[GRLUG] Distro's - was GRLUG test comment
adamb at glaven.org
Thu May 4 17:11:42 EDT 2006
Ron Lauzon wrote:
> David Pembrook wrote:
>> I don't like how they tried to remove the su to root concept (there is
>> no root password so you can't "su" and must use sudo). I got done with
>> my install and was scratching my head like a lot of other uses
>> thinking "they never asked for my root password".
> I didn't like that either.
> I recently got a copy of Ubuntu from Penguicon, so I've started a
> project to make the system to everything (more or less) that I can do on
> my current Mandriva install.
> I didn't like the "You want to do something that you normally don't do,
> but just type in your password and I'll let you do it." So there's
> basically no root security.
Yes, there's root security. It's just that in order to get people who
aren't hardcore nerds to use it, it has to be easier than, "Well, first
log out of X, and then log in as root. Then, you can do what you
wanted, and hope that the changes work, and are global changes. And that
if you are changing resolutions, that X works at all. Or if you don't
like that, you can go to your console, and then type 'su - root, and
then enter the root password, and then edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf, read in
the file, add what you need, or if you can't find what you need or
understand it, read the man pages or google for it and hopefully you
won't stumble into one of the many linux users who are complete jerks. "
"Normal Users" don't really feel like fiddling with that, and I bet you
that 99% of users will throw the cd away, install windows, and forever
pipe up with "Oh, linux? Is that where it's a huge pain to do the most
mundane of tasks that I can do on windows without batting an eye? Yeah,
linux sucks. Don't use it."
> I can see why they did this, though. It's more Windows-ish and the home
> users will have an easier time of it.
No, windows-ish is logging in as root all the time and running as root
constantly. Which too many people in linux do to get around things that
ubuntu makes easier for end users. Using sudo is a way of allowing a
user that doesn't understand the guts of linux, or use VI, or know what
the heck 'bash' is, manage his/her system with a minimum of fuss.
Without the user's password, sudo is useless, since it asks for a
password. Some schmuck walking up to the workstation can't rm -rf,
because the password is still secret.
> Now, you CAN go back in and change the root user's password. Then you
> can su to root without problem. But you don't need to be root to do
> that. Bad.
There's two things you can do: 'visudo' and 'vi /etc/sudoers' (the
second of which is frowned upon.)
I don't know about some of the people here, but there's a decent amount
of tweaking I do to a system when I install it; even more so if it's a
desktop. Furthermore, many people I know with desktops (and servers)
that run linux give themselves sudo anyway, since root passwords are the
"key to the city" and a) should be kept very secret, and b) shouldn't be
At some point, linux has to make itself usable to the public. "sudo" is
a decent, and widely accepted and widely used management tool, and it's
a very happy middle point between what windows does, and the 'linux
way', whch is a huge pain in the ass. The number of people I've seen
switch to linux I can count on both hands, and each time, they had the
hardest time grasping the 'this is your root password, and this is your
user password, and they can't be the same, and they should be difficult
passwords, and you need to...". Windows is very popular because it is
easy, and powerful. Linux is powerful, and difficult, and without making
it easier, nobody will use it. You ought to trumpet about 'root
security' one distributions that require root passwords and normal
passwords, and then watch as the user sets both passwords to the same
thing in the name of reducing the headache or just use root all the
time to remove the headache totally.
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