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5.11. Adding users

Now comes the fun part. We're going to edit the /etc/passwd file by hand. Normally you let the system handle this file, but for an unusual setup like this, it is easier to do it yourself. To start, open the /etc/passwd file and see what's in there. Here's an example of what you might find:

mwilson:x:1000:100:Matthew Wilson,,,:/home/mwilson:/bin/bash
joe:*:1020:101:Joe Mode (home),,,:/home/vpn-users:/usr/sbin/pppd
bill:*:1020:101:Bill Smith (home),,,:/home/vpn-users:/usr/sbin/pppd
frank:*:1020:101:Frank Jones (home),,,:/home/vpn-users:/usr/sbin/pppd

You'll find the first user on most any system. The second one is me. After that are a few made up vpn-users. The first field is the username, and the second is the password field. The third is user ID (UID) and the fourth is the group ID (GID). After that comes some info on who the people are in the fifth field. The sixth field is the user's home directory, and the last is their shell. As you can see, each field is separated by a colon. Look at the last three lines. The only difference between them is the username in the first field, and the user info in the fifth field. What we want to do is create lines like this for each user. Don't just use one user for all of the connections, you'll never be able to tell them apart if you do. So copy the last line of this file and edit it so that it looks something like the above. Make sure that the second field has an asterisk (*). The second field should be unique to all the other IDs in the file. I used 1020. You should use a number above 1000, since those below are typically reserved for system use. The fourth field should be the group ID for vpn-users. I told you to write it down, now is the time that you need it. So put the group ID in there. Lastly, change the home directory to /home/vpn-users, and the shell to /usr/sbin/pppd. Now copy that line to make more users. Just edit the first the fifth fields and you're set.

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