The standard setup for Ubuntu is to create two users, root and a first user. The first user always gets full sudo access and root login is disabled (for security).

Linode doesn't do this, it just creates root, with ssh login enabled.

Why is this so? Is there some limit on the number of account Linode nodes can have? Is there some other reason?

My instinct is to create a user, sudo it and disable ssh root login. This keeps dev and prod machines as alike as possible.

  • 2
    This is probably because Linode doesn't use the normal install routine... – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams May 12 '11 at 16:01

If you do this a lot, you could write a simple Stack Script (http://www.linode.com/stackscripts/) that will prompt you for a username when you create the machine, and then do just what you are thinking about. Stack Scripts can be private or you can share them with the Linode Community.

I'm a big fan. They add to the power of the Linode platform, and serve as a key tool to bridge to your own configuration management system or deployment system.


Linode's setup process is not the normal install routine, but rather a mostly-pre-configured image just ready to be deployed in mere moments -- you can provision a brand new server within minutes, which is really handy! Probably because they didn't want to have to create a new user each time a server is provisioned, these pre-configured images simply have a root user and thus allow root login.

Once you have your Linode provisioned, you can log in as root, create a new user with sudo access (remembering to give said user a password!), and then disable root login (both in sshd_config and by running passwd -d). This is what I do on my Linodes, and excepting the time that I forgot to give my new user a password before I logged off (remember to give your new user a password!) I haven't had any problems whatsoever.

Oh, and when you create that new user, don't forget to give your new user a password! In fact, before you log off your connection as root, make sure you can log in and use sudo. If you forget, though, you can always use the Linode dashboard to reset the root password and then log in via their Lish shell.

  • None that I've encountered, and I have over 2 dozen accounts (though not all of them interactive) on my current Linode (only running one atm). – Kromey May 12 '11 at 17:00
  • Thanks. I had intended to do as you suggest. Was checking if there were any issues I didn't know about. Just provisioned my first node two days ago. Have had a Slicehost PVS before, it had a limit of two accounts. That meant running different processes that you would normally run under different users, under the same user. – gnoll110 May 12 '11 at 17:02
  • @gnoll That seems a really odd limitation to me. I'll just have to add that to the list of things I've heard about Slicehost that make me glad I have never been a customer of theirs. – Kromey May 12 '11 at 17:04
  • It's just been announced, in the last week, that the Slicehost platform is about to be wound up and the users merge into Rackspace's platform. Been looking to jump since a friend blogged, in December, about migrating his blog from Wordpress to Jekyll and making the Slicehost Linode move at the same time. – gnoll110 May 12 '11 at 17:16

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