I want to run a series of sudo-elevated commands on a remote machine from an embedded script. To simplify the question, I'm just trying to run sudo id and get it to tell me that it's root.

I am encountering "sudo: sorry, you must have a tty to run sudo" when I run this script:

ssh -t<<EOF
sudo id

But not when I run this:

ssh -t sudo id

How do I get the first one, with the end-of-file designations for an embedded script to respect the forced tty at the other end of the SSH?

  • I can't change the /etc/sudoers to remove the requiretty and I'm required to use a password to elevate with sudo. – Andy Jun 11 '14 at 22:54
  • also, I am already using the -t option on my ssh, it just that the embedded script within the EOF tags isn't respecting the forced tty – Andy Jun 11 '14 at 22:55

With the first one there is no tty for ssh since stdin is not connected to the terminal, it is a here file. In fact if I try to run a similar command (on Debian) I get the following error:

Pseudo-terminal will not be allocated because stdin is not a terminal.

To get it to work you can do something like:

ssh -tt <<EOF
sudo -S id

Although this is not a good idea since the password will be in plain text.


I stumbled across an easy solution to this that avoids encoding the password in plain text, you can use a graphical program to enter the password:

ssh -X <<EOF
SUDO_ASKPASS=/usr/lib/ssh/x11-ssh-askpass sudo -A id

Of course the ssh-askpass program must be installed in the given location and you must be running an X session on the machine you are working on. There are a few variations on the ssh-askpass program which should also work (Gnome/KDE versions). Also a graphical sudo replacement program like gksu or kdesudo should do the job too.

  • That doesn't work for me either. I get tcgetattr: Inappropriate ioctl for device – Andy Jun 11 '14 at 22:35
  • @Andy, yes, it will since there is no actual terminal but sudo still tries to read the password form it. It is possible to use -S to make it read the password from stdin (not recommended though), see my edit. – Graeme Jun 11 '14 at 22:39
  • It also outputs the password in clear text and still doesn't run the command. – Andy Jun 11 '14 at 22:41
  • @Andy, I had the same effect, yes. It did run the command though. – Graeme Jun 11 '14 at 22:42
  • The answer suggested at serverfault.com/questions/479553/… works for a simple command (like sudo id), but for my more complex scripts, it doesn't interpret correctly. – Andy Jun 11 '14 at 22:48

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