Non-GNOME initial setup utility does not require you to create a root password or admin account

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When you deploy your system from a disk image (i.e. without running the traditional installer), an initial setup utility will run on the first boot. If you deployed a non-GNOME system, the provided :package: initial-setup doesn’t force you to create a user with admin privileges. If you do so, you will have no easy way to administer the installed system.

Note: GNOME-based systems (Workstation and Silverblue) are not affected by this, because an alternative :package: gnome-initial-setup is used, which makes sure an admin user is always created.

Related Issues

Bugzilla report: #2015490


The best way to avoid this problem is, of course, to create an administrator account or set the root password before exiting initial-setup.

If you inadvertently do not do so, you have a couple of options:

  • You could just re-deploy the system and, this time, create an admin user or set the root password.
  • You can also boot with the kernel parameter systemd.debug-shell=1; when you do this, after the system boots, you can hit ctrl-alt-f9 to access a root console. Here you can run passwd to set a password on the root account and reboot.

This bug is not technically specific to ARM architectures, but it is most likely to be encountered there as disk images are most commonly used for deployment on ARM systems.