Saturday, January 07, 2012

Joining a Group

In an effort to make Ubuntu less scary to users (i.e., more Mac/Windows like), Ubuntu 11.10 removed some graphical system administration utilities that were previously available. One of those was a called Users and Groups, which let you see groups and make changes to group memberships.

The new Ubuntu would rather you just forget groups, so it includes no graphical tools for handling them. Fortunately it's still Linux, so you can fix it up yourself. Liberian Geek has details, but the first hint (using groupmod) didn't work for me, so here's my modified version. In this example, I want to add myself to the group vboxusers, which should allow me to get USB access for my Virtualbox installation. More on that some other time. For now, return with us to those thrilling days of yesteryear, before the GUI:

  1. Look at the file /etc/group. Specifically, we want to see who belongs to the group vboxusers:
    $ grep vboxusers /etc/group
    Nobody, as we expected.
  2. Now to follow the Geek and add myself:
    sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers rchawk
  3. Finally, confirm the addition
    $ grep vboxusers /etc/group

You'll need to log out and log back in before the system will recognize the new group setting.