|Red Hat Linux 7.2: The Official Red Hat Linux Getting Started Guide|
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I have installed Red Hat Linux. After rebooting, I get a message telling me it needs a localhost login and password. What are these?
Unless you specified a host name for your computer, or get that information from a network, your Linux install will call your machine localhost.localdomain by default.
When you get to that initial prompt, it is asking you to log in to your system. If you created a user account during install, you can log in using that name and password. If you didn't create a user account when installing then you can log in as the super user, also known as root. The root password is the system password you assigned during install.
It is highly recommended that you create at least one user account during install, or by using the user configuration tool or the useradd command afterwards. This is for security reasons. A normal user doesn't have the permissions that root has, so working in a user account can help prevent system corruption. You should only log in as root when you are doing system maintainence, or other tasks, that only root can do.
When you are logged in as a normal user, and find that you need root permissions to do something (like mounting filesystems, activating ethernet or ppp connections, etc.) you should open a terminal window in X and issue the following command:
If you are not in X, and are in a console (text screen with a command prompt) then just type su -.
That command will give you access to root, and the full root path, so you can run any commands you want to.
Once you are root, you can type startx to start the GUI interface (if you have it installed) and work from there.