Lesson 4: Users, Groups, Permissions

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The User

You... ish.

$ whoami    # your username
$ who       # who is logged in?
$ w         # who is here and what are they doing?
$ id        # user ID, group ID, and groups you're in

Sometimes robots are users too: Apache, Mailman, ntp.

What a User has


username:password:uid:gid:uid info:home directory:shell

What Users Can Do

$ su $USER          # become user, with THEIR password
$ su                # become root, with root's password
$ sudo su -         # use your password instead of root's
$ sudo su $USER     # become $USER with your password

What Users Can Do

Sudoers Naught List

Managing Groups and Users

$ cat /etc/passwd
# username:x:UID:GID:GECOS:homedir:shell
$ useradd <user_name>  # vs adduser, the friendly Ubuntu version
$ userdel <user_name>
$ passwd
$ groupadd
$ usermod
$ groupmod
$ cat /etc/group

Managing Groups and Users

xkcd letting go

Examples of Non-Human Users

Root and Sudo

Basically god on Linux.
[foo@compe ~]$ yum install httpd    # Runs command as `foo` user
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror, ovl
ovl: Error while doing RPMdb copy-up:
[Errno 13] Permission denied: '/var/lib/rpm/__db.002'
You need to be root to perform this command.
[foo@compe ~]$ sudo yum install httpd    # Runs command as `root` user.
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror, ovl
[... installs correctly ...]

Root and Sudo

Sudo get me a sandwich.


Acting as root is dangerous! You can accidentally delete your filesystem, forcing you to completley re-install your OS! Type carefully.


Further Reading