Less known Solaris 11.1 features: A user in 1024 groups and a workaround for a 25 year old problem

For a long time the maximum number of groups a user could belong to was 16, albeit there was a way to get 32. In Solaris 11 and recent versions of Solaris 10, the maximum number of groups a user could belong to is 1024 (which is the same limit Windows sets in this regard). It's easy to set the new limit.

set ngroups_max=1024
After a reboot, this change will be active. But why isn't this the default? There are good reasons for it. I will show you one of them in this entry. Like thinking that two digits for the year or using a signed 32-bit integer for storing the system time, the issue has it's root cause in a decision made a long time ago … in this example the moment in the past is at least 25 years ago. And often just changing something, breaks stuff that is really old, but still in use.

Experienced Solaris users, who tuned their Solaris System for up to 32 groups per user, already know the component that will be broken by having more than 16 users, because a message at the next boot of the system after the change in /etc/system that next startup will deliver a warning.

However, as i already said, there is a a solution for this problem since Solaris 11.1. This blog entry will show the workaround in action.

(read more)

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