I use Trisquel GNU/Linux with GNOME Flashback Desktop Environment. I need a GUI password prompt for user for executing command with sudo in script. Example consider following script:

zenity --question --text="Do you want to install this package?"
if [[ $? -eq 0 ]]; then sudo apt-get install package
else zenity --warning

Which is to be executed following way (Run) i.e not inside terminal:


So, It is needed to ask for password in order to run command with sudo otherwise it fails to do a job.

Therefore, How do I ask password by GUI prompt?


You can ask password by means of GUI prompt with the help of -A, --askpass options for sudo.

From the sudo manpage:

-A, --askpass
                 Normally, if sudo requires a password, it will read it from the user's terminal.  If the -A
                 (askpass) option is specified, a (possibly graphical) helper program is executed to read the user's
                 password and output the password to the standard output.  If the SUDO_ASKPASS environment variable
                 is set, it specifies the path to the helper program.  Otherwise, if sudo.conf(5) contains a line
                 specifying the askpass program, that value will be used.  For example:

                     # Path to askpass helper program
                     Path askpass /usr/X11R6/bin/ssh-askpass

                 If no askpass program is available, sudo will exit with an error.

So, you can graphical helper program such as ssh-askpass which prompts a user for a pass-phrase using GNOME:

$ which ssh-askpass

So, Add the following line to /etc/sudo.conf:

# Path to askpass helper program
Path askpass /usr/bin/ssh-askpass

And you will find GUI password prompt:


You can also user other program like zenity for that. Example I use following:

$ cat /etc/sudo.conf
# Path to askpass helper program
Path askpass /usr/local/bin/zenity_passphrase

Where zenity_passphrase is a custom script set to be used directly as command:

$ cat $(which zenity_passphrase)
zenity --password --title="sudo password prompt" --timeout=10

Which works like:



  • You can also use gksudo (GTK+ frontend for su and sudo) instead of sudo in the script which asks with GUI prompt (gksu and gksudo are obsolete and abandoned in 2019-2020):


  • You can also use pkexec (polkit application) with some (for others it needs to be configure) applications/commands:


| improve this answer | |
  • When using pkexec, for example pkexec leafpad, it gives Cannot open display: after entering the password. Is there any aditional configuration needed? – GTRONICK Dec 13 '17 at 3:13
  • Try DISPLAY=:0 pkexec leafpad – Pandya Dec 13 '17 at 3:19
  • Still not working, the same message Cannot open display: appears – GTRONICK Dec 14 '17 at 0:53
  • gksu and gksudo is dead, abandoned in 2019 or before that. – woohoo Apr 29 at 1:03

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