Talk:su (Unix)

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The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was move. —Nightstallion (?) 22:10, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

su (computing)su (Unix)(Unix) seems to be the more popular disambig naming convention (see list of Unix programs), and conformity is good in an encyclopedia


Add your comment per Wikipedia:Straw polls
  • Support. su (Unix) seems natural, and it's the first place I would look for if I started search from scratch. YMMV of course. Duja 10:16, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. I created this article a while back when I hadn't really looked at most of the Unix-related articles, and I was still jumping all over the place when it came to disambiguation (take fortune (program) as another example). Consistency is good. æle 21:19, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Support makes sense to follow the list of other unix programs --Lox (t,c) 16:12, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Comment about Windows XP and sudo?[edit]

Should the comment about Microsoft Windows XP having a "runas" command really be there? The article is about "su" on Unix, not about priviledge elevation (or whatever they're called) programs in general. It seems like it should at least be put in the "See Also" or "External Links" section. ... The sudo paragraph as well.

Needs a Serious ReWrite[edit]

"... what it does and why it does it has not been well understood, since the 1980s." Why? And what happened in the 80s? There's all sorts of weird sentences like that in this article. I don't even know what it is about half the time. Gingermint (talk) 20:46, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

Confusing line[edit]

  • "Great care must be taken by a system administrator to choose a suitable password for the root account, to prevent any possible takeover by a low level user running su."

Why does su specifically matter here? Couldn't the "low level user" just log out and log back in as "root"? Eleland 19:14, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

"super user" versus "switch user" versus "substitute user"[edit]

As discussed at talk:sudo#Is it "substitute user do" or "superuser do"?, the original term is "super user". That the command has gained flexibility does not change that. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:37, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

The Version 7 Unix manual (see page 174 of the PDF) describes su as "substitute user id temporarily". Short of an email from ken or dmr themselves, that seems to be a reasonably definitive indication of what "su" actually stood for originally. The discussion on Talk:sudo seems to be pretty inconclusive overall. - htonl (talk) 16:28, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
There is also this article that could add to the debate. It claims that in the original source code, su stood for super user. I believe we would fare best to include the possible explanations that other people have given and tell the reader that the definition might have changed over time. Greetings --hroest 23:30, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I've never seen compilable vaginas, hroest. (Did you forget to Ctrl+C the actual link?) -- (talk) 16:05, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
must have. --hroest 15:12, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

The article The Meaning of ’su’ describes several alternatives explanations for the term su. The include

  • subshell
  • super user
  • switch user / substitute user

It would be interesting to mention some of those here and try to add to the debate. The argument is that su was only used to switch to the super user, so originally it stood for super-user but that meaning changed later when su was able to switch to any user. Still a nice piece of history that deserves to be in the article. Greetings --hroest 15:19, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

This statement from the opening paragraph needs to be reconsidered: "... what it does and why it does it has not been well understood, since the 1980s." Butlertd (talk) 18:01, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Broken attribution[edit]

The [3] attribution link,, doesn't go anywhere anymore. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:42, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Forest guard — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shaileshkhapre (talkcontribs) 15:53, 6 December 2017 (UTC)