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comp.sys.hp.hpux FAQ
Section - 8.22 Is it OK to change root's shell?

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No!  root's shell has to be /sbin/sh, the default setting, or another
shell that resides on the root filesystem (ie - /sbin/csh).  The /usr
filesystem isn't mounted in single-user mode, so changing root's shell
to /usr/bin/ksh, or any other shell not on the root filesystem, can
potentially cause you serious grief.

A nice compromise is to add something like the following at the very end
of /.profile:

  # if /usr/ is mounted, change our shell to ksh...
  /usr/bin/true 2>/dev/null && exec /usr/bin/ksh

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