Re sudo

Abdullah Ramazanoglu ar018 at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 21 10:41:00 CDT 2005


Derek Broughton dedi ki:
> On Wednesday 20 April 2005 08:30, Peter Barnes wrote:
  --8<--

>> Then I tried Kubuntu and now I've to stop using a root account, so it's
>> back to puzzle time. I soon learnt to use sudo but I still don't know if
>> I'm doing things right. In Mandrake etc I had a very complicated root
>> password and a relativley simple, easy to remember user password. In
>> Kubuntu, should my user password now be the complicated one because I
>> don't have a root password?
> ...
>> It's a great distro but perhaps it needs a health warning for Linux
>> newcomers!
> 
> Remember, it wouldn't be nearly as confusing for you if you hadn't had to
> learn about root in the first place - if you'd just come from Windows to
> Kubuntu, you'd simply learn that "system commands" have to be prefixed by
> "sudo".  Basically, _any_ privileged account should have a complex
> password. You didn't need to make your personal account the one with full
> sudo access (and that's maybe where that health warning belongs), but
> since you did, yes it should be reasonably difficult for someone to guess
> the password.

But I think he has a good point. Hannes Hauswedell has a good point too.
And also you've a good point too. :)

IMHO the root problem arises not from the fact that no-root strategy is
bad, but from technical implementation details of it. Which I believe will
be ironed out in a couple of releases or so.

As I see it, the best compromise for everyone might be something like this:

1. No-root (sudo) strategy is continued,
2. kdesu has a checkbox to select between using "su" or "sudo",
3. The privileged, initial user (sudo) is given a complicated password, and
treated almost the same as root user (of a traditional distro), hidden at
the login user selection menu, and users are discouraged to login with it
except administrative tasks,
4. Other user(s) created for daily work.

When a user wants to -say- tweak his network settings, he both logs in as
the privileged user *and* uses sudo indirection for root tasks: Double
hardened security.

You might ask then what about non-privileged users running root tasks with
kdesu in "su" mode. I would say that kdesu's sudo/su selection can be
designed in such a way that only when root explicitly gives permission
(system wide or per-user?) then kdesu behaves that way. Otherwise kdesu
uses only sudo, and it's upto root to define a fine grained sudo rights
map for users. That's where "...once you rely on kdesu and sudo, you
really need a ksudoers app to maintain the /etc/sudoers file", as you
said, comes into picture.

Once these minor technical edges are smoothed out, I believe it will become
the best of both worlds. I suspect (no, I *hope*[1]) the main reason for
devs to adopt no-root strategy is that they envisioned Linux becoming a
more mainstream OS, and thus it will be increasingly used by more and more
casual users, and that they didn't want to leave root account as freely
available as before. Traditionally, root account has been trusted onto
admin type users. K/ubuntu tries to make Linux compatible with the masses.
[1] And this is precisely why "I hope". I hope that K/ubuntu is being
pushed onto the masses, the world at large, not just onto already
established Linux user base.

Best regards
-- 
Abdullah Ramazanoglu
aramazan ÄT myrealbox D0T cöm




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