> I have just installed Linux Mandrake 9.0 and am having a few problems.
> I know it is not wise to use the root account as default so I have
> created one to use. The problem I am having is:
> When I try to install things (netscape) and am asked if I would like
> to create the new dir I say yes and am told I do not have permission
Though it's correct that you for several reasons shouldn't
use the 'root' account as your day-to-day account, there
are certain times when you *need* the added priviliges and
controll that it gives you. Adding new users are one such
time... as is *installing* new software.
As a normal user, you only have priviliges from your
home-directory (/home/name) and downwards. Even if
you create a directory as root, your normal alter-ego
have no permission to write in it.
Unless you chose to install something under your home-
directory -- to be used by that user alone -- you'll
need root-priviliges (so you're able to install globally).
root-priviliges should *only* be used when you actually
_need_ them, so you'll usually log-in as a normal user,
do what you can as this user (e.g. downloading, unpacking
and compiling new software), and only if and when you're
unable to do anything more as that user (e.g. like
installing) invoke root-priviliges. The command 'su'
(followed by root's password) will allow you to become
root at any time... without logging-out. Type 'exit'
to go back to your normal identity as soon as you
don't need root-priviliges any longer.
To prevent damage, you can use 'su <username>' once
again to become one of the system-users (like bin,
adm, mail, deamon) -- when you do it as 'root' you
won't be asked for password and may even enter
accounts closed for log-ins. If you only intend
to clean-out the printer-directories, being 'root'
may be an over-kill... being just 'lp' or 'deamon'
may be enough, and you won't risk damageing anything
not related to printers. If you want to fix the
mail, try becomming the user 'mail' and so on.
Alternatively, you can make your normal ID member of
some of the system-groups. If you for example wants
to keep an eye on (and tamper with) the log-files, you
may make yourself a member of the adm-group. But be
careful, you shouldn't be a member of most of them.
As 'root' you should never have "." (current-directory)
in your PATH... actually, you shouldn't relay on PATH
at all, but use the full-path for *all* commands. That
way, you know exactly which command you run (instead
of typing "ls" to list files, you should type "/bin/ls").
You should also check and double check everything you've
typed before pressing "enter" and check that you actualle
are where you think you are in the directory-tree. There
is a *huge* difference between "rm *.txt" and "rm * .txt"
-- especially when you're *not* in "/root" as you thought,
but rather in "/".
Remember, you can do much as a normal user. You can
download software from the net. You can unpack it.
You can compile it. You can install it in a pseudo-
directory and make a package of it. It's first when
you actually wants to *install* the software/package
that you _have to_ become 'root'.
I hope this helped.