[Techtalk] Powers of root

jim jim at well.com
Sun Aug 31 16:51:02 UTC 2008

   there's a difference between 
$ su 
$ su - 
   using the su command alone is not the same as 
logging into a system as root. 
   using the  su -  command (with the hyphen as 
an argument) is the same. 
   the difference is that without the hyphen, su 
gives you root user powers but not the root user 
environment (most notably the value of the PATH 
environment variable) and /root/ home directory. 

   i'm not familiar with the  mc  command. 

   i can see a few possibilities: you made a typo 
(always the first guess), or the directories 
existed, or the hierarchy above was not as 
required, or your system implements linux SE. 
the error message should give a clue: was it 
exactly as you report or was their further info? 

On Sun, 2008-08-31 at 15:17 +0200, Anne Wainwright wrote:
> Hi, there,
> I thought root had unlimited powers of creation and 
> destruction and now I wonder about this.
> When installing sane and stuff (see concurrent posting 
> on this if interested) I was running, as root, two 
> scripts to install and update sane and hp3970 stuff.
> in both cases the scripts baled out 'unable to create 
> directory ....'
> in both cases i used mc and made the directories and 
> then rerun the script. it found the already-existing 
> directories and went ahead with no futher complaint. 
> For instance one directory  is /etc/udev which is 755 
> same as /etc
> Note, I open a terminal and then use su and log in as 
> root, this is just the same as logging in as root when 
> you start up linux, right?
> Question, why would this happen? I have noticed this 
> behaviour before.
> thanks, enjoy your Sunday.
> Anne

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