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Which users are automatically created from a Linux Install (I'm using Debian)?

Posted on 2006-05-07
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
For example, (I'm using Debian Linux, gnome desktop)

1.  I navigate to System Tools -> Users and Groups and open the "users and groups" GUI.

2.  I Click the "Users" tab.

3.  I see all of the users I had created,
      John2
      John3
      John4

4.  I then see a checkbox that says "Show all users and groups".  I check it.  Users appear that I didn't create such as:
     root
     daemon
     bin
     sys
     sync
     games
     man
     lp
     mail
     news
     uucp
     proxy
     www-data
     backup
     list
     irc
     gnats
     nobody
     Debian-exim
     postgres
     messagebus
     hal
     sshd
     identd
     saned
     gdm
     mysql

Are these users automatically created from the Debian installation?  (For the installation type I chose multi-user, instead of workstation, or server option).  I'd appreciated some wisdom here. :)
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Question by:llvllar1on
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AndyAelbrecht earned 750 total points
ID: 16624924
all those users are created on installation of your Debian station.

a quick rundown:

root: administrator user
daemon: user to run random daemons under (daemons who don't have their own user)
almost all the other users are service dependant
examples:
mail: user who runs the mail program (exim, sendmail)
www-data: Apache(2)'s user: if you check /etc/apache(2)/httpd.conf you will see user www-data and group www-data there
sshd: your SSH Server runs with this user
identd: your IdentD server runs with this suer
mysql: MySQL server runs with this suer
lp: the user under which the line printer daemon runs

etc

you should not remove these users unless you know what you are doing. Most of them (as you can see in /etc/passwd or prolly with the System Tools -> Users and Groups aswell) don't even have login access (shell = /sbin/false or /sbin/nologin or something similar)

hope this helps,

cheers,
Andy
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