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Linux Basics : First Steps Into Linux

Welcome! We meet again. It has been some time now since I\'ve heard you swear at your computer so I assume

your Linux installation went well and you have been experimenting with your

new system However If you are one of those wanderers who ever so often chance

upon random webpages on the net,


you will find a detailed guide to installing Linux.

Now during installation you chose a \'root\'

password which you used to login when you were prompted for a username

and a password for the first time. \'Root\' on Linux is the centre of all

power. He is the System Administrator who has access to all files

and folder and can add or delete users or change their passwords.

Now absolute power can corrupt absolutely. For eg. If you

put in a virus infected floppy as Root ,(Not that there are many

viruses for Linux, as of now I have come across just two ) the virus might

be able to infect all files , since you have access to all of them.

Users other than root however have write access to a limited part

of the file-system which often excludes crucial library and configuration

files thus reducing the risk of damage due to such incidents. So

you must create a new user for yourself and when not performing

administrative tasks should log in using that username rather than root.

Lets create a new user.

First open the Linux Console which is found on the Panel at

the bottom of your screen generally shown by an icon that looks

like TV switched off with a black screen. The following commands are to

be type in the console, pressing enter after you have entered the

full command.

The \'useradd\' Command

The general syntax

for the useradd command is :

useradd -d home_directory

-e expire_date -g initial_group -p password login_name

home_directory : Is the main directory within which

the user is expected to story all his files and subdirectories.


a user named \'foo\' the home directory generally is


expire_date : This is the date on which the user\'s account expires

and he/she cannot access the computer

anymore unless the account is renewed. This is somewhat similar

to your ISP account

expiring in 6 months or one year. The expire date is in yyyy-mm-dd

format (2002-08-30)

initial_group : Every user in Linux belongs to a group which affects