[CentOS-docs] becoming root

Tue Apr 8 16:30:24 UTC 2008
Ned Slider <nedslider at f2s.com>

Rafał Ślubowski wrote:
> 2008/4/6, Alan Bartlett <ajb.stxsl at googlemail.com>:
>> Perhaps a mention of sudo and sudoers could also be made?
> And consolehelper for GUI users.
> Regards,
> Rafal

Hi Rafał,

I've had a quick look at consolehelper, and I'm still not sure I fully 
understand how it works, at least enough to be able to write a section 
on it. I understand it uses pam authentication when running a program 
that requires root privileges and requests the root password 
(system-config-services being an example), but I don't fully understand 
how a user would use it, although I see any application could 
potentially be configured in /etc/pam.d/

My initial intent was to write a short article to be useful to beginners 
explaining how they could become root in order to achieve common tasks 
(as opposed to logging in to the GUI desktop as root!) and highlight 
some of the common pitfalls ('su' vs 'su -'), as much to serve as a 
quick FAQ for forum helpers to link to rather than explaining it over 
and over again. I fear it is beyond my abilities/knowledge to expand the 
article much further than this.

How far such an article should be expanded, and whether we wish to cover 
every conceivable method for launching something with root privileges is 
probably not something for me to answer. That said, if you'd (or anyone) 
like to expand on my initial remit and write an additional section, 
please feel free :)

On an additional note, whilst investigating consolehelper, I also 
noticed the "Run Command..." option on the KDE Menu (for those who don't 
use KDE, it's a graphical run box that also allows one to specify a 
different users credentials). I could see how that would be useful to 
new users who are afraid of the command line, and should maybe be 
included, but again I have no knowledge of the underlying mechanism by 
which it works. Perhaps a gnome user could advise if gnome has similar