Possible alternative behaviours for user creation at install time (was Re: anaconda / initial-setup / gnome-initial-setup: can we do this better?)

Adam Williamson awilliam at redhat.com
Tue May 21 21:09:45 UTC 2013

On Tue, 2013-05-21 at 16:56 -0400, Simo Sorce wrote:

> > The other 'mandate user creation' option would be simply to do it in
> > (interactive) anaconda, and tell people who want to do installs without
> > a user account to use a kickstart or lump it. This has the advantage of
> > being one of the simplest possible approaches: all we'd have to do is
> > make user creation mandatory in anaconda and we could ditch
> > initial-setup and the pre-GDM bit of gnome-initial-setup. The
> > disadvantage of this approach, obviously, is it makes it harder for
> > those who have some kind of valid reason for doing an install with no
> > user account. Frankly, I quite like this option, the advantage of
> > simplicity is attractive. But I think it might be harder to get people
> > behind, cos people sure do love their choice!
> I have a FreeIPA server at home, I have no reason to create a user
> account. Why should you force me ?

The reason for forcing you would be that it was considered a greater
benefit to keep the install/first boot code paths simple than to make it
relatively easy to do installs with no user accounts. Remember, in this
mail, I was considering and presenting the pros and cons of all the
possible approaches. Please don't skim read and assume I'm advocating
one specific option. I did not in fact say I wanted to go ahead with
this option.

> > The other possible alternative behaviour, of course, is to go precisely
> > the other way, and not try and force the user into doing anything at
> > all. Again in this case it would make sense to ditch the 'firstboot'
> > stage. We'd simply leave anaconda alone, and kill initial-setup (and the
> > pre-GDM bit of gnome-initial-setup). This is again a nice and simple
> > approach. Its disadvantage is that it makes it nice and simple for a
> > 'regular' user to shoot herself in the foot. Experienced users can be
> > assumed to know the consequences of not creating a user account, sure.
> > But for the newbie who didn't do it and then pitched up at a GDM prompt
> > with no users, things would kind of suck. I am not a fan of this option.
> What's wrong with giving an option in anaconda and letting the user skip
> it ?

Nothing much, and if you actually read both my mails fully, that is
precisely the path I proposed.

> > It's very likely that the behaviour will differ somewhat between GNOME
> > and all the other desktops for F19. This kind of inconsistency could be
> > viewed as a bit of a pity, but I don't think it's a huge practical
> > problem, and it may be that we can't get GNOME and the distro as a whole
> > to agree on whether user creation should be mandatory.
> It's unclear to me why Gnome should mandate user creation at all, since
> when Gnome is the OS Identity Management system/enforcer ?

Desktops and spins are considered to own their own destiny to at least
some extent. Effectively what is happening here is that the GNOME
desktop/spin believes that a user account should be mandatory to use
their desktop, and so they are enforcing the creation of one.

If people think this is terrible and want to make a fuss about it, there
are various avenues for doing so. Personally it doesn't bother me

Both g-i-s and anaconda/i-s appear to offer at least some mechanism for
configuring remote user accounts. I don't know in detail what
technologies they support; the g-i-s one looks like it supports at least
AD, I don't know what else. The anaconda/i-s "Use network login..."
button appears to do nothing in F19 Beta RC2. I'll file a bug on that.
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | identi.ca: adamwfedora

More information about the devel mailing list