[Techtalk] Powers of root

Anne Wainwright anotheranne at fables.co.za
Mon Sep 1 19:31:54 UTC 2008

Jim, hello

On Sun, 31 Aug 2008 09:51:02 -0700
jim wrote:

|>    there's a difference between 
|> $ su 
|> and 
|> $ 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 imagine that was it, something new I have learned today.
|>    i'm not familiar with the  mc  command. 

Midnight Commander, the linux version of the old Norton Commander for dos.
I didn't think linux users used anything else, nicer than the gnome file manager with two windows. I remember seeing it mentioned in a computer hobbyist magazine when I had a Sinclair, long before I had a PC model 286 so it is living history.

|>    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. 

SE ???

|> the error message should give a clue: was it 
|> exactly as you report or was their further info?

that was it except for typographical niceties, the ... represented the directory it was trying to create.

|> 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
|> > 

so much to do, so little time :(

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