I am inheriting about 20 linux servers running different versions of Ubunutu (7 and above). The current setup has people logging in(ssh) with a shared login (it was explained to me that this was done to ease user management) or as root. I assume it would be safer/more customizable to log in to each box using one's own login, right? And sshing in as root is a Bad Thing yes? There's only two of us, but I may want to institute different permissions per user.

What would you suggest, while keeping complexity to a minimum?


The quickest way is to set up a NIS server and install and configure ypbind to use it. Put the user accounts there. Then configure the /etc/nssswitch.conf on every machine to use the nis service for passwd and group.

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    Why do you recommend NIS rather than LDAP? I thought NIS was on its way out. (In any case I agree with the recommendation of a proper user management system.) – Gilles May 14 '11 at 11:37
  • You could use LDAP also. But I think NIS is a little easier to set up. It's still used in places. – Keith May 14 '11 at 12:41
  • Sounds good. Can you point me in the direction of a good tutorial for NIS or LDAP? Are there any security concerns w/ either solution(Most of our servers are hosted in the cloud) – Nick P. May 15 '11 at 18:40
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    Ah, well that's different. NIS is not secure since it sends passwords in the clear. It is used on secure, or private networks. you might be better off using LDAP over SSL (ldaps) in that case. – Keith May 16 '11 at 2:11

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