FreeBSD Desktop: Allow All system users to mount CDROM, DVD, USB Devices and other external devices

freebsd allow all system users to mount CD  DVD USB in GNOME and KDE desktop - freebsd power to serve logo

Users who use FreeBSD for multiple logins Desktop host or in universities multiple login Desktop  shared user PCs will have problems with mounting CD and DVD Roms, Usbs and other external devices. To mount any of those a root or toor superuser  will be required and this makes a really bad impression to the novice users, making them think FreeBSD is user unfriendly, where in reality it was just build to behave so with higher security in mind.
This ruins a whole user GNOME experience and disappoints the end user, especially if the user is just a person who needs to do some browsing and copy few files from and to the host.
This prevents udevd and auto mount in GNOME and  KDE GUI environments to be unable to automatically mount and unmount CD / DVDs and USBS where plugged or unplugged but instead just poping up permission errors whether CD or USB is attached.
Thanksfully, you can change this behavior to make FreeBSD a bit more user friendly and of course 'less secure' by few simple commands 🙂

Here is how:

freebsd# sysctl -w vfs.usermount=1

vfs.usermount: 0 -> 1

echo 'vfs.usermount=1' >> /etc/sysctl.conf

What is required next is to add all devices which will be mountable by all users in /dev/devfs.conf.

To get a list of devices do:
freebsd# camcontrol devlist

at scbus0 target 0 lun 0 (pass0,da0) at scbus1 target 3 lun 0 (pass1,sa0) at scbus1 target 6 lun 0 (pass2,cd0) #

Most USB devices are recognized and assigned as /dev/da0, and almost all CD and DVD Rom devices will be initialized by kernel as /dev/cd0, however if you get something different just set the appropriate vals.

a) Add permission records for CD / DVD ROM in /etc/devfs.conf
freebsd# echo 'own /dev/da0 root:operator' >> /etc/devfs.conf
freebsd# echo 'perm /dev/da00 0666' >> /etc/devfs.conf

b) Add permission records for USBs in /dev/devfs.conf

freebsd# echo '## allow member of operator to mount cdrom' >> /etc/devfs.conf
freebsd# echo 'own /dev/cd0 root:operator' >> /etc/devfs.conf
freebsd# echo 'perm /dev/cd0 0660' >> /etc/devfs.conf

To allow, all present system users to have access to mount USB, CD / DVD roms, it is necessery to add all users to the operator, group. This is a security bad practice as this will make allow all users to have extra permissions to binaries on the system owned or allowed to be accessed by operator group. However for home computers, where you, your sister and a bunch of good friends have accounts, security shouldn't be of a great concern.

If you know well all your users and you have disabled SSH on the system and security is not of top priority run:

freebsd# /usr/local/bin/bash
root@freebsd~# for i in /home/*; do user=$(echo $i|sed -e 's#/home/##g'); do \
pw groupmod operator -m $user; \

Onwards, you can check few users to see to see if they are added to operator group

freebsd$ id
uid=1001(hipo) gid=1001(hipo) groups=1001(hipo),0(wheel),5(operator)

Well that's all now your GNOME hal process – (Hardware Abstraction Layer) will be able to manage CD / DVDs and USBs with no more weird errors.

This article was inspired by cybercity's Allow normal users to mount CDROMs DVDs and USB devices. So thanks 'em for being a source of inspiration.

Enjoy 🙂

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