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Does a user in /etc/security/user with the parameter admin set to true (admin = true) have the same privileges as the root user?

According to IBM (full information here):

admin Defines the administrative status of the user. Possible values are: true The user is an administrator. Only the root user can change the attributes of users defined as administrators. false The user is not an administrator. This is the default value.

Is there another type of user, or are admin and root the same?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Short answer: No, "admin" and "root" are not the same.

First, a bit of background.

AIX has a predefined group named "security". Any member of this group has elevated privileges, to allow running commands such as mkuser, rmuser, chgroup, etc. They can run these commands against any other user, unless the target user has "admin=yes" set on their account or one of their member groups.

In other words, being an "admin" prevents members of "security" from issuing security-related commands (including changing passwords) against them.

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admin and root are not the same.

To my knowledge, just having admin = true in /etc/security/user doesn't grant you special powers. For example, I just made the change to my normal account as root (setting my user account to admin = true). I su - to my account and try 'useradd' and get "Execute Permission Denied"

The only thing I've noticed this affecting is my lsuser -f [username] information. It reflects the change in my admin status.

If I had to guess, it's just a status flag and that's where it's kept.

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