[ubuntu-us-ut] Ubuntu's default groups

Aaron Toponce aaron.toponce at gmail.com
Thu Dec 3 22:17:10 GMT 2009

Mike Basinger wrote:
> That is kinda harsh.

It wasn't meant to be harsh. I'm upset that when I get on an Ubuntu
machine, it feels less and less like a Unix machine. I'm getting to the
point where I need a separate set of training to understand the changes
Ubuntu is making their operating system, where these changes don't exist
anywhere else, especially upstream. Ultimately, it's their decision, and
I respect that. Canonical and the Ubuntu development team can do
anything they wish with their OS. After all, it _is_ an operating system.

> We have to "complicate" a base Linux setup in
> Ubuntu to make it work on the widest varitety of hardware setups . You
> made not have a scanner, but we want Ubuntu to work seamlessly if
> someone plugs in in a scanner.

I understand that, but working with the largest set of hardware just
requires drivers to power the hardware, nothing more. This is why Ubuntu
is so successful. They'll ship proprietary drivers and blobs, where
others won't. Wireless, video, sound, and many other cards work in
Ubuntu and not Fedora or Debian, because of these drivers.

Where Ubuntu is doing their own thing, and ultimately complicating the
setup, is the configuration file changes, that aren't necessary.

> It is the question, do we want Linux to be a hobbyist OS or do we want
> to complete for market share someplace other than servers.

I'm all for competing, but complicating the setup doesn't seem like the
right set of moves to be making.

For example, on this groups issue I brought up. Say the user wants to
add himself to some group, for whatever purpose. He searches the
Internet a bit, and finds from some random user:

$ sudo usermod -G group_name user

After doing so, he later finds he lost all the groups he was just
previously a member of! How does he fix it? How does he know what groups
he was in? Of course, this would be a problem for any number of groups
that he was in, but now that _lots_ of stuff doesn't work, like his
scanner or cdrom, because he lost those groups, means a painful
experience of getting everything back in order. Had he been in one or
two additional groups, this wouldn't be so bad.

I guess I'm asking this: what is the technical reason for putting the
default user into several groups, when it provides no apparent technical
advantages, and could mean a nightmare of a challenge should he lose
being a member of a group? Why is this implemented?

. O .   O . O   . . O   O . .   . O .
. . O   . O O   O . O   . O O   . . O
O O O   . O .   . O O   O O .   O O O

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