Why Do We Still Need GUI Tools To Manage Groups In Ubuntu?

Some power users have complained about why Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu removed the nice Users and Groups management tool that was in previous versions of Ubuntu. Remember that? The GNOME Users and Groups tool that came with Ubuntu to easily manage user and group accounts?

Yeah, I do remember. It was nice and easy. It lets you create and manage users and groups, add and remove users from groups and even create new groups. Now the question here is, why do we still need it in Ubuntu?

You see, since the introduction of the Unity Desktop in Ubuntu, the main goal of the company has always been about creating a simplified desktop experience so that the average PC user can use it without much of a hassle. It should be so simple and easy that even grandma is confortable managing it.

Now here’s the point I am trying to make. When was the last time you saw the ‘*average* user or grandma managing groups? They may create user accounts which maybe either standard or administrator accounts. Why mess around group management?

If the average user or grandma is not going to be using group management tools, then keeping it in Ubuntu isn’t a smart move. Look at Windows. Home users can create either a Standard or Administrator accounts. If you need to do more than that, let the power user search for and use Local user and Group tool in Windows.

Only power users should mess around group management. And if you’re a power user, then let me show you how to easily manage group and user accounts using the terminal.


Creating Groups Using The Command Line in Linux (Ubuntu)

For example, to create a new custom group called “Accounting” from the command line in Ubuntu, run the commands below.

sudo groupadd Accounting


Command To View All Groups

To view all groups currently created on your machine, run the commands below. A list of groups will show starting with the group name on the first column.

cat /etc/group


Adding Users To Groups

To add a user to a group called ‘Accounting’ run the commands below. It can also be used to add users to the sudo and admin groups and make them root or administrator.

sudo usermod -a -G Accounting username

Replace username with the real username on the system.


Removing Users From Groups

To remove a user from the Accounting group, run the commands below.

sudo deluser username Accounting

Replace username with the real user on the system


List Groups Users Belong To

To view the groups a user belongs to, run the commands below.

sudo groups username


Deleting Groups In Ubuntu

For example, to delete the Accounting Group, run the commands below

sudo delgroup Accounting


You can add to the list, but it just an example why we don’t need a GUI tool to manage groups in Ubuntu anymore. Feel free to add to the list by commenting below.


5 thoughts on “Why Do We Still Need GUI Tools To Manage Groups In Ubuntu?”

  1. the trend of technology nowaday is simplicity driven. CUI is gradually being overtaken by GUI…no exception in the near run

  2. life is getting easier for normal users
    it should also get easier for power users

    if you agree then you can
    sudo apt-get install gnome-system-tools
    and manage users/groups by GUI

  3. We need GUI tools because they do not require the mapping between the little slices of information that command line tools show us and the global perspective needed to do the work. I want a GUI that gives me that information immediately. It’s not that I can handle command line tools–I started working with UNIX in 1981 when everything was done by editing files directly–it’s that I’m tired of wasting my time entering commands to see information, then change the information, then verify the information. This is done simultaneously in a GUI and poses far fewer chances for errors.

  4. I am a general user. I don’t have access to a “power user”. I installed ubuntu 14 and it was looking rather nice. Then I tried to install the mythtv app so I could replace my windows 7 media center. First it hangs up during the install. Then when I try to set up the backend it said I need to be a member of the mythtv group. hmm. I dont use CLI and terminal mode. I should no have to,
    I think you guys are missing the point of avarage users.

    And I agree with the 3 thoughts

  5. I fell into this post by chance, and I feel I should be seeing dinosaurs. This is the second decade of the 21st century. The question should be “Why do we still need a command line?”

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