new to ubuntu; have a few questions

Cybe R. Wizard cybe_r_wizard at
Thu Nov 9 19:57:11 UTC 2006

Mario Vukelic <mario.vukelic at>  said:
> On Thu, 2006-11-09 at 13:07 -0500, Mark wrote:
> > In my opinion, this is more of a perceived difference between
> > systems than an actual one. "Root" and "admin" don't really give
> > you more power, I don't think, than you had in any other OS. 
> root certainly does. As regular user, the only part of the file system
> you can alter is below /home/username. As root, you can
> alter /bin, /boot, /dev, /etc, /usr, /proc, /sys and so on and so
> forth. Changes to these can have fundamental effects on the installed
> and even the running system (via /proc and /sys)
I think he didn't mean to say one doesn't have more power as root than
as user but rather that one doesn't have more power as root than as a
Windows user.  In that he is right and probably may be forgiven wanting
that power.  

To the original poster, though, and to Mark, the object is to keep that
power /out/ of the hands of a lowly user and only in administrative
hands.  In the case of a home user those hands are yours. As the first
user you /do/ have the administrative power you want/ are used to, you
just have to exercise it differently.

Were you to allow another person to use your machine (physical access,
never  a good idea) they could use all your nice GUI programs and tools
until they attempted to do something to affect the system.  Then they
are asked for your (first user, administrator) password.  Failing to
provide it they are not allowed  to make system changes.

All that said, you aren't stuck with command line-only tools.  As a
past Windows user I found that I like xfe, a two (or three) paned file
manager.  I open a terminal and type, <sudo xfe> (without the arrows,
of course, which are typically used to indicate that the text between
them is a command) and it asks for my password.  Giving it, I may then
access the file system with root privileges.  

If you'd like to give xfe a try it is in the repositories.  Try (at the
terminal interface):

<sudo apt-get install xfe>

After installation use the command I indicated above to open it.

Of course, one may also access xfe as a normal user to do work within
one's own /home/user space, a policy I'd recommend until one is more
up to speed on the rest of the file system.

Cybe R. Wizard
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