Subject: Re: wheel? (was: wheel vs root (newby question?))
To: None <current-users@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Mike Long <>
List: current-users
Date: 01/09/1996 14:11:06
>From: David Leonard <>
>Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 08:12:00 +1000 (EST)

>Hmm this makes me wonder: what is the history of the name given to gid 0?  
>Why `wheel' and not `privileged', `su' or something like that.

>From the Jargon File:

:wheel: n.  [from slang `big wheel' for a powerful person] A
   person who has an active {wheel bit}.  "We need to find a wheel
   to unwedge the hung tape drives."  (See {wedged}, sense 1.)
   The traditional name of security group zero in {BSD} (to which
   the major system-internal users like {root} belong) is
   `wheel'.  Some vendors have expanded on this usage, modifying
   UNIX so that only members of group `wheel' can {go root}

In short, because it's cooler.
Mike Long <> 
VLSI Design Engineer         finger for PGP public key
Analog Devices, CPD Division          CCBF225E7D3F7ECB2C8F7ABB15D9BE7B
Norwood, MA 02062 USA       (eq (opinion 'ADI) (opinion 'mike)) -> nil