How safe (or not) is it to run the assistant as root?
If not safe, what would be a good way to sync directories like /usr/local ?
I would not recommend running the assistant as root. Any security issue
would escalate the root access; any bug could result in some root level
damage to system.
Of course, I don't know of any such security issues or bugs. If I did, I'd
be fixing them.
On my system, /usr/local is managed by group staff. It seems much safer to
make the assistant be run by some non-root user who is in the staff group.