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I'm using Ubuntu 10.04. I would like to create a new account, for other people using my computer. I would like my guest to have access to Internet, text editor and other application installed on my computer without having access to my data (and obviously system settings).

I have added a user "guest" using graphic interface (System -> Administration -> Users and groups). My guest has now access to the application, but not full - wine and VirtualBox are empty (wine has only wine notepad, on VirtualBox there is no virtual machine installed). Internet and chat are fine, but "guest" has the access to anything in the computer via terminal, and I would like to keep him in his guests home (there are a lot of people using my computer, not all of them I know well).

I have found on how to change user's privileges via terminal and I'm wondering if the command chmod -vR --preserve-root 700 /home/maria is fine?

/home has two directories: guest and maria.

And how to ensure for my guest the access to applications installed on wine and VirtualBox without installing it once again?

This is an output for guests groups:

guest@marysia-ubuntu:~$ groups
guest adm dialout fax cdrom floppy tape dip video plugdev fuse nopasswdlogin

And this for marias groups:

maria@marysia-ubuntu:~$ groups
maria adm dialout cdrom plugdev lpadmin admin sambashare guest
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you're only worried about other users being able to see your files, run chmod -R o-rwx /home/maria. It revokes all permissions to the world (including guest).

guest does not belong to the admin group, which means he cannot run commands as other users (like root) through sudo (OK)

As noted by Takkat, anyone who has physical access to the machine could gain access to the files. The only way to protect you from that is encrypting the drive. If you put a BIOS password on the machine, the visitor can take out the HDD from it.

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But anybody could read your /home when booting from a live CD or USB. Encryption only is safe. – Takkat Feb 26 '11 at 21:57
If you really do not trust your guest, you would not leave him alone in a chamber. I guess OP wants to prevent a quick look in her Home folder. – Lekensteyn Feb 26 '11 at 22:11
@Lekensteyn: Thanks for chmod. But what about wine and VirtualBox applications? Is it possible to add it to guests account? – maria Feb 26 '11 at 22:12
@Lekensteyn: yes, I don't have top secret data in my computer, I just prefere to be able to leave my computer to anybody who could need it and I've seen strange peoples behavior... – maria Feb 26 '11 at 22:15
Well, VirtualBox saves it's settings and machines to ~/.VirtualBox, but do you really want to allow your guest to access those files? He could mess up your guests. It's better to create a custom VirtualBox guest for the guest account. The same goes for Wine. – Lekensteyn Feb 26 '11 at 22:22

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