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Old 08-25-2018, 06:43 AM   #16
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Root access in a file manager is useful - for example nemo and nautilus (AFAIK) both have this, from the right-click sub-menu options.

But absolutely don't change system ownerships/permissions - files have definite authorities for a reason.

You could try, from a command line
sudo dolphin
(followed by your user password)

However, occasions when you would want to view/edit large numbers of files belonging to root or files you can't access normally would be extremely rare.
Obviously, you would only do this rarely and for short periods.

For short configuration files, owned by root, that need editing I suggest, again from the command line
sudo nano full_path_to_file
Old 08-25-2018, 06:48 AM   #17
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I prefer to use Dolphin, but they removed Root access.
That's a combination of the developers of Dolphin and Debian. I have three Linux systems on my daily use computer. On two of them, I use KDE/Dolphin and do not have to log out and log in as root to use Dolphin. A simple command: kdesu dolphin prompts for the root password and opens Dolphin with root privileges. A lot simpler and less dangerous than making owner:group and permissions changes.
Old 08-25-2018, 08:23 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by hydrurga View Post
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)?
Your right. I just checked their release info on the site and they had this to say: "Also, you can now launch Dolphin again when logged in using the root user account. Support for modifying root-owned files when running Dolphin as a normal user is still work in progress." Thank you for the update!

Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
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Originally Posted by Jyancek View Post
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Thank you very much for your help. Good advice
Old 08-26-2018, 06:11 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Mulsimine View Post
1) Other than my system being easier to infiltrate locally, is there a reason why I should set a strong root password?
did i mention browsers & javascript? you allow your browser to interpret and/or store executables on your machine - fetched remotely, executed locally.
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?
good question.
there's no reason why some malware couldn't start running sudo commands with random passwords until it hits. but of course sudo is set up to go into lockup after too many attempts in too quick succession.
so i guess the answer is: a short password is OK, as long as su(do) is set up correctly - and to answer your next question: yes, on all major serious distros it is set up with sane defaults ootb. no worries there.

3) And to be clear, you do recommend not using a File Manager in root mode, ever?
nah, i do it. sometimes; usually command line is better anyway.
but it's always something to be aware & wary of.
imagine: you have your root file manager open and double click an HTML file, which opens in your browser by default => browser opened with superuser privileges => very bad!
there's also situations where this can mess up permissions in your home folder with such desastrous effects as Xorg refusing to start.
so it's not all about threats & malware.
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:02 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Mulsimine View Post
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.

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?
Generally there is no need to mess with file permissions in GNU/Linux, and there is no need for you to go around looking into system files as a user or manipulate them. There is a fundamental focus on basic security in the GNU/Linux operating system, unlike in Windows, there is no good reason to want something else either.

You can disable the password for root, which is stupid but possible. You can use various userland tools to "deadminister" various root tools to instead be user tools and void having a password on the user, which allows you to use administration tools without a password. PAM I believe is the tool to do this.

But with the ease of administration and user tools in GNU/Linux, why would you even care? Why not just type the password for the root and get on with it. You never need to close that program again. Window management in KDE at least is very elegant, alongside activties and the general multi desktop option on GNU/Linux desktops, so nothing open needs to clutter the screen. You can just leave it open on another desktop or activity.

I would recommend you try to learn instead, this is the best approach to GNU/Linux, and then you will understand, and then you will be empowered. You will laugh of old habits and frown upon some of the absurd norms in Windows, and dread the ridiculous restrictions of the same system and contemplate the lack of choice.

But why bother? Why not change your Windows mindset into a GNU/Linux mindset? There are many reasons to get a GNU/Linux mindset, and you should give them some serious considerations. I'm not going to write about that, because it would be an endlessly long list of things and explenations, but you can research yourself what advantages such a mindset has, and how it will empower you to become a truly powerful computer user, rather than let the truly powerful use you through "your" computer.

But hey, GNU/Linux is a system that empowers and frees the user, so you can theoretically do anything, any way you like.

GNU/Linux has many ways to do things, and there are also workarounds for most things, so when you get to know them well enough, you can do things however you want. But I doubt anyone who would know these things would tell them to you anyways, because they would not want to encourage you to do stupid stuff.

Last edited by zeebra; 08-26-2018 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:05 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by hydrurga View Post
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)?
I think it's great by KDE, there is no need to use Dolphin as root. And if you absolutely must, you can just use Konqueror as root instead.
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:35 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Mulsimine View Post
Please see section #3 below for examples of what I was doing that required root privileges.

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.
You are right, CLI can be complicated to begin with, but once you get going it is so much more efficient and fast to do things in CLI than in a GUI. GUI's have so many limits in regards to complicated functions. Besides, you use the CLI in the GUI under normal circumstances, just like using a program.

Regarding powerful GUI's I would highly recommend you try KDE, it is by far the most advanced GUI for any operating system. There are also tons of GUI tools in both KDE and the GNU/Linux world to help you accomplish more complex tasks through a GUI. You are not really bound to using a CLI, most of the time you can find GUI alternatives. But as I said, this is tedious way of working, which is why Windows is so tedious and unpowerful in the first place. To me Windows feels claustrophobic, because there just isn't an easy way to do anything, and anything you want to do might not even be possible.

Some of the CLI tools are just amazing and incredibly powerful, and just simply cannot be replaced by a graphical tool, the complexity just forbids that, unless you make some kind of super enourmous GUI environment with so many menus and buttons to do the same things that you can simply and easily write with a single command line.

If you want to thrive in a GNU/Linux GUI, the try KDE. But yes, GNU/Linux is a steep learning curve regardless. You are actually choosing something entirely new and essentially very complex! The transition can be made easier if you choose the right type of distro and the right type of desktop environment. KDE as I said I would regard as essential. A distro I can personally recommend for YOU is Mageia. It comes with alot of administration tools as a GUI, and it has a very powerful package manager so you can easily find the tools you need. But regardless of distro I would recommend that you get to know a powerful package manager as these can be incredibly helpful in getting your GNU/Linux life kickstarted. You have an enourmous choice of incredibly powerful software, including GUI variants, easily at hand. No more fumbling on the internet, opening dangerous .exe files you found on some shady page full of popups and web browser security warnings.

Everything is at hand, you just need to grab it. What you want is available in GNU/Linux if you choose the right distro and desktop. You can have ease of use and powerful admin tools easily, and all kind of powerful programs as well. But none of that can replace learning CLI, which I am sure you will if you just get started with GNU/Linux, because I bet you will want to explore the true powers of a system and better and more efficient ways of doing things.

I don't know about Rar, but for me getting Rar support directly in my file manager is easy, I just have to install the program though the package manager, boom, it is available right after, right click and all. But ofcourse these kind of things prerequisite that you know how to use a package manager, and that your distro is a good one. But that's basic GNU/Linux skills. If you can't use a package manager in a distro that is easier to install than Windows, then you have no excuse at all.

Regarding groups and users, you can ignore groups and use GNU/Linux as a single user. Windows also has a "root" user, even in the old days, it just did things in a stupid way. The fact there is a root user and a user should not scare you, it should encourage you. Why would you want a poorly designed system? Are you just being too lazy in regards to being able to use root in GNU/Linux?

Perhaps you are using the wrong distro and GUI if you encounter such problems as you describe? Most configuration options in GNU/Linux desktops under normal circumstances are easily available with mouse clicks.

Perhaps you are also approaching things the wrong way. You are trying to do very easy things in a very complex and unnecessary way. But perhaps this is due to the lack of a powerful GUI configuration option in the distro you have chosen?

Regarding programs, I don't know what you mean. There are programs to do all kinds of things, and for me going back to Windows is when I find that programs lack. They are difficult to find and access and they lack the functions I need. In addition Windows have no ways to rectify or do complex things, and complex things which could be done easily are often accomplished in a terribly complex way.

It is understandable that things can be a bit frustrating. I mean, you are a complete newbie in GNU/Linux, you know very little about it, you don't even know where to find basic things. But don't confuse that lack of ability and knowledge for lack of availability or possibility just because you don't know how to do it yet! It is to be expected, you are new, and so you need to learn. If you knew nothing about Windows and would have to learn that from scratch, things would be difficult to, as difficult.

But hey, I highly recommend that you try Mageia as a distro. It is inredibly powerful, has some very powerful GUI tools, very powerful administration tools, the extremely powerful KDE desktop and a very powerful package manager. This will work out of the box, and make your first day in the new system easy. You CAN select which tasks to not require a password, easily, through the GUI admin tools even. If you don't want to type a password for package manager, you do not have to. It is a great distro both for newbies, intermediates and experts. Highly flexible and very slick.

Try it.
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