Question

Linux adduser command needs --home Dir option

New account with “adduser user”

After ssh into root@ipAddress, I tried to create a new user account as “Initial Server Setup with Ubuntu 14.04” suggested. The new account was created, but with some anomalies:

  1. No “user@hostname” in the shell prompt
  2. No /home/user directory
  3. No /bin/bash shown in /etc/passwd
  4. Unable to “deluser user”

For example,

after “adduser leon” and login as leon: $ id uid=1000(leon) gid=1000(leon) groups=1000(leon),27(sudo) $ grep -i leon /etc/passwd leon:x:1000:1000::/home/leon: $ su root root@Leon-Ubuntu:/# deluser leon Removing user leon' ... Warning: group leon’ has no more members. userdel: user leon is currently used by process 2060 /usr/sbin/deluser: `/usr/sbin/userdel leon’ returned error code 8. Exiting.

Then I tried the “–home Dir” option

and it works well.

root@Leon-Ubuntu:/# adduser --home /home/leon2 leon2 root@Leon-Ubuntu:/# grep -i leon /etc/passwd leon:x:1000:1000::/home/leon: leon2:x:1001:1001:,:/home/leon2:/bin/bash root@Leon-Ubuntu:/# ls /home/ leon2 root@Leon-Ubuntu:/# deluser leon2 Removing user leon2' ... Warning: group leon2’ has no more members. Done.

Is there an explanation about this?

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I tried “adduser username” again and it worked this time. But it has some inconsistency again in the following scenario. First time I issued it in a user mode, it said “only root may add…” and yet the user was silently created. Later time, it turned correct by not creating the user. It seems that the first time you invoke adduser, it has a glitch and became ok subsequently.

leon@Leon-Ubuntu:/root$ adduser leon5 adduser: Only root may add a user or group to the system. leon@Leon-Ubuntu:/root$ ls /home/ leon2 leon3 leon4 leon5 leon@Leon-Ubuntu:/root$ grep -i leon /etc/passwd leon:x:1000:1000::/home/leon: leon5:x:1003:1003:,:/home/leon5:/bin/bash leon@Leon-Ubuntu:/root$ su leon5 Password: // It didn’t go through Password setup step leon5@Leon-Ubuntu:/root$ ls // ls doesn’t work ls: cannot open directory ‘.’: Permission denied leon5@Leon-Ubuntu:/root$ pwd // pwd works though /root

Found this link that says alternatively we could invoke “useradd”, which is more suitable for scripting and is a low level call that is supported in all Linux distros. But you have do all the lifting: useradd can create home directory with -m, set password with -p, create skeleton files with -k, and add user to group(s) with -G.


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This is odd and I cannot say that I have encountered this on Ubuntu 16.04 myself but I was able to find some information indicating that others have experienced this issue with the default adduser command in Ubuntu 16.04. It seems the issue lies with the command reading and using the defaults specified for it.

You can find some suggestions and more information here.