In Debian 10, how do I run software with a graphical user interface as a different user?

Trying to separate let's say private data and work data, but occasionally need to run software from the other user. Switching users is kinda cumbersome and in most cases I don't want to lose access to opened windows from private while I check software of work.

  • I don't have a Debian installation with GUI available, but gksudo (for GNOME) could work. PS: This might not work at all when using Wayland instead of X11.
    – BulletBob
    Nov 20, 2020 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


Any running Xorg application, unless it's running under Xnest, is able to grab the entire screen and read all mouse/touchpad events and key presses.

If you believe running under a separate user under the same X session has any security benefits in terms of interacting with your graphical session, you're wrong. The new user however will not have access to your files.

Wayland fully isolates graphical applications from one another but I'm not sure if Debian properly supports Wayland.

You can learn how to use Xnest here.

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