software on all the laptops in this kind of setting in the most time-efficient way.

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There are lots of different options, my personal favourite is salt; other tools to manage files/software packages/config in a centralised manner are: chef, puppet, ansible, cfengine.

http://docs.saltstack.com/en/latest/

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