*** This bug is a duplicate of bug 1626749 ***

I don't think this is a duplicate bug, or rather, I am not affected by
this one and am by #1626749. On my side, replacing $USER by my username
works. I have 2 identical lines in autofs, one with
credentials=/home/$USER/.credentials (fails as it looks for
/home/root/.credentials), one with
credentials=/home/myusername/.credentials (works just fine for me).

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  using version 4.4.0-38-generic, x86_64 on MacMini

Status in linux package in Ubuntu:

Bug description:
  Confirmation of bug #1626749 regarding $USER token substitution
  problem in autofs. Even when the $USER token was replaced with a valid
  username for the share, autofs was unable to mount shares using
  certificates, nor could sshfs. These programs reverted to password
  authentication instead. The reason for mounting with certificates
  instead of passwords is security, of course.

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