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bda (4793)

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Journal of bda (4793)

Tuesday April 27, 2004
11:39 PM

User admin modules

[ #18522 ]

Recently I've started getting more and more into automating tasks I do at work. Part of this is relates around some ideas I've had about shell use and ssh key generation, distribution, and keyhost networks.

I also recently started doing administration work for a free shell box service ( and we need a nice way to distribute user accounts across some new machines we're getting in the next week or so.

So to implement the above, I need some way to easily manipulate user and group accounts on various flavors of UNIX. "Well," says I, I says, "I'll just check out CPAN. Surely, it being CPAN, which is for Perl, there will be many modules already written to deal with this stuff, since it much be such a common requirement."

My searching skills are either woefully pathetic, or there just isn't a nice generic module for dealing with user administration.

So I think, "Well, that's ok, I'll just start a nice generic module, write the OS-specific stuff I need, and other people can add stuff. Shouldn't be too hard."

So I look around some more, and discover and mdxi refers to as "one of the most spectacular abuses of CPAN and it's top-level namespace ever."

What the shizzy, yo:

That is 16 lines of code. I'm still pretty pissed about this.

So I suppose I'll just use "User::Accounts" or something along those lines. But really. What the hell?

rjbs pointed this out to me:

Seems okay for what it does, but not what I need, really.

So, whinging aside: Am I totally missing something incredibly obvious? It astounds me that there isn't a generic user admin package written, so I'm pretty sure I must just be being completely blind here.

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  • Good to know.

    Other neat things:
    http://searc /Authen-PAM-0.14/d/ pm

    I would hold off on whining until looking for other obvious things, but then I'd never be motivated to do anything, to m
    • I'm not sure what else you have in mind... but, I'd probably start with this:

      And try real hard to simply use the commands already available on each platform to do the rest.
  • I'd say that "user" would not be a good top level name here, actually. I'd suggest instead Admin::User, which would easily expand into supporting all sorts of other admin tasks under the same top level hierarchy. (However, it looks like you're not going to have to create a new name after all, so this point is moot.)
  • Don't forget about NIS/NIS+. ;)
    • My searching skills are either woefully pathetic, or there just isn't a nice generic module for dealing with user administration.

      As a related followup to my own message....

      That's because there isn't a nice, generic API for *nix systems when it comes to adding, configuring and deleting users and groups. It's a PITA.

      Doable, though.

      • I'm not a big fan of NIS[+] so I probably won't ever write that. :) But I've gotten so far as to hack Unix::PasswdFile into Unix::ShadowFile. Unix::MasterPasswdFile (BSD) should be finished by tomorrow, and I can start working on the User::Account or Admin::User modules. Namespace issues need to be resolved, definitely. :) Pretty simple stuff, but neat. Eventually the goal is to use something like Stem for inter-system messaging to pass out the files, etc.
        • That's cool - I noticed the lack of shadow file handling in Unix::PasswdFile, so I was a little scared off and tempted to just use the Solaris specific one.