Unskilled Administrators

I am still thinking about how to fix the unskilled administrator problem.


  • A person got linux installed and the helping person (“godfather”) gave the root password to the user. So the user can install stuff himself.
  • The user-being unskilled- has an instable system and asks people around him to help fixing the linux system
  • Of course, everyone claims to be an expert and trustworthy
  • He gives his root password to several people and they mess things up
  • Security-not existing anymore. Stability is /&%/%$


There are two possible scenarios for a computer system at home:
1) The OWNER is a skilled Ubuntu user: In this case it is wise to grant him root privileges and let the other family members be normal USERs
2) The OWNER is unskilled: A TRUSTED friend or relative did set up the computer. This godfather should have administrator privileges. The OWNER should be an ADVANCED USER. He has all the rights of a USER plus the ability to install and upgrade programs. He should NOT have the rights to add repositories. MAYBE he should have the rights to add normal USERs to the system.
He MUST NOT be able to compile and install software the “old way”. He MUST NOT be able to download .deb files and install them.
This way:
– The OWNER must ask the GODFATHER for help (he does not know the admin password) => no other  persons mess with the system
– The OWNER can do normal, not-so-tricky maintenance
– Maybe the OWNER can get more privileges as soon as he is more experienced


~ by thorstensick on December 2, 2009.

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