[Adduser-devel] Bug#541728: several minor improvement ideas

Christoph Anton Mitterer christoph.anton.mitterer at physik.uni-muenchen.de
Sat Aug 15 22:43:54 UTC 2009

Package: adduser
Version: 3.110
Severity: wishlist


The following are several minor ideas for improvement.
Some of them are really pedantic so be warned ;)

1) When creating a user and the homedir already exists, adduser gives  
a warning, that it does not copy /etc/skel.
It should also warn that it does not delete/create anything else and  
that it does not apply the chosen DIR_MODE.

2) DIR_MODE is either set to 0755 or 0751 (via debconf).
I'd suggest (for reasons of security) to:
- change 0751 to 0751
- make this non-sys-wide-readable the default in debconf
(This would not really break things, as users would notice very soon,  
if other could no longer access their homedirs)

3) DIR_MODE says "directories created will have the specified  
permissions as umask"
I think this should not affect ALL directories (e.g. those below  
/etc/skel) that are created, but just the user-home-dir itself.
It should neither affect any /home/group/(user) or /home/u/(user) dirs.
This is especially important if SETGID_HOME=yes

4) SETGID_HOME description in manpage and conf-template:
The information on behaviour before 3.13 is purely historical and  
probably of little use in the manpage/config-documentation.
The default change should only be listed in the package's NEWS.Debian file.

It's however ok, to mention the bad side-effects (and perhaps which they are)

As adduser uses edquota if set, the package should perhaps recommend  
or suggest the quota package.

Don't these files always end in .dpkg-* so a . or \. could be added to  
the default regex to tighten it as far as possible?

For all other boolean settings you use yes/no.... but here 0/non-0
Perhaps this should be aligned.

8) For all values, the defaults are explicitly set (if not changed) in  
the config file via foo=bar, expect for
(NAME_REGEX also differs from the value in the manpage with the \

9) It's not described what happens if both GROUPHOMES and LETTERHOMES  
are activated.

8) Documentation in mapgage and config file:
These should be identical,.. IMHO,...and I think the documentation in  
the config template is sometimes incorrect or at least misleading.  
Just some notes on the manpage:
-SKEL_IGNORE_REGEX: It's not /etc/skel, but SKEL .
-EXTRA_GROUPS: The groups are ONLY added if ADD_EXTRAGROUP is true OR  
if that parameter is used.

If you want I could write a revised version of the manpage/template  
with some more perfectionisms ;)


-- System Information:
Debian Release: squeeze/sid
   APT prefers unstable
   APT policy: (500, 'unstable')
Architecture: amd64 (x86_64)

Kernel: Linux 2.6.30-heisenberg (SMP w/2 CPU cores; PREEMPT)
Locale: LANG=en_DE.UTF-8, LC_CTYPE=en_DE.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/dash

Versions of packages adduser depends on:
ii  debconf [debconf-2.0]        1.5.27      Debian configuration  
management sy
ii  passwd                       1: change and administer  
password and
ii  perl-base                    5.10.0-24   minimal Perl system

adduser recommends no packages.

Versions of packages adduser suggests:
ii  liblocale-gettext-perl        1.05-4     Using libc functions for  
ii  perl-modules                  5.10.0-24  Core Perl modules

-- debconf information:
* adduser/homedir-permission: false

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