that darned ROOT problem

Anders Karlsson trudheim at
Wed Sep 28 07:56:58 UTC 2005

On Wed, 28 Sep 2005 08:17:36 +0100, David <david at> wrote:

>> 2) I booted into Ubuntu and decided to check out hdb3.  Couldn't because
>> I didn't have root rights.  I tried su.  Couldn't Google because...
> This subject comes up nearly everytime some old geek uses Ubuntu for the
> first time. With due respect to Ubuntu newbs, I'm sick of seeing the  
> noise on the list.

To be fair, it does catch one out if one is not aware of it. I got
caught out by it, but one of the first things I tried was sudo.

> I believe that the Ubuntu team are right to not activate root, but it's
> such a perennial problem that I really wonder whether they shouldn't
> consider putting a CLEAR message about it in the install process. Surely
> it couldn't be all that difficult, and it would save a lot of
> unnecessary grief and noise.

The Ubuntu team is quite right in not activating root, especially
as Ubuntu can be used in situations where users have limited or no
Unix experience. Some form of hint during the install would be an
idea though - I could have used it, and I would not rate myself a
"newbie". Perhaps some tech-note to be dumped into the user account
that gets created during the install with a short education about
sudo and security? Just a thought...


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