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Giving users a home directory automatically

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HowTos

If you are using LDAP or NIS to manage users you might discover users having problems because they don't have a home directory on each machine they can connect to. Thankfully there is a simple solution for creating home directories upon demand for users.

The Pluggable Authentication Modules library, or PAM, is a collection of shared libraries which control how users login to systems. There are a number of modules installed which can be used to restrict user access to systems in different ways. There are also several utility modules which can be used to customise login behaviour.

In the past we've shown how to limit the times of day users can login by making use of the pam_time.so library.
Amongst the utility libraries included as standard with your Debian GNU/Linux installation (located in the directory /lib/security) is pam_mkhomedir.so which can be used to create a new home directory for users who do not already have one.

To enable this module we need to add the following line to /etc/pam.d/common-account:

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