Torvalds:requiring root password for mundane things is moronic

Miloslav Trma─Ź mitr at
Sat Mar 3 22:19:21 UTC 2012

On Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 11:10 PM, Chris Murphy <lists at> wrote:
> On Mar 3, 2012, at 1:00 PM, Neal Becker wrote:
>> -> Don't ask for re-auth for an action that isn't really potentially harmful
>> (e.g., adding a printer)
> Depends. What if what's being added is a remote printer, that's merely a way to smuggle documents out of a company? So direct attach printers are probably fair game for adding without authentication. The user clearly has physical access to both computer and printer, the most applicable security control in this context is physical. But to add a non-local IPP printer is possibly a red flag.

Curiously enough, I was thinking exactly the opposite - anyone able to
open a TCP/IP socket is able to print on a remote printer, so this
does not need to be restricted; but accessing local hardware may be
something a system administrator of a multi-user system may want to
restrict.  (You may have noticed that at least in some Windows
versions, network printers can be configured per-user, but
hardware-attached printers are always system-wide.)

A complete lockdown to prevent transferring data out of the system is
a much harder problem (even if you only allow users to run a web
browser, they may use it to send data to a server).

More information about the devel mailing list