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Really basic Linux question

By coyotech2 ·
I have a Linux practice server, to learn on, with the idea of moving to Linux in the future. I tried to access or do something awhile back (I don't remember what) and got a not authorized error. So I looked into the groups and saw adm, which I took to be administrators. I put my user name in that group, thinking that should give me access to everything, like in Windows. When I rebooted the server I couldn't log in with any user name at all.

Anybody know what I did wrong? I figure it's a really basic mistake...

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It would be a bit of a help if you said which Distro

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Really basic Linux questi ...

You are running!

Mostly the privileges are setup during install and then require admin privileges to either add remove or alter. At a guess I'd say that you altered a user with limited privileges without being logged on as admin. But with almost all the the newer Distro's this is very hard to do as they insist that you first log in as Admin before you can begin to change things.

There should be a "Master" Password that should get you back in but if you didn't install the Distro and don't have ready access to the person who did you may have a problem.

Try Linux for Dummies while the name is a bit off putting it is written in simple English so that the average Windows user can make the transition to Linux far easier. The main problem that you will face is that Linux just works differently and if you have so far only worked with Windows you will have some real problems as what is common to Windows just doesn't work with Linux.


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Use install disk to repair or reinstall

by stress junkie In reply to Really basic Linux questi ...

If your distrubution supports repairing a broken system then boot the first installation CD and select this option. Otherwise you should probably just reinstall the whole system.

For the future, don't try to put a regular user account into a privileged group. You have the root account for doing privileged tasks. Your normal user account should be restricted. It's a safety feature. And don't use the root account for normal daily activity such as email or web browsing. It's also very helpful to do this if you are trying to learn Linux administration. You will see what the normal user settings allow you to do and what you are prevented from doing. So, do things the normal way until you are experienced enough to know what to expect when you do something new.

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But it is the best way to learn

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Use install disk to repai ...

The honesty here is that you learn best by your mistakes and you'll make a lot of them initially as getting to know Linux is like learning a foreign language.

But what I used to fear the most was a training course where nothing went wrong. The best lessons are only learned by your mistakes.


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by Jaqui In reply to But it is the best way to ...

took me a long time to learn linux, and boy I did an awefull lot of re-installing after my mistakes destroyed the system.

but I definately learned from them.

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by apotheon In reply to Really basic Linux questi ...

I'm not quite clear on what you managed to do. I recommend, however, that you learn a little about the multi-user environment concept around which Unix and its descendants have been built.

Linux, as a Unix-compatible OS, is designed as a multi-user OS. That means that it runs different user accounts in different "user spaces". That's a fancy way of saying that it keeps what one user account does separate from what another user account does.

Normally, you want to use your standard user account. Sign in as your standard username, whatever that is, and use the computer in that manner. When you need to do something that requires administrative permissions, you either sign out and sign back in as the root user (username "root"), or you type "su" at the command line and enter the root password when prompted. If you signed out and back in, do so in reverse when you're done with whatever administrative tasks you're working on (by signing out of root and back in under your standard user account). If you used "su" to gain administrative permissions, you should be able to simply type "exit" and hit the Enter key to get out of the administrative mode.

This is important for a number of reasons, but the biggest one to remember is this: It helps keep your system secure. The fact that you can't do certain things when not signed in as root is a GOOD THING, because that means that crackers, trojans, computer virus infections, and other challenges to your system's security also cannot do these things without accessing the root account. If you're just signed in as root all the time (or have administrative capabilities assigned to your standard user account by default), malicious users and malicious code will find it easier to execute harmful routines on your computer without your express permission.

Even if you're on a stand-alone computer that isn't even connected to a network, you should stick to this habit of keeping administrative and non-administrative use separate: it's just a good habit to be in.

It is in large part because of the lack of separation of user spaces (and even XP Professional doesn't fully separate the user spaces the way Linux and other Unix-compatible OSes do) that Windows computers are so much less secure by nature than a well-maintained Linux computer is.

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Hope it works for u

by samjkd In reply to Really basic Linux questi ...

in most linux distributions the user name 'root' is created by default and has all administrative rights. i think while installing linux u should be prompted to enter root password if u remember it u can login as 'root' and enter the password

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Linux 1

by Thrash Cardiom In reply to Really basic Linux questi ...

reboot your computer. If you are using lilo as a bootloader you should be able to get to a boot prompt. If you can, type in 'linux 1'. This will cause the distribution to boot into runlevel 1 which will leave you at a command prompt with root level access. You should then be able to undo the damage.

If you use grub as a bootloader then you will need to edit the commandline and put 'linux 1' at the end of it.

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