root vs user. installing firefox

Simon Geard delgarde at ihug.co.nz
Sat Dec 20 01:03:45 PST 2008


On Fri, 2008-12-19 at 23:26 -0600, Ralph Porter wrote:
> Why the "golden rule" of not working as root?
> 
> In the mainframe world we control access with a security package.
> This keeps most users from hurting themselves.  I've always have had
> unlimited access (aka root) and never burned myself.  Maybe linux is
> not as forgiving?

It's just a matter of minimizing accidents, since the worst thing you
can do as an unprivileged user is delete the files owned by that user.
Whereas a mistake as root could delete the files owned by *all* users,
and leave you with a non-booting system. So, why risk running with
permissions to do the latter except when you actually need to?

That said, I don't always follow that advice - my scripted builds run
entirely as root, since having a script acquire root permissions partway
through is a pain. But yeah, it comes down to that the less time spent
running with maximum permissions, the more chance of a serious accident
with them.

Simon.
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