Doing administration tasks without administrative privileges.

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53
votes
6answers
19k views

Can I create a user-specific hosts file to complement /etc/hosts?

Is it possible to add a list of hosts that are only specific to a certain user? Perhaps a user-specific hosts file? This mechanism should also complement the entries in the /etc/hosts file.
28
votes
8answers
5k views

Non-Root Package Managers

From my research, I seem to notice that all package managers insist on being used as a privileged user and must be installed into /. Typically, what I like to do is create a throwaway account, ...
22
votes
3answers
14k views

Why can't a normal user `chown` a file?

Why is the chown command root-only? Why can't non-root users use chown to give away files they own?
19
votes
6answers
10k views

Can I create override dns similar to writing in /etc/hosts without root access

I want to set a dns record that my browser will use, but I don't have root access, so I can't modify /etc/hosts. I need to do this for testing vhosts with apache, whose dns hasn't yet been set up. I ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

How to “jail” a process without being root?

Were I root, I could simply create a dummy user/group, set file permissions accordingly and execute the process as that user. However I am not, so is there any way to achieve this without being root?
14
votes
2answers
14k views

How to create a user with limited RAM usage?

So I have 4 GB RAM + 4GB swap. I want to create a user with limited ram and swap: 3 GB RAM and 1 GB swap. Is such thing possible? Is it possible to start applications with limited RAM and swap ...
12
votes
2answers
153 views

How do I install syslinux/extlinux to a disk image file without requiring root privileges

I have built a home-grown Linux distribution, and I can make the complete disk image file as a non-root user with one exception -- installing the boot loader. I'm using syslinux (actually extlinux), ...
12
votes
1answer
12k views

Installing Chrome on Linux without needing to be root

How can I install Chrome on Linux without needing to log in as root? Note that I want to use Chrome, not Chromium. If I go to the official download page, I get the choice between: Please select ...
10
votes
2answers
18k views

How to install program locally without sudo privileges?

Assume I have ssh access to some Ubuntu server as user and I need some not system tools to be installed for convenience (mc, rtorrent, mcedit). I do not want to bother admins for these small programs. ...
10
votes
3answers
12k views

Installing a .deb package in home directory

Is it possible to install a .deb package completely under my home directory at debian?
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it possible to run a webdav fuse client with no root access?

I have seen examples showing how to use davfs2 under linux, but each has involved one of these things: Running mount as root Adding an entry to /etc/fstab Running mount.davfs setuid, which, alas, ...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

Allow non-superusers to mount any filesystem

Is it possible to allow some particular users (e.g. members of a group) to mount any filesystem without superuser privileges on Linux? (Another question might have been "in what ways a user can harm ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Installing a package locally to a user - best practices?

I want to install Git locally to a user on a RHEL server (I don't have root access) What would be your cleanest/ most organized way of installing software to a local user account? Installing ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Where should a local executable be placed?

I have an executable for the perforce version control client (p4). I can't place it in /opt/local because I don't have root privileges. Is there a standard location where it needs to be placed under ...
7
votes
1answer
720 views

How to autostart a background program by a non-root user?

As a non-root user, I want to run a background job when the system boots. It's sort of a service which doesn't require root privilege. Is there a way to do it? One way is to put sudo -u user command ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Samba mount with password prompt as non-root user

I want to mount a password-protected SMB share (served by a Windows machine). The share is protected by a user name and password, and I may not write the password in a file, I want to be prompted for ...
6
votes
4answers
326 views

Listing all devices as non-superuser

I'm trying to mount external hard drive. As I know, to mount manually, I should use fdisk -l to determine which device refers to the drive. When I'm doing so without sudo I have next output: ...
6
votes
6answers
4k views

Install virtual machine as non-root?

Is it possible to install any virtual machine software as non-root user and run it ? Which VM's are possible to be installed with out need of root access ? If it is not possible what would be the ...
6
votes
2answers
436 views

How can I allow a user to prioritize a process to negative niceness?

I want a user to run a specific process on the system with a negative nice value. I can't simply fork the process to background as this specific program is a minecraft server and I rely on the command ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I allow a non-root user to log in when /etc/nologin exists?

Suppose a non-root user with sudo privileges executes a delayed shutdown (shutdown +10 or whatever) and logs out. Then, before the shutdown occurs, he wants to log back in and cancel the shutdown. The ...
6
votes
1answer
252 views

How do DE's call ACPI functions?

Okay, first off, this is not a problem I am facing, but I would like to understand this better. If I wish to shutdown / reboot my machine from the command line I need to call: $ sudo poweroff $ sudo ...
6
votes
1answer
5k views

How can I make this daemon/init run as a non root user?

I have an init script to kick off a daemon. The problem is it runs as root. I would like it to run as a user called "deploy". Ubuntu 12.04 #! /bin/sh # File: /etc/init.d/unicorn ### BEGIN INIT ...
6
votes
3answers
386 views

How can I build and install PL/R as a non-privileged user?

There is a postgres instance, and I have the ability to build my own instance. Using these instructions I ran: USE_PGXS=1 make which worked but then USE_PGXS=1 make install did not, with this ...
5
votes
4answers
522 views

Can I have my own version control system?

In the linux/unix machine I am using, I am just a normal user. However, I want a version control system to manage my files to prevent accidental delete/rename/lost/modification. Obviously I don't have ...
5
votes
3answers
291 views

Preventing binary planting attacks in Linux

If a user account on a Linux machine is compromised, clearly, all files owned by that user are compromised. Unfortunately, if the compromised user also has sudo privileges, it seems that binary ...
5
votes
1answer
259 views

No password to run command as root for fixed command? [duplicate]

Is it possible to define a rule in sudoers to allow one user to run one well defined command as root, without password or other authentication except being the right user? Are there alternatives to ...
5
votes
3answers
10k views

Read/Write to a Serial Port Without Root?

I'm writing an application to read/write to/from a serial port in Fedora14, and it works great when I run it as root. But when I run it as a normal user I'm unable to obtain the privileges required to ...
5
votes
3answers
12k views

Creating an user without a password

I'm trying to create user without password like this: sudo adduser \ --system \ --shell /bin/bash \ --gecos ‘User for managing of git version control’ \ --group \ --disabled-password \ ...
5
votes
7answers
7k views

How to get dmidecode information without root privileges?

I'm writing a program that displays various system information (on a CentOS system). For example, the processor type and speed (from /proc/cpuinfo), the last boot time (calculated from /proc/uptime), ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

Apt-get autocompletion

I am currently running 64-bit Debian Wheezy. I am having some trouble with auto completion for apt-get. I have bash-completion installed. If I am logged in as root in a shell, I can use auto ...
5
votes
1answer
245 views

suid-root doesn't have effect

A program from apue. #include "apue.h" #include <fcntl.h> int main(int argc, char *argv[]) { if(argc!=2) err_quit("usage: a.out <pathname>"); if(access(argv[1], ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Do I need root (admin) permissions to run userspace 'perf' tool? (perf events are enabled in Linux kernel)

Do I need to have to run perf userspace tool as system administrator (root), or can I run it (or at least some subcommands) as an ordinary user?
5
votes
2answers
245 views

What is an effective method for installing up-to-date software on an out-dated production machine?

Apologies if this has been asked already, but I'm such a beginner, I'm not even able phrase a search query for this. Background My company uses a small out-dated cluster (CentOS 5.4) to do number ...
5
votes
1answer
655 views

Installing Gentoo packages as an ordinary user (non-root)

Is it possible to install Gentoo packages (ebuild-enabled programs, programs with support for portage) as an ordinary user (non-root) to one's own home directory (--prefix=$HOME or sth. like that)?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Admin user not showing directory path in console prompt, only $

I have an Ubuntu server that I administer through ssh. When I login as root I get a full path in the prompt, like /var/www. I created a user with sudo privileges for the purpose of administration. ...
4
votes
3answers
488 views

Where are userspace programs supposed to save their logs?

I am writing a script that I want to run without privileges. I want the errors that the script encounters to be logged to some log file. I do not not have privileges to write one to /var/log. And I do ...
4
votes
1answer
470 views

Is it possible to have X parse a per-user configuration file?

I am thinking that many of the options that one has to write in the traditional system Xorg.conf file, have to do with user preferences and thus should not IMHO be set by system administrators. In ...
4
votes
1answer
213 views

Change owner of own directory

I am fully aware that a non-root user cannot change the owner of a folder to another user even if the user owns it unless they use sudo or have the CAP_CHOWN capability. Is there a way to grant a ...
4
votes
1answer
95 views

Package management without the need of root permission

Am looking for a way to install packages in home folder. This thread suggests using apt-get source ./configure --prefix=$HOME However, it doesn't provide a way to manage dependencies like apt-get ...
4
votes
2answers
296 views

manage unix user settings across multiple machines

I have many different linux machines with similar "profiles". I want to keep my settings in sync. e.g vimrc, zshrc,. I have the problem that they are various distributions of Linux with various setups ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Using startx on Fedora 17, a non-root user cannot join new wireless networks — how to fix?

I have Fedora 17 installed on a Lenovo X230, and if I leave it configured to boot into Gnome using systemd's runlevel5.target (or graphical.target), which is the default, networking seems to work just ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

umount an external ntfs drive as non-root

I have ntfs-3g installed, and use this udev rule to auto mount external drives automatically. When I try umount it as non-root, it says: umount: /media/umm is not in the fstab (and you are not root) ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Logged on via ssh-key, can I reset my account password?

I am logged in on a server via sshkey (ssh -i /home/me/.ssh/ssh-key me@server). I got sudo rights on that server from the admin, but I can't exercise them, since I forgot my actual Unix password (or ...
4
votes
2answers
437 views

Installing gcc without root?

I'm running OSX, and I don't have root, or an existing compiler. Is there any way I can install gcc? Are there official or trusted unofficial mach-o binaries that can be downloaded for a certain ...
4
votes
1answer
324 views

Completely disable GNOME for my user in Ubuntu

At the office we've been issued laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed. Unity is of course the OS default, but KDE is available. I prefer KDE and so have set KDM and KDE as my defaults. However some GNOME ...
4
votes
2answers
594 views

Permanently switching to zsh in a script, without being root and without being asked for the password

Is there any way to run chsh -s /bin/zsh without being root and without being asked for the password? I want to put it into a non-interactive script that isn't called by root.
3
votes
6answers
87 views

Use a shell not installed on remote machine

Given the scenario: Remote machine: SSH server; user does not have admin privileges; Local machine: SSH client; user has admin privileges. If user, logging in to remote from local, wishes to ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Unable to mount NTFS partition from user account

I'm trying to mount a Windows ntfs partition on openSuse 11.4. When I mount it using the root account (either directly or via sudo) it mounts without problems. But when I try mounting it without any ...
3
votes
1answer
328 views

Route incoming network requests for a given port to different applications

I have an application that listens for connections on a port, but I occasionally take it down for updates and the like. I'd like a way to configure the system such that if that program is running, ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Shutting down from X without a desktop environment

I have recently given up my Desktop Environment and am now only using a Window Manager (i3) and X. It all works very well and I do not miss much. Except for one thing: the shutdown button. I can now ...