[TUHS] Why root user name?

arnold at skeeve.com arnold at skeeve.com
Thu Sep 17 21:14:53 AEST 2015

Warren Toomey <wkt at tuhs.org> wrote:

> As I was dropping off to sleep last night, I wondered why the superuser
> account on Unix is called root.
> There's a hierarchy of directories and files beginning at the tree root /.
> There's a hierarchy of processes rooted with init. But there's no hierarchy
> of users, so why the moniker "root"?
> Any ideas?

>From BWK:

> Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2015 05:35:30 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Brian Kernighan <bwk at CS.Princeton.EDU>
> To: arnold at skeeve.com
> Subject: Re: why the name "root" for userid 0?
> I will speculate, without knowledge, that it's because the
> super user can access the files in the root directory.
> Ken would know, though perhaps not answer...
> Brian

Maybe some of the former BTLers could ask him? :-)



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