Users are administrators by default in the installer GUI
The Anaconda installer GUI will have the administrative rights checkbox on the User screen ticked by default.
- Name: Vladimir Slavik
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Targeted release: Fedora Linux 36
- Last updated: 2021-12-15
- devel thread
- FESCo issue: #2708
- Tracker bug: #2032952
- Release notes tracker: #781
Currently, the Anaconda installer GUI presents an unticked checkbox "Make this user administrator" on the user setup screen by default. This means users have to discover the control, understand its meaning, and consciously decide to change the value from the default one.
However, computer usage by individuals is heavily skewed towards single user machines where the (sole) user has administrative powers over the machine by invoking
sudo. This has been always reflected by the design of the screen, which allows only a single user to be created. The GNOME first time setup also creates a single user - and makes them an administrator without asking.
The proposed change merely changes the default GUI state to be in line with this expectation.
Further, this change of defaults complements the default for root account. The redesign of root setup screen in Fedora 35 makes it clear that root should be left locked. This change makes it clear that the user should be the administrator. Together, these defaults will let the user satisfy all user account options by filling in nothing more than the user name and the password (twice to confirm).
- Which of the editions and spins does this apply to?
- This applies to all variants that display the user screen. That means Server, KDE, Kinoite, IoT.
- It also applies to everything derived from the RHEL profile - alma, rocky, centos,...
- Where this does not apply is Workstation and Silverblue.
- Does this mean users can lock root and not make themselves an administrator?
- No, the installer already enforces creation of at least one administration-capable account.
- Passwordless root makes me unable to fix issues at boot time.
- I find the wording on the checkbox confusing.
- TODO - anaconda devs to check with an UX designer what to do about the text. Suggestion on mailing list was to add more explanatory text.
- I don't use sudo, and I'm against the use of sudo.
- This is only the default. You can configure your system in the installer as you want - enable root, set root password, and disable administration for the user.
Benefit to Fedora
One less footgun in the installer for entry-level users. They will be able to rely on defaults and achieve the expected outcome.
- Proposal owners: Isolated change - adjust Anaconda code to do so as suggested here. Low effort.
- Other developers: No changes needed.
- Release engineering: Different defaults could impact installer testing. #Releng issue number
- Policies and guidelines: N/A
- Trademark approval: N/A
- Alignment with Objectives: None.
No impact. Installation implies teardown of previous system, including users.
How To Test
Start Anaconda installer for the Server variant, open the user setup screen, "Make this user administrator" is checked = pass.
Should be variant / spin / hardware agnostic, with the caveat that the presence of user screen is configurable, so in many cases the screen is not reachable.
Kickstart installs are not affected.
Users installing Fedora will no longer be forced to spend time deciding how to arrange the administrative powers (they, root, both?) and configuring that. They will be able to fill in user name and password and the default configuration will be valid. They can give in to the power of defaults.
For users that want to configure the system differently from the majority use case, the controls to do so are still as they were, only the defaults are different.
For those installing Fedora manually often, muscle memory for user screen will break, as the checkbox will no longer have to be toggled.
Any Fedora QA and OpenQA changes reflecting this will have to be reverted. Other than that, there is no technical or process requirement for this change, so no impact. The change does not happen and previous defaults remain.
- Contingency mechanism: N/A
- Contingency deadline: N/A
- Blocks release? No
In the Installer screen for setting up user, the "Make this user administrator" checkbox is now checked by default. This improves installation experience for users who do not know and need to rely on the default values to guide them.