There are several things that you must have superuser privileges to do from a terminal that can be done from a normal user account via the gui. e.g.

  • Poweroff/reboot

  • mount/unmount media

I understand why this is useful, but how exactly does this work without sufficient permission?


A comment suggest that I look at polkit and it seems that pkexec can be used to elevate privileges for certain commands. Is this how the things are executed through the gui?


1 Answer 1



Approaches include pc-su. You can read a little about this in the Handbook for 10.2, and in the forums:

Both "sudo" and "pc-su" are used in different situations:

pc-su: This simple script simply looks for an available GRAPHICAL utility that can be used for switching user permissions. Some of the utilities that it looks for are: kdesu (for KDE desktops), gksu (for GNOME/XFCE desktops), and qsu (which is a Qt switch-user utility that was written just for PC-BSD). This is generally only used when you are graphically starting up an application that required administrator privileges (like a PBI from the application menu for instance) since we do not want to require command-line usage for graphical operations.

sudo: This is used only in scripts and/or command line application initializations because it either depends upon user input into the terminal or does not require a password at all (a couple of our utilities are setup this way, like the mounttray and life-preserver).

So both "pc-su" and "sudo" are perfectly valid methods of switching user permissions, they just have different use-cases on a PC-BSD system.

~ Ken Moore ~ PC-BSD/iXsystems

– 2013-08-27

$ freebsd-version ; man pc-su
No manual entry for pc-su

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