Backtalk Administration Guide:

Creating User Accounts

Version 1.3.29

© 1996-2003 Jan Wolter, Steve Weiss

If your Backtalk system is set up so that users use real Unix login ids to log into Backtalk, then you won't be able to create accounts with Backtalk. You should use the Unix commands instead.

However, if you system is set up to only use Backtalk accounts, then accounts can be created either through the administrative web interface or through the Unix "btmkuser" command. Just follow the following steps. (The checkboxes below perform no function - they are just for your convenience.)

Creating Accounts by using the Web Interface

Backtalk can be installed in any of three configurations: So there are two different web-based account creation forms. The public user registration form will work only on systems configured in one of the first two ways described above. The "Create User Account" link on the Backtalk administrative menu leads to a similar form (though it has a few more options) which works on all installations.

Creating accounts with the public newuser page shouldn't require any explanation here (it is, after all, desgined to be usable by any random person who wanders in off the web). The administrative page is hardly more complex, but we'll go through it step by step anyway. (The checkboxes below perform no function - they are just for your convenience.)

  1. Log into the administration account

    See the logging in instructions.

  2. Goto the user creation page.

    There is a link on the administration page labelled "Create User Account". Click on this.

  3. Fill out the form.

    The account creation form has two sections. The first part asks for information that Backtalk needs to make a working account. The second asks various other random information that system administators like to collect (you can configure what is asked for here by editing the lib/ script, as described in the installation manual).

    The only non-obvious part of this is the selection of groups. As in unix, each account is associated with one primary group, and zero or more other groups. For users in more than one group, it mostly doesn't matter which is entered as the 'primary group' and which are entered as 'other groups'.

    Two groups are special. The 'cfadm' group is the administrative group. Any login in that group will be able to create, edit, and destroy conferences and user accounts. Obviously only very trusted users should be given access to accounts in the cfadm group.

    Users in the 'gradm' group function as "group leaders" for any other groups they are in. They can create and configure accounts in those groups,

    The 'user' group is the default group for all ordinary users.

Creating Accounts by using btmkuser command from Unix

The btmkuser command can only be used from the conference adminstrator account, not by random other people. It creates minimal accounts, with only the login name, password and fullname set, not with all the other stuff like gender and email addresses. It's meant mainly as an aid to people who have to create accounts in large batches and want to write shell scripts to do so. Maybe we'll add more features if there is a demand.
  1. Log into the Unix conference administration account

    This is the account that owns all the conference files, user database files, and Backtalk itself.

  2. Run the btmkuser command

    You can create an account interactively by just running:

    It will ask you for the account name, the user's full name, and the initial password (twice).

    You can also specify some or all of this information on the command line:

        btmkuser -l eve -n "Eve, Daughter of God" -p "OmiGosh!"
    The -l, -n and -p options allow you to specify the login, fullname and password on the command line. If you omit any of these, you will be asked for them. Not that full names and passwords are generally likely to contain spaces and weird characters, and should generally be quoted.

    Warning: Specifying the password on the command line is potentially a bad idea. If there are other users on your system who can do a "ps" command, they will be able to see the commands you are running, with their arguments. Thus they can see the login name and password of the account you are creating. If you have untrustworthy users on your system, we recommend not using the "-p" option.

    In addition, it is possible to specify the user's primary group on the btmkuser command with a -g option, like

        btmkuser -l adam -g humans -n "Adam, Son of God" -p "GeeWhiz!"
    Other groups can be set by editing the Backtalk group file.