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Old 03-09-2007, 01:40 PM   #1
Registered: Mar 2007
Distribution: Hardy (Gnome on Ubuntu 8.04) on Compaq N600c laptop
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A question of general philosophy/strategy

Though I naturally cannot think of an example at the moment, it sometimes seems that sudo is not the best tool for a job. It can also be cumbersome to have to do everything from a command line, especially for newbs.

Now, I know full well even a one-user workstation setup provides much incentive to not give oneself root privileges. But since I cannot install applications and make desired system changes like group membership (using Kuser, or whatever...), what do most of you sage users do to empower your every-day user to add Opera, realplayer, Enemy Territory, or just make changes to your system?

As always, thank you.
Old 03-09-2007, 01:54 PM   #2
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If your on a company network, you should never allow them to install and run such things, never, ever, ever.

If its a home system, just let them install things into their own home directory. Since every program you listed is binary only, they all come with installers that let you select where to install, just tell them to stash it in their own home directory and use the file manager to run it. It will remind them of being on Windows, you know, when they get to go on a hunt for the program they want through "C:\\Program Files", im sure they will thank you.
Old 03-09-2007, 03:37 PM   #3
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This knoppix install, on my laptop, is primarily for myself only. The only reason I chose a multiuser install is so that I could become familiar with the multiuser environment (I'm a net-engineer and sometimes-admin of various it's about time I did).

Here's some examples:

1) Enemy Territory--I not much of a game player but wanted to feel out the stability of linux in a highly-graphical, processing intensive environment. I couldn't install this without going to console and su'ing to root. There have been several examples of this. Aside from having to frequently su, many applications that are X-based don't launch once I do (again, can't remember an example, but I think kwrite is one).

2)Xorg.conf--I'm in the process of getting the system right, so I'm frequently in and out of here. I'd rather not have to su each time.

3)network stuff--here's where I really need more power (but still as just plain old Me). It would be a HECK of alot easier and more expedient for me if I could Up and Down interfaces, change ssid's, etc. from my own user.

I know this is the stuff of great flame wars, but surely there must be a "power-user" equivalent. I've done the no-no of adding myself to root and adm groups, and sudoers, but because ownership of many of the above is root, change and execute are often not options.

Old 03-09-2007, 05:03 PM   #4
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: Winnipeg, MB
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I don't really like 'sudo'.

I use 'su' or 'su -' (though 'su -' doesn't maintain access to GUI apps without some little tweaks ['export DISPLAY=:?.?' and 'xauth merge ~user/.Xauthority']).

I suppose I could also make a launcher that uses gksu(?) or kdesu(?) to ask for a password before launching a root-privileged application [that might work for editing your xorg.conf ]... but I'm comfortable enough on the CLI to not need to,
Old 03-09-2007, 08:33 PM   #5
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For me, sudo is useful for me and another systems admin. We are then both able to administrate the computer without having to share an account and password. At home, I just log in as root.
Old 03-09-2007, 10:32 PM   #6
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OK..... If your really so into needed those unnecessary powers, you might as well just run as root, it'll be a lot easier. Not sure, but some of those powers you want (the network stuff) might require special root abilities, and can never be changed with permissions. There are ways around this, but it requires a complex in-kernel system called RSBAC that really isn't worth setting up if you cant stand a simple "sudu" here and there.
Old 03-09-2007, 11:08 PM   #7
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Sudo is quite powerful, and if you know how to set it up you can allow users to do whatever you want them to be able to do without actually giving them root privileges. There's plenty of tutorials floating around if you're curious.
Old 03-09-2007, 11:24 PM   #8
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I'm still relatively new to the game but I haven't run into any issues I couldn't resolve with sudo or the occasional su. The power of linux is in the command line so there's no use complaining about it. Most linux users will just cock their head and look at you like your an interesting specimen with no clueif you do.

Coming into linux with a sys admin background it makes me shudder to hear someone wanting to run with superuser prvileges all the time. Coming from the Windows world I find it refreshing to use an OS that makes it so easy to run as a user and still do admin tasks with superuser privileges only when I need to. I recommend figuring out how to do what you need to do with sudo, su and the shell, that way you harness the power of linux and protect yourself from the miriad of problems that come from running as superuser on your machine.


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