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I'm setting up a new machine (well actually, an Ubuntu VM) and am trying to write a script to setup a few common things that I use when doing this (Git, curl, vim + janus).

So my script looks a bit like this:

sudo apt-get install git
sudo apt-get install curl

It doesn't seem great to have 'sudo' mixed in with my command -- that is just my security-spidey-sense tingling. It seems like something like the following might also work:

sudo setup

Is there a better way to do this? What are your rules of thumb when you write scripts and need elevated permissions?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is no problem using multiple 'sudo' calls in scripts.

I find it better than running the whole scripts as root as the risks are limited by restricting the privilege elevation to the commands that really need them.

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This is a good point that I didn't think about. I actually like the idea of fine-grained 'sudo'. Thank-you for your comments! –  Jimmy Lyke Sep 8 '11 at 2:01

I've done it both ways. I think the security risks are the same: if someone edits the script, you'll execute undesired commands. So make sure write permissions are restricted.

I tend to put sudo in the script if I don't want the whole script to run as root. If the script runs for a long time (I write scripts to build gcc or other big projects), multiple calls to sudo may prompt the user more than once, which can be annoying.

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Great point on the editing of this script. I did not think about the length of some of the tasks -- have you considered nesting scripts together: Calls that need sudo put into a separate script, use 'sudo' on that one to get it started. It is a blend of your answer and jillagre's answer. –  Jimmy Lyke Sep 8 '11 at 2:05

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