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Hands on: Get connected with Ubuntu Linux

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Ubuntu

We've been doing a series on Ubuntu Linux, in which I have explained how to get DVDs and other video formats playing, and set up Evolution, the email and groupware program. Now, we’ll look at user privileges and network connections.

When you install and set up Ubuntu, you may notice there’s no need to enter a root (super-user) password. When we’ve performed administration tasks through the graphical tools the desktop has asked for our user password, and when we’ve performed similar tasks at the command line we’ve run the ‘sudo’ command and had to provide the same.

Ubuntu does not permit access to the root account by default. There are many reasons for this, primarily security. Using the root account can be dangerous; a wrong command can wipe your hard drive.

Running as root also removes all the system’s file security; you can overwrite and change any file. Trojan virus developers would be happy if people used root blindly more often, but luckily it’s rarely necessary.

Ubuntu implements sudo for super-user access, a program that temporarily provides full access to a restricted set of users.

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