Newbie question on permissions

Antony Gelberg antony at
Sat Apr 1 19:30:10 UTC 2006

hollywoodb wrote:
> if you run an app as root, anything you do with that app will be done
> with root privileges.  You'll basically have the power to do anything
> with that app that it can do. For example, if I run a file manager as
> root and delete /usr , I'll be in big trouble. It isn't the same as
> being logged in as root in the sense that once you close that app root
> privileges are lost.
> If you are logged on as root at a terminal, and you type 'rm -rf /usr'
> you'll be in trouble. Your system won't give you any warnings and
> you'll have the permission to do it because you are root.  Sudo is nice
> because it requires you to type 'sudo' before a command you want to run
> with root privileges. It reminds you that you're doing something a user
> can't do, and that it might be dangerous. As a new user it can be easy
> to forget that you're in a terminal as root and you could do something
> harmful, having to type 'sudo' first is just a little reminder.

Then again, one can get so used to typing sudo that really it is no 
defence.  It might be an idea for the OP to customise root's bash prompt.

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