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mysql-server root password

Please cc is@nwadv.com as I am not currently subscribed to the list.

When I installed mysql-server debconf said to set the mysql root
password.  Then it referenced /usr/share/doc/mysql-server/README.Debian
for the instructions to do so.  The instructions tell you to change it
with /usr/bin/mysqladmin -u root password 'new-password'

This is what happens when I run this command.

frodo:~# /usr/bin/mysqladmin -u root password blah
/usr/bin/mysqladmin: connect to server at 'localhost' failed
error: 'Access denied for user: 'root@localhost' (Using password: YES)'

Does it have something to do with the hosts file or is it an error in the
instructions or possibly something else?

frodo:~# cat /etc/hosts       localhost   frodo.nwadv.com         frodo     frodo.nwadv.com         frodo


P.S.  The box was a potato test cycle 2 install that has been kept

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