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(?) The Answer Guy (!)

By James T. Dennis, tag@lists.linuxgazette.net
Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

(?) Another "No Login" Problem

From Spiros Alexiou on Fri, 29 Jan 1999

Thanks for your help. I am attaching a small file with more info.

It looks to me like the root of the problem is that the RH graphical tool does NOT encrypt the user account passwords, though root for example is encrypted. So either I missed something in the RH documentation, it is missing, or there is a bug, if what I think is right(please let me know).

If that is the case, I need to either run some additional tool that will encrypt the passwords or else remove the users and create the accounts by adduser

Please let me know if this sheds some light
Spiros Alexiou

P.S. do you have IP for ssc.com? My other mailer does not know that address

(!) It would be very unwise to attempt to mail your message to an IP address. Internet mail processing using a different sort of DNS resource record than other TCP/IP protocols --- is uses MX records. If your mailer can properly pass the mail to a "smarthost" and can't properly handle the requisite MX resolution then you just shouldn't use it (or you should get it "fixed").

>I have RH 5.0 (2.0.32). Using their graphic tool, I created two
>/home accounts, me and guest, assigned UID and GID's and set
>passwords. The problem is, I can only log in as root. I looked for
>.nologin files, there seem to be none. I am attaching my
>/etc/fstab files. Thus, at the linux prompt If I try to login as
>any of these two users,

>I am denied entry(back to the prompt). This is not an issue of
>case sensitive.

>Any ideas of what I am doing wrong?
>Sincerely, S.Alexiou

(!) I have NO idea. I've gotten a rash of different reports of this sort. All involve Red Hat usually right after new installations --- no login from console, no login over telnet, no login as root, no login as anyone other than root.

(?) Nice to know I'm not alone...

(!) Unfortunately all of these cases, so far, are being reported to me incompletely. Only sparse details ahve been provided (as above). I've mailed off troubleshooting suggestions and recieved no followup to explain them.
So, I don't get it.
You said you used their graphical tool to create two new accounts. One was named "guest" and the other was some sort of user name for yourself.

(?) Yes, since I use the PC as a workstation and do not care about having other users, using it as a web server etc, the second account was the shortest possible account I could think of, "me"

(!) You also said you set the passwords for these two accounts.

(?) Yes, I did (see below)

(!) Let's try this: edit your passwd file. I personally prefer to use vipw for that --- but Red Hat 5.0 had a broken 'vipw' command (immediate segfault) and my fresh installation of 5.2 also has a broken 'vipw' command (needed to add a symlink from /bin/vi to /usr/bin/vi --- GRRR!). So, just use your favorite editor and keep a rescue floppy handy in case you reboot the system with a corrupt /etc/passwd file.

(?) Wait, do I need a rescue disk? My hard disk are IDE, not SCSI and I am supposed to only need to RH boot diskette. right? If I do need a resue disk, can I create it without reinstalling? At any rate, I try to be very careful when I edit root stuff, but it's better to be safe..

Here is my /etc/passwd file

> root:hASh-OMitTed:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash
> bin:*:1:1:bin:/bin:
> daemon:*:2:2:daemon:/sbin:
> postgres:!!:100:101:PostreSQL Server:/var/lib/pgsql:/bin/bash
> me:notencrypted:500:500:Red Hat Linux User,,,,:/home/me:/bin/bash
> guest:sanitized:501:501:Red Hat Linux User,,,,:/home/guest:/bin/bash
(!) Incredible. It's amazing to think that this tool is that bad!

(?) You will notice that the root password is encrypted , while the me and guest passwords are not. Actually the root and me have the same password But I do not recall any warnings about that in the RH graphic user creation. BTW, for the record, I did at one point reinstall and created the same guest and me accounts I had created originally, but I was unable to login as anything but root even with the original installation Also, for the record, I do have some problems with my XF86Config, but unless you believe this to be important( should not, as the graphic tool showed no problems), I may bother you another time :) Finally the UID and GID were assigned by the graphic tool, I just acepted what was there. Let me also add, that when I looked at the corresponding /etc/passwd file in a large AIX machine (I was just a user, not administrator) all I could see of course were ! for password field, but other than that the password file looks ok to me.

(!) Try setting the account passwords to something simple like just "x" --- and use the /bin/passwd command, not any sort of curses or GUI front end. Consider removing 'linuxconf' (for troubleshooting).

(?) Haven't done ths yet. I am not sure what troubleshooting I would do to remove linuxconf.

(!) If you're using shadow passwords try running pwunconv and if you're not, try running pwconv (to convert your passwd file to or from shadow format).

(?) Will try that. Just please let me know, if you also think that the problem is that the guest and me passwords are not encrypted.

Please, let me know if you figure out what's doing it.

(!) Umm! I don't know what sort of GUI user admin tool this is --- but don't use it to set initial passwords! Just go to a root shell prompt and issue the command:
passwd me
... and set the initial password for that account using the traditional old terminal command for the purpose. Then do the same for your personal account. Then report the bug to whoever maintains the tool you were using.

Copyright © 1999, James T. Dennis
Published in The Linux Gazette Issue 38 March 1999

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