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I'm the only user on my Linux system (Red Hat 9) but I've read stuff that we shouldn't log in as root, but create another account and use that instead. I've created another account but like when I try to install rpm packages for example I get an error...but if I use su and log in as root, it works. Also I can't access some folders under the new account, but I can access them as root.
So is there anyway that the new account could have ALL the privileges as root? Thanks.
The main reason it's not good to run as root all the time is because of all those privileges. Most of the privileges that root has are not needed for everyday use of your computer, so there's no reason to run as root all the time. Anyone here will tell you it's just asking for trouble One analogy I like is that being root all the time is like running around in a giant Japanese robot suit all the time. It'd be cool, sure, but you might accidentally step on something important. Don't get in the giant robot suit unless you have to.
At any rate, it's not likely that you'll be installing rpms all the time. Once you get all the software installed and configured that you want to use, you barely ever need to become root after that.
Agreed - running as root should be a deliberate, intentional action, to accomplish a specific goal. After the task (such as installing new packages) is done, you should exit root privs.
As a practical example, suppose you do a directory listing and realize that you don't need an old temporary directory you set up 2 months ago, so you run the: rm * -rf command. If you are root, and happen to be in that temporary directory, you will get the results you want, but if you're root and you happen to be in the parent directory (or any other directory for that matter) you will end up blowing away a lot of stuff that you didn't intend to. Therefore, unless there's a specific reason to be root, don't do it.
Lastly, wapcaplet, _excellent_ analogy, it's great -- J.W.
When you install some software it is accessible to all users. All installed software goes in the shared folders that all users can see (like /usr/bin and places like that). What goes in the user's home directory (signified by a tilde ~) is documents, configuration files, projects etc. Those are viewable only by the owners, unless the owner grants other users privelige to see and/or edit the files.