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Old 08-23-2018, 06:53 PM   #1
Mulsimine
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Question Can I Choose When Linux Should Not Ask Me For My Password?


Is there a way to stop Linux from asking me for my password when I try to perform certain actions. For example: Opening Synaptic Package Manager. Can I edit a setting somewhere to stop it from asking me during that specific instance? I understand why a file manager needs to ask me for permissions and I know how to deal with that. Synaptic though, not so sure.
 
Old 08-23-2018, 07:42 PM   #2
frankbell
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Not that I know of, and it would be a less than optimal action.

It breaks a fundamental aspect of the Linux security model what has made the *nixes and the BSDs: that administrative function, including installing and removing software, should be done only by a user with administrative, that is "root," permissions.
 
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Old 08-23-2018, 07:58 PM   #3
Mulsimine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
It breaks a fundamental aspect of the Linux security model what has made the *nixes and the BSDs: that administrative function, including installing and removing software, should be done only by a user with administrative, that is "root," permissions.
I was recently trying to figure out file permissions and came across the same explanation for why some file managers don't offer a Root Access mode (in this case Dolphin).

I'm brand new to Linux, coming from 20 years of being a Windows user. On any version of Windows I had a single Administrator account. I disabled any kind of permission prompts and just had unadulterated access to my machine. I played in area's of the OS I shouldn't, I trial and error'ed my way to some re-installations, but I learned a lot along the way and moved on. As a home user I had zero fear of somebody gaining access to my computer locally and I invested a great deal of effort to protect myself from internet based intrusion and from malware. All things considered, I felt the potential risks of unadulterated system access were acceptable.

From my limited understanding of Linux, I believe that if I operated as a Root user, that I would never have to deal with permission again. But I regularly see people saying that behavior just isn't done, for a variety of reasons. But my interpretation of those reasons seems to be based on fear of the system becoming compromised from a local or network based threat. I also realize that as a root user I won't be protected from myself, but I don't feel that I need to be protected from myself.

This is my take on why Root access should be okay, for someone with my experience. Can anybody, please , tell me why it is still a bad idea to permanently use a Root account at all times?

Last edited by Mulsimine; 08-23-2018 at 08:13 PM. Reason: added quote
 
Old 08-24-2018, 01:37 AM   #4
pan64
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there are a lot of thread on LQ about it. So you can look for discussions, explanations and reasons right here.
for example a short one: https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...in-4175636754/
 
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Old 08-24-2018, 04:05 AM   #5
hydrurga
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From someone who made the transition over from Windows, you'll get used to it, honest.

Installing and removing packages is a system functionality, which is why Synaptic needs root privileges.
 
Old 08-24-2018, 04:39 AM   #6
Mulsimine
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I tried searching the forum but I found it hard to find posts that specifically were targeted at my exact question (why not root all the time?). But I found a couple articles on a website that really hit home how horribly wrong and how easy it is to make a mistake in Linux. One that could claim all your data in a way that wasn't as easy to achieve with Windows blunders.

My initial frustration with entering the command had to do with file permissions inside my file manager. It drove me insane, working in terminal, until I found a file manager that had a "run as root" option built in. Ever since I shudder when I see the permission password prompt. So I have a follow-up question:

Is there any reason I shouldn't set my root password to blank? That way I can simply press enter when the permission prompt shows up? That should protect me from myself and malicious or buggy software not having to encounter system permissions. But it saves me the time of having to type in a lengthy password.
 
Old 08-24-2018, 05:18 AM   #7
hydrurga
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Why are you bothering with Linux at all if you're just going to spend your time trying to get round the access mechanism which is an integral component of the operating system and is there for a good reason?

http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm
 
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Old 08-24-2018, 05:40 AM   #8
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use sudo with nopasswd option
 
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Old 08-24-2018, 06:50 AM   #9
Mulsimine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrurga View Post
Why are you bothering with Linux at all if you're just going to spend your time trying to get round the access mechanism which is an integral component of the operating system and is there for a good reason?

http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm
Thank you for this article. I plan on reading it later this morning, as it is a bit longer than I have time for at the moment. As to why I am using Linux over Windows, I got tired of Microsoft stealing my data. I wanted to move as far away from as many companies that shamelessly do this for profit. I know the open-source community isn't free of this practice, but it is far less pronounced and is easier to avoid. I've wanted to move to Linux for a long time and finally worked up the guts when my Windows 7 HD died. It was time to upgrade to Windows 10, given that security updates for Win 7 are set to end in January 2020, or finally move to Linux. I chose the latter.

To be fair, I spent no end of effort removing Windows security permissions as well. Editing the registry, disabling UAC, Security Center, Windows Firewall, editing system files, operating as an admin, and a few other tweaks. I don't like my OS bugging me for passwords. Especially not when I work on my system 10 to 14 hours a day. Messing with file permissions and entering my password when I need new software gets old really fast. So I'm trying to remove the annoying from my new Linux adventure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teufel View Post
use sudo with nopasswd option
Thank you Teufel! I've looked up how to do this. It seems like a good fix. I can just adjust my Synaptic shortcut to launch via sudo and it should get rid of my issue. Any reason why I shouldn't set the nopasswd option, other than compromising local security on this PC?
 
Old 08-24-2018, 09:06 AM   #10
JeremyBoden
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Better take lots of backups then.
 
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Old 08-25-2018, 12:59 AM   #11
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulsimine View Post
I understand why a file manager needs to ask me for permissions and I know how to deal with that. Synaptic though, not so sure.
i'd say it's rather the other way around.
looking at files - is allowed for a normal user.
changing them inside that users home - also allowed.
installing software for all users - requires authentication.
doesn't that make sense?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulsimine View Post
My initial frustration with entering the command had to do with file permissions inside my file manager.
then you're doing something wrong.
most configuration is better done without root privileges.

Quote:
Is there any reason I shouldn't set my root password to blank?
do you want billions of viruses & malware, just like on windows?
 
Old 08-25-2018, 04:19 AM   #12
Mulsimine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
then you're doing something wrong.
most configuration is better done without root privileges.
Please see section #3 below for examples of what I was doing that required root privileges.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrurga View Post
Why are you bothering with Linux at all if you're just going to spend your time trying to get round the access mechanism which is an integral component of the operating system and is there for a good reason?

http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm
This is an extremely well written article. It put a lot of things in perspective for me. It makes me second guess whether I should be messing with Linux or not. I sincerely appreciate you sharing it with me. In regards to why it makes me think twice:

1) I am a Windows power user. I am having a very hard time adjusting. As a power user I love options and really resent when I feel confined by a program's lack of options. So Linux is theoretically awesome in this arena! At the same time, I thrive in a GUI environment. The idea of using a bunch of CLI programs, attempting to memorize hundreds of switches and individual program CLI syntax is overwhelming. It gives me pause as my job involves a lot of different skill sets and therefore programs to be researched, configured, and then mastered. Switching to Linux I face a steep learning curve, to be sure.

2) Given that I have no background operating in a CLI environment, I am currently very slow and inefficient. Everything just seems to take a lot of extra time (compared to the ease of a GUI tool). I've taken for granted how much is already configured for me in Windows. For example: under Linux getting my File Manager to support and open RAR archives has been so frustrating and time consuming. Unfortunately I have a ton of those in my personal backups. I can switch over to 7zip for the future but I still have to deal with what I have. Each of my 1,000+ archives requires that I handle it manually in the CLI, to specify the output directory.

3) Linux is designed for groups of users. I'm a single user on my PC. I realize Linux was designed for groups of users. So things like security permissions are weird and feel like another layer of interaction I must deal with, that slows me down, and serves no purpose for me personally. The idea that there are parts of my system that I shouldn't access really blows my mind. On day one of using Linux I had several reasons to manipulate files outside of my home directory.
  • Editing the theme for LXDE I needed to access files in the /etc/ folder.
  • Configuring OpenVPN required that I paste some .ovpn files from my VPN provider into the OpenVPN Config directory. Then I needed to edit them to store my password inside, to avoid the prompt that pops up each time I connect. Both required that I perform move, copy, rename, and execute operations on files involved.
  • I was trying to copy and edit some .desktop files for my Applications menu that were located in /usr/share/applications/.
These all seem like valid reasons to invoke sudo to me. And it was time consuming until I figured out a File Manager offered a root mode.

4) The biggest hardship that I feel I face by switching over to Linux is the lack of polished software options. I understand why commercial software is more polished than open source. They both have strong pro's and con's. But switching to a purely open source environment requires a lot of extra work and ingenuity. What I could get done with one program now might take several to achieve. What might have been easy to understand under Windows, now carries a new learning curve and fewer options and/or offers less functionality. The lack of functionality is the biggest deterrent thus far. Krusader is nice but it doesn't hold a candle to Directory Opus. Gimp is lovely, but it isn't as capable as Photoshop.

Please note that I am not trying to complain. I'm not upset at Linux. I'm not comparing it to Windows. I'm just trying to quantify the differences between how I used to use my computer and the challenges I now face in this new environment. And I am expressing the frustration of the difficulties faced. At the end of the day the only question I am asking myself is, do I have the time right now to really learn Linux to the degree that I will need to, in order to feel like a master at the helm of my own ship again? Articles like the one you linked are helping me make up my mind and better understand all the variables that are in play in making this decision. Thank you very much hydrurga for that article. It was very helpful .

Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
do you want billions of viruses & malware, just like on windows?
I have two questions for you:

1) Would I still be in danger if I set a nice strong password but then set the sudo nopasswd option? That way I don't have to enter the password but my Root account is not left wide open?

2) It was my understanding that there is very little virus and malware activity in the Linux world. Most of which, that does exist, being created for the Enterprise Linux world. Am I wrong? If so, I'd love to hear more.

Last edited by Mulsimine; 08-25-2018 at 04:49 AM. Reason: added additional formatting
 
Old 08-25-2018, 04:29 AM   #13
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulsimine View Post
1) Would I still be in danger if I set a nice strong password but then set the sudo nopasswd option? That way I don't have to enter the password but my Root account is not left wide open?

2) It was my understanding that there is very little virus and malware activity in the Linux world. Most of which, that does exist, being created for the Enterprise Linux world. Am I wrong? If so, I'd love to hear more.
1.: yes. absolutely.
2.: getting more. actual viruses, not so much, but malware, spyware, ransomware, exploitware (i just made that term up; i mean using your cpu for bitcoin mining and such). most of it comes in through your browser and javascript.

that said, even without root privileges you can get infected or exploited or data-mined.
sane usage habits, is the golden buzzword here.

PS:
respect for keeping your cool.

Last edited by ondoho; 08-25-2018 at 04:30 AM.
 
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Old 08-25-2018, 05:58 AM   #14
Mulsimine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
1.: yes. absolutely
Alright, I will yield to your guys superior experience and knowledge on the subject of me permissions and a root password. This should be my final question on this topic before I mark this thread as solved. Thank you fine folks so much for your help and guidance. I genuinely appreciate your time and kindness .

1) Other than my system being easier to infiltrate locally, is there a reason why I should set a strong root password? Or can I get by with a short and easy one? Or should I be worried about password crackers being employed by web based threats?
_____
I'd like your advice on the File Manager in root mode situation, if you would be so kind .

2) I prefer to use Dolphin, but they removed Root access. So in the case I described in the above post, in section #3 where I had to edit files outside of home, what is the proper way to handle that situation. Assuming there are too many files (as was the case with the OpenVPN situation) to individually run sudo on, what should I do to gain access to them? Should I be permanently changing their ownership or file permissions? That seems more of a security risk than accessing them with the root account. That was my theory anyway.

3) And to be clear, you do recommend not using a File Manager in root mode, ever?

Last edited by Mulsimine; 08-25-2018 at 06:10 AM. Reason: expanded and added thank you's
 
Old 08-25-2018, 06:20 AM   #15
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulsimine View Post
Alright, I will yield to your guys superior experience and knowledge on the subject of permissions and Root. But I'd like your advice on the File Manager in root mode situation, if you would be so kind .

1) I prefer to use Dolphin, but they removed Root access. So in the case I described in the above post, in section #3 where I had to edit files outside of home, what is the proper way to handle that situation. Assuming there are too many files (as was the case with the OpenVPN situation) to individually run sudo on, what should I do to gain access to them? Should I be permanently changing their ownership or file permissions? That seems more of a security risk than accessing them with the root account. That was my theory anyway.

2) And to be clear, you do recommend not using a File Manager in root mode, ever?
I personally don't use Dolphin, but I have no qualms in running my file manager, Caja, as root if I have system-related changes to make. I disagree with KDE's decision about Dolphin - they essentially reduced the file manager's functionality before ensuring that polkit (the new approach to security) was fully implemented. This reduction of functionality is to me a big no-no in any software development. In saying that, however, I remember reading recently that they have now reintroduced root functionality into Dolphin. Perhaps you can get this by installing the latest version of Dolphin (Dolphin 18.08)?
 
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