theoretical question - can root's username be changed?

Jeff Vian jvian10 at
Fri Dec 2 03:01:56 UTC 2005

On Thu, 2005-12-01 at 21:46 -0500, Claude Jones wrote:
> On Thu December 1 2005 9:31 pm, Mike McCarty wrote:
> > Claude Jones wrote:
> > > Subject line says it all...
> >
> > Define "change a user's name". What is a user on a computer
> > with a different name? Isn't that a different user?
> > Are you asking whether other users may have the same privilege
> > as root?
> > The answer is "Yes".
> >
> Let me put it differently. Root's UID is 0 - suppose I change UID 0's User 
> Login to 'doorknob' - first, can this be done? 

> Second, would I have to create 
> a new home directory called 'doorknob'? 
Maybe. Depends on what the home directory is in /etc/passwd

> Third, are there any implications, 
> doing this, for other software and/or settings in a Linux PC? 
Yes, MANY things depend on the user root.  As I said earlier, some
things depend on the actual name of "root" such as mail.
Also the system-config-xxxxx utilities, because console helper has to be
able to authenticate the user to the root password.

> Fourth - if 
> this shouldn't be done, can a new user, say UID 15, be created with all the 
> same privileges as root, 
The only way users get the same privileges as root is to have UID=0

> and can root then be purged? 
NO, someone with root privileges ( UID=0 & GID=0 ) must exist or you
will loose abilities to do some tasks.

In order to totally remove root from the system you will need to do a
lot of research and probably modify a lot of different programs to look
for something other than root.
Some things look for UID and others depend on the name.

> -- 
> Claude Jones
> Bluemont, VA, USA

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