Note

As explained in other chapters, Ubuntu differs from other Linux distributions in that it uses the sudo command to allow normal users to execute system administration tasks. If you want to enable the root account, it is just a matter of entering sudo passwd root for a prompt to enter a new password for the root account. On the other hand, if you want to be able to use a root terminalthat is, not worry about entering sudo in front of every commandyou should enter sudo -i to get the familiar # prompt. After you have finished carrying out your work, just issue the exit command to return to normal user status.

Where you see the # prompt throughout this chapter, it means that you should run the command as root, so use one of the above methods to allow you to run the commands as needed.

A regular user is someone who logs on to the system to make use of it for nonadministrative tasks such as word processing or email. These users do not need to make systemwide changes or manage other users. However, they might want to be able to change settings specific to them (for instance, a desktop background). Of course, depending on how draconian the root user is, regular users might not even be able to do that!

The super user grants privileges to regular users by means of file and directory permissions (as covered in Chapter 5, "First Steps with Ubuntu"). For example, if the super user does not want you to change your settings in -/.profile (the ~ is a shell shortcut representing your home directory; see Chapter 15, "Automating Tasks"), root can alter the permissions so that you may read from, but not write to, that file.

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