I am trying to use the sudo command and sudoers file correctly so that I can run a command as another user.

I have my sudoers file set up as follows:

beans ALL = (root,apache) NOPASSWD: /opt/renovations/var/script-*.sh

root, apache, and beans are part of the group beans.
Also /opt has 755 permissions, while the /opt/renovations directory and it's sub-directories are owned by the beans user and group.

The command I'm trying to run as beans is:

sudo -n -u apache -i /opt/renovations/var/script-test.sh  

-n: is so that I'm not prompted for a password, as this will be run by a cron
-u: is so that I can impersonate the apache user
-i: is so that I simulate a login, and my .profile is loaded. I need this so that I access the environment variables in .profile.

The problem is that when I run the sudo command, I get the following message:

sudo: sorry, a password is required to run sudo

I've tried running this both on AIX and Ubuntu, but the problem is on both systems. This works if I run:

sudo -n -u apache /opt/renovations/var/script-test.sh

But without the -i, my environment does not contain all of the environment variables that I need to be there.

Is there something I need to update in my sudoers file so that this is possible?

  • What does visudo -c return (checks sudoers for errors). Also, can you confirm the full version of AIX (oslevel -s) and the version of sudo installed? Aug 1, 2014 at 12:13
  • 1
    Also, does it work if you list the script name explicitly in sudo rather than the wildcard (and is the filename a symbolic link?). Aug 1, 2014 at 12:18
  • Thanks @EightBitTone. So I found solution for this sudoers configuration issue: when -i switch is in use then real command is beans ALL = (root,apache) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/ksh -c /opt/renovations/var/script-*.sh and beans ALL = (root,apache) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/bash -c /opt/renovations/var/script-*.sh But now I get the new error, for example: ksh: /opt/renovations/var/script-test.sh: cannot execute
    – krzyszto
    Aug 1, 2014 at 14:02
  • Analysing the /var/log/sudolog log file was very helpful to debug above issue (on AIX).
    – krzyszto
    Aug 1, 2014 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


So as you said yourself @krzysto, the solution is to add the following to the sudoers file

beans ALL = (root,apache) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/ksh -c /opt/renovations/var/script-*.sh 
beans ALL = (root,apache) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/bash -c /opt/renovations/var/script-*.sh

The next piece that is missing is to make sure that the group has execute permissions on the scripts, so that you can execute them.

  • yes, it is correct solution. The ksh error happens only on testing environment created for investigating the impersonation issue; in real, production all works correctly
    – krzyszto
    Aug 1, 2014 at 16:51

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