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Re: debian and ubuntu - answer from user not pretending to be guru

On Sat, 2 May 2009, Christofer C. Bell wrote:

On Sat, May 2, 2009 at 4:51 AM, Bret Busby <bret@busby.net> wrote:

On this computer, a desktop, I usually run Debian 4.0. I find it more
convenient, for most things, and I do not like the sudo that Ubuntu uses; I
prefer su - root. Before people start criticising that preference, it it my
preference, and, it is up to each individual, to choose the person's
preference, for whatever reasons that person makes the choice. That is one
reason for preferring Debian for the servers; the requirement of a root
password, for sysadmin, rather than being able to do sysadmin using a user
password is preferable, for me.

I'm not looking to criticize your choice, but the setting on Ubuntu to lock
root and use sudo is configurable (and you can, in fact, duplicate it on
Debian if you want).  If you want to use a root password on Ubuntu, simply
set one and then delete the configuration from /etc/sudoers that allows your
username to use sudo.
$ sudo passwd root
$ su - root
# visudo

And so on.  I'm sure you can find the line in there, it will be of the

username ALL=(ALL) ALL

Then save the file and sudo is no longer possible for your user account.

To duplicate the behavior on Debian, you do something similar:

$ su - root
# visudo
# passwd -l root

Adding the above line to sudoers (which opens automatically when you invoke
visudo).  This will give your account sudo access and lock the root account
(as Ubuntu does).

There's nothing special about how Ubuntu does it.  In fact, when you install
Etch you can have the Ubuntu behavior at installation time (when it prompts
for a root password, select Cancel, then in the installer menu, select the
option for configuring user accounts and select "No" when it asks if you
want to allow root to have a password).  It's all pretty self-explanatory in
the installer. This option was removed in Lenny's installer.

Anyway, again, not criticizing your desire to have a root password, I'm
simply pointing out that there's nothing special about what Ubuntu is doing
and if you want to have a root password on Ubuntu and use Ubuntu, you can.


Thank you for that.

Before I try it, please advise whether, in removing the sudo facility for users, the package management (both adding/removing packages, and, downloading and installing updates, and using synaptic) will work by entering only the root password.

Thank you in anticipation.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
  Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
  "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
  A Trilogy In Four Parts",
  written by Douglas Adams,
  published by Pan Books, 1992


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