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Old 06-29-2010, 08:00 PM   #1
genogebot
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Run as administrator or as desktop user?


Hi,

I installed Linux Mint 9 a couple of days ago (from a live usb) and my 'Account type' was set as 'Custom'.

I had to change the 'Account type' to 'Administrator' so I could edit the 'Network Manager' configuration (the 'Apply' button in Network Manager was disabled until I changed to Administrator).

Is it ok to leave it as 'Administrator' or should I change it to 'Desktop user' until I need to change system settings again?

Thanks.
 
Old 06-29-2010, 09:05 PM   #2
frankbell
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It is not a good idea to do daily computing as root; that's one of the things that makes Linux more secure than other operating systems.

I suggest changing it back.

I've not used Mint, but I understand it is based on Ubuntu. You might want to read up on the https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RootSudosudo command.

Then, in the future, you can edit a text configuration file by entering sudo gedit [path and file name].

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...nt-8-a-777194/Here's a thread on LQ about the root account in Mint.
 
Old 06-29-2010, 09:32 PM   #3
genogebot
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@frankbell: Thanks for the quick response.

Is being an 'Administrator' the same as being 'root'? The reason I ask is because any file I create is owned by my username rather than 'root', and I still have to do 'sudo' to access anything owned by 'root'. And I still have to enter my password to do system changes, like updating packages.

I originally switched to 'Administrator' because I couldn't work out how to do 'sudo' on the gui 'Network Manager'.

Last edited by genogebot; 06-29-2010 at 09:35 PM.
 
Old 06-29-2010, 09:49 PM   #4
frankbell
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"Root" is Linux for what Windows calls "Administrator," yes.

Requiring you to enter you password is a way of protecting the computer--a piece of malware or a bad guy who breaks in through the back door is unlikely to know your password and is therefore prevented from doing bad stuff--it may gain access to your home folder, but not to system configuration files. Therefore, it can't set spyware or bots.

[RANT MODE ON]

One of the reasons I'm not a big Ubuntu fan is that it (and its derivatives) disable the root account by default. I prefer distros such as Slackware or Debian in which there is an active root account, so I can log in as root or I can su, do root stuff, log out, and do daily computing as user.

[RANT MODE OFF]

But that's just me.

I know why they do it. They are trying to make the computer more secure when it's being used by folks who may not be careful enough.

There are ways to turn on the root account in Ubuntu or Mint, but on my Ubuntu boxes I just live with sudo. It's mildly annoying, but it works and I can live with it.
 
Old 06-29-2010, 09:53 PM   #5
pixellany
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In Ubuntu and its progeny, you want to be the administrator. You are protected from yourself by the requirement to use "sudo" for admin tasks.

Ditto the rant about Ubuntu and no root account by default---this aside, Mint is a very good distro.
 
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:01 PM   #6
frankbell
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Quote:
Ditto the rant about Ubuntu and no root account by default---this aside, Mint is a very good distro.
I have heard Mint described as "Ubuntu done right." I ripped the HDD out of my test machine to do some testing for someone else. I plan to load it up with Mint when I get everything put back together.
 
Old 06-29-2010, 10:27 PM   #7
damgar
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I believe what the OP is calling an "Administrator" is actually a user on the sudoer list. I've never used Mint, but with it's roots in Ubuntu that makes sense. So he's not actually running as root, so the answer is "yes, you want to be the administrator." There is a root account, but unless you set a password for it you won't be able to log in as root. I would imagine there are further hurdles to graphical root logins.
 
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:32 PM   #8
pcardout
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It is trivial to enable the root account in Ubuntu.

Frankbell said:
Quote:
One of the reasons I'm not a big Ubuntu fan is that it (and its derivatives) disable the root account by default. I prefer distros such as Slackware or Debian in which there is an active root account, so I can log in as root or I can su, do root stuff, log out, and do daily computing as user.
I have a short comment:

Code:
sudo passwd root
Once my expertise improved to the point that I was comfortable, I moved almost entirely into Debian, and I am used to rootly privileges. I use Ubuntu on laptops because I have fewer compatability problems, but, like Frank this sudo stuff made me nuts. So I decided to treat Ubuntu like Debian. I even put the Debian repositories in my
Code:
/etc/apt/sources.list
. Just so you know, it works fine to treat Ubuntu like Debian.
 
Old 06-29-2010, 11:05 PM   #9
genogebot
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For those unfamiliar with Mint, in the 'User Settings' gui, I can change my user name, account type and password. If I click on the 'Account Type' : 'Change...' button I get a window titled 'Change User Account Type'. There are three account types to choose from, each with explanatory subtext:

- Custom 'This account is using special settings that have been defined manually. Use the Advanced Settings dialog to tune them.'

- Administrator 'Can change anything on the system, including installing and upgrading software.'

- Desktop user 'Can perform common tasks. Can't install software or change settings affecting all users.'

My question was about changing to 'Desktop user' but I wondered if it would cause problems in using the system (or if it might lock me out of switching back to 'Administrator' at a later date).

But it sounds like it's safe to leave it as 'Administrator'.
 
Old 06-30-2010, 03:42 AM   #10
tredegar
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Quote:
But it sounds like it's safe to leave it as 'Administrator'.
Yes, a user type of "Administrator" can become root with sudo -i or sudo command
You should only stay as root for as long as it takes to make the change(s) you need. Then revert to running as yourself.

Non-administrator users cannot use sudo by default, unless you (as root) enable this for them on an individual basis.
 
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:06 AM   #11
replica9000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcardout View Post
Frankbell said:


I have a short comment:

Code:
sudo passwd root
Once my expertise improved to the point that I was comfortable, I moved almost entirely into Debian, and I am used to rootly privileges. I use Ubuntu on laptops because I have fewer compatability problems, but, like Frank this sudo stuff made me nuts. So I decided to treat Ubuntu like Debian. I even put the Debian repositories in my
Code:
/etc/apt/sources.list
. Just so you know, it works fine to treat Ubuntu like Debian.
So by default on Ubuntu, as a normal user, I can just sudo my way into anything without being prompted for a password? I've been using Debian for a while. Last time I tried Ubuntu I couldn't get used to it.

I like the "sux" command in Debian. I can be in a normal terminal session, use "sux" (prompts for root password) to gain root access, do everything I need to do without typing sudo before everything, and then exit to be dropped back to my regular terminal session.
 
Old 06-30-2010, 11:58 AM   #12
Wim Sturkenboom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by replica9000 View Post
So by default on Ubuntu, as a normal user, I can just sudo my way into anything without being prompted for a password?
No, you can't.
 
Old 06-30-2010, 12:24 PM   #13
pixellany
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At the risk of belaboring this, note that--while you can turn on the root account using "sudo passwd root"-- you'll still be prompted for your regular user name when doing certain "admin" tasks. To me, this just makes things even more confusing.
 
Old 06-30-2010, 07:15 PM   #14
replica9000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wim Sturkenboom View Post
No, you can't.
Wasn't sure, but any article I've read for Ubuntu that requires root privledges usually says to sudo this and sudo that...
 
Old 06-30-2010, 07:54 PM   #15
merlinblack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by replica9000 View Post
Wasn't sure, but any article I've read for Ubuntu that requires root privledges usually says to sudo this and sudo that...
You can use sudo - but you will need to enter your password unless you change some things in the sudoers file. Wim Sturkenboom was saying "No you can't" to sudo-ing without using a password.

Personally I see no reason to give root a password (so you can login as root) on a desktop machine. You can use
Quote:
sudo -s
to start a shell with root privileges (similar to Debian's "sux" I guess) or
Quote:
sudo -i
which is more like logging in as root on a terminal. Also
Quote:
sudoedit somerootfile
is handy too. This is how I like to work - YMMV. However actually logging in as root does make sense in other cases, for instance my router "only" has a root login.

Last edited by merlinblack; 07-01-2010 at 12:13 AM.
 
  


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