VectorLinux

Vectorbie Station => Vectorbie Questions => Topic started by: Windozer on January 13, 2009, 06:12:05 pm

Title: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: Windozer on January 13, 2009, 06:12:05 pm
fiddling around with creating users, and wondered again about the User Group "Wheel Elite"...

what is it really?

thanks
- H
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: jklslvch on January 17, 2009, 01:33:28 pm
i thiiiink users who can use sudo.. not positive tho
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: Windozer on January 17, 2009, 06:40:44 pm
Thank you for replying, jklslvch

I was beginning to think this was going to fall off the map.  :'(

Anyone know?  And why "wheel" ?

Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: caitlyn on January 17, 2009, 06:59:52 pm
wheel is a holdover from UNIX in the dim and distant past.  I'm not sure why it was named wheel. 

A user does NOT have to be a member of wheel to use sudo.  Who can and cannot use sudo and what privileges they have is determined by the /etc/sudoers file.

The purpose of wheel is to create a group of users who have some system administration privileges, in other words some subset of root privileges not allowed for ordinary users.  sudo is one possible tool (and perhaps the best tool) for parsing out those privileges.

A default /etc/sudoers file has a commented out line that looks like:
Code: [Select]
#%wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL
If you remove the # at the beginning of the line it becomes active.  At that point any member of wheel has full root privileges if they use sudo.  If you want to try this please remember that /etc/sudoers must be edited as root with the visudo commandy ONLY.  visudo parses the file for correct syntax.  If you use another editor you can seriously break sudo.

Ubuntu does something different which, from my security professional paranoid perspective, is a really bad idea.  It assigns the first standard user created sudo ALL privileges with the NOPASSWD option enabled.  That bypasses wheel and effectively gives that user root privileges using sudo without ever having to enter a password.  It's all very Windows-like and makes Ubuntu seem easier to use but it also leaves the door open for an unsophisticated user who knows just enough to be dangerous to do all sorts of nasty things to their system with little or no forethought. 

Anyway, sudo is an incredibly powerful tool.  I even use it on my own personal systems because it logs the commands I enter prefixed by sudo.  If I do something stupid at least I can go back to my logs and see what I did and fix it :)  Learning how sudo works is a very, very good idea.  Putting yourself in the wheel group is an easy way to give yourself root privileges without having to use the actual root password and with the ability to log what you're doing.
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: rbistolfi on January 17, 2009, 07:04:05 pm
Cait beat me to the punch, anyway this is what I wrote ;D

Not sure why it is called wheel, but members of wheel will be able to login as another user using the su  command.
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: caitlyn on January 17, 2009, 07:10:20 pm
What Rodrigo posted is certainly correct for VL but NOT necessarily for other Linux distros or UNIX builds.  Who can or cannot use su is also configurable ;D  As you've probably figured out Linux can be customized to the nth degree.

Anyway, I generally prefer sudo to su because I don't have to give out all of root privileges at once on a multiuser system.  I can give out just bits and pieces.  I also prefer it on my personal systems because of the logging feature.  Going back to a security or sudo log has saved me on a couple of occasions.  I don't care how brilliant you are and how much LInux you know you can still make mistakes.  I sure do.
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: rbistolfi on January 17, 2009, 07:20:17 pm
Of course, many Linux distros are not setting a wheel group at all these days. It is very easy to change that behavior, chown and chmod would do it, "necessarily" its a very relative term in *NIX ;D
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: EyesOnly on January 18, 2009, 06:37:58 am
Thanks for that rundown Caitlyn. I'm sure Harry will agree with me when I say, "You learn something new everyday." Even for someone who's been banging away at the keyboard under various systems since 1980. (I just realised that this morning! YIKES!)

Again, thank you kindly! I really do appreciate the wonderfully knowledgeable people we have on this forum believe me! :)

Amicalement/Cheers!

Eyes-Only
"L'Peau-Rouge"
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: Windozer on January 18, 2009, 09:43:07 am
Thanks, Rodrigo
Thanks, Caitlyn
- and again let me second EyesOnly on the great assistance!

Such an excellent and detailed reply makes me wonder if you're not a sysadmin professionally? (If you don't mind me asking.)

Quote
...wheel is a holdover from UNIX in the dim and distant past.  I'm not sure why it was named wheel.

Well, I think I found the answer ---

note the double-rounded Human Interface Device below:  :D :D

(http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/graphics/rand_computer.jpg)
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: kidd on January 18, 2009, 10:18:10 am
Great pic WinDoze.  I've been looking at it for 10 minutes, reading and re-reading the text.

It's amazing how progress scales at a great speedup.

Scientists with best knowledge of technology 50 years ago couldn't even imagine some of the things that are happening now.
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: rbistolfi on January 18, 2009, 10:25:00 am
I have heard the emacs keybindings were inspired by that board ;D

What I really wonder is why they put  a home computer prototype in a submarine :D
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: caitlyn on January 18, 2009, 12:43:51 pm
I have heard the emacs keybindings were inspired by that board ;D

What I really wonder is why they put  a home computer prototype in a submarine :D

Rodrigo you just don't get it.  Living in a submarine will be all the rage by 2004.   ;D  It will remain super popular until apartments at the Lunar Colony become more affordable.
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: overthere on January 18, 2009, 04:26:38 pm
Interesting pic..I worked at a console like that for a few years, the wall reminds me of rocky jones..all I had was a giant plotter...likely a few literal bugs plucked out of that...if it actually did anything...so wheel is for sub admins? not full access but enough to solve local issues
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: Windozer on January 18, 2009, 04:51:14 pm
LOL

Yeah, I love that picture.  Surprised I found it so fast... well, indeed, google images is certainly one of the things they couldn't imagine 50 years ago. "Well, it will be like a world-sized phone book and Dick-Tracy wrist television combined with a great table of contents... all at your finger tips."

First time I saw it in 2004, it reminded me of a nuclear reactor control room - with a 1960 T.V. hung precariously on the wall.

>> wheel is for sub admins?

And the smaller, inside wheel is obviously for fine tuned control...

Yes, by 2004, the Submarine Apartment will be affordable by all --- maintenance costs will be low, with one exception: when you have to call the plumber to fix a leak.

 :P

- Howard
living in the low-down rent district ... glub glub glub ~~~
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: rbistolfi on January 19, 2009, 07:02:32 am
Found this one: http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-chat/2003-December/001724.html
looks like we will never know the truth...
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: StrayBit on January 19, 2009, 07:20:55 am
Quote
He who goes around in circles, shall be known as a wheel - the bigger the circle, the bigger the wheel
When I was hearing and using that expression, I think we were alluding to tires!
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: Joe1962 on January 19, 2009, 07:24:22 am
Heh, I went through that whole thread 10 minutes ago. That particular post is a joke, but later on they mention that it comes from the term "Big Wheel", or important person (AKA sys admin) back in the DEC big iron days.
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: tomh38 on January 19, 2009, 09:08:17 am
I saw that pic not long after it was created, for a Fark.com photoshop contest.  Since then many people have emailed it to me, thinking it was real.

This is the first time I've laughed at it in a while (new context, y'know).

Tom
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: Windozer on January 21, 2009, 05:35:35 pm
Quote from: tomh38
many people [thought] it was real.
This is the first time I've laughed at it in a while (new context, y'know).

Bummer to learn that it was a fake!

Yes, well at least we got some more grins out of it.  8)

- H
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: EyesOnly on January 22, 2009, 07:49:33 am
Awww shoot! And all these years I thought that was a real picture! Or for how ever long I've had it stashed away on a CD-ROM. :(

You burst my wee little bubble of Reality Tom and just totally did in my Second Childhood here! Now it's gonna take years and years of psychotherapy for me to recover---if ever! Where do I send the bill? rofl! ;D

In all seriousness though? They did an excellent job in faking that. Reminds me of my high school years when I took a non-accredited photography class with a mate of mine and how we faked a UFO photo. (Seeing your avatar Harry brought back the memories! LOL!) Ahh yesss! Me in my "younger, evilier, days"! >;)

Now I have to set a "Good Example" for my grandchildren you understand? hehe!

Amicalement/Cheers!

Eyes-Only
"L'Peau-Rouge"
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: tomh38 on January 22, 2009, 11:09:35 am
Sorry kids ...

I probably would have thought it was real myself if I hadn't been looking at the Fark photoshop contest where that pic first appeared.  Some of the people on there have amazing skills.  That "home computer" photo has been emailed around so many times as real that snopes even has an entry on it.

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/computer.asp (http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/computer.asp)

Here's the original photoshop contest:

http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=1115586 (http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=1115586)

The moral of the story is ... don't waste so much time on Fark.

Tom
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: Windozer on January 22, 2009, 04:56:56 pm
Quote from: EyesOnly
... how we faked a UFO photo. (Seeing your avatar Harry brought back the memories! ...

well, the Avatar's not fake  :o ??? :P

Quote from: tom
...don't waste so much time on Fark.

wow - that place is amazing ... better set my alarm clock!
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: EyesOnly on January 23, 2009, 10:44:21 am
Actually Tom, thanks for those two URLs as I found where I had the "Urban Legend" pic---I hadn't backed it up to CD-ROM as I'd expected. So I was able to get a copy of the Smithsonian display, saved both off to a sub-directory within my "Random-Photos" along with a README and the websites. Two thumbs up mate!

For the record I do collect odds and ends like this when time permits. I find such things "fascinating". *raises Vulcan eyebrow!* LOL!

@Harry: I didn't say your pic was faked. ;) I said mine was---and that looking at yours reminded me of mine. LOL! Now com'on Harry! I know my English is bad, but it can't be that bad, eh? ;D j/k of course!

And for the record Harry: I seriously don't believe we're "alone". If we really were then that would mean there's a heck of a lot of real estate up for grabs out there in the known universe---cheap at that! Sure would wreck heck on property values back here on earth!

Amicalement/Cheers!

Eyes-Only
"L'Peau-Rouge"
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: tomh38 on January 25, 2009, 02:29:10 am
EyesOnly:  I know what you mean about collecting stuff like that.  I try to tell people that the Web isn't just for porn, that there's a lot of funny and interesting stuff out there.

Like this: Pic (http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c16/tomh38/SpockFascinating.jpg?t=1232878913)  Or this:  Pic (http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c16/tomh38/1166937822490.jpg?t=1232879085)  Or this:  Pic (http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c16/tomh38/boysandgirls.jpg?t=1232879123)

Tom
Title: Re: Whatza "Wheel Elite User?"
Post by: Windozer on January 25, 2009, 08:12:45 am
ROTFLMVAO

V = Vulcan

"I'm a chain smoker, not a mechanic!"