Keep Authorization

James Wilkinson james at
Thu Mar 3 17:58:20 UTC 2005

GONZALEZ,  Jose A. wrote:
> I'm new to Linux and I don't think I understand your responses.  Does
> this mean there's a bug here or something I changed that made this Key
> authorization issue take place?  Is there a fix? - Joe

It's the way it works. It's not a bug.

There are some things that you can't do as a normal user (add packages,
reconfigure parts of the system, add users, etc).

You could log in as root and do them all. That's a bad idea: it means
that everything you do is done as root, which has the power to destroy
the system. It's better to only be root when you need to be.

So the standard graphical admin utilities (that need root access) prompt
for you to enter the root password. Then they only do the absolute
minimum they have to as root.

But sometimes you'll want to do a number of system admin jobs at once.
That normally means that you'd have to enter your root password for each
program you want to run. That gets boring.

So Gnome will "remember your root password" for a short while. When you
open a system administration program (and only then) it will
automatically authorise the program to act as root (if necessary).

It puts that little key in the toolbar to remind you that it's "holding
your root password". You can tell Gnome to forget the password ("Forget
Authorization") when you've finished doing system admin things. That's
the popup message you were seeing.

After a while, it will forget anyway, and remove the key.

A lot of the rest of the discussion revolved around whether the
mechanics of this could work better, especially if you run programs from
the command line.

I hope this is clearer!


E-mail address: james | In poker you have to show your hand eventually if  | called. So far SCO have with great reluctance shown
                      | only one card, which turned out to be "Mr Bun, The
                      | Baker".  -- Electric Dragon on

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