cluckable machine access

By Paul Murphy, author of The Unix Guide to Defenestration

If you use a Sun workstation or other X-display to administer a bunch of machines and feel confortable with the level of risk implied by use of the trusted hosts sub-system (try % man rhosts), you can pop open windows to remote machines at the click of an icon.

The key is that a little script like

xhost +remote_machine
remsh remote_machine . .profile 2>&- \; usr/openwin/bin/xterm -bg "white" -fg "black" -ls \
-T "remote_name" -display put_your_ip_here:0 &

This will open up a white background, black text, X-window labelled with the remote machine's name on your local display. Name that script according to the remote machine's name, use gimp to create an icon for it, add it to the CDE, Gnome, or KDE toolbar - and you have one click access to that remote machine.

Use of this technology is widely deprecated "for obvious security reasons" but the reality is that the risk is usually less than that for conventional access control - expecially if you also control the routers. The bottom line is simple: don't take somebody else's word for it, be sure that you understand the risks as they apply in your environment before deciding whether or not the benefit outweighs the risk.