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Re: [Desktop] What accounts on a machine?



On Sat, Oct 26, 2002 at 02:36:55PM +0100, Alan Chandler wrote:
> On Saturday 26 October 2002 3:55 am, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > On Sat, Oct 26, 2002 at 02:02:24AM +0100, Alan Chandler wrote:
> > > 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 there to understand? It's a name. Like Alan or chair or
computer. "root" is the name of the linux (and Hurd, and BSD) super
user account.

> > 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.
> 
> - From a technicians point of view you are exactly correct - but the question I 
> am asking (and if we want to create desktops for the masses we must at least 
> ask the question) does it have to be.  Isn't something like administrator a 
> much more logical name for someone not in the know.

Logical, yes, perhaps. But logic isn't what's important here. We are
Windows, where they use "Administrator" or "admin" to be more
"logical" and "user friendly". If a user wants to use linux, they
might just have to read a short paragraph on the significance of
"root". It's not complicated.
 
> Formally root is uid=0 gid=0 - but does the name "root" stem from anything 
> more than the entry in /etc/passwd? Could it be changed. Would things still 
> work of it was?

Even if it is possible, there will be some bugs. But, more
importantly, the user will be even more confused. Messages when
certain programs are run as a regular user, like "Are you root?" will
be incomprehensible to a newbie. We're Debian, not Windows, we don't
need to bend over backwards to allow the user to not learn the meaning
of "root" (something they will, inevitably, learn).
 
> Ultimately - after some discussion - a concensus might be that you are correct 
> and it should not be changed - but I think we at least have to ask ourselves 
> are these sacred cows really that sacred.

I'm 100% sure the consensus will be "root" should be left as-is. Think
of all the documentation that would need to be changed. (Not just
Debian, but upstream too) Think about how much of a colossal waste of
time that would be.

Either think things through before proposing, or please leave such
ridiculous proposals on debian-user. Or in /dev/null.

-- 
Duncan Findlay

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