Please see the (somewhat) related topic here.
My day-to-day tasks on a linux machine require superuser access since I would be (re)starting services, monitoring the system, (un)installing stuff etc.
Some time ago, I was insulted/ridiculed in an IRC session (as to be expected), because I was logged in as root to install ruby.
Apparently, it is normal* to install services while being root, but not the services to function from a root account. This is understandable - you don't want access violations in, say, apache, to allow root privileges.
*which contradicts the awesome people on IRC......go figure.
So the main question, I guess, is why do install instructions for many services (as of late, seen it on nodejs, ruby and cloud9ide), assume that you are not root when installing them?
For example, only last week, I installed cloud9ide but couldn't get it to work since it specifically prohibited me from running it as root. Yet, no one nowhere mentions anything about it. I've fixed this issue by running:
su -s /bin/sh apache -c "node /var/www/cloud9/server.js -l 192.168.1.117 -p 3131 -w /var/www/html"