Multi-User Xampp

Problems with the Windows version of XAMPP, questions, comments, and anything related.

Multi-User Xampp

Postby garynewport » 21. October 2010 13:06

I teach PHP and mySQL at a college and have asked the technicians to supply us with a developmental area for the students to use.

I have now got this through Xampp; which I am comfortable with since I use it at home all the time.

My issue is that I would like to create a small level of security with each user having their own secure area, their own log in details and the ability to run their own Control Panel program and myPHPAdmin console.

We are only talking about a small number of students and so we could easily run this with everyone accessing their own area using trust but the more independent I can make the installation for each user the better.

Is this possible and if so, how? :)
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Re: Multi-User Xampp

Postby JonB » 21. October 2010 16:06

My Opinion:
You can't really do it (what you propose) with XAMMP. There may be ways to do some of these things, a few are patently un-doable, but, at the root, it (XAMPP) is not an appropraite solution. I'm sure some will disagree. You have used the word secure several times, you should define what you mean by that. Either XAMPP will fail the defintion, or your definition will fail the generally accepted meaning of the word secure. (IMO)

You could give them all vhosts to work within, and provide a modicum of security though Apache and MySQL GRANT definitions - but beyond that you are facing architectural constraints.

If you had a 'big box' you could easily use a virtualization scheme to use XAMPP on 'assigned' VM's - they would literally each have their own XAMPP (and guest OS session). - that WOULD meet the requirements. (I have done this with Sun Virtual Box, but any VW solution would work) This is obviously a lot of work.

Or conceivably - you could install XAMPP on each workstation, and create 'secure areas' using Windows security - that however - would assume the students have access to the same workstation regularly.

Perhaps the easiest solution - and it WOULD meet the requirements - would be to install XAMPP on USB Sticks. A $10-15 4Gb stick does great. The full version will run with very few restrcitions on a USB stick. (you simply choose 'Make this a portable installation). There's also a VERY minimized XAMMP lite, I run it (XAMPP 1.7.3) this way so I can work 'wherever' or you can simply 'move' the installation onto a local drive. There are a few considerations about what services on the host machines should be set to 'manual start' if they are already installed (mostly Apache and mySQL). Plus the students can work anywhere.

XAMMP really is not a provisioning system for multiple users on the same host machine. Again, its my opinion only.

Good luck
:)
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Re: Multi-User Xampp

Postby garynewport » 22. October 2010 08:43

Thank you for your opinion.

You have voiced my own belief anyway; I didn't really feel Xampp offered the potential security I was looking for.

I love the idea of using a memory stick methodlogy but currently we will stick with the free and easy method we have. I can easily trust the students and it will show us if a PHP system is viable within the college. If it is then we need to purchase a platform that does what we require.

Again, thank you. And yes, my definition of secure does imply the failure of Xampp (though philosphically my interpretation of the term secure could still diametrically oppose yours whilst still appearing the same but let us not go there. :D
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Re: Multi-User Xampp

Postby JonB » 22. October 2010 13:53

I'm glad you found it useful -

Although I am actively involved with technology based security and authentication design, I am a realist - Secure is as Secure does... and everything else is mitigation.

Cheers
:D
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