To root or not to root?

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http://serverfault.com – 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...... (HowTos)