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User Management in YAST

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Scott M. Morris

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Posted: 27 Sep 2005

Applies to:

  • SUSE Linux Professional
  • Novell Linux Desktop
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

Last week, I wrote an article about using KUser to manage users. This package was designed mainly for KDE. That said, there are other ways to manage the users on a system. As a matter of fact, YAST offers this excellent functionality. Let's pop the hood and see how to do this.

Open up YAST. From the options on the left, select SECURITY AND USERS. Then, click on EDIT AND CREATE USERS in the right pane:

A window appears called USER AND GROUP ADMINISTRATION. It will show you a list of users currently registered on your system:

At the top, you see that there are two radio buttons. With the USERS radio button selected, you are able to create, remove, and edit users, using the appropriate buttons at the bottom of the window. Let's check out how we can edit the users' settings. Select a user from the list, and click the EDIT button at the bottom of the window:

Another screen appears with the details of the user you selected:

You can see that it is possible to change the user's Full Name, Login, and Password from this screen. It is also possible to quickly disable a user's ability to log into the system here. Next, click on the DETAILS tab:

There is a whole handful more of things that can be set, here. Note that you can manage the groups that the user belongs to from this screen, as well. Additionally, it is possible to specify where the user's home directory is and which login shell they will be using.

To set detailed password preferences for the user, click on the PASSWORD SETTINGS tab:

When you've set everything how you want it, click the ACCEPT button in the lower right corner of the window. You will return to the USER AND GROUP ADMINISTRATION screen. Adding users will be very similar to what we just looked at, except that all of the fields will be blank, as you're creating a brand new account.

To look at the groups, click on the GROUPS radio button at the top. When you do, the layout changes to reflect groups:

You may wonder where the rest of the groups are and why they don't show up here. The answer lies in the SET FILTER drop-down box in the lower right of the window. Click it and select SYSTEM GROUPS:

All of your system groups will now appear in the list:

Let's take a look at one of the groups. Select one (I'll select video) and then click the EDIT button at the bottom. Another screen appears:

From here you can change the group name, edit the group id, set a password, and change the members belonging to the group. Click CANCEL to close this screen. If you had made changes that you wished to keep, you would click ACCEPT instead. You are taken back to the group listing. On this screen, if you were to click ADD, you'd be presented with a screen much like we just saw, but everything would be blank, as you'd be adding a brand new group.

If you've made changes you'd like to keep, click FINISH. Otherwise, to discard changes, click BACK or ABORT.

User and group management is one of the many things that gives Linux superiority as an operating system. Thus, it's important to know how to change user and group settings. This is the design of this article. Last week, we looked at user and group management in the KDE desktop. This week, we've looked at user and group management, but for any SUSE Linux-powered platform. Next week, we'll look at some ways to do these same things from the commandline.

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