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This is a question about Linux Ubuntu (and Mint). As a new user to the Linux system, I was interested in the fact that Ubuntu doesn't allow the PC owner to be root/administrator. Regardless of whether there are good reasons for this I am puzzled.

If I want to do smething for which I need root privileges for I have to use the sudo command. But then I wonder to myself what is the point of taking out the root user if you can, in effect, become the root user by sudo (and of course, you need to be PC owner at the time). I'm not sure what has been solved by this.

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What's the actual question here? Do you want to know how to create/activate the root account in Ubuntu or just understand why they made this design choice? –  Windos Aug 15 '11 at 8:17
    
I dont understand why they made the design choice. –  P_Q Aug 15 '11 at 8:20
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The Ubuntu Site lists a number of things they feel are advantages to using their sudo approach. I'll pick out the ones I think are good reasons to go this route:

  • The Ubuntu installer has fewer questions to ask.
  • Users don't have to remember an extra password.
  • Every cracker trying to brute-force their way into your box will know it has an account named Root and will try that first. (i.e. if there is no root account then they won't know, without a bit of work, what the other accounts on the system are.)
  • sudo can be setup with a much more fine-grained security policy.
  • The Root account password does not need to be shared with everybody who needs to perform some type of administrative task(s) on the system (see the previous bullet).
  • The authentication automatically expires after a short time (So you can't walk away from the machine and have someone come along 15 minutes later with full root rights.)

The biggest thing for me is the last one. If you log into the GUI as root and don't lock your session, then there's now telling what someone with physical access can do. Not as big an issue if you live alone or whatever but I still find it a nice feature.

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You might want to also look at the Misconceptions section near the end of the linked page. –  Windos Aug 15 '11 at 8:30
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Its just a security measure. People would simply log in with root access all the time, thereby allowing malicious software & people to access your machine.

You can access the root user by giving root a password

sudo passwd root

enter in your password, then the new root password, and confirm

you will then be able to log in as root

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