su is a utility to run a shell or other command as another user (root by default).

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86
votes
7answers
12k views

Which is the safest way to get root privileges: sudo, su or login?

I would like to have the root account in safety even if my unprivileged user is compromised. On Ubuntu you can only use sudo for "security reasons" by default. However I am not sure it is any safer ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How to trace a process to original user?

Say, on a Solaris server, user1 logs in, switches to someother user, say sruser, using su - and then starts a process of id X. And then another user user2 logs in, switches to sruser the same way and ...
28
votes
6answers
18k views

What is the need for `fakeroot` command in linux

Why do we need fakeroot command at all? Can't we simply use the sudo or su commands? The man page says: fakeroot - run a command in an environment faking root privileges for file manipulation ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

su vs su - (on Debian): why is PATH the same?

I know what should be the difference between su and su -, but in my system (debian testing) for example PATH is the same: [root]# su [root]# echo $PATH ...
6
votes
2answers
10k views

Is it possible to su without being prompted for a password?

I suspect su doesn't have any way to allow passing the password from the shell instead of being prompted for one, for security reasons (couldn't find anything in the MAN). Is this true?
75
votes
2answers
11k views

Why do we use su - and not just su?

I don't understand why su - is preferred over su to login as root.
7
votes
4answers
2k views

sudo permission denied but su grants permission

this is the first occurrence where su was required for me. I read an article about changing the value in /sys/devices/virtual/backlight/acpi_video0/brightness to alter my laptop's screen brightness. ...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

How do I suppress dd output?

I have a bash script that creates some file using dd. The problem is dd throws a great amount of output that is going to mess with the output of my script. Searching around I've found a solution: dd ...
4
votes
3answers
969 views

`$XAUTHORITY` appears from 'nowhere' on su+tmux

When I switched from su+bash to su+tmux+zsh I noticed that I get $XAUTHORITY variable defined as /root/.xauthXXXXXX where XXXXXX are 6 random alphanumeric characters. With previous configuration X ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

When do su and sudo use different passwords?

I am able to run anything using sudo; my password is accepted. But whenever I try to do su from a shell, it fails with: su: incorrect password What can the problem be?
83
votes
6answers
25k views

Where did the “wheel” group get its name?

The wheel group on *nix computers typically refers to the group with some sort of root-like access. I've heard that on some *nixes it's the group of users with the right to run su, but on Linux that ...
4
votes
2answers
16k views

su options - running command as another user

I was wondering how to run a command as another user from a script. I have the script's owner set as root. I also have the following command being run within the script to run the command as the ...