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Re: HELP! can't become root

On Sat, Oct 06, 2007 at 09:11:30PM -0700, tom arnall wrote:
> On Saturday 06 October 2007 20:46, Kevin Mark wrote:
> > On Sat, Oct 06, 2007 at 11:30:42AM -0700, tom arnall wrote:
> > > Realistically, is there any way I can fix my system so I can log in  as
> > > root, without reinstalling the OS?
> >
> > Here is the question: lets say you fix the initial problem and CAN log
> > in as root. What next? You have a few hundred files with the wrong
> > permission.
> >
> > Q: How do you fix this? A: with great pains!
> >
> > On an average unix system, you can access the data or configuration by
> > using a live cd or similar, then back that up. Now that you have the
> > important data like the output of 'dpkg --get-selections´, you now know
> > what packages to install when you reformat the partition! So you do a
> > base install, use 'dpkg --set-selections', do the other bits to install
> > the rest of the packages, and in about 1/2 a day, you can be back to a
> > reasonable state.
> >
> > The other way is to fiddle with a few hundred files until you get an
> > only mildly broken system. At least that is the way I look at it, YMMV.
> > K
> But I would still like to get a list of the normal /dev perm's. Keep in mind 
> that my system, so far ;) , seems to be functioning normally, except I can't 
> do 'su'. Another consideration is that I'm thinking of getting new hardware 
> and would as soon put off the systems work until then.

If you can use dpkg and assocated commands, you can try to 'reinstall'
most of the ESSENTIAL packages until the command works, or maybe trace
the reverse dependencies one by one and reinstall them until it works. I
once had a command that was buggy and I did this and it seem to fix it.
E.g. If command X depends on A, B and C. restall them. IIRC this should
unpack the tarballs from the binary packages and overwrite the files
and their permissions.
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