::got root?

14 11 2006

One of the most common questions posed by people new to Ubuntu has to do with root.  Brand new users usually know enough about Linux in general that they wonder why they didn’t have to create a root password, and experienced Linux users catch it right off the bat. 

Ubuntu disables the root account by default, opting instead to use sudo for administrative or root-like functions.  Since Ubuntu 6.06, users who attempt to perform an administrative function are prompted for their own password.  Prior to 6.06, users would be prompted for the root password, but this was a terminology bug–what the system was really looking for was that user’s password.

While this works well for 99.9% of the people out there, there are times when you don’t want to throw sudo at the start of every line to get something done.  If you would like to enable the root account and set a root password, all you do is:

sudo passwd root

You’re prompted for your password (because you invoked sudo), then you’re asked to enter a password for root, and confirm it. 

If you want to disable root, enter this at a command prompt:

sudo passwd -l root (that’s a lower-case L for lock)

Can I login graphically as root?

You can, but it is really not a good idea to enable this functionality.  It’s such a bad idea, in fact, that I’m not going to tell you how to do it.  If you really want to know, you can look here.

Starting graphical apps as root

I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioining again.  If you need to run a graphical application as root to, for example, update a configuration file or something, you don’t want to use sudo, as this will cause permissions problems later on that will prevent you from logging into your X session. 

Instead, you’ll use a slight modification of sudo.

In Ubuntu (gnome), Edubuntu, and Xubuntu, use gksudo appname

In Kubuntu, use kdesu appname

And that’s all there is to it. 






2 responses

1 12 2006
Bogey Lagger

Thanks for the useful info. I’m new to Xubuntu, and I was trying to edit grub’s menu.lst. Your help did the job.

2 12 2006




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