Run As The Root Account

Introduction

Note: This article will only make sense if you have any knowledge of Linux.

Stop being a sissy. Every time you sudo a command, you deserve to have your man card taken away.

You heard me. It's time to stop being a little girl. It's time to start using your computer like a man.


Well, How Can I Do That?

You can start by running as the root account. Do you ever get annoyed because you forgot to put sudo in front of a command and received a permission denied error? Oh that's funny, I wouldn't know about that. Because I'm not a baby.


But What If I Make A Mistake That Breaks My System?

Listen, running for root is not for everyone. If you are so incompetent that you can't even handle using bash without typing rm -rf / every few commands, just stop reading here. Go back to the Ubuntu forums where all of your problems are packaged away for you in nice binaries because you can't even handle installing a program from source.

See, it's not so scary.


Okay, I'm Listening

First, move your crap to the root account. It's in /root. If your distro was stupid enough to not even create a root account and password on install, do that now. Just sudo su or sudo passwd and I guarantee that will be that last time you ever type that cowardly phrase.

Your first thoughts when moving all of your stuff from your home directory to root will be pleasant. Did you notice how everything was read fine, that you don't see anymore locks around your desktop, and that you suddenly have a full beard?

Guess where he got his beard

Go take the time to shave, you earned it.

Now that your account is all setup, go ahead, change a config file in /etc. Don't forget to not type sudo this time. What's that, a system update? Go ahead, run it straight on your terminal. Hey, Apache just updated, let's restart it. That'll be no problem on your root account.


Changes In Your Life

Now I'll be honest, running as the root account is not merely a computer decision. It will affect your entire life. People will not longer cut you in the lunch line. You find yourself shaving two times a day. When you tell some idiot to go screw themselves, don't be surprised if they actually do it this time.

The point is, you are in control now. Not someone else. It's a bit like people who have gambling issues, you should know when to stop. Whether it is an online casino or an in-house casino, knowing when to stop is very important. While you can still enjoy playing there, do so in moderate quantities. With the root account you can't become addicted to gambling, gambling can only become addicted to you.

Maybe you feel like using a GUI app to mount a drive real quick. It's fun not typing in your password to do something as trivial as that.


I'm Afraid Of The Power, What Is It Like Being In Control?

Okay, imagine this scenario. Rambo, First Blood Part 1. Rambo decides instead of being powerful and running as root, he'll run as the user account john. So he caused a bit of a ruckus in the town, and Colonel Trautman, who is running as root, contacts Rambo over the radio. He tells the lowly user john to come back to base and surrender himself. In this version, Rambo turns himself in, instead of getting to shoot that sherrif a couple times.

That's probably the worst movie ever. Do you know why Rambo is awesome? Because he ran as root. He told the Colonel that he would be making his own decision that day, and I think we can all agree it was the right one.

Do you know why Colonel Trautman couldn't save Rambo with the helicopter in First Blood Part 2?

This is what happens when you run on a user account

For some reason, he thought it would be a good idea to start running in a user account. Too bad Murdock ran as root. That's why Rambo had to run as root, otherwise the command

killall commies

would get him a permission denied error. There was no time to ask Murdock for kill rights and frankly, he wasn't going to grant them.




Other People Who Ran As Root
  • Han Solo
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • James Bond
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • The Terminator

SECURITY!!! You'll Never Convince Me!

And you'll never be as great as any of the people on that list. Enjoy your meaningless life.


Update: My Shout Out To dionoea At VLC

I participated in a thread on the VLC forums where running as root was a major issue. Basically, VLC had implemented code that blocked the root account from running the video player. It was hardcoded into the program. The reason for this was because some of the developers felt that nobody should run VLC on the root account, even though it would work fine.

Us root users made our case for running VLC on whatever account we want, and some pansy named Remi Denis-Courmont kept trying to argue that we shouldn't be running as root in the first place, so we have no business demanding that VLC removes their idiotic and unnecessary root check.

Thankfully, a developer named dionoea was able to come to a compromise with us. She added a compile time option that allowed VLC to be ran under the root account. The USE FLAG "run-as-root" was introduced into Gentoo's portage so that VLC can be compiled this way. Thank you, dionoea.

If you can think of any other projects that give you a hard time about running as root, let me know. Remember, it's your computer. Don't let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do.


Leave A Comment

Enter the number: 3554

Comment:(*required)


Matt Crowley

You are my hero.

09-17-2008


NoWhereMan (e.v.)

PROTIP: LOGIN WITH CAPS LOCK ENABLED TO ENJOY YOUR TRULY NEW AWESOMENESS

09-17-2008


Anonymous

ROOT IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL

09-17-2008


E

Poor attempt at humor. In case anyone takes this seriously, don't do this. If you ever run a malicious program (or maybe just one with a bad bug), this can ruin or comprise your system.

09-17-2008


S E O

E - you're such a fag.
Gary - runasroot.com !

09-17-2008


devolute

You very much sold me on the whole beard thing.

*strokes

09-17-2008


LHC

I am the LHC and I run as Root!

09-17-2008


Gary

You are on the track to success.

09-17-2008


60secs

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/02/24/bofh_2006_episode_8/
In the words of the immortal BOFH:
"So you're saying you always use root rather than your own account?"
"root is my own account..."

09-17-2008


Dodgy Pete

All those stupid -rwxr-x--- are for wankers
from your new manly root shell run the following cmd.

# find / -exec chmod 777 {}\;

09-17-2008


Fuelnatchos

You know, since I run as root, I've discovered far more interesting variations on rm -rf /... You have: dd if=/dev/random of=/dev/hda bs=1M count=99999, rsync --delete 'anypath' /, install vista, use a land mine (you must be root), set your password to 'root' and run sshd, KDE 4.0, LHC...

09-17-2008


bse

Real men don't use PHP, you sissy!

09-17-2008


root

; drop table mt_entry; go;

09-17-2008


Dan

Amen brother.

Since I started running as root, I am the big man on campus -- and I'm not even in school anymore. I can read, write AND execute; if you know what I mean. I can run a four-minute mile and that thing under my armpit cleared up IN SECONDS. Root access heals.

777, baby.

09-17-2008


davo

being the root user is the only way to get the real windows experience using Linux.

09-17-2008


M

Why not just run Windows 98 you cowards

09-17-2008


Steve Jobs

Will this work on Mac OS X?

09-17-2008


JRyan

I started running as root and now my dog obeys my every command, but bites the wife once a week. It's a fair trade.

09-17-2008


curt

Root is like crystal meth in a can.

Root is like crystal meth.

Root IS crystal meth!

09-17-2008


docatomic

"Comment (*required*)"...? Hmm! Yep; that's me, alright...

Okay then; here we go: this guy is right on. Real men install their operating systems - ANY goddam operating system, *including* Wimpdoze - WITH _separate userdata drives/partitions_, you turkeys! Real men then image their bootdrives and thereby become INVULNERABLE. They run as root all the bloody time then, dammit - with total impunity! Because NOTHING can ever "break" their system. Some sly bastard slipped you a 'hot' script? HAH! dd solves all problems... and in minutes you're back online and throwing attacks straight back AT said sly bastard. Real men don't put up with ANY 'user'-shaped crap; hell, they'll even run QNX on a toaster oven just to flame some forum idiots into oblivion! REAL men *change* the ways and means of doing things to suit THEIR needs and whims... instead of 'going with the flow' and sheepishly following the status quo flock's so-called methods.

And real men aren't afraid to point out exactly what's _wrong_, either - with operating systems, toaster ovens, OR herd-mentality dogma.

Grind those balls!

09-17-2008


Scott

I used to think about this. Until I got confused and ran rm -rf in / (typed in the wrong window).

UNIX knows how to do what it is told, unlike other not-so-manly OS's and punished me for my foolishness by doing exactly what I mistold it to do.

09-17-2008


howdy

brilliant. root the world !

09-17-2008


Whitney

Real men constantly interrupt their users' experience with ads, too, apparently.

But seriously, you're an idiot for running as root unless you also do automated backups. Have fun rebuilding your system when you fat-finger it one day! I'll be getting work done...

09-17-2008


Some guy

that is the most hilarious thing I have ever read!! thanks!

09-17-2008


Anonymous

Running as Root saved my marriage.

09-17-2008


Dave

Good idea, infact what other OS does that..... Oh yeah, Windows!


Impending Fail....

09-17-2008


iRoot

Ever since I've run as root I've kissed my prudish years goodbye and have been gleefully mounting everything in sight! Wow!

Thank you, Gary, for showing me the way of the root!

09-17-2008


Anonymous

Can I run root on a mac?

09-17-2008


Charles

Rambo is an awesome movie! Man gets sent to Nam to kill for his country. Man comes back to a country full of resentment over the recent war, and also of its psychologically and physically damaged veterans. The sheriff (who's played by the great Brian Dennehy the way) is the ultimate manifestation of this resentment. But he knows nothing of what it means to be a soldier. He's just a small town sheriff. But in the end Rambo overcomes his psychological aggression and moves past this stage of his life (this is, of course, in direct contradiction to the many Rambo sequels, which did in fact suck terribly).

Just my two sense on Rambo.

As far as running for root is concerned, a word of caution to your readers: note that if you haven't set up your current linux distro with a separate partition for your /root directory, if and when you install a new linux, you may lose all your personal data (unless you've backed it up somewhere).

I keep all of my music, movies, and personal file in their own partition and mount the partition as /home. This way I can write over the / partition with the new distros I play around with.

09-17-2008


Rasch

root does not define the man. having root does not make you man (most of the time having a beard means you a man though ... mostly). knowing about root does not make you a man.

a real man knows of root and has root and wields root with animal prowess. a real man doesn't need root ... root requires a real man, otherwise yer just a poser and require demotion.

09-17-2008


Anonymous

now I don't have to say 'sudo make me a sandwich'.

09-17-2008


serpent

ROOT WOOT ?

09-17-2008


David

The only time I've used sudo heavily was at one of those quirky sites whereby, we were given our on server by the in house IT admins, which we were allowed to do with as we needed, so long as we used "sudo". So even though we could do everything a normal admin could do, we had to prefix it with that damned command. The four characters in sudo followed by that space add up to five redundant key pressed... dear god it gets annoying, and I'm an atheist who shouldn't even be using god as an expletive.

09-17-2008


Anonymous

Is root compatible with my iPod?

09-17-2008


Tonio Loewald

Great post, but I think it would be funnier to have a table of folks who ran as root vs. those who didn't. E.g. Kirk ran as root. Picard ran as a user.
Palin runs as root, but her password is posted on the internet and she hasn't noticed her password is being changed constantly and her machine has 98% of its CPU doing stuff she doesn't recognize.

09-17-2008


rebus

Honest truth: I ran as root for about six months when I first switched from OS 9 to OS X. Running as root gave me back the control I was used to in OS 9. I could open and move anything. I even set it to show all hidden and system files.

I was GOD.

I never had any problems doing it. Really. Still, after a while, you have to come down off the high wire. These days, I use an admin account. It's even safer to have a regular user account, but that would make my balls shrink too much.

The trick to running as root in OS X is knowing how to enable it. Apple makes it hard to do, for your own safety. If you really want to know how, Google for it.

09-17-2008


Michael

`chmod -R 777 /` sounds like an excellent command to run, now you have the power. Then you can run all those exiting programs that failed "Permission denied" before.

09-17-2008


lol


# whoami

09-17-2008


toor

Lehman ran root

09-17-2008


Kick Ass

root has to sudo to run as me!

09-17-2008


xznofile

no, wait. what?

09-17-2008


nxcho

Chuck Norris does not run as root, but root must some times ask Chuck Norris for elevated privileges.

No one has ever seen Chuck Norris uid and survived.

09-17-2008


Chuck

My uid is -1

09-17-2008


DESU

DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU DESU

09-17-2008


Anonymous

Type DESU again

09-17-2008


mub

I don't use SatNav or Maps, I force buses off the road, I don't appear on Police speed guns, and my wind screen filters out all red lights becauces I always drive as Root!!

mub - :)

P.S. If you are a real man you'll let you parenter/Wife/Girl friend run as root!

09-17-2008


mub

Root don't need no spell checker neever - mub

09-17-2008


Thomas Nimstad

What? Isn't everybody running as root? You mean you can create user accounts? That was new. What are they for?
:-)

09-17-2008


weazzle

All iPhone users run as root.

09-17-2008


Ben Franklin

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
[ Ben Franklin ]

09-17-2008


Gary

Ben Franklin is right

09-17-2008


MoffDub

Thought you might want to know that your blog is spitting this nonsense at me:

Warning: DOMDocument::load() [domdocument.load]: ID c67 already defined in /usr/local/www/data/, line: 565 in /usr/local/www/data/ on line 99

Anyway, harsh and hilarious post.

09-17-2008


Gary

Whoops! Thanks for letting me know about that.

09-17-2008


Takashi

Oh Dae-su runs as root

http://versetti.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/oldboy-poster.jpg

09-18-2008


lynx user

my only complaint is this page took too long to load in lynx for dr-dos.

09-18-2008


Gary

Posting from lynx as well, that list of people who run as root really does make scrolling difficult I suppose. Sorry about that.

09-18-2008


Mike

That list seriously needs cleaning. Whoever thought Teletubbies run as root clearly needs to be taken out back and have a clue-by-four applied to him repeatedly.

09-18-2008


Jan

I think your wrong. Apparently Chuck Noris is not running as root. Root is running as chucknorris. And real real man should to the same.
su chucknoris
!

09-18-2008


Mr. Hyde

When Richard Stallman does su root, he drops privileges.

09-18-2008


Buddah in CLI

So if God created the first root account, who wrote his operating system for him?
I think that clinches it for reincarnation.
As you all strut about in a power frenzy, don't forget your SysOp can still rip out your diskpack or take all the card readers away from you.
:-)

09-18-2008


Mark

The advice is redicolous but the humor and writing style is great!

09-18-2008


Buddah in CLI

The case for the Sanitised. (see http://brajeshwar.com/2008/linux-root-power/)

Is root really dangerous ? Why?

Yes, the main reason being security. One of the important rules of Linux operating system states that root account shall be used only in case when we are unable to perform an operation as a normal user. If you are logged in as a root, your system is much more vulnerable to the external attacks. For example, your favorite web browser may probably have a security loophole and if you happen to use it from the root account, you expose the whole operating system the world! If you work on the same web browser using an unprivileged account, it could only affect your personal configuration and data (if it is unencrypted). Here lies the difference.

My Response...
Lynx has no such exploits, nor Kermit ;-p

If you have to dream up a rare set of circumstances to justify lack of freedom or restrict people from matches just because they don't have a warning label saying "Matches may cause fires", then go join your speed camera-loving, soft, whimpy, democrat-voting jellyfish friends.

From my cold, dead hands!
% rm -i God
rm: remove God? y

09-19-2008


amitheone

'THE' Trinity runs as root too

09-20-2008


Dan

@Fuelnatchos: You need /dev/urandom there or that won't work at all without taking ages to fill up the entropy pool (or you should plan on hitting a lot of meaningless keys for a few hours to fill it up).

09-22-2008


Neo

i've been using Linux for about4 years now and have no reason to run as root. its unnecessary and less secure to run apps as root. just my 2 cents. if i need to do something systemwise, i just sudo the command and then exit. no problem. with all the spyware and malware on the internet, its best to run as a regular user.

10-08-2008


Neo

PS --if you do pick something up on a rogue webpage, it could inherit the rights of root since you are logged in as root. if spyware or a virus gets root rights, then your system could easily become toast. i would never even consider running as root unless i need to make some changes on the system. then i immedialty log out of root.

10-08-2008


Lord Carvin

Did you just bad mouth Rambo 1? That is the greatest Rambo movie ever!! Unlike the other ones where he appears to be bulletproof for some reason and being used as a tool to spread american propaganda.

10-09-2008


NO1NOS

KILLALL COMMIES

10-21-2008


Anonymous

i love you. raptor jesus. this is funny ^^ lol i love you :)

11-05-2008


FredV

What a misinformed and retarded post, it's a lot more safe to only run commands that really need to be run by root as root, and the other commands as your normal user. I've always used "su -" in other distros and I think the Ubuntu sudo-setup is a much superior replacement.

Only noobs run everything as root, just like in the old Windows days.

02-03-2009


UID -1

Root is for women and small goats.
uid -1 > root

03-17-2009


Bob

As funny as this is, I feel like I get the same experience in Windows Command Prompt. Of course, I prefer its origins (DOS) to all of the stupid "Show me my files" when you access such "restricted files", but I can't seem to fathom installing Linux again. Feels like I'm pissing in a fan whenever I do.

04-01-2009


Snusmumriken

I love the fact that Snusmumriken was on your list. He's awesome.

I am now running as root. Thank you. <3

10-06-2009


notdikline

Awesome: sudo $(echo ez -es /rgp/ /ova/ | tr a-z@. n-za-m.@)

11-12-2009


Julie

I started running as root but have not yet suddenly grown a full beard. This is a good thing, however, as I am a very feminine and quite attractive female. The whole "beard" thing would ruin that.

01-12-2010


d

nice funny article, dude, but you might wanna disallow people from adding names to that list, as some idi0ts seem to enjoy entering racist slurs in there. maybe cleanup that list a bit.

dan.

02-10-2010


root

You obviously don't have kids. They get into everything. Don't leave your root lying around.

02-12-2010


root

VLC has a check for root on nix, but on windows it has no problem running as Administrator? That project needs to run as root more often. Should be added to the SDLC. Implementation, Run as root, Maintenance, etc.

03-19-2010


linuxmaven

Why not create /etc/RUNASROOT, for all programs like this instead of special run-time and/or compile-time options.

03-20-2010


turismo

personally, all the excitement of finding this site was almost all lost when I read the run-as-root thread on the videolan forums, only to find that Rémi Denis-Courmont, lead developer of VLC, is a bitch. preaching to others of what they can or cannot do in an open source project? please. no wonder you work at nokia. perfect fit you tyrannical pig.

07-11-2010


Casey

maybe instead of crippling the video player from working for people who who control their systems efficiently, they should just disable all the server crap from the video player. If I need a server, I'll enable it.

08-01-2010


loe

You had me at "beard".

03-15-2011


Mickee

Puppy Linux runs as root! We are the Puppy. Lower your shields. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance if futile!" We are the Puppy!

04-20-2011


MrFricks

OMFG! i'm running as root!!!

04-21-2011


Mettalink

Um Gary is usually cool but this isn't such a great idea, i don't suggest using a program just to shorten .5 seconds worth of typing... In my opinion it compromises the security of Ubuntu and i guess that's the whole point of most Linux based OS's.

04-27-2011


rootoftree

I grew a beard ever since i switched to puppy linux. Now i feel manly just like han solo, teletubies, che, bruce lee, the power rangers, the powerpuff girls ...

05-07-2011


aitch

For anyone seriously interested in running as root, safely, try Puppylinux

d/l here http://puppylinux.org/main/Download%20Latest%20Release.htm

05-08-2011


aitch

To anyone seriously interested in running as root, safely...try PuppyLinux

Been using it for over 3 years..no problems

d/l here

http://puppylinux.org/main/Download%20Latest%20Release.htm

forum here

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/

enjoy

Aitch

05-08-2011


Anonymous

You're stupid, and you must be a bad typist. It takes me less than a second to open a root terminal if I need one, and I don't take the risk of ruining my entire system over because of one slight fault.

05-10-2011


Gary

Only a moron could accidentally ruin up his system. Good job on admitting you're a moron.

05-11-2011


Mechanic

Great, Gary! Thanks. Now I realized that I'm growing each time I don't type sudo!
And even more, to share such a beautiful feeling with everybody around I have administator's rights to all users of our windows domain! And of course I will grant unleashed rights for all users of any system I could get access to. :-)

07-27-2011


killdash951

Google Chrome/Chromium blocks use in the root account, but that kind of thing is expected from a company like that. It's not like I would install the world's most prolific piece of spyware anyway.

10-02-2011


ijontichy

I changed my UID to 0 in /etc/passwd, and my wang instantly had its length raised to the power of itself. In other words, I can now use my dong to bridge countries.

12-31-2011


SF

Queefboy? Wow dude, bold. Hey, if you wanna shave four times a day (twice on your face & twice on your crotch) run rt/11. If you wanna shave your whole body constantly when you're not running the computer then run vms.

01-30-2012


root

repeated for emphasis (it's my machine)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/02/24/bofh_2006_episode_8/
In the words of the immortal BOFH:
"So you're saying you always use root rather than your own account?"
"root is my own account..."

06-16-2012


Garry

Hey Gary, this post was awesome to read. I just had to post a direct link to it from my site... too good to pass up. Quick question: What program are you using to run your site? I've been looking for an alternative to Wordpress and have experimented with a few other programs. Chronicle is something I have been playing around with for a few months, it's great, but isn't quite exact to what I am looking for. If you wouldn't mind contacting me back and sharing I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

07-06-2012


Larhonda

Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

02-26-2014


Maddog Davis

full points for saying what needs to be said again(, and again)* ... to ward off the braying goats

10-22-2014