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    SubjectRe: [PATCH] Single user linux

    On Thursday, April 26, 2001, at 07:03 AM, <imel96@trustix.co.id> wrote:
    > he owns the computer, he may do anything he wants.

    This sentence really stood out for me, and implies a profound lack of
    understanding of multi-user machines. No offense intended.

    I've been a Unix admin for over ten years, and I like to think that I
    know my way around pretty well. But I do not and will NEVER log in to a
    machine as root to do work. I am the only user of my MacOS X laptop and
    home Linux boxes, and I still have my own personal login on all of
    them. What's at issue is not ownership or trust, but one of
    accountability and safety.

    Any OS worth its weight in silicon will make a distinction between
    blessed and unblessed users. It can be phrased in different ways --
    root vs. non-root, admin vs. non-admin. But no one should EVER log in
    to a machine as root. Period. (1)

    Multi-user/modern operating systems exist precisely to destroy the fatal
    flaw that you are attempting to reintroduce. Users should have reduced
    privileges during normal use, and conditional privilege on demand. Safe
    from User Error and no less functional on GUI-based systems.

    People keep saying this, but I'll say it again. This can easily be done
    in user-space. This HAS been done. Many times. Well. It's possible
    to put a user in privileged mode automatically, but I'm not convinced
    that an extra prompt to go into privileged mode is a bad thing from a
    usability standpoint.

    So it doesn't need to be in the kernel. And why put it there if it
    doesn't need to be? Even if it's off by default, it's bloat. And
    dangerous, conceptually flawed bloat that can't be disabled with
    'chkconfig' or 'rpm -e'. And how many people will use it? And should
    the kernel group allow them to from an out-of-box kernel? As I
    understand it, part of the responsibility of the maintainers is to
    maintain a conceptually focused kernel. There's nothing preventing you
    from distributing your patch, but inserting this into "the" kernel seems
    unacceptable IMVHO.

    I think we understand the "why" of your patch, but I think you need to
    elucidate further on how the ends justify the means.

    Sorry to kick a dead horse,
    --
    Ken.
    brownfld@irridia.com

    (1) Except for gnarly testbed/admin machines, etc. etc.
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