Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-factory (439 mails)

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[opensuse-factory] Re: the wheel group (was: Running YaST-Control-Center without root)
Neal Gompa schrieb:
On Wed, Apr 24, 2019 at 4:31 PM Stasiek Michalski <hellcp@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
[...]
A lot of other (mainly RH based) distros still use wheel, it's an
option in
anaconda when installing the system (but anaconda also has seperate
user and
root passwords by default on the other hand).


Since when is "wheel" deprecated? I've never heard of this. In Debian
systems, the wheel group was renamed to sudo, but in all other distro
families, the wheel group exists and is properly configured by default
(except of course, in openSUSE, where it's busted by design).

Do you have examples of that?

To the best of my knowledge adding meaning to the wheel group in
SUSE distributions has always been left to the administrator. Ie the
operating system creates the group but doesn't use it. So the wheel
group could mean anything in production deployments.

One use case would be for example to only allow members of the wheel
group to call setuid binaries like su/sudo either via file system
permissions or by configuration, but still having to enter (means
knowing) the root password.
Another one would be to allow sudo without even having to enter the
root password for members of the wheel group. Means accounts with
the wheel group are basically root. That's a very important
difference.

The wheel group could also be used in arbitrary ways with polkit or
for accessing sensitive log files.

Due to this legacy we as operating system vendor have to be very careful
if we would now suddenly start defining our own meaning for the wheel
group.

Nevertheless I think it would make sense to have a way to flag user
accounts as "administrator accounts". Not necessarily in the sense
to directly allow such accounts to carry out privileged operations,
nor to prevent accounts without the flag to use su/sudo though.
It would rather be a way to signal the system that those accounts
normally do not know the root password. As such it's pointless to
ask in the first place. An example would be NetworkManager.
Something goes wrong with the connection and it asks you for
privileges to modify system wide settings. It just shouldn't bother
non admin users with that, they can't (and shouldn't) help
themselves anyways.

cu
Ludwig

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