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In the standard mysql setup on debian squeeze all files in /etc/mysql are owned by root. Can it be changed, so that mysql is the new owner or does it have a reason why they should stay by root?

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It can be changed. The main reason that it's root is because the mysql user doesn't have a shell. The user isn't meant to be making changes to the configuration of the service, root or any other group defined by you should . Think of it as a form of privilege separation.

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MySQLd runs as root and drops its privileges afterward. Those files are considered sensitive (since it contains your configuration files and such) and should remain as root.

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If user mysql doesn't need to write to a particular file it doesn't need to own it. Files in /etc/mysql are configuration files which should only be writable by a system administrator e.g. root.

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Yes, it can be changed. The main reason that it's root is because the mysql user doesn't have a shell. The user isn't meant to be making changes to the configuration of the service, root or any other group defined by you should . Think of it as a form of privilege separation.

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