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It is possible to change the user within a shell script by su - newuser; but what if the newuser needs authentication. How can I provide the password within the shell script?

None of the users is root.

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Are you automating a non-interactive process? If so, you want sudo. Or do you want to prompt the user for a password? If so, can you assume that a user is logged in locally? –  Gilles Mar 2 '12 at 22:45

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Using passwords in plain text files is not recommended. However, if no security risk is involved, create an expect script. Expect is a scripting language designed to interact with interactive shells and it is perfect for things like authentication or automation of processes that require a user to type in different things or select different options in a shell environment.

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You cannot that I am aware of. You can schedule the job with cron for other users via Su. Besides you NEVER should put a wheel users password in a clear text file

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very nice point! you're quite right! –  All Mar 2 '12 at 7:19

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