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Date:      Tue, 7 Mar 2017 14:14:08 +0000
From:      Arthur Chance <>
To:        Baho Utot <>,
Subject:   Re: /etc/skel doesn't work?!
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <20170306194515.GA1541@hephaistos.local> <> <> <> <> <>

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On 07/03/2017 12:33, Baho Utot wrote:
> On 03/07/17 07:23, Arthur Chance wrote:
>> On 07/03/2017 12:12, Baho Utot wrote:


>>> That would be all well and good, but /etc/skel just doesn't work
>> Nowhere is it documented to work. man adding_user, man pw.conf and man
>> adduser all document /usr/share/skel as the relevant directory.
>> FreeBSD is not Linux, and RTFM is always sound advice.
> Then why is /etc/skel there

Good question. The proximate cause is the entry in
/etc/mtree/BSD.root.dist but that doesn't explain the rationale.

A quick scan of the svn repository shows that pw was added for 2.1.7-R
(slightly over 20 years ago), but it used /usr/share/skel from day one.

Looking at the svn entries for /etc/mtree/BSD.root.dist I find that
/etc/skel was introduced at 2.2.7-R by Jordan Hubbard on Feb 27th 1998
with the comment:

"MFC: /etc/skel doesn't seem to be used in the -current branch either,
but it doesn't hurt."

This probably comes under the heading of "it seemed like a good idea at
the time".

> and FTFM

The manual isn't wrong. However, I agree it could be a little more
helpful in correcting the illusions of those coming from Linux.

By June 1949, people had begun to realize that it was not so easy to
get a program right as had at one time appeared. It was on one of my
journeys between the EDSAC room and the punching equipment that the
realization came over me with full force that a good part of the
remainder of my life was going to be spent in finding errors in my own

	-- Maurice Wilkes

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