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Virtual DICE local account

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Because of the potential for confusion, the local account facility should only be used by more advanced users.

It is possible to login to Virtual DICE using a normal DICE username and password, but only when the host machine is connected to the Edinburgh University network. The guest account can be used at any time.

If those login options don't suit you, there is a third option: a DICE account can be made into a local account on your Virtual DICE VM. This is what a local account gives you:

  • Like the guest account, a local account lets you log in and use Virtual DICE when its host computer is not connected to a network.
  • The local account has the same username as the normal DICE account, but the password is the word local and the home directory is in the virtual machine's local filesystem.
  • The local account and its files live entirely on your copy of Virtual DICE. Using the password local you can login to your local account and access your local files whether or not the host machine currently has a network connection.
  • If the host is on the Edinburgh University network and the normal DICE password is used instead of local, a normal DICE login happens instead, with access to the AFS home directory. Files can then be copied back and forth between the local directory and AFS, for instance like this:
  cp  /disk/scratch/s1234567/foo.bar  /afs/inf.ed.ac.uk/s12/s1234567/

A local account is set up like this:

  1. Connect the computer to the School of Informatics network - by doing one of these things:

    Any other network connection in the University is likely to get the computer on to the University network but not onto the Informatics one, so won't be good enough for this purpose.
    If the computer is not directly connected to an Informatics network port, be sure that you have used OpenVPN rather than the University VPN which is different and which will not help you in this case.

  2. Start up VirtualBox (or your choice of virtualisation software) and Virtual DICE.
  3. Login using your usual DICE username and password.
  4. Type this command in a terminal window on Virtual DICE:
    sudo locallogin username

    where username is your DICE username, the one which you want to be able to use when no network is available. To make more than one account usable with no network, list each one on the command line:

    sudo locallogin user1 user2 user3

To add a new DICE user just re-run sudo locallogin with a new list of usernames.
(Note that you cannot add new accounts in this way - you can just give local login access to existing DICE accounts.)
To remove all Virtual DICE local accounts from the virtual machine:

sudo rm /var/db/passwd.db

For more details on locallogin type the command:

man locallogin

in a Virtual DICE terminal window.

Last reviewed: 
16/11/2017

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