Monday, February 09, 2009

sudo = Stupid Utility, Distinct Overkill

I think XKCD said it best...

"Make me a sandwich."

"What? Make it yourself."

"sudo make me a sandwich"


The UNIX OS was originally designed to run on computers that many people would use and in those situations you don't want every Tom, Dick and Janie installing stuff that could break a shared computer. However, on desktop Linux (which one person normally uses) , sudo is kind of useless. Why not just prompt for the user password without sudo (if root access is needed to install or change modifications)?

I guess sudo IS easier than logging out and then logging in again as root, but it's annoying (especially if you give your normal user permission to administer the system). It almost becomes a point of politeness (in which the word please would make much more sense). Instead of sudo apt-get install ruby you could just ask please install ruby. No wonder people think techies speak their own language. You are probably saying please out loud to your computer anyways when it doesn't work. I know I was when I was having trouble configuring the microphone for use with Skype.

Skype: Hello, welcome to Skype call testing service. After the beep, please record a message.

Me: Please please please work! I don't want to have to go back to Windows!

Ah yes, Windows. As bad as sudo is, it will never be as bad as Vista's User Account Control.

That's still no excuse though...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The way sudo is used today defeats the purpose of even having sudo. Sudo is for those situations where there's a program that only works as root, but users should only be able to give it certain command line options. For example, you could use it to allow users to bring ppp0 up and down, while not allowing them to touch eth0 or lo.

With today's use of sudo in certain popular distributions of Linux, you might as well just let the normal user account be root. Perhaps sudo is only being used because there are a lot of desktop apps that refuse to run as root.