Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 28th Feb 2012 23:11 UTC
Linux Linus Torvalds on requiring the root password for mundane tasks. "So here's a plea: if you have anything to do with security in a distro, and think that my kids (replace 'my kids' with 'sales people on the road' if you think your main customers are businesses) need to have the root password to access some wireless network, or to be able to print out a paper, or to change the date-and-time settings, please just kill yourself now. The world will be a better place." Yes, it's harsh (deal with it, Finns don't beat around the bush), but he's completely and utterly right. While there's cases where it makes sense to disable certain settings (public terminals, for instance), it is utterly idiotic that regular home users have to type in their root password for such mundane tasks.
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ndrw
Member since:
2009-06-30

All these examples are legitimate user tasks on single-user desktops or shared workstations.

Guess what, the user _will_ do all of this (after jumping through several hops) because he _is_ the admin. OTOH, the user _will not_ create another low privileged account for running his browser or Skype, ideally one per identity, even though that would greatly enhance his own security and privacy.

Centrally managed time-sharing systems are a different story but (1) Linus didn't talk about them, (2) they have staff who know which distribution to choose or how to change default configuration.

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