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Re: [Desktop] What accounts on a machine?

On Sat, Oct 26, 2002 at 02:02:24AM +0100, Alan Chandler wrote:
> Just a brick to throw in the pond

> If you are creating a system for newbies - you will presumably still need a 
> root account.

> What newbie will understand the name "root".

What's to be understood?  It's the proper name for the thing.  Calling
it 'admin' glosses over the details that someone administering their own
machine, newbie or not, NEEDS to be educated about in order to use their
computer safely.

Standard introduction to the concept of root:

Q: What's root?
A: Root is a special account that has absolute control over your system.
   It is dangerous to use this account for anything that does not
   require special system privileges, as you can damage the system or
   an attacker can more easily break in when you run programs as root.

> Is is possible (or will it break everything) to give UID=0 a name other than 
> root? (Such as "admin" for instance).

It suffers from the same problems as using just the "common" name for
applications in the menu system.  Using a name other than the standard
one inhibits discourse; it makes it more difficult for experienced Unix
users to detect when uid 0 is being used indiscriminately by a novice
and provide guidance (c.f. IRCing as root); and it makes it harder for
the novice to find information on the Internet.  For God's sake, we
don't translate "root" when Debian's being installed by someone whose
native language isn't English; why would we make an exception for

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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