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Re: F10 and no root login - impossible to maintain systems!



Jud Craft wrote:


Or, to put it bluntly, when the Linux distribution isn't smart enough
to protect "non-technical users" (an admittedly subjective term) from
technical problems.  Which is often.

Then let's fix that problem.

But your critique, Mr. Sundaram, doesn't seem to imply that people
shouldn't login as root -- merely that you disagree with allowing them
to open a root session in X.  To be rhetorical, we must ask, why?
After all, there's no such thing as "partial root power" -- you either
have full root privileges in a terminal in a normal user X session, or
full root privileges in a root X session.

There is a big difference in terms of security between a person, login in as a non-root user and then doing su - compared to a root X session. Having a root X shell makes it trivial to damage your system accidentally as well.

Here's the why:  you feel that a root X session is too insecure --
which it may indeed be.  So we believe that the "ideal" method is to
not allow X root logins.  But keep in mind, this is not actually an
ideal.  It's a kludge to go around the fact that X is designed rather
horribly from a security standpoint.  The "user session only" method
allows you to work around that.

While moving X out of root is the right decision and work is being done on that, it is also going to take more time. Meanwhile, it is always good to run programs with the least amount of privileges possible as a basic security principle. That isn't a kludge.

But in the above case, user-session-X goes down.  You say login at
runlevel 3.  But let's face it, many users comfortable with Linux
still aren't at the "I roll my own shell-scripts" stage -- they still
work in GUI mentalities, and odds are, even if they can roll their own
shell-scripts, they won't understand how to fix administrative errors
as well as if they use the actual GUI administrative tools.

If they can't fix it, then they are going to need somebody else to help it. If you don't know what you are doing, you shouldn't be playing around in a root shell.

For most users, the GUI is critical for maintaining their system.  So
it is critical that the GUI be not allowed to fail.

I am not sure about most but no disagreement on that in principle, we should take steps to avoid failure.


Hence, leave the root-session-X backdoor open, (perhaps with a catch
-- for example, network functionality is disabled in root-session-X --
so that the only possible errors can come from user error, rather than
security vulnerabilities.  how about that?) or come up with another
solution.

That isn't a solution since network capabilities are how you troubleshoot the problem in my instances.

  "No GUI" for the sake of safety is a no-go solution for
many people.

It isn't no GUI however. It is about minimizing the number of programs running with elevates privileges.

Rahul


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