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empowered users (was: Upgrading KDE and it's dependencies)

Brian Kimball wrote:
> Bob Proulx wrote:
> > in my work lab engineering environment with a lot of random users
> > installing a lot of random kde components
> In your lab, "a lot of random users" have root?  Nice.

Yes.  Don't you?

A friend of mine when interviewing for jobs used to ask the
interviewer if they felt "empowered".  Almost invariably they would
say, yes, they were empowered, come work there.  Then the follow-up
question.  Do you have root on your machine?  How does the answer to
that question make you feel about their answer to the first question?

In my lab I give all users sudo root access to their own desktop.
They can't break anyone else.  So the most that they can do is shoot
themselves in the foot.  Sometimes they do.  But usually not twice.
People in the lab are bright and learn from their mistakes.  I would
rather work where people are allowed to make mistakes and learn but
innovate and do amazing things than one where everyone works in a
perfectly safe playpen but nothing gets done.

Additionally I give them sudo apt-get/aptitude on server machines.  If
they do actually cause breakage only through using apt-get then the
problem is also pretty easily solved with apt-get.  But that is still
quite safe and extremely useful.  So far in the last few years of this
policy with several hundred engineers I have not had any serious
problems.  A few minor and humorous events that were easily resolved
to be sure.  But not anything that would make me want to change that
policy.  The empowerment for people to do clever things and to
innovate is worth more.


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