Subject: Re: misc/2668: login-names >8 chars make no fun
To: None <current-users@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Tom I Helbekkmo <tih@Hamartun.Priv.NO>
List: current-users
Date: 08/18/1996 12:47:59

> If i recall, BSDI defaults to allowing 16 character login names.  Is
> there any reason we need to, by default, allow more?

[H. J|ngst]

> What's about 3 characters? Should be enough. Everybody knows "007",
> "cgd", "you" and "me". 8-)

Actually, I think we should have a damned good reason to before we
change the login name length.  8 characters (or 7, the _practical_
limit) is more than enough.  Login names should be quick and easy to
type, and (at least in environments with many users) they should
preferably _not_ specify the real name of the user.  Mostly, people
want long login names to be able to have stuff like "Peter_Jones" be
someone's login.  What happens when the _next_ Peter Jones joins the
company?  The practical solution, IMHO, is to let login names be
sequentially assigned, not related to real name, and not reused.

Real name email aliases are evil as well, because if "Peter.Jones" is
an alias for the login name "eng0145", then you've got the exact same
problem again when the next Peter Jones shows up, even if the original
no longer works here, because we're then forwarding his mail to his
new address...

The solution is non-personal logins like "eng0145", which maybe says
that this is the 145th login account authorized by the sysop in the
engineering department, and email aliases like "engineering", "sales"
and "project034" for services, project groups, specific positions --
so that when someone inside or outside the organization sends mail to
someone who's no longer there, it'll be received by the person who now
holds that job or performs that service.  Private email is handled by
letting people give out their actual login id to personal contacts,
and forwarding such mail after the person when they go elsewhere.

Hmm.  This turned into quite a sermon.  Anyway, that's how I feel, and
by inference, I feel that we should stick to the old limit instead of
encouraging people to go overboard with long login names.  Then again,
it is very arguable that the actual, individual system administrators
should be given the freedom to make that choice.  :-)

Tom Ivar Helbekkmo