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What does it mean for the root account to be disabled in Fedora 18?

asked 2012-09-28 20:02:58 -0500

davidva gravatar image

updated 2012-10-03 23:45:21 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

I came across this discussion on Fedora Forum.

If I cannot choose a root password, how can I install a program from a terminal?

sudo? su?

What happens if I run the following from a terminal:

su - root -c 'miprogram'

Will it work?


will this work to run as myuser with privileges like root?

su - myuser -c 'miprogram'


Will we see the system with sudo?

sudo yum install yumex

Anyone know about this?

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answered 2012-10-03 23:53:48 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

updated 2012-10-03 23:54:37 -0500

The intention of this feature is for administrative users to be configured with sudo and similar "authorize as self" programs. From the command line, you'd mostly use sudo, but PolicyKit and other GUI tools would use a similar policy. In any case, they would work out of the box.

I believe that in the F18 alpha, the new installer and first login process weren't all ready to provide a slick experience for this, so it's not clear if this will actually be the final-release behaviour or not..

For some background, I hope you don't mind if I refer you off-site to a couple of posts I've made on Unix & Linux Stackexchange on relevant topics:

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I hope you don't need to do something with escalated privileges every 15 minutes. Our timeout in Fedora for sudo and polkit is still the default 5, which is better. More importantly, though, firefox is constrained by an selinux policy, so should be unable execute programs it shouldn't.

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2012-10-04 15:42:56 -0500 )edit

It's traditional for members of the wheel group to be admins. This is how Fedora (and I think Ubuntu) implement giving access to sudo and policykit-enabled admin actions. That way, access controlled by an easily-scripted action (changing group membership) rather than by editing fragile conf files.

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2012-10-05 11:05:31 -0500 )edit

answered 2012-10-03 23:36:42 -0500

sideburns gravatar image

Sudo will work just fine when there's no root password, once it's properly set up. After all, that's how Ubuntu works by default. Getting sudo set up when there's no root password is another issue, and I can't help you there because I never use sudo unless I'm helping somebody with Ubuntu.

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Asked: 2012-09-28 20:02:58 -0500

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Last updated: Oct 03 '12