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I've learned to ssh for the first time, and am logged into my university mainframe account. Can I change my username without root? Or is it like a password where I need root?

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Your username is determined by the system administrator when the account is created. You pretty much need root level privileges to change it.

Your password is not fixed and can be changed with the passwd command. You need to know the old password to change it, and the system may have restrictions (e.g. can not change more than once a day).

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Yes, you need root access to change your username if the system uses passwd files for authentication. However, most likely the access at your site is controlled by means of LDAP or YP or other centralized account management services

You need not root access to change your password as soon as you know your password and passwd utility is available to you.

  • being able to change your password with passwd assumes that it isn't a poorly configured LDAP setup (you can configure LDAP without giving users write permissions to their own passwords). Normally a reasonable assumption, but not a guarantee. The admin could also disable passwd but that's a bit more deliberate and counterproductive. – Centimane Sep 9 '16 at 19:18

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