Four letter Words

Monday, January 08, 2007

Download Episode 23

Hi, I am back!! This week I talk a little bit about root and sudo and how that is used in Ubuntu. Just a couple of things about it, firstly, that the root account and hence the ability to use a root terminal is turned off by default. You can however turn this feature on at your leisure, though not recommended. In any case, root as you may have heard on the podcast is like an administrator account in Windows. This account can do just about everything to your computer that you would want it to do and some things that you might not want it to do. Again, it is powerful, but, alas not idiot-proof. This is where sudo comes in. Sudo is a command line command that begs for a little more attention than the usual command line command of the week. What sudo does is allows the user with your regular run of the mill permissions to do administrative tasks. Things like edit configuration files, setup file permissions, and, yes, to install on your system. The way I see it as explained in the podcast root is to sudo as Superman is to Clark Kent. Either way, both have the same weaknesses and that is kryptonite, or incorrect command line input. See, Superman isn't so BAD after all. For the regular user, you might never have to access a root account. I'll be honest with you I haven't even tried. But, one never knows when I have to rip off my button down shirt to reveal my Superman footie pajamas (don't be jealous, I got them for Christmas!) Well, there you go, just a couple things about root and sudo and pajamas, hmmm. Here is a link to more informatioin about root and sudo:

This weeks CLCOTW: wc - Counts word (among other things, check the man pages) in various files.

Pretty handy to have around if you are the obsessive/compulsive type that has to know how many word you type...97..98..99...excuse me. You can also find out how many characters and bytes if you want. From the screenshot, I wrote 1721 words in my preparation for this episode, wow, not bad!! I hope this helps someone!!!

ere is a great tip from Steve B., he recommends a package called Yakuake for all you command line geeks. I downloaded it and it does run on gnome as well as kde. Knock yourself out. See screenshot below.

See you all next week!!

Posted by harlem at 4:46 PM  


It's funny that one has to step carefully over in the sudo vs root wars. However, there is a "third" way, that is safer than enabling root and more convenient then sudo alone, and that is...

sudo zsh

Which will invoke a shell with root-level permissions. It is dangerous to leave it open after you're finished (a trivial issue if you're willing to enable root) Of course, you can invoke your favorite shell, such as

sudo bash
sudo ksh

Vidcasts? Well, I'm not a big fan, only because I can't afford a portable video player and don't spend my time at a computer when I listen to my podcasts (I'll like getting real life chores done) but that's only me. I love your idea of a round-table discussion on ubuntu -- with the right mix, it should be lively and engaging. Let me know if you need an opinionated Mac-expander ;)

Screenack said...
11:00 AM  

Just three more comments:

1) Yakuake: very nice. I love it! Great recommendation

2) I, too, like the "parallel apps" suggestion such as:
Microsoft Office : Open Office
Adobe Photoshop : Gimp

3) As for porting Photoshop -- as a graphic arts professional, I now use Gimp for 97% of my work. It isn't a full featured as Photoshop (it lacks 4 channel--such as CMYK editing and the effects layers) but that's high-end work. Much of what I do, such as web work and simple documentation, gimp is great -- check it out. The licensing on Adobe products is a lot and unless you have a heavy revenue-generating workflow, which will allow you to spend $1,000 / year on upgrades, you should find gimp sufficient.


Screenack said...
11:08 AM  


Thanks for the comments, I will make sure I mention your tips on the podcast after this one as I have already recorded my next one. About the root vs sudo thing, there seems to be a lot of "turf wars" in linux. It would make an interesting sociological study! I consider myself fortunate being relatively new to linux, because everything is either some combination of ; interesting, novel, and/or useful regardless of origin.

I'll keep you in mind as a guest for a roundtable discussion ala TWIT, perhaps you could email me so that I might get a hold of you easier. Or, if you use Gizmo, my handle is freshubuntu (naturally).

I have tried gimp and for my rudimentary purposes it is probably more than enough. Perhaps someday when I have more time to learn I can give a better review of it.

As far as vidcasts are concerned, My hope is that it would not necessarily replace the podcast, but to compliment it by giving a visual representation of some of the segments that I talk about in the podcast.

Anyways, thanks for taking the time to comment on the show and thanks for listening.


harlem said...
9:44 PM  

As far as what software to run on your web server for the FreshUbunto site:
I have Joomla on my main site ( and WordPress on my blog (
WordPress also has a podcast plugin, called podPress ( that will allow you to create and host your p'casts from within WordPress.

Both have their strengths and with what you are planning (I think) a community would be better served with Joomla.

Hope that helped a little.

aka: Wired Pig

Wired Pig said...
3:45 PM  

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