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Managing User Accounts

You'll need to be the root user to do any of the following.

Adding a New Group

To add a new user group to the system, use the group add command.

# group add wheel

Adding a New User

To add a new user to the system, run the user add command. The arguments to user add are -m to create a home directory, -g followed by the group name, and then the user name. The group must already exist and the user must not.


# user add -m -g users foo

# user add -m -d /root2 -g operator anotherroot

# user add -m -g staff mike

# user add -m -g management steve

# user add -m -g boss fred

The typical groups for new users are other or users (for ordinary users), or operator (for system administrator). The user's home directory is normally created in /home/, but can be changed using the -d directory option.

The new user's full name and password will be unset and the default shell will be sh. To change them, use the chfn, passwd, chsh, and user mod commands or have the user set them themselves after logging in.


# chfn foo

# chsh -s /bin/zsh anotherroot

The user is now created, but it is still not usable to login, as you must first set a password:

# passwd foo

Operator users

/!\ Stale: information below is not completely accurate, and reflects more the intentions of previous versions of MINIX than the current state.

The system has been set up with the idea that working as root is a bad thing to do. As root you are in no way protected from doing stupid things. So do not do development as root, but work as bin! Only in exceptional cases do you want to become root. Being root is fun for wannabe hackers; administrators know better.

/!\ Obsolete stuff, which might or might not come back…

To make life easier for bin some programs like su(1), install(1) and shutdown(8) treat bin and other members of the operator group as special and allow them the privileges of root. (One is an operator if one's group ID is zero.) Operators should share the shadow password of root by having ##root in their password field. This way they all have one face (password) to the outside world, forming no greater security risk than root alone.

You can edit the /etc/passwd file using the vipw command. By default, it will use the vi text editor. This can be changed by using the EDITOR environment variable.


# EDITOR=nano vipw

Default Home Directory Contents

When you create a new user, the contents of the /usr/ast directory are copied to the user's new home directory. To change the default files provided whenever a new user is created, just change the contents of this directory.

Removing a User

To remove a user:

# user del foo

To remove a user and their home directory:

# user del -r foo

Removing a Group

Removing a group is very similar to removing a user. All you need to do is the following:

# group del wheel
usersguide/managinguseraccounts.txt · Last modified: 2014/11/12 14:27 by lionelsambuc