From CHOSICA on Fri, 04 Dec 1998
My name is Felix. I am new using linux. I just saw your web pages after making a search on altavista. I have set up my mail server on Linux 2.0.29 and I am only able to create accounts with a maximun of 8 character. I was trying to create an account call firstname.lastname@example.org and it does not make it . The server only creates accounts with 8 character or less than 8 characters. Do you know a way to increase the characters, so I can create account with 9 or 10 characters. There should be a way I do not know how? If you can help me I would really appreciate. Thanks in advance.
This is a common limitation in many versions of Unix. It is determined by the libraries (primarily 'libc' the set of libraries that are compiled into virtually all Unix programs).
Using glibc 2.x (a.k.a. Linux libc 6) it is possible to create longer login names (up to 31 characters). So, you could just install a newer copy of Red Hat, Mandrake, Debian or any other glibc based Linux distribution.
However, you should consider the issue carefully before using this feature. You'll want to ensure that all of your binaries are able to cope with the longer login names. Also if there's any chance that you'll want or have to share account information across multiple versions of Unix it's a bad idea to take this chance. (I think that newer versions of Solaris and HP-UX support longer login names as well. I don't know about AIX, SCO ODT, or any others).
I'd suggest using the name: 'webman' or 'www' for your "webmaster" or "web manager" account. You can easily configure your mail system to route mail addressed to "webmaster" to 'webman' (just us an aliase) and you can even configure your 'sendmail' to re-write outgoing mail from 'webman' such that it appears to come from "webmaster" (that would be in the generics, virtuser, or userdb FEATURES() in your sendmail .mc file).
So, if the only reason you want the long name is for e-mail addressing --- just use a short name and let the MTA (mail transport agent) do the work.