Running a Root Shell in Ubuntu 13.04

A little over a year and a half ago, a fellow engineer wrote an article for Enabling the Root Password in Ubuntu 11.10 (instead of using sudo). The article was geared towards providing a convenient way to run root commands in a shell without the need to constantly type “sudo” at the beginning of every command.

Example:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get autoremove

Today, I would like to present an alternate method of accomplishing the same task.

At the command prompt type

sudo su

You will be prompted for your sudo password. After entering your sudo password and hitting Enter, you will be dropped into a root shell. The prompt will be similar to this:

root@ubuntu-pc:/home/dave#

Any commands you type moving forward will be done using root privileges (so be careful!). When you are finished, you can simply press CTRL-D or type “exit” and hit Enter. This will drop you back into your regular user shell.

dave@ubuntu-pc:~$ sudo su
[sudo] password for dave:
root@ubuntu-pc:/home/dave# exit
dave@ubuntu-pc:~$

Both methods of running a root shell (this and the previous method) have their advantages and disadvantages. I leave it to the reader to decide works best for them.

Encrypting Online Storage with EncFS

Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, SugarSync, Box, iCloud and dozens of other online storage providers all make sharing content online for access from multiple devices fast and convenient. How sweet it is to take a picture or create a document on your phone or tablet and have it automatically uploaded to “the cloud”.  You no longer have to worry about the data being lost if something happens to your mobile device, right?

It’s great until your mobile device falls into the wrong hands, somebody hacks into your online account, or the online storage provider suffers a privacy breach.  Depending on the data you stored online, that sweet solution could leave a sour aftertaste.  One solution is to encrypt the data before it is stored online using EncFS, a tool that encrypts an entire folder structure, but file by file, as opposed to a single container like TrueCrypt.  Because it stores data encrypted and decrypts only when mounted using a password, the data residing on mobile devices and in the cloud is securely encrypted if lost or compromised.

EncFS is a mature, decade old solution with broad platform support, including Linux, Windows, Macintosh, iPhone/iPad, Android, and a variety of online storage platforms.  Apps that make use simple include:

Enabling the Root Password in Ubuntu 11.10 (instead of using sudo)

Thanks to the following site, I’m able to use the “root” login on Ubuntu 11.10.
http://www.debuntu.org/2006/04/24/34-ubuntu-default-root-password-or-the-sudo-way 

Copied below for local reference:

Root is created without predefined password, it does not have a password, but it does not have an empty password either, you just can’t login!!!

I actually like to be logged as root when I’ve got many this to do. I find sudo usefull when only one or two actio are to be done, but when doing administration task, typing sudo all the time just drive me cray :).

One way to gain root prompt is to launch a shell as root. Therefore, using sudo you can type:

:~$ sudo sh
Password:
sh-3.1#

And there you are, you have a root shell.

If you want to be able to login as root, you need to define a password for root:

:~$ sudo passwd
Password:
Enter new UNIX password:
Retype new UNIX password:

Now you can login as root with su.

 

How to Install Gnome Shell in Ubuntu 11.10

Found this very helpful article on how to do this:
http://www.ubuntugeek.com/how-to-install-gnome-shell-in-ubuntu-11-10-oneiric-ocelot.html

Copied for local reference below from the above site, which I also added to.

GNOME Shell is the defining technology of the GNOME 3 user experience. It provides core interface functions like switching to windows and launching applications. GNOME Shell takes advantage of the capabilities of modern graphics hardware and introduces innovative user interface concepts to provide a delightful and easy to use experience.

Install Gnome Shell in Ubuntu 11.10

 

Open the terminal and run the following command

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

This will complete the installation.

After it completes, issue the command: reboot
and the system will restart so you can follow the below. If you don’t get to the screen as shown below, you can have the system automatically start Gnome, by typing in the following command:

sudo /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm-set-defaults -s gnome-shell

Also, here’s the basic commands to change the start up on your Ubuntu box to go to the Desktop and not the Terminal automatically. Here it is…

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install gdm
sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

Will take a while to install but worked for me..

Now when booting the system, if you want to login in to gnome shell desktop you need to select GNOME from the login Screen

Once you loggedin you should see similar to the following screen

You can improve your gnome shell desktop looks with nice themes

Installing themes

Once you have downloaded your theme extract them to their respective location.

Extract Gnome shell theme and GTK 3 theme to ~/.themes
Extract icon theme to ~/.icons
Extract custom font to ~/.fonts

Note: ~/ is a shorthand for your home folder. So ~/.themes is referring to the /home/username/.themes folder.