Package Manager Denies Permission to Install

Aaron Konstam akonstam at
Fri Jan 23 21:20:49 UTC 2009

On Fri, 2009-01-23 at 12:10 -0500, R. G. Newbury wrote:
> Jeff Spaleta <jspaleta at> wrote:
>  > > Kevin Kofler <kevin.kofler at> wrote:
>  > > But PolicyKit does not work in a root session:
>  > >
>  > Hmm...this is probably worthy of some nuanced and masterfully
>  > persuasive oratory as to where to strike the balance between designing
>  > for expected use cases and designing a system with flexibility to
>  > accomedate local needs even when those use cases are not considered
>  > best practises.  .
> No nuanced and masterfully persuasive oratory can disguise the fact that 
>    someone has made *and enforced* a decision that *they know better 
> than the user* how "THINGS MUST BE DONE" purely because the doing, is 
> considered to be 'not best practice'.
> In this particular case, the 'best practice' enforcement approaches 
> religious fervour in its application. In the particular instance which 
> started this thread, PolicyKit nags about being root, and then *refuses* 
> to allow the installation of an rpm! It does not deny the right to 
> download and install the rpm in a console....It just denies the user the 
> advantages of using PackageManager to resolve dependenices directly.
> And *exactly* what nuanced extra is added to the equation, by forcing 
> the administrator to log out of root, to log in as a user, to do the 
> same thing? Especially in a circumstance where the install is actually 
> desired to be general and not user-local? This position is idiocy.
> I don't mind a nag. I DO mind unknown and unaccountable people 
> attempting to enforce their quasi-religious beliefs on me (by 
> quasi-religious, I mean the attitude which equates doing anything while 
> root is akin to giving booze and car-keys to seventeen year old boys: 
> instantly and always catastrophically dangerous.) I know using root can 
> increase the probability of disaster. But I want to be able to decide 
> what the limits of my risk tolerance are, not have someone else do it.
> That argument, the libertarian argumnent is one of the underlying bases 
> of the free software movement. Let's have it recognized and venerated in 
> the code!
> Geoff
My memory is that the designer of PackageManager indicated on the list
that running PackageManager as root has security problems that running
it as a user and entering the root password does not have. I believed
him. Your objection is that it makes you log as a user rather than as

I believe in the theory that "freedom" derives from the words free doom
indicating that everyone has a right to commit suicide in his (or her)
own way. I strongly support your committing suicide in any way you
Never ask the barber if you need a haircut.
Aaron Konstam telephone: (210) 656-0355 e-mail: akonstam at

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