I know that some authentication programs like KDE's KAuth can use polkit as the backend.And what makes polkit special is that it can grant some specific privileges to a non-privileged process.A functionality that reminds me of capabilities(7).
But does polkit make use of capabilities or another infra-structure?

  • It is not able to grant some specific privileges to a non-privileged process, it simply do userspace authentication. Mar 5, 2020 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


polkit doesn’t grant privileges to non-privileged processes, it authenticates users and controls access to actions provided by privileged processes. It doesn’t use capabilities for this.

pkexec can run a process as another user, but it does so using mechanisms similar to sudo: it’s setuid root.

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