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I'm not sure I'm even asking the question right, but basically what I'm wondering is whether it is safe to go about using the user that the install wizard had me create, and disregard the existence of a root user, or do I need to explicitly disable root login and/or do anything else.

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Safe in what sense? – Paul Nov 19 '12 at 23:41
@Paul - good question, I'm not sure. Safe from some other user being able to log in as root, or from some program that I run when SSH'd in as a sudo user doing something that it shouldn't. – orokusaki Nov 19 '12 at 23:42
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Ubuntu's default installation configuration is to set up a disabled root account (yet does exists). Disabled in a sense that it has no password set and PAM does not allow to authenticate without a password set. However, the user you've created during installation is included in the sudo group, so this user can get root privileges using sudo.

In terms of security it is a little bit safe to use a non-standard user name in a default installation apart from root, which is much easier to guess.

If you need to enable the root account, just do sudo su -, then passwd to set a password for root.

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The default Ubuntu installation does not allow a person to login anonymously as "root".
So "yes", you can ignore the "root" user, and use the sudo command prefix to perform operations that need superuser privileges.

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