Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Manual Pages


home | help

       sudo, sudoedit -	execute	a command as another user

       sudo -h | -K | -k | -L |	-V

       sudo -v [-AknS] [-g group name|#gid] [-p	prompt]	[-u username|#uid]

       sudo -l[l] [-AknS] [-g group name|#gid] [-p prompt] [-U user name]
       [-u user	name|#uid] [command]

       sudo [-AbEHnPS] [-C fd] [-c class|-] [-g	group name|#gid] [-p prompt]
       [-u user	name|#uid] [VAR=value] [-i | -s] [command]

       sudoedit	[-AnS] [-C fd] [-c class|-] [-g	group name|#gid] [-p prompt]
       [-u user	name|#uid] file	...

       sudo allows a permitted user to execute a command as the	superuser or
       another user, as	specified in the sudoers file.	The real and effective
       uid and gid are set to match those of the target	user as	specified in
       the passwd file and the group vector is initialized based on the	group
       file (unless the	-P option was specified).  If the invoking user	is
       root or if the target user is the same as the invoking user, no
       password	is required.  Otherwise, sudo requires that users authenticate
       themselves with a password by default (NOTE: in the default
       configuration this is the user's	password, not the root password).
       Once a user has been authenticated, a time stamp	is updated and the
       user may	then use sudo without a	password for a short period of time (5
       minutes unless overridden in sudoers).

       When invoked as sudoedit, the -e	option (described below), is implied.

       sudo determines who is an authorized user by consulting the file
       /usr/local/etc/sudoers.	By running sudo	with the -v option, a user can
       update the time stamp without running a command.	 If a password is
       required, sudo will exit	if the user's password is not entered within a
       configurable time limit.	 The default password prompt timeout is	5

       If a user who is	not listed in the sudoers file tries to	run a command
       via sudo, mail is sent to the proper authorities, as defined at
       configure time or in the	sudoers	file (defaults to root).  Note that
       the mail	will not be sent if an unauthorized user tries to run sudo
       with the	-l or -v option.  This allows users to determine for
       themselves whether or not they are allowed to use sudo.

       If sudo is run by root and the SUDO_USER	environment variable is	set,
       sudo will use this value	to determine who the actual user is.  This can
       be used by a user to log	commands through sudo even when	a root shell
       has been	invoked.  It also allows the -e	option to remain useful	even
       when being run via a sudo-run script or program.	 Note however, that
       the sudoers lookup is still done	for root, not the user specified by

       sudo can	log both successful and	unsuccessful attempts (as well as
       errors) to syslog(3), a log file, or both.  By default sudo will	log
       via syslog(3) but this is changeable at configure time or via the
       sudoers file.

       sudo accepts the	following command line options:

       -A	   Normally, if	sudo requires a	password, it will read it from
		   the current terminal.  If the -A (askpass) option is
		   specified, a	(possibly graphical) helper program is
		   executed to read the	user's password	and output the
		   password to the standard output.  If	the SUDO_ASKPASS
		   environment variable	is set,	it specifies the path to the
		   helper program.  Otherwise, the value specified by the
		   askpass option in sudoers(5)	is used.

       -b	   The -b (background) option tells sudo to run	the given
		   command in the background.  Note that if you	use the	-b
		   option you cannot use shell job control to manipulate the

       -C fd	   Normally, sudo will close all open file descriptors other
		   than	standard input,	standard output	and standard error.
		   The -C (close from) option allows the user to specify a
		   starting point above	the standard error (file descriptor
		   three).  Values less	than three are not permitted.  This
		   option is only available if the administrator has enabled
		   the closefrom_override option in sudoers(5).

       -c class	   The -c (class) option causes	sudo to	run the	specified
		   command with	resources limited by the specified login
		   class.  The class argument can be either a class name as
		   defined in /etc/login.conf, or a single '-' character.
		   Specifying a	class of - indicates that the command should
		   be run restricted by	the default login capabilities for the
		   user	the command is run as.	If the class argument
		   specifies an	existing user class, the command must be run
		   as root, or the sudo	command	must be	run from a shell that
		   is already root.  This option is only available on systems
		   with	BSD login classes.

       -E	   The -E (preserve environment) option	will override the
		   env_reset option in sudoers(5)).  It	is only	available when
		   either the matching command has the SETENV tag or the
		   setenv option is set	in sudoers(5).

       -e	   The -e (edit) option	indicates that,	instead	of running a
		   command, the	user wishes to edit one	or more	files.	In
		   lieu	of a command, the string "sudoedit" is used when
		   consulting the sudoers file.	 If the	user is	authorized by
		   sudoers the following steps are taken:

		   1.  Temporary copies	are made of the	files to be edited
		       with the	owner set to the invoking user.

		   2.  The editor specified by the SUDO_EDITOR,	VISUAL or
		       EDITOR environment variables is run to edit the
		       temporary files.	 If none of SUDO_EDITOR, VISUAL	or
		       EDITOR are set, the first program listed	in the editor
		       sudoers variable	is used.

		   3.  If they have been modified, the temporary files are
		       copied back to their original location and the
		       temporary versions are removed.

		   If the specified file does not exist, it will be created.
		   Note	that unlike most commands run by sudo, the editor is
		   run with the	invoking user's	environment unmodified.	 If,
		   for some reason, sudo is unable to update a file with its
		   edited version, the user will receive a warning and the
		   edited copy will remain in a	temporary file.

       -g group	   Normally, sudo sets the primary group to the	one specified
		   by the passwd database for the user the command is being
		   run as (by default, root).  The -g (group) option causes
		   sudo	to run the specified command with the primary group
		   set to group.  To specify a gid instead of a	group name,
		   use #gid.  When running commands as a gid, many shells
		   require that	the '#'	be escaped with	a backslash ('\').  If
		   no -u option	is specified, the command will be run as the
		   invoking user (not root).  In either	case, the primary
		   group will be set to	group.

       -H	   The -H (HOME) option	sets the HOME environment variable to
		   the homedir of the target user (root	by default) as
		   specified in	passwd(5).  The	default	handling of the	HOME
		   environment variable	depends	on sudoers(5) settings.	 By
		   default, sudo will set HOME if env_reset or always_set_home
		   are set, or if set_home is set and the -s option is
		   specified on	the command line.

       -h	   The -h (help) option	causes sudo to print a usage message
		   and exit.

       -i [command]
		   The -i (simulate initial login) option runs the shell
		   specified in	the passwd(5) entry of the target user as a
		   login shell.	 This means that login-specific	resource files
		   such	as .profile or .login will be read by the shell.  If a
		   command is specified, it is passed to the shell for
		   execution.  Otherwise, an interactive shell is executed.
		   sudo	attempts to change to that user's home directory
		   before running the shell.  It also initializes the
		   environment,	leaving	DISPLAY	and TERM unchanged, setting
		   HOME, MAIL, SHELL, USER, LOGNAME, and PATH, as well as the
		   contents of /etc/environment	on Linux and AIX systems.  All
		   other environment variables are removed.

       -K	   The -K (sure	kill) option is	like -k	except that it removes
		   the user's time stamp entirely and may not be used in
		   conjunction with a command or other option.	This option
		   does	not require a password.

       -k	   When	used by	itself,	the -k (kill) option to	sudo
		   invalidates the user's time stamp by	setting	the time on it
		   to the Epoch.  The next time	sudo is	run a password will be
		   required.  This option does not require a password and was
		   added to allow a user to revoke sudo	permissions from a
		   .logout file.

		   When	used in	conjunction with a command or an option	that
		   may require a password, the -k option will cause sudo to
		   ignore the user's time stamp	file.  As a result, sudo will
		   prompt for a	password (if one is required by	sudoers) and
		   will	not update the user's time stamp file.

       -L	   The -L (list	defaults) option will list the parameters that
		   may be set in a Defaults line along with a short
		   description for each.  This option will be removed from a
		   future version of sudo.

       -l[l] [command]
		   If no command is specified, the -l (list) option will list
		   the allowed (and forbidden) commands	for the	invoking user
		   (or the user	specified by the -U option) on the current
		   host.  If a command is specified and	is permitted by
		   sudoers, the	fully-qualified	path to	the command is
		   displayed along with	any command line arguments.  If
		   command is specified	but not	allowed, sudo will exit	with a
		   status value	of 1.  If the -l option	is specified with an l
		   argument (i.e. -ll),	or if -l is specified multiple times,
		   a longer list format	is used.

       -n	   The -n (non-interactive) option prevents sudo from
		   prompting the user for a password.  If a password is
		   required for	the command to run, sudo will display an error
		   messages and	exit.

       -P	   The -P (preserve group vector) option causes	sudo to
		   preserve the	invoking user's	group vector unaltered.	 By
		   default, sudo will initialize the group vector to the list
		   of groups the target	user is	in.  The real and effective
		   group IDs, however, are still set to	match the target user.

       -p prompt   The -p (prompt) option allows you to	override the default
		   password prompt and use a custom one.  The following
		   percent (`%') escapes are supported:

		   %H  expanded	to the local host name including the domain
		       name (on	if the machine's host name is fully qualified
		       or the fqdn sudoers option is set)

		   %h  expanded	to the local host name without the domain name

		   %p  expanded	to the user whose password is being asked for
		       (respects the rootpw, targetpw and runaspw flags	in

		   %U  expanded	to the login name of the user the command will
		       be run as (defaults to root)

		   %u  expanded	to the invoking	user's login name

		   %%  two consecutive % characters are	collapsed into a
		       single %	character

		   The prompt specified	by the -p option will override the
		   system password prompt on systems that support PAM unless
		   the passprompt_override flag	is disabled in sudoers.

       -S	   The -S (stdin) option causes	sudo to	read the password from
		   the standard	input instead of the terminal device.  The
		   password must be followed by	a newline character.

       -s [command]
		   The -s (shell) option runs the shell	specified by the SHELL
		   environment variable	if it is set or	the shell as specified
		   in passwd(5).  If a command is specified, it	is passed to
		   the shell for execution.  Otherwise,	an interactive shell
		   is executed.

       -U user	   The -U (other user) option is used in conjunction with the
		   -l option to	specify	the user whose privileges should be
		   listed.  Only root or a user	with sudo ALL on the current
		   host	may use	this option.

       -u user	   The -u (user) option	causes sudo to run the specified
		   command as a	user other than	root.  To specify a uid
		   instead of a	user name, use #uid.  When running commands as
		   a uid, many shells require that the '#' be escaped with a
		   backslash ('\').  Note that if the targetpw Defaults	option
		   is set (see sudoers(5)) it is not possible to run commands
		   with	a uid not listed in the	password database.

       -V	   The -V (version) option causes sudo to print	the version
		   number and exit.  If	the invoking user is already root the
		   -V option will print	out a list of the defaults sudo	was
		   compiled with as well as the	machine's local	network

       -v	   If given the	-v (validate) option, sudo will	update the
		   user's time stamp, prompting	for the	user's password	if
		   necessary.  This extends the	sudo timeout for another 5
		   minutes (or whatever	the timeout is set to in sudoers) but
		   does	not run	a command.

       --	   The -- option indicates that	sudo should stop processing
		   command line	arguments.

       Environment variables to	be set for the command may also	be passed on
       the command line	in the form of VAR=value, e.g.
       LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/pkg/lib.  Variables passed on	the command
       line are	subject	to the same restrictions as normal environment
       variables with one important exception.	If the setenv option is	set in
       sudoers,	the command to be run has the SETENV tag set or	the command
       matched is ALL, the user	may set	variables that would overwise be
       forbidden.  See sudoers(5) for more information.

       Upon successful execution of a program, the exit	status from sudo will
       simply be the exit status of the	program	that was executed.

       Otherwise, sudo quits with an exit value	of 1 if	there is a
       configuration/permission	problem	or if sudo cannot execute the given
       command.	 In the	latter case the	error string is	printed	to stderr.  If
       sudo cannot stat(2) one or more entries in the user's PATH an error is
       printed on stderr.  (If the directory does not exist or if it is	not
       really a	directory, the entry is	ignored	and no error is	printed.)
       This should not happen under normal circumstances.  The most common
       reason for stat(2) to return "permission	denied"	is if you are running
       an automounter and one of the directories in your PATH is on a machine
       that is currently unreachable.

       sudo tries to be	safe when executing external commands.

       There are two distinct ways to deal with	environment variables.	By
       default,	the env_reset sudoers option is	enabled.  This causes commands
       to be executed with a minimal environment containing TERM, PATH,	HOME,
       SHELL, LOGNAME, USER and	USERNAME in addition to	variables from the
       invoking	process	permitted by the env_check and env_keep	sudoers
       options.	 There is effectively a	whitelist for environment variables.

       If, however, the	env_reset option is disabled in	sudoers, any variables
       not explicitly denied by	the env_check and env_delete options are
       inherited from the invoking process.  In	this case, env_check and
       env_delete behave like a	blacklist.  Since it is	not possible to
       blacklist all potentially dangerous environment variables, use of the
       default env_reset behavior is encouraged.

       In all cases, environment variables with	a value	beginning with () are
       removed as they could be	interpreted as bash functions.	The list of
       environment variables that sudo allows or denies	is contained in	the
       output of sudo -V when run as root.

       Note that the dynamic linker on most operating systems will remove
       variables that can control dynamic linking from the environment of
       setuid executables, including sudo.  Depending on the operating system
       this may	include	_RLD*, DYLD_*, LD_*, LDR_*, LIBPATH, SHLIB_PATH, and
       others.	These type of variables	are removed from the environment
       before sudo even	begins execution and, as such, it is not possible for
       sudo to preserve	them.

       To prevent command spoofing, sudo checks	"." and	"" (both denoting
       current directory) last when searching for a command in the user's PATH
       (if one or both are in the PATH).  Note,	however, that the actual PATH
       environment variable is not modified and	is passed unchanged to the
       program that sudo executes.

       sudo will check the ownership of	its time stamp directory (/var/db/sudo
       by default) and ignore the directory's contents if it is	not owned by
       root or if it is	writable by a user other than root.  On	systems	that
       allow non-root users to give away files via chown(2), if	the time stamp
       directory is located in a directory writable by anyone (e.g., /tmp), it
       is possible for a user to create	the time stamp directory before	sudo
       is run.	However, because sudo checks the ownership and mode of the
       directory and its contents, the only damage that	can be done is to
       "hide" files by putting them in the time	stamp dir.  This is unlikely
       to happen since once the	time stamp dir is owned	by root	and
       inaccessible by any other user, the user	placing	files there would be
       unable to get them back out.  To	get around this	issue you can use a
       directory that is not world-writable for	the time stamps	(/var/adm/sudo
       for instance) or	create /var/db/sudo with the appropriate owner (root)
       and permissions (0700) in the system startup files.

       sudo will not honor time	stamps set far in the future.  Timestamps with
       a date greater than current_time	+ 2 * TIMEOUT will be ignored and sudo
       will log	and complain.  This is done to keep a user from	creating
       his/her own time	stamp with a bogus date	on systems that	allow users to
       give away files.

       On systems where	the boot time is available, sudo will also not honor
       time stamps from	before the machine booted.

       Since time stamp	files live in the file system, they can	outlive	a
       user's login session.  As a result, a user may be able to login,	run a
       command with sudo after authenticating, logout, login again, and	run
       sudo without authenticating so long as the time stamp file's
       modification time is within 5 minutes (or whatever the timeout is set
       to in sudoers).	When the tty_tickets option is enabled in sudoers, the
       time stamp has per-tty granularity but still may	outlive	the user's
       session.	 On Linux systems where	the devpts filesystem is used, Solaris
       systems with the	devices	filesystem, as well as other systems that
       utilize a devfs filesystem that monotonically increase the inode	number
       of devices as they are created (such as Mac OS X), sudo is able to
       determine when a	tty-based time stamp file is stale and will ignore it.
       Administrators should not rely on this feature as it is not universally

       Please note that	sudo will normally only	log the	command	it explicitly
       runs.  If a user	runs a command such as sudo su or sudo sh, subsequent
       commands	run from that shell will not be	logged,	nor will sudo's	access
       control affect them.  The same is true for commands that	offer shell
       escapes (including most editors).  Because of this, care	must be	taken
       when giving users access	to commands via	sudo to	verify that the
       command does not	inadvertently give the user an effective root shell.
       For more	information, please see	the PREVENTING SHELL ESCAPES section
       in sudoers(5).

       sudo utilizes the following environment variables:

       EDITOR	       Default editor to use in	-e (sudoedit) mode if neither
		       SUDO_EDITOR nor VISUAL is set

       MAIL	       In -i mode or when env_reset is enabled in sudoers, set
		       to the mail spool of the	target user

       HOME	       Set to the home directory of the	target user if -i or
		       -H are specified, env_reset or always_set_home are set
		       in sudoers, or when the -s option is specified and
		       set_home	is set in sudoers

       PATH	       Set to a	sane value if the secure_path sudoers option
		       is set.

       SHELL	       Used to determine shell to run with -s option

       SUDO_ASKPASS    Specifies the path to a helper program used to read the
		       password	if no terminal is available or if the -A
		       option is specified.

       SUDO_COMMAND    Set to the command run by sudo

       SUDO_EDITOR     Default editor to use in	-e (sudoedit) mode

       SUDO_GID	       Set to the group	ID of the user who invoked sudo

       SUDO_PROMPT     Used as the default password prompt

       SUDO_PS1	       If set, PS1 will	be set to its value for	the program
		       being run

       SUDO_UID	       Set to the user ID of the user who invoked sudo

       SUDO_USER       Set to the login	of the user who	invoked	sudo

       USER	       Set to the target user (root unless the -u option is

       VISUAL	       Default editor to use in	-e (sudoedit) mode if
		       SUDO_EDITOR is not set

       /usr/local/etc/sudoers  List of who can run what

       /var/db/sudo	       Directory containing time stamps

       /etc/environment	       Initial environment for -i mode on Linux	and

       Note: the following examples assume suitable sudoers(5) entries.

       To get a	file listing of	an unreadable directory:

	$ sudo ls /usr/local/protected

       To list the home	directory of user yaz on a machine where the file
       system holding ~yaz is not exported as root:

	$ sudo -u yaz ls ~yaz

       To edit the index.html file as user www:

	$ sudo -u www vi ~www/htdocs/index.html

       To view system logs only	accessible to root and users in	the adm	group:

	$ sudo -g adm view /var/log/syslog

       To run an editor	as jim with a different	primary	group:

	$ sudo -u jim -g audio vi ~jim/sound.txt

       To shutdown a machine:

	$ sudo shutdown	-r +15 "quick reboot"

       To make a usage listing of the directories in the /home partition.
       Note that this runs the commands	in a sub-shell to make the cd and file
       redirection work.

	$ sudo sh -c "cd /home ; du -s * | sort	-rn > USAGE"

       grep(1),	su(1), stat(2),	login_cap(3), passwd(5), sudoers(5), visudo(8)

       Many people have	worked on sudo over the	years; this version consists
       of code written primarily by:

	       Todd C. Miller

       See the HISTORY file in the sudo	distribution or	visit for	a short	history	of sudo.

       There is	no easy	way to prevent a user from gaining a root shell	if
       that user is allowed to run arbitrary commands via sudo.	 Also, many
       programs	(such as editors) allow	the user to run	commands via shell
       escapes,	thus avoiding sudo's checks.  However, on most systems it is
       possible	to prevent shell escapes with sudo's noexec functionality.
       See the sudoers(5) manual for details.

       It is not meaningful to run the cd command directly via sudo, e.g.,

	$ sudo cd /usr/local/protected

       since when the command exits the	parent process (your shell) will still
       be the same.  Please see	the EXAMPLES section for more information.

       If users	have sudo ALL there is nothing to prevent them from creating
       their own program that gives them a root	shell regardless of any	'!'
       elements	in the user specification.

       Running shell scripts via sudo can expose the same kernel bugs that
       make setuid shell scripts unsafe	on some	operating systems (if your OS
       has a /dev/fd/ directory, setuid	shell scripts are generally safe).

       If you feel you have found a bug	in sudo, please	submit a bug report at

       Limited free support is available via the sudo-users mailing list, see to subscribe or search
       the archives.

       sudo is provided	``AS IS'' and any express or implied warranties,
       including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of
       merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are	disclaimed.
       See the LICENSE file distributed	with sudo or for	complete details.

1.7.4				 July 19, 2010			       SUDO(8)


Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:

home | help