su – how to become a super user. avoid using root

por | 25 noviembre, 2006

 If you’re like most people new to Unix, you do everything as root.  You shouldn’t.   I know I don’t follow my own advice, but I’m trying to improve.

Create yourself another account.  Use that instead of root.  Unless you really need root.  You can always invoke su to become a super user.   That way, you don’t have to log out and back in every time you need the power.


Only users in the wheel group can run su.  The group can be specified when creating a user via adduser.  To add a user manuall, just put the name of the user at the end of the line in /etc/group.  For example:


This adds the user marc to the wheel group.


To become super user, you do this:

bash-2.02$ su

At the password prompt, supply the root password.

Note that you might also want to use either the -l or the -m options.  Respectively, these options will simulate a full login or leave the environment unmodified.  see man su for details.