[Mageia-dev] halt and shutdown users: Still needed?

Liam R E Quin liam at holoweb.net
Mon Sep 17 18:23:25 CEST 2012

On Mon, 2012-09-17 at 14:56 +0100, Colin Guthrie wrote:
> Well according to folklore (which is about all I've got to go on here),
> before there were proper infrastructures in place to allow users to
> reboot machines, sysadmins might give "trusted" workstation users the
> passwords to these accounts which then let them "login to reboot" (I
> guess a forerunner to the "Start->Shutdown" oxymoron!)

Yes - I seem to remember that V7 and also 4.1, 4.2 BSD shipped with
several such pseudo-users, although they may've been a local addition at
the university where I used them in the early 1980s.

They are good for environments with users you don't trust but who have
to be able to do specific admin tasks... but they could for sure be
added locally in those environments.

Of course, if you have a university with 5,000 workstations, it'd be
nice not to have to make changes to each of them... but, it's likely
that changes are already made, and if one of them is to enable NIS then
you can add the pseudo-users globally anyway.

Every account is a potential break-in vector, however unlikely, so it
seems better not to ship with them.


Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
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