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 Forum index » House Training » Users ( For the regulars )
Can 1.0.5 have a non-root user account?
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Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 2
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep 2005, 19:06    Post_subject:  Can 1.0.5 have a non-root user account?  

I want to set up a user account other than 'root' so that it belongs to various user groups, has its own home directory and i can log onto it . All the usual stuff that other distros, e.g. Suse, have easy GUIs for.

I can do it all by hand, but just wondered if there is some pup type utility hiding somewhere or even staring me in the face and i haven't noticed it (i tend to see the complex rather than the obvious!)

Your help would be really appreciated especially as I am warming to this distro more and more - even got my ethernet router connection working easily after ignoring error messages, got round the partitioning headaches with cfdisk tricks and copied the /usr directory from the CD after deleting the usr_cram link as advised elsewhere in the forum (many thanks).

Dotpup is great. I would like to contribute efforts to this distro which is after my own heart - small is indeed beautiful, fast even more so - especially to be able to use old kit that even a local recycling charity would reject - as they use that other unmentionable OS!
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Puppy Master

Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 7441
Location: Perth, Western Australia

PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep 2005, 20:17    Post_subject:  

GuestToo was looking into that, so you could probably find
something if you searched using his name as one of the

You would probably have to set it up like GuestToo created
the "spot" user that we use for DidiWiki.
You could probably also login as spot.

But, GuestToo had some problems with X I think.
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Puppy Master

Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 4078

PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep 2005, 21:16    Post_subject:  

i can run X as user spot, though you could make other accounts ... you need a few workarounds, for example, spot can't change or delete files created by root, and xwin writes to some files in /tmp ... if root created those files in /tmp you have to delete them or chown them then run xwin

the only problem i had was getting rxvt to run ... it couldn't connect to the X server ... i tried a few things, including setuid ... maybe it needs fstab and inittab to be setup ... i think i would have to remaster Puppy to change inittab and fstab ... i haven't tried that yet

as a workaround, when running X as spot, i can run rxvt as root if i need to

there would be problems running as spot ... mounting drives, most of the file system is owned by root (for example, my-documents), probably nothing insurmountable ... dotpups mostly assume you are running as root and that /root is $HOME ... it will probably get harder to make a Puppy that runs as a user by default rather than as root as time goes by ... at least a Puppy that older dotpups will work in

i don't usually run X as spot ... i've just done it a few times as an experiment

it is easier to run as root ... but even on a standalone machine, it is safer to run as a user
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Official Dog Handler

Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 11463
Location: Arizona USA

PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep 2005, 01:09    Post_subject:  

If you run from the live CD and store pupxxx files on a hard drive, perhaps each user could have a pupxxx file containing all his work and configuration settings. Each pupxxx file could be encrypted (with a program called bcrypt in Puppy, I believe; I haven't tried it myself) and therefore effectively password protected. That way, running as root from the live CD is of little consequence, except I guess that pupxxx files could be maliciously deleted from the hard drive. Perhaps multisession Puppy would be a better idea.

Alternatively, each user could store his pupxxx file on a USB memory stick, which he removes from the computer for safekeeping.

These suggestions may not be what you had in mind, but one of them might work.
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Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 2
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep 2005, 02:58    Post_subject:  

Well, I'm overwhelmed by the level of support on this forum - replies from three different people in a short space of time, thank you!

Having worked with Unix since '90 and Linux since '99, I understand the ease of use but also dangers of using 'root'. On my Suse box for instance - which is used as a server on my home network, sharing programs (including OpenOffice) and data with other computers set up as X terminals - everyone logs in as the same (non-root) user. I have various icons for things like DVD burning where you are prompted for a password (root's). This kind of thing of course annoys my family and they talk about going back to Windows - I try not to be defensive any more as arguments about security go down like a lead baloon!

I have installed Puppy 1.0.5 on an old box and would like to use local programs but share data with the file server using Samba or NFS whichever is the better solution. Surely I wouldn't use root for that!?

I'll have a closer look at all your comments and try stuff out.
Thanks again, perhaps I can contribute something in return, beginning with this particular issue.
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Nathan F

Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 1760
Location: Wadsworth, OH (occasionally home)

PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep 2005, 11:54    Post_subject:  

There is more to this issue than security actually. Many programs intended for Unix or Linux assume that you will run them as a user other than root. Some actually refuse to run as root. Didiwiki comes to mind, and also wine and winetools. There are also quite a few games that don't work as root. This issue really does need addressed at some point, and no time like the present is my thinking.
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