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Bug#616051: no root account after installation

On Tue, Mar 01, 2011 at 10:55:16PM -0800, me wrote:
> Package: installation-reports
> Version: 6.0.0
> Besides other problems with my new installation of Debian 6.0.0 (stable), I
> am unable to sign in as "root" (I do have the right password).  The sign-in
> screen (which is for "GNOME" only) has only my user account listed besides
> "other".  When I click "other" and put in "root" or "su-" and then insert
> the correct password I get the message "Authentication failure".  This is a
> i386 version DVD#1 ISO downloaded from the Debian web-sight onto a MS
> Windows machine.  Then, burned to a DVD+R disk using "Roxio easy media
> creator 10" software to create a boot-able disk.  I have two HD's, one with
> Windows XP and the other HD new and blank that I partitioned (using guided
> partitioning with LVM option three- home,root,swap.1. temp, & usr
> partitions) and installed Debian on.
> Inside of "GNOME" going to Update Manager, Software Sources, Synoptic
> Package Manager, and Users and Groups (under the "System/Administration
> header) I can input the "root" password and then work as an administrator in
> those dialog boxes.  But, after becoming an "Administrator for this
> session", in the Network Settings, and Time & Day dialog boxes it says
> "Authentication Needed" with no way to input a password though I don't need
> to re-input the password in again going back to say the "Update Manager".
>  When I set myself up as "Administrator for this session" I still cannot do
> any root work in a "terminal" screen.
> Also, when I logout of "GNOME" I can only turn off the machine and when I
> turn on the machine I can only log into GNOME.  The only way to get a
> command line is to open a "terminal" within GNOME.  I don't know if this is
> normal or not as I am new to Linux.
> As this seems to be a major bug, could it be that I somehow have a corrupted
> DVD, as there are a couple of other problems I also have at this early date.
>  (grub doesn't  list  my  Windows OS at boot time though  it mentioned it
> during the installation, and also my two HD's were listed as SCSI instead of
> IDE during installation).
> I do not have an internet connection for the machine I have installed Debian
> on so I cannot send in any scripts that were generated.  If all else fails,
> could I simply re-partition and reinstall to totally get rid of everything
> on the HD I put Debian on.  The only thing with this would be "grub" which I
> think is on the MBR of my HD with the windows OS on it, would that be a
> problem or would a new grub be generated along with the new installation.
> Thanks and hope you can help, Stan Ryan.

Given that running X as root has long (pretty much as long as X has
existed) been considered a bad idea, most display managers (kdm/gdm/etc)
don't permit root to login to X by default.  You can change the config
to permit it, although I wouldn't recommend it.

So some options you have are:

Login as a normal user and use 'su -' to run as root temporarily, or
sudo, or gtksu or similar to allow root to run a single application in
X temporarily.

Change the config of the display manager to permit root.

I never login to X as root and use the other options instead.

But either way, it is working as it should.

As someone else mentioned, left control + left alt + F1 (through F6)
should give you text consoles where root can login.

Len Sorensen

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