If renaming the Home Folder is practically a sin against mankind ...

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Dybbuk, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. Dybbuk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    #1
    ... why does Mac OS X let you do it?

    When I first got this machine a few weeks ago, I renamed the home folder a few times and couldn't figure out why the hell my computer was seemingly resetting settings every time I reset the computer.

    So, I'm sure someone more involved with computers can explain to me why you are even allowed by the system to do it.

    Also, did anyone else have this problem when they were new to Mac? :)
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    It was pretty obvious to me that I should not do it, but then I had used other Unix variants before OS X.

    I will note that only Admin users are allowed to rename their user directories. Users who do not have administration privileges are not allowed to do this. I guess there is an unreasonable expectation that whoever is administrating the computer has some basic understanding of how computers work?

    That probably goes back to the older argument that OS X should really push you to make a separate admin account and make your main user account a standard or managed user....

    P.S. Out of curiosity, does Windows or any other OS really survive this? If you change the c:\documents & settings\username folder in Windows and reboot, does it still tag you to your changed-name folder? I doubt it, but I'm open to being wrong, and I've never tried it. I don't know any counterexample operating system where you could do this and the OS would say, "Okay, sure, whatever you want" and not hiccup. So from where are people learning that this is a good idea?
     
  3. /dev/toaster macrumors 68020

    /dev/toaster

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    Feb 23, 2006
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    San Francisco, CA
    #3
    Ya know, this is actually a good point. There is no benefit to allowing users to be able to do it, and if you _really_ want to do it for some reason ... fire up a terminal.
     
  4. Dybbuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I just wanted to rename the folder. I'm not computer illiterate, but the concept of a "Home Folder" was new to me. :)
     
  5. Yoursh macrumors 6502

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    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    MN
    #5
    From what I've been learning from OSX server it is all tied to your 'shortname' you chose when setting up your account. In the OSX file structure(unix based) it uses your shortname for all account settings/changes/pref. That's why your home folder is your shortname. It's so it can save all your user account info/data in one place and know how to tell it apart from other user folders. You'll notice that you can't change your shortname in the system preferences after you create an account. If you change the home folder name, the system has problems associating the home folder with the right account. For example if you log into an account with a shortname as 'admin', OSX will look for a home folder named 'admin' to use at startup.

    Your only real option, short of some sort of Terminal voodoo that's out of my realm of experience, is to choose a shortname when setting up an account that you would like as a home folder name. Remember though that the shortname will also be used for other account setttings. As for why they allow you to change the folder name in the first place, it's pretty much just the fact that an admin has access to everything good or bad.
     
  6. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

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    Feb 23, 2006
    #6
    If you rename your home folder you break a lot of things. Don't do it.
     
  7. phillipjfry macrumors 6502a

    phillipjfry

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    Dec 12, 2006
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    #7
    I had hoped that Apple would make the default user a "Power User" of some sort and, if the knowledgeable user so chooses, to enable some kind of checkbox to bump their user access to full. Kind of like a permanent sudo.
    Keeping the average users who dont care for full access (eg system critical filenaming/removal/renaming accidents), and letting John Nixhead enable it at will to do what he needs. Hey Apple, you listenin'? :)
     
  8. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

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  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #9
    That's how it works now. Admins have additional permissions like writing to the /users directory, the /library directory, the /applications directory, etc, that standard users do not have. They do not have all the powers of root, although they can get them with their own password (for instance, they can't write to /system without authentication).

    Like you say, being a "power user" assumes you know some basics about computers. And so as a "power user," you're allowed to do some things that could break your installation. The standard user is the one who can't do this. The standard user can authenticate up to do more sophisticated things, but not with their own password (you can install an /applications app from a standard account, but only if you provide the username and password of an administrator).

    That's again why in other security models, you're encouraged to create two accounts in the beginning -- a standard (not a "power user") account that you use regularly and an administrator account that you use for administrative purposes. That I think Apple should do. I don't particularly see the need for them to limit admins from doing stupid things, again, because of the assumption of what an admin is there for.
     
  10. phillipjfry macrumors 6502a

    phillipjfry

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    #10
    I mean as a shorname user :)
    Logging in as root for everyday usage is kinda like wearing undies that are too tight. Just doesn't feel right :)

    In regard to the OP, I think that the user account should be more locked down to prevent accidentals like the home dir renaming. But I guess there is some give and take to be had. There are alot of things I've done to my first mac (accidentally and on purpose) that I wish the OS had asked me if I was really sure I wanted to do before letting me :p
     
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #11
    But that's what I keep saying. That's exactly what a standard account is. Standard users are not allowed to change their home directory names. I can't (I'm in my standard account, like a good Unix user, right now).
     
  12. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

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    Feb 23, 2006
    #12
    Yes. You are correct. There is no need for the /Users to be 775 with root:admin
     
  13. Dybbuk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 8, 2006
    #13
    When you first get the computer, you don't really know that. :)
     
  14. phillipjfry macrumors 6502a

    phillipjfry

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    #14
    Gah! I thought my account was standard! I'm administrator! :eek:
    The important thing is, I know why I can do the things I do to my computer :)
     
  15. /dev/toaster macrumors 68020

    /dev/toaster

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #15
    You misunderstood me. I can totally understand that you didn't understand what would happen. That is what makes me wonder, why do they let you do it.

    I have a friend of mine who is very computer illiterate who is going to be buying his first computer this year. Of course, I am recommending he buy a Mac. I can honestly see him making the same mistake.
     
  16. derekge macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #16
    We had a customer who wanted this done and we explained to her that we wouldn't do it because it would make her system unstable. Since she is comp-ill she kept complaining that she couldn't understand why we wouldn't do it. I'm glad we didn't venture down that road because the official process for doing it from apple is 40 steps long: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106824
     

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