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What is "root"?

Novell Cool Solutions: Question & Answer

Posted: 1 Jun 2005

Q:
I always hear about the "root" user. Could you help me out on that?

A:
Unlike Windows, Linux doesn't recommend using your system with administrator privileges on a daily basis.

On a basic level, Linux provides "user" accounts and a "root" account.

User accounts are the ones used on a daily basis to perform most functions and to run most programs.

The root account is the account used to administrate the system. It has full access to everything on the system, but should not be used to run daily programs.

There are many reasons for this, but the main one is security. If someone were to successfully hack into a program which had root access, they would have access to do anything they want to your system. If they had user access, they could still do damage, but not to the extent if they had root access.

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