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1. Login Accounts

Users need login accounts in order to keep files and access programs on a Linux system.

1.1 Base

Base info is where you specify basic information about the user.

The account is enabled

New accounts are enabled by default. If you want to disable an existing or new user's account, unselect this option. Disabling a user's account is preferable to deleting a user's account, unless you need the storage space or you're certain that his/her data will not be needed in the future. If a user's account is disabled, they will not be allowed to log in.

Login name

Also known as a username, you're required to fill in the Login name field when you're creating a user's account. The login name is a string of text that uniquely identifies a particular account (from a human's perspective). The user will need to type in their login name and a password when they log in. The user's login name will also be used in their e-mail address.

You may need some guidelines for login names. A login name should be between three and eight lowercase characters. More than eight characters can be used, but the characters beyond the eighth one will not be recognized by your system. This could cause a problem if the differentiating characters between two usernames (for example, jamessmith and jamessmithers) are past the eighth character. To your system, the two usernames are the same. The characters can include numbers and letters, but shouldn't include spaces or any special characters (except for - or _).

You may want to standardize the format of login names. For example, you might use the first four letters of the person's last name plus their first initial, so Jane Smith would have a login name of smitj). Standardized login names are easy for the users to remember; they also make it easy to figure out a person's login name from their real name.

Full name

You should fill in the full name of the user if you're creating a new account. So, Jane Smith's full name would be Jane Smith. The user's full name will show up in their e-mail From: header, as well as in other places.

You don't need to use all lowercase letters for the full name. You shouldn't include any colons in the full name; linuxconf will reward you with an error message if you do. You shouldn't use an ampersand (&) in this field because it will resolve into the user's username.

If you want, you can fill in more than just the user's name in the full name field. If the finger command is in use on your system, this field provides input for responses to the finger command. Commas are delimiters for finger information in the full name field (so if you have a user named John Smith, Jr., you should type their name in without a comma: John Smith Jr.). You'll need to experiment with your system to see how the information in the Full name field is used to respond to finger commands.


You don't have to fill in the user's initial default group; your system will fill one in for you if you leave it blank. Every account is a member of at least one group. Traditionally, UNIX and UNIX-like systems put users into default groups based upon the files or processes to which they need access. For example, many systems have one primary user group called users, which includes all users (what a surprise). On some systems, new users will automatically be assigned to the users group.

The User Private Group (UPG) scheme is another way to assign users to groups. With UPG, every user's default group is a group of one, which includes only that user. For example, the user smitj is in a default group of smitj. On Red Hat Linux systems, new users will automatically be assigned to their own group (their login name).

Supplementary groups

Users can be members of groups other than their primary group. Usually, this is so that a group of users can access the same directory of files.

Home directory

The system will automatically assign the user to a home directory, if you don't fill one in. On some systems, the user's home directory is /home/username. For example, a new account with username smitj would be assigned a home directory of /home/smitj.

Command interpreter

The user's command interpreter is the shell that the user will be in after a successful login. Linuxconf offers many choices, but if you need to add one, use Config--Networking--Users Accounts--Available User Shells.

User ID

The User ID number or UID is the number that the system uses to identify an account. The system doesn't really care about the username; it identifies process and file ownership according to UIDs. You should just leave this field blank and let your system assign a UID to new users; it will default to the next UID available for regular users.

1.2 Mail Settings

Under Mail settings, you can redirect e-mail messages from or to a particular user or alias.

Redirect messages to

If you fill in an e-mail address here, e-mail messages to the user will go to the redirected address instead.

Email alias

An e-mail alias is a supplemental e-mail address that will be accepted by the system and forwarded on to a specific user. For example, you could add the alias to user smitj's account. Then, e-mail sent to would automatically be forwarded to

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