On of my favorite tools I never get enough time to use is expect. What is expect? Expect is a scripting language that let's you automate responses to scripts or daemons and pretend to be a users. So you can write a script to say update the passwords on all your systems with just one command. Another way I am planning to use this in the very near future is to do MD5 Check Sums on a file and compare them. If the files aren't then it will the re-copy over the files that are missing. Over at linux-mag.com they have a great gettings started document you should check out to see if it can make your life easier.