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Five *nix Myths Busted

Jan 27, 2010, 07:33 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ken Hess)

[ Thanks to Ken Hess for this link. ]

"You'd be surprised as to how often even the most technical people spout these myths to each other and to the unsuspecting and unknowledgeable bystander. I have to bite my tongue when I hear them. And now that you know them, I hope it ruins your day too when someone slips into mythland with one of these gems.

"They are in reverse order of how much they irritate me. Enjoy.

"5. Logging in as Root - The long-held myth that you should never login as root is ridiculous. The logic goes something like this: Login as a standard user, then su to root or use sudo to run something as root. Yes, it's safer to do so but not by much. If you su to root, then you are root. If you use sudo then you are executing a program, editing a file or doing whatever it is you're doing as root.

"Should you disable the ability to ssh as root? Yes.

"Should you never login as root to a system? No.

"Should you always use sudo to perform single commands as root? If you're afraid of what you might do. But there's a caveat with sudo too. If you're actively doing things with sudo, you only have to enter your password once during a session, unless you walk away or take a five minute break, then you'll be prompted again for it.

"If you're careless, you're going to make unrecoverable errors regardless of using su or sudo. Be careful."

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