Guest sessions in 18.04 LTS - are they needed?

We use the guest session feature on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on 15 PCs and laptops in our library and it is very useful. Its an easy way for an kiosk mode and it worked without problems. We’d love to see the guest session implemented in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS! For us, the guest session is the key feature to use ubuntu as operating system.

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I have used the guest session feature on occasion to let people unfamiliar with Linux have a play around, and a couple of times to let people access their email. I can’t say that I really need it, but it was nice to have. I’d like to see it reimplemented, but it may not be worth it (for me) if the maintenance cost is really high.

I also see the point when used on library PCs (as mentioned above). I have been thinking about suggesting to our community library, which has two dysfunctional PCs (that used to run another OS when they worked), to install Ubuntu so that they can be used for something. If they had the guest session feature built in, that might make the case stronger.

in our environment guest sessions are desperately needed. we have daily a lot of people that need to access a computer and we cannot have them use their own. equally we don’t want their data on our system.

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After it was disabled in Ubuntu there doesn’t appear to have been much
negative feedback about this.

In fairness, I did not use that feature since I was always single user - but
your question would assume that people may not have been using this
feature, which is one assumption (wrong or right).

The other assumption is as to how many people use ubuntu past the move
to systemd. And I can say from my use case, I flat-out stopped using any
debian distributions (excluding devuan) that moved towards systemd
altogether. Never felt anything was missing there for me, either.

I use Ubuntu in a high school classroom setting and the guest session is a fantastic feature in our setting. We have a lab of computers with frequent “walk-ins” coming in to use a computer. Without the guest session I need to create a generic user account and allow them to use that, which is not nearly as good for obvious reasons.


I’m in @aoakley’s use case too; I still use the Guest Session in 16.04 to let visitors use my desktop without worrying they damage it or browse my stuff.

I would like this feature is still there when I upgrade to 18.04 LTS.


I use only the guest session, to watch online porn.
Sorry for my honesty.

I like having guest mode as I use Ubuntu on laptops that I loan out where lots of people use the same computer every day. The option to turn on or off should satisfy those who don’t want it. I don’t care if the default is off.

INDISPENSABLE in the network policy of my school!
During a trip to Africa (Cameroon), I also noticed the use of the guest session in a cybercafe. If the guest session disturbs most, it should be offered as an option, I assure you.

I think it should be a gui option, but not enable by default.

If possible, keep it live on 18.04 as well. Also because a lot of people find it useful ( as mentioned in this thread ).

Just recently noticed that the guest session is not available any more. So obviously I rarely ever used it, but it is an important privacy protection feature for people who often share their computers with others. If possible it would be nice to re-enable that feature in 18.04.

I personally never used the guest session; however, many users would probably like to have the option to use it. If it were implemented, though, It would be nice to have it disabled by default and enabled through the settings app, rather than using a terminal configuration.

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I really miss the guest account feature. I often find myself in settings, where people want to borrow my computer, but I can’t trust them access to my info otherwise, and it was very nifty to be able to just open a guest account and leave them with that.

Private browsing features does not meet this need, because they’ll still be free to wander all over my computer, private files etc. I think the feature should definitely come back.

I newer used guest session, it will be good to have it disabled by default.

I believe that is helpful. I can borrow my laptop to somebody else, and they would be unable to intentionally or inadvertently run destructive commands.

Perhaps have a script in the menu (after installation) under system settings called “Setup Guest Account”. This way the ability is there for those that want it, and for those that do not use it then its one less thing to remove/disable.

We use it exactly the same way. We will have to move to something with a guest account if the feature is dropped.

It looks like we can still get guest sessions in 18.04 by switching to the lightdm display ( login ) manager.

**EDIT: However, due to bug bug CVE-2017-8900 guest accounts are not restricted like there were in 16.04, the most practical difference is that some applications can read other users files ( or even write, it depends on your file permissions like any normal multiuser system ) . Most applications in Xubuntu 18.04 seem to be restricted but until that bug is resolved there are no guarantees. **

I started a wiki page with instructions that I will try to keep updated here:

In short, you just have to:

  1. sudo apt install lightdm ; # be sure to choose lightdm as the default greeter

  2. sudo gedit /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/50-disable-guest.conf ; #change it to: allow-guest=true , NOTE: bug CVE-2017-8900

  3. Reboot the computer

The security issue at bug #1663157 is not fixed. Please don’t mislead users to believe otherwise, as you currently do on that page.

I think that this message is a more fair description of the current status of the guest session feature.