Being root

Florian Diesch diesch at
Wed Jun 24 17:07:45 UTC 2009

Mark Nichols <ubuntu at> wrote:

> On 06/24/2009 10:03 AM, Florian Diesch wrote:
>> "Amedee Van Gasse (Ubuntu)"<amedee-ubuntu at>  wrote:
>>> On Wed, June 24, 2009 12:09, bill wrote:
>>>> In unix I am used to logging on as root when I need to do a series of
>>>> administrative tasks, aware of the danger. New to linux, I haven't found a
>>>> way of logging on as root or su'ing to root. When I installed I did not
>>>> enter a root password and that makes it difficult to log in.
>>>> How does one set the root password, or is this never done ?
>>> Normally Linux is the same as Unix, but Ubuntu is a special case: the root
>>> password is encrypted, effectively disabling root. You need to use sudo.
>> Passwords are always encrypted.
> If my memory is correct, the root password when you install Ubuntu 
> starts with an unprintable character, 

No. The encrypted value in /etc/shadow is '!' which the glibc's
crypt() function is guaranteed to never return. 

At login the password you enter is encrypted using crypt() and the
result is compared with the value stored in /etc/shadow. As for root the
crypt()ed value will always be different from what's in /etc/shadow
all passwords are invalid.


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