RE: Best explanation why NOT to run as administrator/root

Subject: RE: Best explanation why NOT to run as administrator/root
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 1 May 2013 09:21:54 -0400

-----Original Message-----
> From: Lauren

> On 4/30/2013 9:18 AM, McLauchlan, Kevin wrote:
> > Who can recommend the best and most persuasively presented summary of why
>> one should NOT log in as Administrator (or root) for every-day, ongoing computer use?

> * Because it's too easy to make a mistake no matter how perfect a
> person thinks they are.
> * When there is a change to something in the system there is no way to
> track what user did it since more than one person is Administrator
> and sometimes people deny accountability when something breaks.
> * Every once in awhile a person may pop a sprocket and try to damage
> something, like a hacker.

> > We were given a VM in which to run our apps (like Flare, GIMP, Visio,
> > various other tools, etc.). ...
> > I gave the other guy his credentials AND the Administrator PW, since we
> > are each other's backup, and I expected some sense from him.

> You made a serious mistake. Only the server owner should give out that password.

It's not "serious" - just annoying. I have to refute that accusation, in
a forum this public, that would be seen by future employers.

In this case, the server owner doesn't care, and doesn't need to care.
He provides us a VM on his large server, nicely insulated from the test VMs that are his real concern.
What we do with it is up to us. This is not the IT department and the main corporate net. This is a department-controlled dedicated test network and server.
We can always fix it, or ask him to re-install the original clean OS image, if we really mess up.

But then, we'd have to go find, re-install, re-activate, etc.... all our apps and tools.
Also, it would be "we", not just the other writer, who would have egg on our faces.

We two writers are supposed to be co-equal here.
>From the perspective of the guy we report to, we should be able to sort out any little friction points.
Normally, that is the case.

In this case, it's like discovering that somebody you've rented an apartment with likes to spit on the rug or pee in the sink, and doesn't find anything wrong with it.

The points that I raised myself, and the points that you made are all very fine, but don't have the cachet of a nice summary article or tutorial found on an expert site. I was just hoping somebody knew of such a handy article.

The point of asking was to have a "solution" that would take _less_ time than re-installing all our stuff and saying "I told you so".

Mining the weebs and compiling my own would take ... sheesh!... almost as much time as this thread is sucking! :-)

Can o' worms. Need bigger can.

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