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sbin vs. bin and tab completion

sbin vs. bin and tab completion

Posted Jan 28, 2012 12:20 UTC (Sat) by gbrun (guest, #82611)
Parent article: The case for the /usr merge

Not all systems out there make use of sudo.

Actually, only private end-user desktop PCs are commonly configured like that where administrator and end-user are the very same person.

In those contexts the distinction between bin and sbin is indeed superfluous.

However, in many other installations the roles of end-users and administrator are fundamentally different and will also be impersonated by different people.

In those cases, the distinction between bin and sbin limits "namespace pollution" of tab-completion for normal users, i. e. tab completion will not suggest executables which cannot be executed by non-privileged users anyway.

Therefore, whether or not /bin and /usr/bin gets merged, bin and sbin should be left separate.


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sbin vs. bin and tab completion

Posted Jan 28, 2012 13:17 UTC (Sat) by slashdot (guest, #22014) [Link]

Except that, of course, almost all programs can still provide some functionality when run by unprivileged users (or at least they would in a well-designed system).

sbin vs. bin and tab completion

Posted Jan 29, 2012 22:13 UTC (Sun) by sbergman27 (guest, #10767) [Link]

"In those cases, the distinction between bin and sbin limits "namespace pollution" of tab-completion for normal users"

I'll query my normal business desktop users about that.

MOTD: Users. How do you feel about the pressing issue of tab-completion namespace polution on your Gnome desktops? Would you condider it to be more, less, or of about the same urgency as the world economy, the unemployment rate, and the predominent color of countryside bike sheds?

sbin vs. bin and tab completion

Posted Jan 31, 2012 12:57 UTC (Tue) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106) [Link]

> In those contexts the distinction between bin and sbin is indeed superfluous.
It's not just in single-user systems where the bin/sbin split makes no sense. A lot of sbin programs provide useful functionality to non-root users. My favorite example: On Debian it's /sbin/ifconfig, but as a normal user I like to run ifconfig to see IP, tx information and so on. Why must I type the full path? (Yes, sure, I could use 'ip addr' for that. I am a creature of habit.)

> However, in many other installations the roles of end-users and administrator are fundamentally different and will also be impersonated by different people.
In all cases that I know of tools which you need to be root to be useful also safely refuse to run if executed by a non-root user, so there seems little *need* to segregate them.

> In those cases, the distinction between bin and sbin limits "namespace pollution" of tab-completion for normal users, i. e. tab completion will not suggest executables which cannot be executed by non-privileged users anyway.

There are so many binaries in /usr/bin these days that I don't think a few more will make much difference. "Cleaner tab completion for some users" seems like such a tiny gain.


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