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Old 01-25-2015, 07:20 AM   #1
rblampain
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users and groups problem


It looks like I am having problems with the users and groups on my Asus notebook using Debian 7 and the graphical user/group administration.

I normaly have about 6 or 7 users which I tried to have under the group "users" but the system persists in trying to have them each under a group of the same name than the user even though I deleted these groups after putting these users in the group "users" and checking they have the correct home directory.
I can log in as any user except one for which I get a blue screen and the Debian logo and I am able to change some users but not all, from another user log in providing root password but it does not work from root.

My questions:
1) What is broken?

2) How can I fix it?

Thank you for your help.
 
Old 01-25-2015, 02:09 PM   #2
Didier Spaier
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To stay in control, I would never use a GUI to administrate users and groups.

In Slackware we use utilities that come from "shadow":
/usr/sbin/logoutd
/usr/sbin/grpunconv
/usr/sbin/useradd
/usr/sbin/chpasswd
/usr/sbin/groupmod
/usr/sbin/groupmems
/usr/sbin/lastlog
/usr/sbin/pwconv
/usr/sbin/groupadd
/usr/sbin/newusers
/usr/sbin/groupdel
/usr/sbin/grpck
/usr/sbin/faillog
/usr/sbin/vipw
/usr/sbin/grpconv
/usr/sbin/chgpasswd
/usr/sbin/pwunconv
/usr/sbin/userdel
/usr/sbin/usermod
/usr/sbin/pwck
/usr/bin/passwd
/usr/bin/chsh
/usr/bin/expiry
/usr/bin/chage
/usr/bin/chfn
/usr/bin/gpasswd
/usr/bin/newgrp

I assume that you have something similar in Debian

We have also a handy "adduser" to ease users creation, I don't know if it's shipped in Debian.

Last edited by Didier Spaier; 01-25-2015 at 02:11 PM.
 
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:48 PM   #3
Daws
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It's hard to guess without an error message, a permissions error would be the most obvious answer, but where, we don't know. Check things in /var/log for clues.

In the meantime you might like to read https://security.ias.edu/how-and-why...te-groups-unix it's about User Private Groups and why it's now standard on linux.

Last edited by Daws; 01-25-2015 at 02:50 PM. Reason: tautology
 
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Old 01-25-2015, 03:07 PM   #4
Didier Spaier
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Well, it depends on the environment.

In a corporate one, certainly there is a sysadmin on duty, who (maybe set and) applies a corporate policy, whatever it be.

If it's a computer mainly used by its owner, acting as sysadmin, then the sysadmin should be allowed to do what he or she wants. And also bears the responsibility of the consequences of bad choices, of course.

At least that how I see the things, and also one of the reasons why I like Slackware: I am in full control of my system (actually, only as much control as my limited skills allow).

Either that, thanks Daws for sharing that information.
 
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:29 PM   #5
widget
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daws View Post
It's hard to guess without an error message, a permissions error would be the most obvious answer, but where, we don't know. Check things in /var/log for clues.

In the meantime you might like to read https://security.ias.edu/how-and-why...te-groups-unix it's about User Private Groups and why it's now standard on linux.
Thank you very much for that link.

Will put that in my bookmarks for cases like this.

People really do need to know this stuff before modifying a system that provides basic security.

If they are depending on a gui to mess with user/group issues they probably shouldn't be messing with them at all.
 
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:48 PM   #6
rblampain
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Thanks for the list Didier Spaier, I knew only a couple of those and needed your list (Debian's got them), knowing the gui is unprofessional, I will learn to do without.

Thanks also to Daws for the link, I was on the wrong track although UPG does not seem to do what I wanted to do (or does it?).

This is a testing machine (low security) on which I log in as a different user, including root, according to what I need to do and my main intention was to keep the last session for each user when logging out because I may only return weeks later, doing it this way gives me a very clear idea of exactly what I was up to before doing something as a different user.

I then found I regularly need to add files to a directory of a user as which I am not logged in, without having to log out and in and back out and back in again, any hint on how to do this (professionally) welcome since I am likely to have an obscure vision of the solution for some time or do I understand it correctly that setting the set_gid bit will solve this.

I will try to clean up (reverse users to their original groups) and update this post a bit later regarding my results.

(I could not find anything descriptive enough for my level of experience in the log files)
 
Old 01-26-2015, 01:52 AM   #7
widget
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Thank you for that post.

It is very helpful to know what the problem really is.

Using several users but with only one body your system makes a less alarming scenario.

When you need to use put a file in a different users directory one way of doing that is to use the su command. This is not really a command for attaining root privileges. su = Switch User

When using su and indicating no user root is assumed.

If you are logged in as clem and need to use a file for pete you can do that in terminal by;
Code:
su pete
You will be asked for the password for pete. Hopefully pete will be kind enough to reveal that password to you.

You could also make all individual users files be shared by adding all other users to the individual users groups. Or by letting "others" have w permissions.

Both of those are not a real great idea if you actually have more than one individual using the box.

Not knowing the circumstances when you need to do this it is hard to give a recommendation. One would be to create another partition strictly for data and put such files there. This entire partition could have all files accessable by all users for any purpose.

For that matter you could simply create a separate directory in your current set up and do the same with it.

This would be the equivilant of a shared directory used by all individual users of a system for colaborative work. Of course in such a system there is usually some safe guards so that you don't have several users changing a file at the same time. This would not be a concern in your case.

A there are a number of good resources available;
https://wiki.debian.org/SystemAdministration

http://www.scribd.com/doc/211456842/...Best-Practices

Those 2 are ones I like to point people at. There are more if you search. Both of those have sections on user and group configuration.

The edX course offered free by the Linux Foundation also goes briefly into this subject and is pretty good all around.
 
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:03 AM   #8
widget
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How I could forget to include this is beyond me. Old age is a good excuse.
http://debian-handbook.info/

See section 8
 
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Old 01-28-2015, 08:50 PM   #9
evo2
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by widget View Post
How I could forget to include this is beyond me. Old age is a good excuse.
http://debian-handbook.info/

See section 8
Specifically, 8.4:
http://debian-handbook.info/browse/s...databases.html
(and perhaps 8.5).

It's a great resource that I often forget about too.

Evo2.
 
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Old 01-29-2015, 12:22 AM   #10
widget
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evo2 View Post
Hi,

Specifically, 8.4:
http://debian-handbook.info/browse/s...databases.html
(and perhaps 8.5).

It's a great resource that I often forget about too.

Evo2.
Are you a grumpy geezer too? Age is a great excuse.

Note that this is not a good reason though.

I get the new edition on every release. I have it as a pdf so that it is available at all times in this rural area where connections may not be existent at any given momment. Over the last few years it has even become more understandable to me. And it is a great source of information at any time. I even just read in it occasionally for fun.

I r embarrassed.
 
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Old 01-29-2015, 12:48 AM   #11
evo2
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by widget View Post
Are you a grumpy geezer too? Age is a great excuse.
I can definitely accept being considered grumpy, but hope that I'm not thought of as an old geezer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by widget View Post
I get the new edition on every release.
Hmm, maybe I am an old geezer. My excuse for forgetting about it is because it is so "new"... didn't even realise there was more than one release.

Evo2.
 
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:07 PM   #12
rblampain
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Registered: Aug 2004
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Thank you all.

I have restored some files from backup and now it works fine:
.evolution/
.gconf/apps/evolution/
.gnomeX_private/Evolution where X is 2 or 3 (whatever)
.config
.local
I have to say I did not have the time to investigate which file provided the necessary parameters.

I thought I was probably one of the oldest member, I am 73, it looks like I may not be.
 
Old 02-09-2015, 12:15 AM   #13
widget
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You are older than I am. You are my older brothers age.

I help maintain a box for the gal across the street that has you beat by a good bit though. She is not a member here though. She is a Debian user.
 
  


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