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Old 11-14-2005, 03:55 PM   #1
Registered: Aug 2005
Distribution: Debian 7
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Setting up a Multi-User computer

In a couple of weeks, I will be installing SUSE Linux 10.0 on a family's computer at their request. My goal is to give them a seemless transition from Windows to GNOME.

I have never installed a computer for persons other than myself nor have I setup a computer for multiple users. I could just install it with a single user account (aside from root) that could be used by everyone, but I would like to first assess the benefits of having multiple accounts for each person with the limitations of such as setup:
  1. Is there a way to eliminate user passwords? When presented with GDM, users would only have to select their name to login. This assumes that everyone who uses the computer directly is trustworthy. Would this bring in a security threat from the outside such as through the internet connection? NOTE: Root would still be protected by a password.
  2. How can I setup permissions so that everyone will have read and write access to everyone else's home directory? Separate /home/user directories would make sorting files between users simpler, but permissions by default would allow people to use files from other user's directories.
  3. Can Mozilla Firefox be setup to show only one individual's bookmarks in the Bookmarks toolbar, but leave access to the bookmarks of other users in the Bookmarks file manager?
  4. Is there any form of panel applet or similar item that can display the user's name in the corner of the screen? This is so that they can tell who is logged in.
If any of these will not work, I will probably just set the computer up with a single user account to avoid any confusion.
Old 11-14-2005, 04:12 PM   #2
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1. Don't know how to do the first one...

2. Why is that your "a" user needs read/write access to "b" user's home directory? The user home directories are precisely for the purpose to avoid such access and overwriting. What you can do is give each user their home directory but then mount a common partition inside their home directory for sharing files.

3. Don't know about 3...

4. Don't know if such utility exists...i don't know because i probably am not interested.

Good luck

Old 11-14-2005, 04:19 PM   #3
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1. if you have no passwords on the account, you will just not need to enter one. when you set up a user account you can use "passwd -d username" to delete the password (simpy not setting on in the first place is not the same thing, most accounts start disabled until something is done about a pssword, even if it is just deleting it) if you're using Gnome then there are a number of different layouts you can pick for GDM, the login manager, you can even do that whle tacky pick-you-own-photo thing and click on a list of names. i'm supposed to lambast you for not setting passwords of course... but never mind, i know fully well what it's like in the real home world...

2. Well this is slightly greyer really.. what's wrong with privacy if they want it? you can always just chmod the directories once created to change the security level. you'd probably want to make it 750 to allow other users to read only, or 770 to allow other users full access. this assume's all users are in a "users" group. To be honest i've never done stuff like this, but i think the common way to make users create files following that standard is to add a umask command to their .bashrc, i.e. "umask=002" so that once they log in and create a file it will be create with a mask of 002, i.e. permissions of 775, i.e. rwxrwxr-x which appears to be what you want.

3. erm... i don't think so... bookmarks are just single XML files i believe. And again that seems pretty messy.

4. no idea to be honest...
Old 11-15-2005, 07:20 AM   #4
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This is fun (Different people answering each Q)!

Q3: If you have read permissions for the other users then one way to do it is to add a bookmark that bookmarks their bookmarks.

For example, I have a bookmark that points to my old windows partition bookmarks: I put this in my web browser file:///mnt/windows/Program Files/Netscape/Users/default/bookmark.htm [Press <Return>] and then Bookmarks - Add to Bookmarks. I then set its properties to be "Old Windows bookmarks".

You could do the same for your users: You need to find where your browser is saving the bookmarks. Eg for my old mozilla installation it is file:///home/tredegar/.mozilla/tredegar/9e05zoiu.slt/bookmarks.html so for my other users, I'll probably have to look at file:///home/otheruser/.mozilla/otheruser/random.slt/bookmarks.html and add that to my bookmarks and call it "Otheruser's bookmarks"

Q4: The easiest way to differentiate between users would be to give them each a different desktop background. For a few users, just a simple colour-change would do. Otherwise, make a background with their name in one corner, and apply that for each user.

Edit: Bad copy & paste

Last edited by tredegar; 11-15-2005 at 07:21 AM.


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