SOLVED: Multi-user systems with mounted home directories and the LXD Snap

Working on an Ubuntu 18.04 server, I’m following the instructions given here:
LXD for multi-user systems - YouTube

to set up the unprivileged unix socket so that a set of users can run computational experiments in an unprivileged but highly restricted container. That’s just the context.

On an awful lot of linux multi-user systems home directories are automounted (or at least are on NFS mounted volumes). As far as I can tell, if you’re using the LXD snap this means ordinary users won’t be able to use LXD. After adding myself to the lxd group:

pgoetz@orca ~$ id
uid=42193(pgoetz) gid=110(dept) groups=110(dept),107(lxd),1003(ipmi),2002(docs),3125(cvs-src),3636(thundercats),3701(techstaff),2042193(pgoetz-pg)
pgoetz@orca ~$ lxc list
cannot open path of the current working directory: Permission denied
pgoetz@orca ~$ cd /var/local/pgoetz
pgoetz@orca pgoetz$ lxc list
Sorry, home directories outside of /home are not currently supported. 
See for details.

In this particular case I have a work around, but in general it seems one needs to use a bare metal install of LXD in environments like this.

The auto-mount isn’t really an issue, but snapd indeed has quite a few issues related to home directories not being at the usual /home/NAME.

This mostly has to do with the apparmor security profiles that it generates and how those profiles allow access to the home directory.