This is the bash code that should be runned. So first it substitutes the user to openproject and than runs all the code:

su openproject -c "bash -l" 
cd ~/openproject
git checkout Gemfile.lock
git pull

bundle install
RAILS_ENV="production" bundle exec rake db:migrate
RAILS_ENV="production" bundle exec rake db:seed
RAILS_ENV="production" bundle exec rake assets:precompile

I have tried chnaging the above script into this:

su - openproject -c "cd ~openproject/openproject"

su - openproject -c "git checkout stable"

su - openproject -c "git checkout Gemfile.lock"
su - openproject -c "git pull"

su - openproject -c "bundle install"

su - openproject -c "RAILS_ENV="production" bundle exec rake db:migrate"
su - openproject -c "RAILS_ENV="production" bundle exec rake db:seed"
su - openproject -c "RAILS_ENV="production" bundle exec rake assets:precompile"

but this does not run properly and at every steps asks for password. How can the translated script be improved so it works?


After receiving sugestions about this I am the point where the code has been modified into:

cd ~openproject/openproject

sudo -u openproject git checkout stable

sudo -u openproject git checkout Gemfile.lock
sudo -u openproject git pull

# the output is good thill here
sudo -u openproject bundle install

sudo -u openproject RAILS_ENV="production" bundle exec rake db:migrate
sudo -u openproject RAILS_ENV="production" bundle exec rake db:seed
sudo -u openproject RAILS_ENV="production" bundle exec rake assets:precompile

The output is ok till the line that states so into the code. From there I get 4 error

sudo: bundle: command not found


After trying the suggestion from Dmitry Vasilyanov I found that if i insert the -i it will simulate as user login. However this is not the final way to do it.

If I run echo $PATH after logging in as openproject the ouput is /usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/local/games:/usr/games:/home/openproject/.rvm/bin

If I run echo $PATH after su openproject -c "bash -l" the output is /home/openproject/.rvm/gems/ruby-2.1.0/bin:/home/openproject/.rvm/gems/ruby-2.1.0@global/bin:/home/openproject/.rvm/rubies/ruby-2.1.0/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/local/games:/usr/games:/home/openproject/.rvm/bin

  • You want sudo, not su.
    – dawud
    Jul 16, 2014 at 9:04
  • You also can't (meaningfully) sudo cd, since it's a shell builtin.
    – MadHatter
    Jul 16, 2014 at 9:06
  • But sudo doesn't subsitute for root? I am root and want to run script as openproject user, with exact effects as if i would login as openproject user and start from second command (cd ~/openproject)
    – CPJ
    Jul 16, 2014 at 9:09
  • 1
    No, sudo is used to run as another user, being root the default if nothing is specified, you can perfectly execute sudo -u openproject bundle install.
    – dawud
    Jul 16, 2014 at 9:17
  • I guess you are getting the bundle: command not found error because you set PATH or GEM_PATH in your .bash_profile or .bashrc, they are not executed in non-login/non-interactive shells, so you need to pass -i to sudo to simulate login, like this: sudo -iu openproject bundle install
    – Dmitry
    Jul 16, 2014 at 20:34

2 Answers 2


Why don't you create a shell script and do a

su - openproject -c "your_shell_script"

Be aware of the - before openproject. That will set the environment variables of openproject instead of your user environment variables.

  • I needed to add sudo at the start otherwise it asked me for my password.
    – IanVaughan
    Jul 20, 2015 at 12:42
  • sudo will also ask for the password the first time you run it, hence the advise of putting your stuff in a shell script and running that with either suor sudo
    – YoMismo
    Jul 20, 2015 at 13:09

If you use bash you can do here-doc

$ su - user -s/bin/bash -c <<EOF
export X=1
echo $X

That way you can execute many commands and keep the state inside a script.

The same with sudo

sudo -u user bash <<EOF
  • Neither works for me. Can you really pass commands from stdin to su/sudo?
    – Sparhawk
    Sep 29, 2015 at 4:28
  • 1
    @Sparhawk, thanks for checking. In the second example I forgot to add "bash" (already updated the example) – works. The first example is not fully working as you mentioned, I was typing from long term cache so I could make a mistake, but definitely I had su working with stdin (I was using java to run subprocess for that task) I'll try to test it more to find correct way.
    – spinus
    Sep 29, 2015 at 23:00
  • 1
    I needed to create a command dependent on various variables and run it as another user. So the suggestion from YoMismo was not an option in my case. I battled this for an hour, an the only thing I find working is the EOF approach (the second example). Thanks!
    – Jette
    Dec 19, 2019 at 14:03

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