Open Source

Wacky Linux Part 10: Mea culpa

In our last episode, I outlined my clumsy solution to an Ubuntu

5.10 driver/permissions problem, then railed against being innately

locked out of the Ubuntu root account. I presumed that Ubuntu had a

crossed wire during the install—probably missed due to my

preoccupation with the driver problem—but, as several Ubuntu veterans

quickly pointed out, a disabled root account is actually a core feature of Ubuntu. Clearly, I need a swift dose of RTFM.

Member gwhittaker probably spelled it out best: "In Ubuntu, su is disabled by default (as you found

out). However, virtually any task that you might normally do from a

root prompt is done using the sudo command, which runs its argument

with root priviledges. Ubuntu assumes that the user account you create

during installation is the primary, administrating account... therefore

you enter that account's password in response to sudo's password


Now, several readers suggested methods for reenabling or hacking back

the classic root account (check the comments of the last episode), but

I suppose I'm OK with sudo for the moment. It does seem a little weird, though.

So anyway, now I've got a working Linux laptop, it now needs to start performing as an office solution. I've got OpenOffice

2.0. I've obviously shown no propensity to get a clue by reading

documentation. I need this machine to be able to read MS Office 2003

Word documents with embedded templates. I'm fully willing to start

bumbling around with these kinds of files without the requisite clue,

but if anybody has any warnings or advice about OpenOffice/MS Office

cross-compatibility, I'd love to hear it. Specifically, how do I move

files between my Linux Laptop and my Windows XP desktop, short of

e-mail things to myself?


Keep up with the Trivia Geek's ongoing Wacky Linux Adventures with the wackylinux tag. If it doesn't say wackylinux, it's not really a wacky Linux adventure.

About Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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