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This might seem like a silly question but I could see this as being confusing. For example:

"Go to root directory"

Could be interpreted as:

  1. Go to /

  2. Go to ~root (usually /root/)

I would think something like super would of made for a better default administrator username. This would avoid the ambiguity with directory structure.

Again: Silly question but I'm genuinely curious.

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3  
the "root directory" is always /, root's home is ~root. A side note, on BSD systems root has the name "Charlie Root". –  Chris S Dec 1 '10 at 20:43
    
I am aware that root directory = /. Maybe that was a bad example. I just see where there could be confusion. –  Beaming Mel-Bin Dec 1 '10 at 20:47
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In older versions of UNIX (and Linux distributions) root's home directory was / instead of /root. –  Gerald Combs Dec 1 '10 at 20:47
    
As an addition to what Gerald pointed out, Solaris 10 has (had?) this same behavior. –  Christopher Karel Dec 1 '10 at 21:56
2  
What's in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet. –  Zoredache Dec 1 '10 at 22:49
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1 Answer

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Have a look here for some information on root.

The use of the term root for the all-powerful administrative user may have arisen from the fact that root is the only account having write permissions (i.e., permission to modify files) in the root directory. The root directory, in turn, takes its name from the fact that the filesystems (i.e., the entire hierarchy of directories that is used to organize files) in Unix-like operating systems have been designed with a tree-like (although inverted) structure in which all directories branch off from a single directory that is analogous to the root of a tree.

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Interesting. Glad that the question was asked! –  astrostl Dec 1 '10 at 20:25
    
Great answer @lain, +1. Although "maybe have arisen" doesn't affirmative, makes lots of sense. And @Mark: Wish I could +1 an edit but think you have enough rep as it is ;-) –  Beaming Mel-Bin Dec 1 '10 at 21:14
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