Configuring Kubuntu For Root Logons


Kubuntu Linux has the root account disabled by default for security purposes. Users are encouraged to use the sudo command as an alternative whenever root-level priviledges are needed.

Now, maybe I’m too old-skool, but that’s just plain irritating.

Edit the kdmrc file

The first thing you need to do to enable root logons in Kubuntu is to modify the /etc/kde3/kdm/kdmrc file. However, to change this file – guess what? – you need root access! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press alt+F2 to call up the Run Command. Type in /etc/kde3/kdm to call up the kdm folder in Konqueror.
  2. When the folder opens, you should see a file called kdmrc. Right-click it and select Actions, Edit As Root. You’ll be prompted for the root password (which should be your own password)
  3. The file should open up in a text editor (KWrite on my installation). Broswe for the line AllowRootLogin=false and change false to true. Save the file and close it.

Enabling Root Logins (Modifying the Root User Account)

The second step here is to actually enable the root account for login, because it is disabled by default. There may be a quicker, more linux way to do this, but this is my method:

  1. Press alt+F2 to call up the Run Command. Type in kuser to start up the KDE User Manager.
  2. Double-click on the root entry to bring up the account properties and uncheck the Account Disabled checkbox. Click OK to save the changes.
  3. Exit the KDE User Manager.

And that’s it! If you log off, you should now be able to login to Kubuntu as root.

Why Enable Root Logins?

Yes, I know that in an ideal world I would use sudo. Why did I absolutely require root access? Well…

  1. I don’t know Linux very well. I can hold my own, but I don’t speak the command-line-lingo like the pros.
  2. Elements of the GUI in Kubuntu don’t work so well. In particular, the network configuration utility ‘forgets’ the default gateway entry.
  3. Some graphical tools also have an Administrator Mode button. I found in some instances that this didn’t work. You would type in credentials and it would return you to the same greyed-out screen, indicating that authentication had been rejected. Very frustrating.
  4. Being fairly unfamiliar with Linux, I didn’t know the command equivalent for these graphical functions, so I couldn’t very well sudo them, could I?

If anybody reading this has any links to good newbie linux resources, let me know!!!


4 thoughts on “Configuring Kubuntu For Root Logons

  1. I like the way you walk newbies like myself through the process of “root logins”. I would like some help in getting my wireless rtl8180 installed. I dowbnloaded the driver but none of the instructions are clear to me. They seem to assume that the reader is an old hand at the LINUX OS.

    I recently installed Kubuntu 5.10 after a brief encounter with Ubuntu. I wish to stay in the graphic environment as much as possible – at least for now.

  2. if you need programs to start with root privileges you can use kdesu to start them.
    for example, to start system settings, open konsole and type: “kdesu systemsettings”.

  3. Hi, thanks for the info. However I cannot find the KUSER program. When I type in the KUSER in the run box a message appears cannot find program. Plus all the programs in my ADD/REMOVE Programs list are greyed out.
    This is so frustrating, I’ve used windows all my life, build PC’s and know windows well. But I wanted to look for an alternative, however why do people produce this as an alternative, but then make it almost impossible to use?
    This is the only site that I have found that attempts to explain Linux commands in plain terms.
    Linux could be a real alternative if only someone sorted it out!
    If there is a way to run Kubuntu as an administrator/root account, could you please help?
    Many Thanks

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