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Old 03-11-2007, 12:40 PM   #1
lumix
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I know root has been discussed ad nauseum but


this is a one-user laptop and I simply cannot get things done without more privilege.

I'm not asking for philosophies, I just need to know how my user (let's say "user1") can:

1. copy files when where it pleases

2. start and stop hardware (like pc cards such as wireless)

3. load modules like wpa_supplicant

4. edit Xorg.conf

Because root cannot (in knoppix 5.1 anyway) seem to run a Desktop, kde or otherwise, and since I can do just as much damage as root as I can with any other user, I'd like the convenience of wrecking my installation without having to go back and forth between users as I do so.

Many thanks.
 
Old 03-11-2007, 01:08 PM   #2
Tinkster
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Well... since you don't want philosophy you won't get
the answers from me, either. You're asking about the
mechanics of driving a car w/o caring about the road
code. Dangerous.



Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 03-11-2007, 03:26 PM   #3
lumix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinkster
Well... since you don't want philosophy you won't get
the answers from me, either. You're asking about the
mechanics of driving a car w/o caring about the road
code. Dangerous.



Cheers,
Tink

If you have the answer, why not post it?

Can anyone answer without deprecating a new-comer who's trying to learn?
 
Old 03-11-2007, 04:01 PM   #4
homey
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You can safely use the su - command and even include it with the command that you wish to run.
For example:
Code:
su - -c "modprobe wpa_supplicant"
You will need to know the root users password. In knoppix, there is a section someplace in the kde menu where you can change the root password to something which you know.

To log into kde as root user, ( not recommended ) boot into runlevel 3. Then, type: startx
 
Old 03-11-2007, 04:01 PM   #5
XavierP
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Using the root account as your day to day account seems like an odd choice. It's rare for me to need the account to that extent. Why don't you want to use su or sudo?

If the PC is connected to any sort of network - and that includes the internet - running as root will very quickly mean that you aren't the only person using the PC.
 
Old 03-11-2007, 04:07 PM   #6
pixellany
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You can use sudo
You can use su to become root when you need to
You can alter the permissions on individual files
You can add specific groups to userX

AND--you can usually enable root login to the GUI (since you don't want to be warned that this is VERY BAD IDEA, I won't mention it.... )
 
Old 03-11-2007, 05:15 PM   #7
lumix
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Okay, now I'm getting somewhere...

I do get that about the hazards of browsing. I'm a CISSP and 8 year sec. consultant, and I do know better than to play around on ANY network (much less the inet) with administrative privileges--at least on a machine with important content on it (or connected to a network that has one).

My problem is that I can't copy files, edit xorg.conf, or anything of the sort as myself. Do you all just live with the inconvenience of sudo'ing everything? I mean, the practice of using one's computer in Windows as admin is not really at the heart of the problem, even if it might offer a fix. Windows careless and presumptuous ready-willing-and-able services are, however. I'm not looking to start a new discussion here, but if one removes these mime-typed triggers and other services, windows can be just as secure as any other system. So I guess I'm saying that I was under the impression that Linux's claim to better security lay not in its no-admin privileges for day to day uses, but in its lack of ready to serve whomever/whatever services.

Is that not the case? If I misunderstood, than I bloody well will have to deal with lowly privileges every day. In any case, I appreciate the responses.

Last edited by lumix; 03-11-2007 at 05:17 PM.
 
Old 03-11-2007, 05:50 PM   #8
btmiller
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I generally just give my user unlimited sudo privileges as a general rule (as is done by default in *ubuntu0. How hard is it to type an extra 5 characters before the command? If you're a very lazy typist you can do something like:

alias s="sudo"

and make it only 2 characters.

The main point is you don't just want to give your main account rights to do everything, but you do want to make it easier to do administrative tasks when needed. I find sudo to be the most convenient way of accomplishing that.
 
Old 03-11-2007, 06:18 PM   #9
masonm
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If you're doing admin work on the machine, simply su to root and do what you need to do. When you're finished you exit back to your normal user. What is so inconvenient about that?
 
Old 03-11-2007, 08:00 PM   #10
XavierP
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I use "su -c "<the command>"" whenever I need to do something to my machine. That said, once it is set up and working, I rarely need root - maybe to upgrade a few packages, but definitely not enough to log in as root.

Lest we forget, after all this time even Microsoft are coming around to this way of thinking - Vista, hamfistedly admittedly, makes you use admin access whenever a program needs to do something dangerous.

After the first few times, it becomes second nature. I'd rather have to type in a few extra commands than hose my system in a stupid way.
 
Old 03-11-2007, 09:13 PM   #11
2damncommon
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Quote:
1. copy files when where it pleases

2. start and stop hardware (like pc cards such as wireless)

3. load modules like wpa_supplicant

4. edit Xorg.conf
First off, I don't see that you have stated what distribution we are talking about. Knoppix 5.1? From Live CD or hard drive install?
Second, distributions I like to use do not completely disallow GUI root login. My first few months I used to log in and out of root and my regular user until I learned to do what everyone is suggesting here, use "su" or "sudo". It really is quite simple.
To run something from the command line open a terminal and type either "su" or "su -" ("su -" gives better privilages). To run a GUI program in KDE as root type "kdesu <program name> in a terminal. For instance "kdesu konqueror".
Lastly your issues copying files can be solved by changes to your /etc/fstab file.
Quote:
Can anyone answer without deprecating a new-comer who's trying to learn?
"I'm a CISSP and 8 year sec. consultant..."
"I know root has been discussed ad nauseum..."
"Do you all just live with the inconvenience of sudo'ing everything?"
 
Old 03-11-2007, 09:46 PM   #12
alienux
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Quote:
"Do you all just live with the inconvenience of sudo'ing everything?"
Why is su - or sudo inconvenient? It adds one word and a password entry to the command you're going to type. I actually find this to be a very convenient way to run securely as a non-privileged user, but still have the ability to do system configs without having to log out and log in as root separately.

Besides, if you're a CISSP, you should know that in network security, being more secure means giving up some conveniences. Its well worth a few extra keystrokes to have more protection.
 
Old 03-11-2007, 11:22 PM   #13
custangro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2damncommon
("su -" gives better privilages)
Not to knitpick but it doesn't nessicarily give you better privilages... The "-" in "su -" mean that you inherit the enviroment of the user that you are going to switch to (in this case it's the root account) if you use "su -" you can type shutdown instead of /sbin/shutdown.

(A little history lesson for ya..) A popular misconception is that su stands for "Super user"...it dosen't. It stands for "substitute user". You can use "su" to switch to another user...not just root, like so:

su - user1


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2damncommon
"I'm a CISSP and 8 year sec. consultant..."
"I know root has been discussed ad nauseum..."
"Do you all just live with the inconvenience of sudo'ing everything?"
^ my thoughts exactly
 
Old 03-12-2007, 06:40 AM   #14
XavierP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by custangro
(A little history lesson for ya..) A popular misconception is that su stands for "Super user"...it dosen't. It stands for "substitute user". You can use "su" to switch to another user...not just root, like so:
Switch User, not substitute user. Apparently it's in the source code.

Back to your regular programming now
 
Old 03-12-2007, 08:16 AM   #15
Sepero
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lumix, a lot of people forget what it's like to be a new user. When you are a new user, you are accessing things concerning root _constantly_, because you are trying to setup your whole system. After you become more familiar with Linux, you will be using root less and less. It will get to the point where you hardly use it for anything besides upgrades.

The answer to your question is yes, 99% of us use "su" or "sudo" and never login as root.

To make it easier for you to use root, you might want to try one of these commands:
su - "nautilus"
su - "konqueror"

That should give you a GUI filemanager that you have root privileges with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lumix
I mean, the practice of using one's computer in Windows as admin is not really at the heart of the problem, even if it might offer a fix. Windows careless and presumptuous ready-willing-and-able services are, however.
Actually, both are. If you're using IE or some Microsoft FTP program as administrator on the internet, you can get infected just about as easily with those programs as any service that's running.

Anyway, I think a few distros might come preinstalled with services. (RH?) Fortunately, they can be disabled or uninstalled just as easily as any other program.
 
  


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