I agree the greatest risk involved with the act of logging in as the root user to a GUI session comes from the Internet. A secondary risk is the very real possibility that a user may take a destructive action in a moment of inattention. This could happen when using an administrative utility as root in a regular user session, but it would be less likely due to the reduced window of opportunity.
When I started using Linux about 1998 the ability to log into a GUI session as root was not disabled by default. Many users new to Linux (myself included) made a practice of running their systems as root because they did not know any better and because that was how Windows worked. As I gained proficiency using Linux I learned to perform administrative tasks as root from a regular user session. I found this to be faster and easier than to log out from my regular user session then log in as root or even to switch to a root GUI session.
Mandriva provides an excellent set of administrative tools accessible in MCC (Tools > System Tools > Configure Your Computer in the menu system
) and can be opened with a single root password.
KDE provides its own set of administrative utilities in kcontrol. Some are for user level administration / configuration, while a few are system level utilities and require a root password.
If you attempt to use a utility which requires root access but does not request a root password, you can open a terminal window, su to root then run the utility.
You can edit the kde menu system to add a menu item for the utility and configure the item to run as a different user (root).
You can create a link to an application (icon) on your desktop to run the utility as a different user in the application tab by clicking the advanced options button.
Today I see no need to log into a root GUI session, it is simply more bother than it is worth (even when enabled). Linux is to Windows a bit like what English is to French (a different language). If you learn to think in Linux, rather than to translate from Windows to to Linux to begin with, your use of Linux will be far more efficient and natural feeling.
Following my previous post, I have given my decision to withhold information (even potentially dangerous information) a great deal of thought. The Open Source Community and Linux are about freedom and choice. They are also about sharing ideas and information. My decision went against every thing I believe, and seemed too akin to the concepts of book burning or thought control for comfort. For this reason, I provide the following with the hope that no user will act on the information provided:
The ability to log in to a GUI session as root is controled by the login manager.
The login manager for KDE is KDM (the K Display Manager)
KDM is configured with the resource control file located at /etc/kde/kdm/kdmrc
To edit this file, open a terminal window, su to root, then open the file in a text editor:
[user@localhost ~]$ su
Password: (Enter your root password here)
[root@localhost user]# kwrite /etc/kde/kdm/kdmrc
This example opens /etc/kde/kdm/kdmrc
as root. To open the file in a different text editor, replace kwrite
with the name of the text editor of your choice. Do not use a word processor as a word processor may add unwanted character control codes which will not be recognized by kdm. If you use a different login manager, the resource contrrol file will be at a different location under the /etc