Rename user - file/dir ownership?

Johan Ramm-Ericson ubuntu at
Tue Nov 21 12:55:55 UTC 2006

On Tue, November 21, 2006 13:00, ben darby wrote:
> * Johan Ramm-Ericson wrote:
>> Yes, but... if you are using this in a desktop login environment there
>> will be all kinds of references to the old user name in the Gnome (I'm
>> guessing in KDE as well though it's ages since I ran KDE actively)
>> configuration files (see the files in ~/.gconf , ~/.gconfd, ~/.gnome ,
>> ~/.gnome2, ~/.gnome2_private , etc). Also, Mozilla & Firefox will
>> contain
>> references to the old user name in the ~/.mozilla structure. I'm sure
>> other applications will behave in similar ways. Many of these references
>> will be paths to filenames so one way to work around that is by:
>> ln -s /home/newname /home/oldname
>> after the steps Erik mentioned have been executed. That probably will
>> not
>> solve all problems but should get you around the most irritating ones.
>> Sorry, I can't be more precise than that but this should lead you in the
>> right direction...
> although in theory there may be references but in practice i'm unable to
> produce any errors or unusual behaviour by copying all my dot files to
> a new user im getting exactly the same behaviour from all my apps + DE
> (firefox + GNOME included.

I know I'm nitpicking here but just to prove a point I created a new user,
copied my gnome dot files to the new account and logged in as the new
user. Sure, everything went fine; but my desktop background was ...
black... The thing is, in my ordinary user account I have a desktop
background picture that is located in my home directory. With the new user
account I could not access that desktop background so .... I'm not saying
that particular incident is a major problem it's just that it does show
that references _are_ kept in your dot files and may interfere with you.
Particularly, commercial apps can cause you a lot of grief if you aren't

> however there really isnt any need to change
> the home directory unless your wanting to use it for another user with
> the same name.

Uh, no. Say that a users name is changed (for any number of reasons -
change of name due to marriage or divorce, the person wanted to change his
/ her name, whatever). Maybe your company / site policies dictate that the
user name and the users real name must have a clear relationship? Then it
follows that you have to change the user name. I would definitely like to
keep my old home directory and retain my desktop settings with minimal
trouble even if my user name had to change... Ergo; my old home directory
would have to change.


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