Guest account and user management on Mandriva 2011

Creating and managing user accounts are very basic tasks that you would need to perform on any operating system. If you are new to Linux and to Mandriva, this article provides information on how to add a user account and enable the built-in guest account on Mandriva 2011, the soon-to-be released desktop edition of the popular Linux distribution. An installation and disk partitioning guide has already been published here.

Like every Linux distribution, a new installation of Mandriva 2011 has just one regular user account, created during installation. If you have not created another user account, your login screen should look like this:
Login Screen Mandriva 2011

By following instructions provided in this tutorial, you can transform your login screen to look like this:
Mandriva 2011 Custom Login Screen

The first step in this transformation is to add a new user account. You would want to do this if you want to give another person access to your computer, but not share your login credentials with them. And to do that, you need to launch the Mandriva Control Center (MCC).

Since it is not on the ROSA Panel, you can find it by clicking on the ROSA Launcher icon (on the ROSA Panel), and type “configure” in the search field. MCC should be listed first in the search result. Click on it.
ROSA Launcher Mandriva 2011

On the MCC, click on the System tab, then on “Manage users on system.”
Mandriva Control Center

This is the main window of the user manager. On a new system, just one user account, the one configured during installation, will be listed. To add another account, click on the Add a user to the system button.
Mandriva 2011 User Manager

In the window that opens, type in the new user credentials. Other than the fields you have to fill in, leave the checked defaults, unless you know what you are doing. You may change the user icon. Ok.
Mandriva 2011 Add User Account

Back to the main user manager window, the newly configured account will be listed along with the existing one. Select the new account, and click on the Edit selected row button.
Mandriva 2011 Manage User Accounts

On the account editing window, you have several account management options. In the Account Info tab, for example, you can enable account expiration or lock the account.
Mandriva 2011 Edit User Account

And on the Password Info tab, you can enable password aging or password expiration. If enabled, the account holder will be warned days before the password is set to expire.
Mandriva 2011 Edit User Account

In the Groups tab, you will find that the only group the user belongs to is the user’s private group. Unless you make it available to the user, he/she will not have access to root privileges. And if you wish to give root privileges to the user without sharing root’s password, you can add the user to the “wheel” group. This group, wheel, is the administrators group. Any user in this group can gain access to root privileges using the sudo command. That is, they can perform system-wide administrative task by authenticating with their password. Do this for persons you really trust to not mess up the system. Ok.
Mandriva 2011 Edit User Group

After adding a regular user account, you might also want to enable the built-in guest account, that is, if you did not enable it during installation. Any person using this account does not have any administrative rights, and all session data generated by the user is not persistent.

To enable the guest account, it might be necessary to configure the repositories or software sources, assuming you did not enable it already. To do that, Click on the Software Management tab on MCC, then click on “Configure media sources for install and updates,” labeled “1” in the image below.
Mandriva 2011 Software Management

The sources or repository window will open. By default, it is empty. Click Add.
Mandriva 2011 Add Repos

Click Full set of sources.
Mandriva 2011 Add Repo Prompt

The repos that are enabled will be all you need to install any stable applications. Click Ok to close the window.
Mandriva 2011 Repo List

After updating the repo list, launch the software manager by clicking on “2” in the MCC (See 4th image from above). Type in “xguest” in the search field. Hit the Enter or Return key. The only result displayed should be the xguest package. Mark it for installation and click Apply. Installation should complete in a few moments.
Mandriva 2011 Install Xguest

Log out from the current session and you should see the beautiful login screen shown at the beginning of this article. Note: The guest session may also be started from the current session. To do that, launch a shell terminal, and type xguest. If you decide at some point that you no longer need the guest account, just uninstall the xguest package.

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