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I notice that many of the user privileges in "Users and Groups" are not ticked on my user, but I still have access to the items they specify. For example, I'm constantly using VirtualBox for virtualisation, I can connect to wireless and wired networks and I can plug in and use any audio device.

When are these privileges honoured? How useful are they?

User Privileges

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Nice question(s):) Never understood bug 433654 when you are not allowed to be in audio group if all users need sound. Still, the privilege does not say "use audio exclusively" as it should. – Takkat Feb 13 '11 at 21:03
up vote 2 down vote accepted

There is no one answer to this question, as each permission has it's own effects. Most of that "privileges" means that you are a member of some group. This will usually let you access to files owner by that group. Remember that in most unix-like systems everything is a file.

Now, one answer:

"Use VirtualBox virtualization solution" likely means that you are member of the vboxusers group. You will need to be member of this group to be able to use usb devices on VirtualBox. If you are not member of this groups, all the devices on the USB menu on VirtualBox should be greyed.

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I only use my XP virtual box to program my Harmony remote, so I've definitely used USB on that without being a member of the group. Or rather, I might be a member of the group, but as you can see above, the privilege certainly isn't ticked. – Scaine Feb 14 '11 at 9:12
I have make some checks in my computer and it works that way here. Unticking that box gets me out of vboxuser group. Being out of vboxusers disables usb in Virtual Box. Adding myself to vboxuser group enables usb again and ticks that box. Note that you have to log-out, log-in for group changes to take effect. – Javier Rivera Feb 14 '11 at 9:36
Sounds like this is simply a poor GUI then with poor synchronisation. I'm currently a member of Vboxusers, but no tick. If I ticked this, nothing would happen. If I then unticked it, it would remove me and be 'in sync'. Thanks. – Scaine Feb 20 '11 at 8:44

Most of these options are "legacy" and have been replaced by tools like ConsoleKit and PolicyKit for managing what users are allowed to do and when.

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You might have been asked pass whenever you try one of these through ask pass which means you are using sudo command to perform that action as a different user

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That might be true for some of these, but certainly not for plugging in an MP3 player, or connecting to a new wireless network. Honestly, they just don't seem to matter and I'm curious if anyone knows why. – Scaine Feb 13 '11 at 20:36
@Scaine, from the point of view of OS, mp3 player is almost never an "audio device", rather storage device. %) – ulidtko Feb 13 '11 at 23:03
Yep, Takkat's bug made that clear. The others are still bugging me though - wireless networks, for example. And even audio devices! Sound works just fine on my system. But no tick... – Scaine Feb 14 '11 at 9:23

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