Switchdesk or su in Fedora?

Q I've finished installing Fedora, and have downloaded the 200-plus upgrades. I need to get out of root but can't locate the switchdesk command. I don't want to reinstall to get this.

A You shouldn't be running the desktop as root in the first place! There is never any need to do this, which is why some distros make it difficult to load a root desktop. The system administration programs can all be run from a standard user desktop. When they need root privileges, they will ask you for the root password, then drop root privileges when they no longer need them. If you need to run any other programs as root; open a terminal, type su - to become root then run whatever programs you need from there. This is far safer than running the entire desktop as root, although it goes without saying that you should quit any programs run as root as soon as you have finished with them.

Switchdesk is still available. Select Add/Remove programs from the Applications menu and type switchdesk into the Search tab - you will probably want switchdesk-gui as well as switchdesk. Once it's installed, you can run it from System > Preferences > More Preferences > Desktop Switching Tool. However, this is not the correct way to run programs as root; switchdesk is intended to allow users to switch desktops, hence the name. Keep the root user where they belong: locked in a box only to be let out when needed. You should rarely need to reinstall a Linux distro. The computer I am using now is three years old, as is the Linux installation running on it - it has been frequently updated but never reinstalled. Reinstalling doesn't fix problems, it merely removes the whole environment containing the problem... until the next time it occurs. If you fix the problem itself, instead of wiping the whole system, it should go away forever or, even if it doesn't, be easier to fix the next time it occurs.

Follow us on Identi.ca or Twitter

Username:   Password:
Create Account | About TuxRadar