Managing user accounts in Lindows

Thursday, 13 November 2003, 1:20 PM EST

Lindows, a distribution of Linux, does not require you to set up user accounts; by default you log in as the Administrator. This article explains why you should have user accounts anyway and how to manage them. Experienced Linux users can safely skip ahead to the Setting Up Accounts section.

Before you can use a Linux system, you need to log in using a user account. A user account is a record that the system keeps for each user to record system data about that user, such as the user's password. The account is linked to a user name that is unique on a Linux system. The system checks the user account data to decide whether to grant or deny each user access to files and devices on the system.

A special account called root can be found in any Linux or other UNIX-based system. The Lindows login manager calls this account Administrator. Sometimes the root account is called the Super-User account. This account has full permission over the system--it can do almost anything.

In most situation, when you are logged in using the root account you have too much power. You can delete or overwrite any file on the system and possibly make the system stop working correctly. If someone can trick you into running a program or if a virus somehow runs while you are logged in, that program then has the ability to do anything at all; it could actually take over your system. In short, running as root is dangerous.

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