ECS 153 Fall 1998, Puzzle for November 13, 1998

The UNIX operating system (and most computer systems) have an all-powerful user (root or operator or wheel).

  1. Why does such a user exist?
  2. Dennis Ritchie called the existance of this user "both a theoretical and practical flaw." Why?
  3. If you were designing an operating system with security being a key goal, could you avoid creating such a user? If so how? If not, how would you implement the functionality of the root user?

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