that darned ROOT problem

Eamonn Sullivan eamonn.sullivan at
Wed Sep 28 14:43:55 UTC 2005

On 28/09/05, Bo Grimes <newslists at> wrote:
> Tommy Trussell wrote:
> >On 9/28/05, Eric Dunbar <eric.dunbar at> wrote:
> >
> >
> >>When you sudo in OS X you get the following warning:
> >>"We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System
> >>Administrator. It usually boils down to these three things:
> >>
> >>    #1) Respect the privacy of others.
> >>    #2) Think before you type.
> >>    #3) With great power comes great responsibility."
> >>
> >>
> >
> >I believe I have seen that message in linux distros, too, so I bet
> >it's in the sudo code, invoked the first time you use it and never
> >again.
> >
> I just re-installed Hoary.  I just had to see if I missed a message
> about it, and I didn't.  I have pics I could upload.  There is simply
> nothing there to instruct someone new to Ubuntu and sudo.  I didn't get
> such a message as described above the first time I used sudo, either.
> I am a bit bothered by sudo anyway.  I have 5 kids.  I encourage them
> all to use Linux, but I don't worry about them screwing with the
> system.  They all know my user password.  With Ubuntu they could now do
> anything they want in the GUI with that password.  This will force me to
> change my password and set them up a seperate account.

Hey, another one! :-) I have five kids too, although they are older
(three are teenagers) and I have given them all separate accounts. I
would recommend that anyway because you can just reset their accounts
if they screw up their *own* environment, which happens. If you
install the fast-user-switch-applet (sudo apt-get install
fast-user-switch-applet), you can even set it up so that it's easy to
switch from account to account. (Two or more use this computer at the
same time, even, by using vnc.)

> No biggie, but I don't like the idea that anyone with my user passward
> has complete control of my system.  It's not like I'm a system admin.
> I'm just a dad on a home pc, so I don't protect my user password from my
> family and I don't bother with 7 seperate accounts.

Anyone *at your computer* has total control of the system, because
they can always boot into single-user mode. Don't think your children
will do that? Just watch 'em...:-< They learn fast.

> I typically have a strong and painful root password and a fairly simple
> user password.  I know good security practice is to use strong
> passwords, but I still like the idea of an additional layer of password
> protection for root.

I feel your pain (sorry), but look on the bright side: You'll only
have one password to remember, instead of two.

And if you're so inclined, you can enable root by just typing sudo
passwd and then taking your account out of the sudoers list.


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