Disabling the Ubuntu Login Screen (GDM) User Pick List

I’m used to typing in both my userid and my password when I log in to computers. I have never been a fan of the user pick lists that now seem to be common to many operating systems. I can see how they can be convenient for family machines at home, but the idea of advertising a list of potential accounts to compromise doesn’t sit well with me, so my preference is to disable the pick list and go back to the traditional typed userid & password form.

I run SAS on Ubuntu and recent Ubuntu versions (I forget which one it started with) now have a user pick list by default. The method for disabling the user pick list in Ubuntu is not that obvious and I find myself googling it every time I need it. A good article that provides both command line and GUI methods of disabling the user list can be found at Disabling the Login Screen User List in Ubuntu

The command line version is:

sudo -u gdm gconftool-2 --set --type boolean /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/disable_user_list true

This can be followed by a quick restart of GDM:

restart gdm

.. and the user pick list is no more.

With Lucid (Ubuntu 10.04 LTS) there is still a redundant login button that needs to be clicked before you get to type your user id, but it’s still better than before. There has been a bug lodged for this behaviour (GDM without user list requires that you click Log In) and it appears to have been fixed so I look forward to seeing it when I next upgrade.

New DI Admin Course from SAS

Back in September I wrote about seeing some New Targeted Admin Courses from SAS. Today I saw that the list of admin courses has been further extended to add a new SAS Data Integration Studio: Administration course. There’s more information about this new training course, including the course outline, on the SAS web site at https://support.sas.com/edu/schedules.html?ctry=us&id=628.

SAS Metadata Backup on Windows 2008 R2 64-bit

I was trying to run a manual SAS Metadata Server backup (OMABAKUP) on Windows 2008 R2 64 bit today. It failed! I run metadata backups many many times so I was sure all the normal prerequisites were in place but this was the first time I had run one on Windows 2008 R2 64 bit … hmm … I remembered seeing a SAS usage note about metadata backups on Windows 2008 a week or so back. A quick search found SAS Usage Note 38869: What credentials are needed when running a SASĀ® Metadata Server backup in batch on Windows 2008. It described the error I saw in the SAS log perfectly!

The resolution was to Run as administrator. Even though I was logged in to Windows as an Administrator I still had to explicitly run the SAS program in an administrative context (it’s a Windows security thing). As mentioned in the usage note, this is also documented in the SAS® 9.2 Intelligence Platform: System Administration Guide, Second Edition, Chapter 11 Using the %OMABAKUP Macro to Perform Backups and Restores, in the section Ensuring Appropriate User Credentials.

So I had a SAS usage note describing the problem and the solution. The trouble was I couldn’t quite get the instructions in the SAS usage note to work for me. When I right click over the Command Prompt window (or a PowerShell window for that matter) I don’t get a Run as administrator item. What did work for me though was to right mouse click over the Command Prompt item in the Windows Start Menu, and click the Run as administrator menu item – here’s a quick screenshot to clarify.

That opens a Command Prompt window running in an administrative context so I could then change to the metadata server directory and run the backup:

cd C:\SAS\EBIEDIEG\Lev1\SASMeta\MetadataServer
MetadataServer.bat -backup

… a quick check of the SAS log shows everything worked as expected this time.

PlatformAdmin.com also available via SAS-X.com

This platformadmin.com blog is now available via the new aggregator SAS-X.com, along with many other great SAS related blogs. It’s well worth checking out. If you’re wondering how it’s different from sascommunity.org planet there’s a Q&A item about it at the bottom of the SAS-X.com about page.