Torvalds:requiring root password for mundane things is moronic

Adam Williamson awilliam at
Fri Mar 2 21:37:04 UTC 2012

On Fri, 2012-03-02 at 08:42 -0600, Greg Swift wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 05:36, Nikos Roussos <nikos at>
> wrote:
>         Here is a weird example of how Fedora currenty handles some
>         permission procedures. I created a standard user account (no
>         admin rights) and I'm trying to install a package. When I
>         press apply I'm prompted to enter a password. Since I have no
>         admin rights I would expect to be asked for the root password.
>         Instead of that I'm asked to enter a password of another user
>         who happens to be in the administrative group!
>         See the screenshot as a proof:
>         See on the top right corner that I'm logged in with another
>         account.
>         So in the UX level we have actually disabled the root account
>         (I can remember when was the last time I was prompted to enter
>         it) thus we keep asking for a root password during
>         installation that's ends up confusing people about its
>         purpose.
>         PS. an interesting question: if I had two users on my system
>         belonging to the administrative group. which one's password
>         I'll be prompted to enter when I'm logged with a standard user
>         account, like the example above.
> I experience a similar scenario.  On my home system (f16) I have my
> wife and both in the wheel group.  Every time I go to run virt-manager
> I get prompted for her password.  I do believe she is first in the
> wheel group after root in /etc/group.  However this doesn't make any
> sense to me.  It makes more sense for users that need that level of
> access to all know the root password rather than the users to know
> another user's password.  Even then, if I am in the same group,
> doesn't it make more since to either prompt for my own password or
> just allow me?  We know each others password so i've always shrugged
> it off cause I'm looking at other issues the few times when I am
> playing with the virtuals at home but since someone brought it up...

This sounds pretty straightforwardly like a bug probably in PolicyKit,
to me. It's obviously more correct to use the current user's
authorization if it's sufficient than just to go with the first user in
the admin group in all cases...

So, file a bug against PolicyKit.
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | adamwfedora

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