7.6. Creating Essential Files and Symlinks

Historically, Linux maintains a list of the mounted file systems in the file /etc/mtab. Modern kernels maintain this list internally and exposes it to the user via the /proc filesystem. To satisfy utilities that expect the presence of /etc/mtab, create the following symbolic link:

ln -sv /proc/self/mounts /etc/mtab

Create a basic /etc/hosts file to be referenced in some test suites, and in one of Perl's configuration files as well:

cat > /etc/hosts << EOF
127.0.0.1  localhost $(hostname)
::1        localhost
EOF

In order for user root to be able to login and for the name root to be recognized, there must be relevant entries in the /etc/passwd and /etc/group files.

Create the /etc/passwd file by running the following command:

cat > /etc/passwd << "EOF"
root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash
bin:x:1:1:bin:/dev/null:/usr/bin/false
daemon:x:6:6:Daemon User:/dev/null:/usr/bin/false
messagebus:x:18:18:D-Bus Message Daemon User:/run/dbus:/usr/bin/false
uuidd:x:80:80:UUID Generation Daemon User:/dev/null:/usr/bin/false
nobody:x:99:99:Unprivileged User:/dev/null:/usr/bin/false
EOF

The actual password for root will be set later.

Create the /etc/group file by running the following command:

cat > /etc/group << "EOF"
root:x:0:
bin:x:1:daemon
sys:x:2:
kmem:x:3:
tape:x:4:
tty:x:5:
daemon:x:6:
floppy:x:7:
disk:x:8:
lp:x:9:
dialout:x:10:
audio:x:11:
video:x:12:
utmp:x:13:
usb:x:14:
cdrom:x:15:
adm:x:16:
messagebus:x:18:
input:x:24:
mail:x:34:
kvm:x:61:
uuidd:x:80:
wheel:x:97:
nogroup:x:99:
users:x:999:
EOF

The created groups are not part of any standard—they are groups decided on in part by the requirements of the Udev configuration in Chapter 9, and in part by common convention employed by a number of existing Linux distributions. In addition, some test suites rely on specific users or groups. The Linux Standard Base (LSB, available at http://refspecs.linuxfoundation.org/lsb.shtml) only recommends that, besides the group root with a Group ID (GID) of 0, a group bin with a GID of 1 be present. All other group names and GIDs can be chosen freely by the system administrator since well-written programs do not depend on GID numbers, but rather use the group's name.

Some tests in Chapter 8 need a regular user. We add this user here and delete this account at the end of that chapter.

echo "tester:x:101:101::/home/tester:/bin/bash" >> /etc/passwd
echo "tester:x:101:" >> /etc/group
install -o tester -d /home/tester

To remove the I have no name! prompt, start a new shell. Since the /etc/passwd and /etc/group files have been created, user name and group name resolution will now work:

exec /usr/bin/bash --login +h

Note the use of the +h directive. This tells bash not to use its internal path hashing. Without this directive, bash would remember the paths to binaries it has executed. To ensure the use of the newly compiled binaries as soon as they are installed, the +h directive will be used for the duration of this and the next chapter.

The login, agetty, and init programs (and others) use a number of log files to record information such as who was logged into the system and when. However, these programs will not write to the log files if they do not already exist. Initialize the log files and give them proper permissions:

touch /var/log/{btmp,lastlog,faillog,wtmp}
chgrp -v utmp /var/log/lastlog
chmod -v 664  /var/log/lastlog
chmod -v 600  /var/log/btmp

The /var/log/wtmp file records all logins and logouts. The /var/log/lastlog file records when each user last logged in. The /var/log/faillog file records failed login attempts. The /var/log/btmp file records the bad login attempts.

[Note]

Note

The /run/utmp file records the users that are currently logged in. This file is created dynamically in the boot scripts.