Shutdown option for Normal User

Mike A. Harris mharris at
Thu Mar 2 02:36:07 UTC 2006

Leslie Satenstein wrote:
> Here is my concern.  With Gnome, and KDE, the normal user (without root 
> privleges) can do a logoff and/or shutdown. I can see  logoff being 
> permitted, but should he be able to do a shutdown without being prompted 
> for the root password?

Yes he should.  Especially if he can physically pick the machine up and
throw it off the desk.  If you are trying to "protect" a machine from
a security viewpoing, and the machine is physically available to
someone, they _can_ do whatever they want, and putting passwords in
front of them doesn't result in increased security.

> OK, so he can do it. If we take it way, he can still do a shutdown via 
> the on-off button on the unit. Both Core4 and Core5 respond to a 
> microsecond depress on the power supply button to initiate a shutdown.  
> My crawling grandson, with a curious finger did one for me yesterday.  I 
> believe that if possible, the power button the the power supply should 
> be timed so that at least a 1 second depress will trigger a normal 
> shutdown, and the prolonged 4 second depress will let the bios do it's 
> dirty thing.

Scenario:  You are at a computer and decide for whatever reason that you
want or need to shut it down.  Some system admin who manages the machine
however has decided for whatever reason that they do not want people to
be able to shut the machines down, and has put a password on it.

What are your options?  You could go find a sysadmin to resolve the
problem and some people will likely do that.  How many people will
reach behind the machine and yank the power cord instead?

Which is less harmful to the system in question, yanking the power
cord, or hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL or equivalent?

Now, if the machine is not physically touchable, the situation changes

Mike A. Harris  *  Open Source Advocate  *
                       Proud Canadian.

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