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I am a little confused about the username thing. I would expect the username to be the name I log in with. I think it's safe to say most people would guess that. Why is it done this way? Instead you log in with your full name, strange. Also, why is it so hard to change, I mean I have to change directories just to change my name, and do it all from terminal.

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    "Also, why is it so hard to change" It is not that hard (for a new user it might be a bit daunting true) but do realize that though desktop tends to be single user the core of our system is multi-user. So maintenance thingies (like changing user settings) tend to be oriented to command line so the admin can make a script to change something for all users instead of having to walk to every desktop, log in with that user and password (and it is a password that he should not have to know) and change a setting. Easy on 1 desktop but I have to do that on 50 desktops overhere...
    – Rinzwind
    Sep 4, 2014 at 9:29

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Why ... does it ask you for a username when it's not used? I would expect the username to be the name I log in with.

That's exactly what it is used for.

Admittedly if you're a graphical user, you probably won't have to interact with it that often but coming in over the command line or SSH, you'll need it a lot more.

Also, why is it so hard to change, I mean I have to change directories just to change my name, and do it all from terminal.

You seem to have answered the question in the question. Some directories include the name of their users to make finding them much easier for humans. They could use the UID (eg 1001) but this is pretty opaque.

Typically speaking, it's easier to create a new user and move all your stuff over, but you can change it.

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  • Thanks, that's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for.
    – Cam Jones
    Sep 5, 2014 at 18:29

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