Paulus Esterhazy pesterhazy at
Fri Oct 21 13:54:57 CDT 2005

>>That way its obvious to the user where the "public" files go, and also
>>that other files _are_ hidden.
> I'd much, much rather see a 'private' directory within the home
> directory, which is easier to manage, has fewer weird side-effects, and
> is more conventional on multi-user systems I've used.

The problem is, of course, that people who don't want their files to be 
accessible by other users will likely need to put _all_ their data into 
the private directory. This is undesirable as it adds another directory 
level. The solution also unintuitively won't include dotfiles and 
~/Desktop. What's more, $HOME is already supposed to be the place where 
my private data is stored, so having $HOME/private is confusing.

FWIW, a way to easily "share" or "unshare" (chmod) the entire $HOME 
directory would be the best solution (with a GUI setting). It's not 
ideal, but the problem is inherent in the unix file permission system. 
As to what should be the default setting, two intuitions clash - unix 
tradition on the one hand, the "privacy first" principle on the other. 
I'm not sure if the latter outweighs the former. An option to change the 
default permission that adduser sets up would solve this.

Paulus Esterhazy

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