Superuser password lost

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at
Wed Mar 12 15:46:40 UTC 2008

On Wed, Mar 12, 2008 at 11:27:36AM -0400, Bill Moran wrote:

> In response to Jerry McAllister <jerrymc at>:
> > On Wed, Mar 12, 2008 at 09:52:38AM -0400, Bill Moran wrote:
> > 
> > > In response to Luigi <bsd.luigi at>:
> > > 
> > > > Hi all,
> > > > 
> > > > Maybe it's a simple question but i'm a newbie lost in my new BSDworld.
> > > > 
> > > > I've installed PC-BSD but when I want to install a software, It ask me a 
> > > > superuser password.
> > > > I think I lost this password. How can I retrieve this superuser password ?
> > > 
> > > This is a PC-BSD-specific question.  There is no such thing as "the
> > > superuser" ... it's a colloquialism frequently used by folks to make
> > > things sound cooler (or for some other reason I don't understand)
> > 
> > I don't understand this response.   Superuser is just another
> > name for the root user which is any user id with a UID of 0.
> No.  The term "superuser" is a made-up term for any way of gaining
> root privs.  In my experience it's confusing as there are two
> commonly used methods for doing this, the su command and sudo, and
> they require different passwords.

I have never seen the term used that way.

I have seen su and sudo referred to as ways of a non-root id gaining 
superuser priviledge/root priviledge but not a superuser as someone who 
is not root, but has a method of gaining root priviledge.

Anyway, the OP sounds mostly like root is what was needed.


> Frankly, I don't know whether PC-BSD is asking for the root password
> or asking for him to confirm _his_ password for use in a sudo-like
> operation.  I don't know of anywhere in the FreeBSD base system
> that the term "superuser" is used, so I assume he'll get a more
> direct answer from the PC-BSD folks.
> > I haven't used PC-BSD flavor, but in general, with BSDs you force
> > them to boot - by killing power if necessary, but a clean shutdown
> > is better (but that usually requires root).
> The instructions you give are only correct if it's the root
> password he lost.  It's likely you're right and this will get him
> up and running again, but I didn't know that for sure and didn't want
> to lead him down a bunch of steps only to find out that it was asking
> for something different.
> I was curious about the PC-BSD community and checked their web site.
> Based on what I saw, the best advice to me seemed to be to direct him
> to them.
> -- 
> Bill Moran

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