Root password???

Peter Garrett peter.garrett at
Fri Apr 7 02:23:47 UTC 2006

On Thu, 06 Apr 2006 20:25:21 -0500
ZephyrQ <zephyrq at> wrote:

> I run several desktops for different members of the family...each has 
> their own archives as well.  Yesterday, my daughter needed her stuff 
> from the archive (pre-ubuntu) which is owned only by the admin (root). 

So, I assume the desktop (gnome, KDE or whatever) was running as your
daughter's account... ?

> I opened a terminal, ran 'sudo <file manager of choice>' and it asked 
> for a password.  

When you opened the terminal, did you change users to your (admin)
account? If not, sudo would assume, correctly, that it was being run as
user $DAUGHTER and thus "Not Work (tm)"

> I entered my own (first user).  No dice.  I entered 
> hers, I was not able to access her archive.  

Presumably becuse your daughter is not a member of the "admin" group.

> I had to log out of her 
> desktop (during much teenage whining) to enter mine so I could transfer 
> the necessary files.

There are a few tricky issues here. 

1. If you had done the necessary access from the command line, you could
have done something like this:

$  su zephyrq    (or whatever your user name is)
$  whoami

 ( i.e. You are now in a shell run by your user, having
switched users ( su )

$  sudo cp /path/to/stuff/archivefile  /home/yourdaughter (for example)
$ exit (or ctrl+D)

$ whoami
$ daughter

2. If you had done the switch  (su) as above, then tried to run , for

$ gksudo 'nautilus --no-desktop'

You would have seen an error, because the X display is running as
"daughter", but you are trying to run an X app (nautilus) as a user who is
not authorised to use that X display ( this , as I understand it, is part
of the checks and balances needed for a network-transparent multi-user
implementation of X)

3. The  easiest way to do all this without having to log your daughter's
session out completely, log in as yourself, then reverse the procedure,
would probably be to use the "New Login" function in the menu
( gdmflexiserver) : - then you could have left the session as it was, and
when you logged your user out of the "new" session you would have been
returned to a locked screen, where your daughter would enter her password
to resume her session.

Hope this isn't too confusing - I think I have it approximately right ;)



Linux User #343161 

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