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Old 02-21-2002, 09:01 PM   #1
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Registered: Feb 2002
Distribution: Slackware 8.0
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Root vs User

Hello everybody,

I am a Linux newbie, I have been using it for about a week now. I am using Slackware 8.0 and KDE. My question is about regular users versus root. I have read in MANY places that you should not use the root account for your regular everyday use. I should explain that I am using Linux at home on my PC, nobody else uses it so I'm not really concerned about file security or anything like that but I did want to "do the right thing". So when I did my install I set up a user account for myself and I logged on with that account. Now I start KDE and I want to get my sound card working. I do some research and figure out how to get it working, I have to log in as root to make the changes so I use the 'su' command and make the changes. I then log in as my user account and no sound. More research and I find out that I have to change permissions on a file that my sound card uses (sorry I'm not sure what file but it's not important). Now I want to change the background color in KDE...again only root can do that so I 'su' and make the change. I log in as my user account and the changes are gone...I log in as root and the changes are there. So, I am now using root as my regular login but I would really like to know if there is a way that regular users can make changes to things like desktop color and not have to be logged in as root? Sorry for the long post but I wanted to explain myself, and vent a little.

Thanks in advance,


Last edited by nh_mark; 02-21-2002 at 09:03 PM.
Old 02-21-2002, 09:44 PM   #2
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Registered: Jan 2001
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there really isn't no problem with using root if your just learning, don't really have anything important on your system... etc etc..

one reason i would suggest not to use root on a system like that is you can accidently mess up your entire system with root.. one mistake, and its all gone..

root on a major system, corporate.. etc, yeah.. security reasons follow this too, as root can do everything and its not a good habit to use root for everyday use.. there are ways around it.. like su for example or sudo..
Old 02-21-2002, 09:47 PM   #3
Registered: Aug 2001
Location: Lansing, Michigan
Distribution: slackware8+
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just read up on file permissions, users, and groups. that's the best way to explain it.

and i wouldn't worry about using the root account for your everyday stuff. they say the same thing about windows NT/2k/xp and administrator, and i never had a user account in 2k for the 2 years i used it, never had a problem.

i log in as root for every box on my network except one (which i need to log in as a regular user, because of some daemons i have running... long story). but i've never messed anything up, and if i did... i'd fix it. ::shrugs:: but i'm the only one using my pcs, so it's not a big deal.
Old 02-22-2002, 05:52 AM   #4
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Registered: Feb 2002
Distribution: Slackware 8.0
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Thanks for the quick responses. I am using root right now and I'm not too concerned about it, like Syncrm said if I screw something up I'll fix it. I was just wondering about how this would be worked around in a "real world" setting. Let's say I am in a corporate environment, would I have to create a group of users and set permissions on all of the configuration files so that they could use them? Is there already a group that has permission (other than root) to use these files but not permission to destroy the entire system, something like an advanced user group?

Thanks again.


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