I am using Ubuntu (the latest release).

In Ubuntu, I type gedit filename and after saving the file, I type sudo gedit filename (it gave me a warning), but what surprise me is that, it didn't show me the original file, and give me a "new file"(also named "filename") which is empty. so I get confused, and I try to type gedit filename(without sudo) again, and the original file shows again. It seems that these "two" files are stored in different place, since I can edit non-sudo file and sudo-file respectively.

The operating above are based on the command-line, and if I open the file via GUI approach, Ubuntu will show me the file which I didn't type sudo

But in the case of macOS (macOS 10.13), the sudo command is only used to improve permissions, and of course I cannot get "two" different files.

So, can anyone help me on this issue, why using sudo command to edit files can lead to such a situation? And does that mean these two files belong to two different users(in Ubuntu situation)?

  • Are you doing this at the same location? Do pwd in both terminals first. And please don't post images of text. Or at least make them minimum size.
    – user147505
    Commented Jun 16, 2018 at 12:43
  • 1
    It looks like sudo on the two systems are configured differently. The Ubuntu configuration is obviously resetting the HOME environment variable to home of the target user (root).
    – Kusalananda
    Commented Jun 16, 2018 at 12:59
  • Run pwd; sudo pwd on both systems and compare.
    – nohillside
    Commented Jun 16, 2018 at 13:00
  • @Tomaz yes, and i access to both two "files" to edit and save, as if they are stored in two different places! Commented Jun 17, 2018 at 12:26

1 Answer 1


You're doing it wrong in Ubuntu by using sudo gedit. You shouldn't use sudo to open graphical applications as root because this is a known cause of file corruption. That's why you get a warning like this in Ubuntu when you run sudo gedit filename .

** (gedit:14140): WARNING **: 16:10:13.541: Set document metadata failed:  
Setting attribute metadata::gedit-position not supported

Nautilus Admin (nautilus-admin) is a simple Python extension for the Nautilus file manager that adds some administrative actions to the right-click menu:

  • Open as Administrator: opens a folder in a new Nautilus window running with administrator (root) privileges.
  • Edit as Administrator: opens a file in a Gedit window running with administrator (root) privileges.

To install Nautilus Admin in all currently supported versions of Ubuntu open the terminal and type:

sudo apt install nautilus-admin

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