Over the next few days or weeks I intend to install quite a bunch of free (as in beer) operating systems on one of my machines.
This has several reasons and benefits:
/bin/sh, for example) and which should only get something like
/bin/false. While I install all these OSes, I will create a comparison chart of which users have a valid shell and which don't on every other Unix-like OS I install. This will be quite interesting, I guess, and it might help others package maintainers to decide whether or not to give certain system users a valid shell.
On the list I plan to install are most major (free) Unix-like operating systems, e.g. Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Fedora Core, OpenSuSE, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, PC-BSD, OpenSolaris, and whatever else I can find out there. Basically, if I can download a CD image for free off the net, it's fine.
I'll be writing one small blog article per OS, stating my experiences, gotchas, pros and cons I noticed etc. If you have any suggestions for OSes or distributions I should look at, or ideas about other aspects of the OSes I could compare, please leave a comment.
 It has been pointed out that
/usr/sbin/nologin or something similar is probably better than
/bin/false, because it logs login attempts at these accounts (
Update: Articles published so far:
I recently had trouble installing/running Debian on my Sun Sparc Ultra 10. Lessons learned:
In related news: Sun has released the design of the OpenSparc T1 under the terms of the GPL. Great news, thanks Sun!