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I am playing with ubuntu on my new Rackspace cloud instance. However, the information they give me is for root access -- that doesn't seem like a best practice for doing development on this thing.

What is the best practice for setting up a cloud instance for development? Should I create another user that allows me to install my rails

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Generally it's best to use the least privileged user that can get the job done. Also, it's inevitable that you have to use the root account some time (even using sudo, which Ubuntu embraces, still counts as using root privileges).

There is no "you shouldn't use root", just "you shouldn't use root for normal tasks". For software development you should definitely create a user account for your own and use that for everyday tasks. Set yourself up as a sudoer, and disable the root password if you like. You probably have to use root access to set up your development environment, so be prepared to go sudo apt-get install thingy.

Final words, use root when you have to, but don't feel bad about it. It actually feels quite good :)

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Perfect. This is exactly the type of response I was looking for. Is there an easy way to create a new user with low priveleges? Thank-you for your help! –  Jimmy Lyke Mar 30 '11 at 14:00
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@Jimmy: adduser. –  Faheem Mitha Mar 30 '11 at 14:12
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