I need to run a program installed on /opt/godi/sbin (a custom directory). If I add that directory to my PATH, by adding the following line to my .bashrc file

export PATH=$PATH:/opt/godi/bin:/opt/godi/sbin

then I can try to run the command just fine (except that it fails because it needs sudo). However, when I try to use sudo:

sudo godi_console

I get the following error

sudo: godi_console: command not found

Inspecting the PATH variable after using sudo reveals that its not including the same PATH I have as a normal user:

$ sudo sh
# echo $PATH                 

Why is the PATH not the same? Am I doing something wrong? I'm on Debian Jessie and unfortunately I cannot get around the issue by passing sudo the the absolute link to godi_console because godi_console itself also depends on the PATH being correctly set.


You can always do:

sudo env "PATH=$PATH" godi_console

As a security measure on Debian, /etc/sudoers has the secure_path option set to a safe value.

Note that:

sudo "PATH=$PATH" godi_console

Where sudo treats leading arguments containing = characters as environment variable assignments by itself, would also work at running godi_console with your $PATH (as opposed to the secure_path) in its environment, but would not affect sudo's search path for executable, so wouldn't help sudo in finding that godi_console.

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  • 5
    I like this answer best since it avoids need to change settings globally (i.e. preserves principle of least privilege) – Alois Mahdal Mar 11 '15 at 0:31
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    sudo "PATH=$PATH" godi_console did not work in CentOs7 by the way. Needed the env – Hakan Baba Jan 25 '18 at 6:29
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    Is it okay to use sudo env "PATH=$PATH" as an alias for sudo? What kind of problems could this create? – derricw Apr 12 '18 at 16:22
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    @ballsatballsdotballs. As that alias should only affect your interactive shells, that should be relatively harmless. – Stéphane Chazelas Apr 15 '18 at 13:43
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    I just create an alias called psudo for these types of cases, where: alias psudo="sudo env \"PATH=$PATH\"". Then my normal sudo use is unaffected. – mikeTronix May 18 '18 at 18:38

You can also set the default PATH at /etc/sudoers

edit the file using visudo

and update the line to what ever you wish: Defaults secure_path = /sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin

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SUDO is doing env variables reset by default.

Check out its manual and option called env_reset.

You just need to disable it in /etc/sudoers.

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    Cool! In Ubuntu you can visudo and comment out the secure_path and env_reset lines. Makes the system considerably less secure, so beware. – RawwrBag Mar 29 '16 at 18:29
  • Disabling env_reset seems not to affect sudo's behaviour w/r/t PATH. – Zanna Apr 13 '18 at 11:40
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    You have to comment secure_path as well, as mentioned by @RawwrBag – Prateek Joshi Dec 21 '19 at 6:18

This works :

sudo $(which your_command)

Example calling my gps script which lists Nvidia GPU's processes :

$ sudo gps
sudo: gps: command not found
$ sudo $(which gps)
  PID TTY          TIME CMD
 9922 tty7     02:42:47 Xorg

Explanation :

$ set -x;sudo $(which gps);set +x
++ which gps
+ sudo /home/xyztuv/myScripts/shl/gps
  PID TTY          TIME CMD
 9922 tty7     02:42:39 Xorg
+ set +x
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sudo --preserve-env=PATH env [command]

this ovverrides secure_path on my end

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This worked:

sudo "PATH=$PATH" [your command]

Do not change $PATH with your path value, you just write it this way

example: $ sudo env "PATH=$PATH" ant -f webAppConfig.xml regenWebAppConf....

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Maybe not precisely what OP asks for, but this might help:

sudo -u the_user PATH=$PATH:/opt/godi/bin sh -c 'echo $PATH'

This changes the PATH inside the sudoed command.

Edit: I am not sure what I meant by this, as the above is pretty much nonsense. Use the following instead:

sudo -u the_user sh -c 'PATH=$PATH:/opt/godi/bin echo $PATH'
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