Why can’t I su to root?

As a security measure, the default configuration for Gentoo Linux requires a user to be a member of the wheel group to be allowed to execute the su command to become root.

So when a non-root user wants to su to become root, you should add this user to the wheel group. You could use the vigr command and modify the line for wheel group…

wheel::10:root,username

or you could type…

usermod -G users,wheel username

Be careful here: if you want the user to remain a member of other groups you must explicitly set this:

usermod -G users,wheel,group1,group2,groupX username

To know what groups this user belongs to, simply type this as root…

id username

or this as the non-root user…

id

and you’ll see something like this:

uid=501(username) gid=501(slocate) groups=501(slocate),12(group1),13(group2)

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