that darned ROOT problem

Bo Grimes newslists at
Wed Sep 28 11:03:40 UTC 2005

David 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.

Which is, frankly, why I added the noise, nothing personal to longtime 
Ubuntu users.  Squeeky wheels usually get the grease, after all. 
However, I solved the problem myself, i.e. rtfm, before posting, but it 
is not intuitive.  In fact, sudo itself implies there is a root 
somewhere.  I would be curious to know how others figured this out 
without asking or searching for it.

>I believe that the Ubuntu team are right to not activate root,

It's a better approach that Linspire, if 1) a new user can easily figure 
it out and 2) sudo can do all that root can do.  I'm not that familiar 
with it.

> 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.

It would be SO not difficult to add a CLEAR message about it in the 
install process and it's so different from typical distros that one is 
left assuming it is left out on purpose, especially when there is so 
much noise about it and Ubuntu has a scheduled 6 month release cycle.  I 
understand from my search that OSX is like Ubuntu in this way, but I 
would bet they are quite clear about it.

I was on #ubuntu last night and 905 of the discussion was about Breazy.  
I am beginning to understand why Debian has the philosophy it does.

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