Root login

Scott Mazur kubuntulists at littlefish.ca
Thu Dec 7 16:25:56 UTC 2006


On Thu, 7 Dec 2006 13:56:58 +0100, Raphaƫl Pinson wrote
> While it is a mere choice (which is not recommended) to use root 
> login instead of sudo on Kubuntu, it is a really bad idea to login 
> as root graphically, which is why login as root is disabled in 
> kdmrc. You can access administrative sections of the settings with 
> sudo on Kubuntu, aswell as login as root in a console if you really 
> want to.
> 
> Sysadmin/netadmin tasks don't usually require a graphical interface, 
> and when they do, Kubuntu is set to provide an administrative 
> interface with sudo, so you never need to login as root.

Nobody ever 'needs' to login as root.  This has been a unix first commandment
long before the graphical desktop.  But it's a heck of alot more convenient.

When computers evolved from punched cards, to telex terminals nobody ever
suggested that a telex terminal was 'unsafe' and we should stick to punched
cards 'serious root stuff' (even though it was no a 1000 times easier to make
mistakes on a telex terminal).  It was a better interface tool and punch cards
became extinct.

Now we have the graphical desktop which is a 1000 times better interface tool
than a console terminal ever was.  I grew up on telex printers and believe me,
the GUI isn't just new, it's better and I for one prefer it at all times, root
usage included.  To suggest otherwise is just a refusal to accept progress. 
Go back to your horse and buggy if that's what you prefer, I'll take this new
fangled horseless buggy called the car thanks.

The desktop 'can' be a safer environment for root actions as it provides layer
between the user and the system which could be used to prevent 'stupid user
tricks' like deleting the root directory.  The power of sudu on a console is
infinitely more dangerous as there is no limit to what the user can do with
it.  The console is also a scary and confusing world for the user who is
accustomed to the GUI.  They 'will not' fully understand what they're doing
and will be just as likely to mis-type a command or try something they read
else where in a different context.  And once they've totally blotted their
system with an sudo command they didn't understand, there will be no recourse
but to re-install and we're back into MS windows land.

The safest way to give users root privileges when they need it is to give them
a root login and let them work in he environment they are accustomed to.  If
the desktop is so unsafe that it's risky to use as root, then this is a
problem that should be addressed, not just shuffled under the carpet with the
more scary tales of the evils of root login.

(In my personal opinion with +20 years of hacking computers)

Scott

-- 
Registered Linux user #395249, http://counter.li.org
Nothing goes to waste when Little Fish are near!
(http://www.littlefish.ca)




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