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Last week I installed a filesystem update that included a new passwd file. It lacked the avahi and dbus users, and contained a new user called uidd. After adding myself ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Incompatibility between latest passwd file and dbus


    Last week I installed a filesystem update that included a new passwd file. It lacked the avahi and dbus users, and contained a new user called uidd. After adding myself (natch!), I installed it. The next boot was a complete mess because dbus expects the avahi and dbus users to be available. The avahi user is referenced in avahi's dbus configuration file, and dbus is the user that the system-wide dbus daemon actually runs under.

    I restored the old passwd file and everything was OK for a while. Today I did another update and had trouble upgrading util-linux because it needs that new user "uidd". I had to add that user to the file by hand.

    I've seen nothing on the Arch Forum about anyone else having these problems and I've found nothing about it on the Web. My fixes are kludges and I'd like a more elegant and permanent way of sorting this out.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"

  2. #2
    oz
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    Hi, hazel

    I'm glad you kept a copy of your old file so that you could restore it if needed. I've not had any of those issues, but I always keep my old files in place until I've made any changes needed to any .pacnew files. Sometimes, I simply remove the new file and keep the old one after comparing them and doing any simple edits if that turns out to be the easier route.

    Here's an old Arch thread that might help you in dealing with pacnew files:

    https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=53532

    The following wiki page might have some useful info for you as well:

    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php..._Pacsave_Files
    oz

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oz View Post
    Here's an old Arch thread that might help you in dealing with pacnew files:

    https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=53532

    The following wiki page might have some useful info for you as well:

    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php..._Pacsave_Files
    Well, that's the theory! But I'm already familiar with the concept, as most distros have something similar to pacnew files. Crux used to put them in a special "rejected" directory for further consideration. But I assumed that if system users that were present in an old passwd file were absent in a new one, then they had been removed for a good reason. I didn't expect them still to be essential.

    In the days when I used Debian, an old Debian hand once told me that I should always prefer the new file after customising it with any changes that I had made myself. Any other changes were probably improvements and should be accepted.

    Just for interest, did you accept that particular passwd.pacnew file "as is"? And what happened to dbus on your system?
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"

  4. #4
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazel View Post
    Just for interest, did you accept that particular passwd.pacnew file "as is"? And what happened to dbus on your system?
    I don't recall how I handled that one but do remember not having any issues at all with dbus.

    Generally, if the new file and old one match, I dump the new one because it's quicker/easier. If they don't match, I customize whichever one needs fewer entries to match the new file along with any pertinent older entries, but yes, I want the final file (whether the old or new one) to contain any new entries presented by the new file.
    oz

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    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oz View Post
    I don't recall how I handled that one but do remember not having any issues at all with dbus.
    OK, let's rephrase that. What user does your system dbus currently run under? Because mine runs under the dbus user and it requires that user to be in the passwd file.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"

  6. #6
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazel View Post
    OK, let's rephrase that. What user does your system dbus currently run under? Because mine runs under the dbus user and it requires that user to be in the passwd file.
    For me, dbus runs under the dbus user as well and the dbus user is listed in the passwd file. I did switch to a pure systemd setup a while back but don't know if that might have made any difference in the way things worked out for me concerning the issue you experienced.
    oz

  7. #7
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Well, it seems what I thought was a kludge was actually the correct solution. Simply merge the two files.

    Two things I have learned:
    1) New system users in a new passwd file should be added. They are there because they are needed.
    2) Absent system users in a new passwd file should be retained from the old one. They may have been omitted by accident, rather than because they are no longer required.

    Having entries for system users that are surplus to requirements does no harm. Missing system users can cause havoc!
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"

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