To you, my loyal readers, I must offer up a sincere apology for my recent post, Five *nix Myths Busted, and am posting this full retraction for that post. To fully drive home my retraction and refute any myths about my competence with Linux or Unix, I am going to go through each point that I made in that errant post and recant it.
5. Logging in as Root - You should never login as root to a *nix system. Never. In fact, you should never login as yourself and then su to root. By becoming root, you're putting yourself and your system at undue risk and you don't want to make any mistakes as root, since a mistake as root might prove unfixable. Use sudo exclusively. Always use sudo to issue any commands as the root user. The commands take the form of the following:
$ sudo cp -p httpd.conf httpd.conf.$DATE
You'll be prompted for your user account password for this initial use of sudo but not on subsequent uses unless you don't use sudo for five minutes. And, no, you may not login as root at the console or in single user mode either. Figure out some other way to fix your broken system by using sudo.
4. su is SuperUser - su means Super User. I thought everyone knew that. My CentOS 5.x system (RHEL 5.x) falsely reports that su is substitute user--but what the heck does Red Hat know about *nix? There are two types of users on a *nix system: common users and the super user. The super user is 'super' because it has the ability to do anything on the system including removing any file or directory. The super user, sometimes known as the root user, gets its power from its user and group ID, which is 0. On some systems, the super user has a group ID of 1 (other) but will always have the user ID of 0. If you give any user a user ID of 0, it becomes super user too, so don't do that.
3. *nix Systems Can't Get Viruses - *nix systems can't get viruses and it's just plain silly to think so. The most you could do with a *nix virus is wipe out the user's home directory and /tmp. *nix system are impervious to viruses and that's why you should always use *nix systems for servers, appliances, desktops and really anything for which you use a computer. Products like ClamAv and Panda Antivirus are worthless because of this invulnerability.
2. *nix Systems are More Secure - I love the confident security of *nix systems. They are collectively the most secure systems on the planet. Unlike the MacOS and Windows, that leak like security sieves, *nix systems arrive out of the box in a secure mode. A default install of any *nix system stands as the very picture of a bullet-proof system. The only reason why any *nix system ever gets hacked is because their system administrators are stupid. They're the kind of people who login as root (See #5 above). When you need a system with 100% sterling security, choose *nix, you won't be sorry.
1. You Never Have to Reboot - That pretty much says it all: You never have to reboot. Why would you? Any problems that arise, you can remedy them with a kill or a HUP for a quick resolution. I like to hear of systems that have uptimes in excess of 5 years. It's awesome to know that *nix systems are so stable and so reboot shy that we can have those kinds of uptimes. I once had a Sun system with an uptime of about five years and it was a very cool bragging point for me. I had the longest uptime on the entire network of 800+ systems. I laughed at the people who rebooted when they patched their systems or used rebooting as a diagnostic tool. They, themselves, were 'tools' by doing so.
I'm not even sure why there is a reboot command or an init 6 capability on a *nix system. It's totally useless. Don't ever reboot your *nix systems.
I'd like to know who has the longest *nix system uptime. Anyone have one over 3,000 days?
Thanks to all of you who kept your lunch down when you read that original post. Again, I apologize for it.