I just installed Debian Jessie and created a user account ("jerome") during installation.

I log into my server through SSH as jerome, then use su to work as root. (sudo is not installed and root ssh is disabled).

On my fresh install, I installed and configured etckeeper and smartmontools.

  • When logged in as root, if I commit using etckeeper commit, the author of the commit is jerome and the committer is root. I'd expect both to be root.

  • I configured smartmontools to send mails to root (using option -m root) but the mails are sent to jerome (in /var/mail/jerome).

I can't figure out any explanation for this and I can't find the right keywords to search.

In case it matters, the groups for user jerome are

jerome cdrom floppy audio dip video plugdev netdev

  • For etckeeper, are you sure you used su - rather than just su? For smartmontools, are you sure the mails are not simply being sent to jerome because there is a mail alias from root to jerome?
    – Celada
    May 26 '15 at 16:10

According to the man page for etckeeper, your first situation is documented,

commit [message]
Commits all changes in /etc to the repository. A commit message can be specified. You may also use the underlying VCS to commit manually. (Note that etckeeper commit will notice if a user has used sudo or su to become root, and record the original username in the commit.)

For the second, typical Debian behaviour is to alias root's messages to the first non-root user account created on the system. This can be found in /etc/aliases

root: jerome

  • Thanks. If I had encountered only one of the two "issues", I would have searched specifically. But seeing both at the same time, I thought they were related somehow, which lead me to look for a system-wide explanation rather than a software feature. This etckeeper feature is great, in fact. I didn't know this was even possible.
    – Jérôme
    May 26 '15 at 21:56

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