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Setting up new users and handing out their details?

Posted by Anonymous on Fri 18 May 2007 at 09:24

I am the administrator of a small computer lab, and I would like to automate the creation and initial setup of new user accounts - such that each new user can be given a printout of useful information and their account details. Is there some packaged software to do this simple job?

The process would be:

  • Create a new user account.
  • Generate a random password for it, and remember it.
  • Print a handout with some general information on the lab and their new login details.

This should be quite straightforward to implement, e.g. with adduser, pwgen, and pdftk. Although it seems like a common task for system administrations I couldn't find any pre-existing solution.

What is your policy for creating new accounts? Do you do something like this? Finally is there any software packages for Debian which would perform these simple tasks?

(Maybe every administrator creates their own one from scratch?)



Re: Setting up new users and handing out their details?
Posted by asdmin (195.29.xx.xx) on Fri 18 May 2007 at 10:19
If you make your life more comfortable with LDAP, adding an user is question of running a script. Secure random passwords are to be generated by makepasswd or pwgen, which utilities can be easily integrated in scripts.
Believe me, the easiest way to solve these problems is to write some few-lined handy scripts. Using more complex solutions than this would be similar when you are trying to hunt down a sparrow - with a cannon.

D�niel V�sï&Acir c;�½rhelyi

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Re: Setting up new users and handing out their details?
Posted by mwr (24.158.xx.xx) on Fri 18 May 2007 at 15:02
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Everything we've ever used has been our own creation. A few thoughts:

  • If you've got several systems, you have to have some way of ensuring consistent UIDs and usernames among your systems if you'll be using NFS. If you've got complete autonomy, make your own LDAP over SSL.
  • If you have a larger authentication domain you can hook into, use it so your students don't have to worry about which password goes where. If that larger authentication domain isn't OpenLDAP, you may run into problems like I did, or you may be smarter than I am and get them all fixed.
  • I'd avoid having passwords printed anywhere. This simplifies your instructions, you can write them once without any templating or substitution, and you can post them on a website. We set accounts' initial passwords to their student ID number, which is supposed to be only known to the student and folks authorized to access student records. The students are forced to change their password on their first login under Windows, and they can't log in on Unix at all until they've done that.
And you can read my notes on our authentication setup, if you're interested.

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Re: Setting up new users and handing out their details?
Posted by sphaero (83.160.xx.xx) on Sat 19 May 2007 at 12:07
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