Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've just hosed a system. Working on pam-ldap on an Ubuntu box, I've run pam-auth-update and told it to override local modifications (which had previously allowed for sudo su, but I was having issues with sudo <arbitrary command>.

After applying the settings I can no longer su root. Now I'm pretty much locked out of the box and since it's on the cloud the concept of 'boot access is root access' doesn't really apply.

Any ideas how I can rescue the box?

share|improve this question

migrated from stackoverflow.com Jan 20 '12 at 12:43

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

This is in no way a programming related question. Voting to move to superuser where it is more appropriate. Please take a few minutes to read the FAQ for an explanation of what is (and is not) an appropriate question here. Thanks. :) – Ken White Jan 20 '12 at 3:09
That's cool, should I just re-enter it on superuser then ? – quickshiftin Jan 20 '12 at 3:13
I'll flag it for the moderators, and they should move it for you. :) – Ken White Jan 20 '12 at 3:15
You say "I can no longer su root", is sudo not working now either? (su != sudo) – Patrick Jan 20 '12 at 18:41
That's correct, 'su root' and 'sudo <arbitrary command>' are both not working now. If it was a regular old box I'd login w/ a live cd and change back that PAM file and reboot; I'm planning to see if they have any options similar to that on the cloud, short of that I'll have to rebuild the system :( – quickshiftin Jan 21 '12 at 3:30
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Looks like Rackspace has something called Rescue Mode comparable to the 'root access is boot access' on their cloud. You can boot another instance and mount the disk from the damaged machine just as you would have in the old fashioned days with a LiveCD.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.