When you open some program like kppp, it will ask you for the root password
When you type it in, KDE or GNOME assumes you may want to do other privelaged work, and shows you that Icon as a warning that you currently have root permissions, and can do thing like open a root browser or shell, install apps, or other stuff.
Usually, this permission only covers setting that are in the GUI, such as add/remove apps, date & time, and such stuff. If you open a regular terminal, you won't notice any difference
When it thinks you no longer want to do work as root, it automatically kills your rights to be root
Usually this icon is a pair of keys, but for you it seems to be an X. Whatever
Last edited by tejas; 12th May 2005 at 09:51 AM.
Reason: Atrocious Spelling