[Lubuntu] "passwd -d root" only sort-of deletes root password

John Hupp lubuntu at prpcompany.com
Wed Oct 24 19:53:06 UTC 2012

This question arises as a separate point from another current thread: "A 
script for shutting down an LTSP client from the host?"

I'm stuck at creating a password-less root account.

If at a console I log in as root and then run "passwd -d root," the 
output is "passwd: password expiry information changed." Not the output 
I would have expected.

If I then run "cat /etc/shadow," the password field is blank and I can 
log in at a console as root with no password.

However, if I then run my client shutdown command: "ssh -l root <client 
IP> shutdown -h now," it requires a password and only accepts the 
presumably-deleted password.

I'm not sure if I needed to or not, but in the LTSP chroot environmentI 
also then ran passwd -d root and updated the LTSP image.

But now "ssh -l root <client IP> shutdown -h now" will not accept any 
password, either the presumably-deleted one or a blank password.

I can return to the previously-established root password by logging in 
as root with a blank password at a console and running "passwd root." 
(Presumably I can also run passwd in the chroot environment and restore 
the old password there also, though I have not confirmed that.) This 
heals the split personality, but I'm back where I started.

A Debian user had the same kind of experience with "passwd -d root" and 
found that the problem was that PAM was set to use GNOME Keyring Daemon 
instead of Unix Authentication, but he did not say how to check on or 
configure that, and I have not been able to figure it out yet.  That 
post is here: http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=52216

Anyone recognize what's going on?
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