Cleaning up the users and locking down the shells in /etc/passwd

Matt Alexander at
Tue Sep 27 13:12:24 UTC 2011

On Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 1:28 AM, Colin Watson <cjwatson at> wrote:

> On Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 03:05:58PM -0700, Matt Alexander wrote:
> > On Sat, Sep 24, 2011 at 9:48 AM, Colin Watson <cjwatson at>
> wrote:
> > > For almost everything, and certainly for the overwhelming majority of
> > > new entries, we do exactly as you say.  However, I (as base-passwd
> > > maintainer) will not remove entries from the global static list unless
> > > there is a very compelling reason to do so beyond cleaning up cruft;
> > > packages are entitled to assume that they are present without declaring
> > > any particular dependency and there's no reasonable way to know what
> > > removing such entries would break.
> >
> > I end up modifying the passwd/group files on my computers for auditing
> > purposes and to ensure that the only accounts on the system are required
> > accounts.  Removing cruft seems like a perfectly valid reason.  In 10
> years
> > will Ubuntu still have a uucp user and a news user and an irc user?
>  Seems
> > silly.  Let's clean things up and keep it to just the accounts that must
> be
> > there.  We can then easily fix packages that wrongly assumed that their
> > particular user would be always be there.
> I'm afraid this is backwards.  If you want to go and hunt down packages
> that rely on those global static users and get their maintainers
> (preferably in Debian) to work on a migration to dynamically-allocated
> system users, perhaps after that it would be worth removing the global
> static users.  Until then, they need to stay where they are.

Seems like detecting broken packages from system changes would already be
part of the Ubuntu qual. process.  But, OK, I'll setup a box, remove users,
and run a script that installs/uninstalls everything one by one from the
default repos and makes note of any packages that break.  I'll then open
bugs with the Debian maintainers of those packages to modify their
install/uninstall script.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing list