If you are running Mac OS X, you may already know that there is no root user, but a system of Admin users who have sudo access. This idea was taken from Multix, where I am told that there were several administrative users so that if something went wrong, the blame could be pegged on some-one or another.

There are many valid arguments for both sudo and root; just as there are valid arguments for both emacs and vi, BSD and Linux, butter and margarine. My personal preference is a root with console login privileges exempt, so that a skript kiddy has to nab two passwords before he gain r00t. Unfortunately, I don't think you can do this with Mac OS X; but if you must have a root account, do the following to enable it. But I'm not here to complain or argue. I am assuming you know exactly what you are doing. Please read root and study Unix a little more before you continue if you don't.

The following was taken from http://til.info.apple.com/techinfo.nsf/artnum/n106290 . I fixed up the HTML because it was attrocious (just look at it and you will understand why).

Steps to enable the root user

  1. Click Applications in the Finder window toolbar.
  2. Open the Utilities folder.
  3. Open the NetInfo Manager utility.
  4. Click the lock button in the NetInfo Manager window that appears.
  5. Enter the name and password of an Admin user; click OK.
  6. Choose Security from the Domain menu, then choose Enable Root User from the submenu.
  7. If you have not previously set a root password, an alert box appears that says "NetInfo Error," indicating that the password is blank. Click OK.
  8. Enter the root password you wish to use and click Set.
  9. Enter the password again for verification and click Verify.
  10. The root user is now enabled.
  11. Click the lock button again to prevent changes.

And here is what to do in the case that you want to go back on what you did for some reason or another.

Steps to disable the root user

  1. Open NetInfo Manager, located in the Utilities folder.
  2. Click the lock button.
  3. Enter the name and the password of an Admin user: click OK.
  4. Choose Security from the Domain menu, then choose Disable Root User from the submenu.