Torvalds:requiring root password for mundane things is moronic

Nils Philippsen nils at
Tue Mar 6 15:32:35 UTC 2012

On Sat, 2012-03-03 at 15:46 -0800, Scott Doty wrote:
> On 03/03/2012 03:22 PM, Miloslav Trma─Ź wrote:
> > On Sun, Mar 4, 2012 at 12:03 AM, Scott Doty<scott at>  wrote:
> >> How about allowing all printer management of local printers (including
> >> adding a network printer, as Linus&  his daughter were dealing with) with
> >> two factors:
> >>
> >> 1) user password
> >> 2) physical access
> >>
> >> ...because PolKit already knows when the user is sitting at the console,
> >> right?
> > "Sitting at the console" is not equivalent to "unrestricted physical
> > access" allowed, e.g. in any university computer lab.
> Agreed.  Since we're talking two use case though -- home user and lab 
> user -- it would make sense to have another rpm that would be installed 
> to give the desired behavior to one of the cases (the other case being 
> the default).
> I'm not sure about the demographics of Fedora installations, but I would 
> suspect that most lab administrators will be more cognizant of what goes 
> into their lab machines.  Thus, I suggest there be added a new package 
> to alter the behavior for lab machines (and similar use cases), 
> something like polkit-i-am-a-lab, or whichever.
> What do you think?

I think that having RPM packages installed (or not) is not a suitable
means for switching on and off certain (sets of) configuration.

Beyond that (and I'm not through the thread completely, so forgive me if
that's been stated elsewhere already), I think it'd be worthwhile to
think about usage profiles like this which come with a set of
configuration defaults tailored to a particular use case,
overridable/extensible by the admin. We just shouldn't come up with some
kind of OO-monster for which admins will hate us.

Nils Philippsen      "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase 
Red Hat               a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty
nils at       nor Safety."  --  Benjamin Franklin, 1759
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