Superuser password lost

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Sun Mar 16 08:01:57 UTC 2008

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-freebsd-questions at
> [mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Bill Moran
> Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 6:15 PM
> To: freebsd-questions
> Subject: Re: Superuser password lost
> Apparently I miscommunicated.  My point was that the OP's message used
> the term "superuser" in an ambiguous way. (i.e. the way I mentioned).
> To me, it wasn't clear what it was asking for, and thus sending the OP
> to the PC-BSD community (where folks are probably familiar to the
> GUI widget he's dealing with) seemed the best thing to do.

Historically on all UNIXes "superuser" = "the root user"

The problem as I see it is that recently Apple (probably stole
this idea from someone else) has introduced ambiguity into the
term with the creation of what they call the "owner" account
into MacOS X.  With regular MacOS X there's some things that an
ordinary user can do, but when an ordinary user tries to do
some other things, MacOS X flashes up a dialog asking for the
owners password.  However, even if you su to root, there's still
things that the system will not let you do which is insane
because real UNIX will happily allow the root user to rm -r /
if desired.  Once more, proving that MacOS X is nothing more
than UNIX-on-training-wheels, and reaffirming what Apple's
historic view of it's customers really is (ie: dumb and dumber)

Microsoft also introduced ambiguity into the concept, although
to their credit, they scruplously avoided use of the term
"superuser" or "root".  Under Microsoft operating systems,
there's ordinary users and there's "administrators" and you 
can have multiple administrators, which isn't possible in
UNIX - thus a MS administrator <> a UNIX superuser.

I would suspect PC-BSD has copied the Apple nonsense and has
created this mutated account that's not quite a real superuser
account, and not quite a regular user account.


More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list