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Re: User accounts

From: John Darrington
Subject: Re: User accounts
Date: Tue, 13 May 2014 10:17:52 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

On Tue, May 13, 2014 at 10:11:41AM +0200, Ludovic Court??s wrote:
     Before commit ab6a279, /etc/{group,passwd,shadow} were all created from
     a derivation.  Thus, /etc contained symlinks to those files, which were
     actually in the store.  Being in the store, they were all immutable and
     world-readable (you can see that in the VM image released with 0.6.)
     That was obviously not desirable, because then everyone can read shadow,
     and because that prevents passwords from being changed.
     So commit ab6a279 changed accounts to be created at ???activation
     time??????i.e., when booting, or when switching to a new operating system
     configuration.  What happens is that the activation code checks for all
     the user accounts and groups required by the ???operating-system???
     declaration, and invokes ???useradd??? and ???groupadd??? for any missing
     That way, {group,passwd,shadow} are normal state files with the right
     permissions, and everything works as expected.  NixOS uses the same

Does /etc/group now have a "nogroup" group?  I was trying to package up GNU 
but one of its tests relies on having a group which no user is a member of.


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