Monday, November 24, 2008

non-ASCII characters in usernames

Ever wanted a user name that is localised to the language you want, with your original name or surname and not only using Latin characters? Well, today I made a beautiful discovery!

Although a lot of people claim it is not possible yet for GNU/Linux to understand characters other than ASCII, I've found that it can concerning user names - using the useradd command (not adduser).

The actual problem seems to be a standard the unix commands have to follow:
http://www.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/009695399/basedefs/xbd_chap03.html

But it looks like the useradd accepts arbitrary usernames, which is cool! So I've tried my name in Greek:
sudo useradd -m Σάββας

Then adding a password:
sudo passwd Σάββας

And that is all that is required!! Maybe some programs aren't ready yet, but so far I've tried: terminal, console, firefox, rhythmbox, totem player. None of them returned any errors nor did they crash.

4 comments:

Μανώλης Κιαγιάς said...

What about email? If the machine is used as a mail server I have serious doubts whether someone will be able to send to Σάββας@yourdomain.com
Definitely this is not a problem if it is just a standard desktop, but even then it is worth checking what happens when e.g. cron sends you an email. For example, will you be able to receive emails for root, if root's mail is aliased to your username? This might be an experiment worth trying.

medigeek said...

I was kind of wondering about usernames and domains last night, I honestly have no idea if that will work.
Care to test it? :)

Alan said...

Actually, AFAIK, E-Mail should be fine if it is escaped (either in quotes, which the RFC allows, but I don't think many mail readers support it; or directly as in URLs).

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