Authentication is required to perform this action.

Whose password should I enter? Mine? Root's? I can never tell.

                            ss of dialog

2 Answers 2


Yours. What you are looking at is a gksudo window. It is the same thing as sudo, a program that allows you to run things with root privileges by entering your password.

  • I understand the rules "if you ran su then type root's password" and 'if you ran sudo then type your own password' but I didn't [explicitly] run either! I just tried to open something from the menu. How can you tell gksudo apart from its twin gksu? Oct 6, 2013 at 20:06
  • 2
    @ColonelPanic on most systems (at least debian ones) gksudo is actually a link to gksu. Anyway, if you're asked for root's password that will be made clear to you. If you are asked for a password with no more info, then 99% of the times, you should enter you user's password.
    – terdon
    Oct 6, 2013 at 20:09

In Fedora, chances are that the password this dialog is asking for is indeed your own user password. However, in the ecosystem of Linux and Unix, this is not always true.

gksu and gksudo are a GUI front-end to sudo, which in turn pays attention to /etc/sudoers. Adding rootpw as a parameter to a user, group, or a default definition in /etc/sudoers will require the root password entered for that user, group, or by default in all of the above sudo's, unless otherwise overridden. See https://superuser.com/questions/161593/how-do-i-make-sudo-ask-for-the-root-password for more info.

While this is not the default for most Linux distributions (I can't speak for Unix much), I seem to remember that it was at least, for a time, the default in OpenSuSE. This was one of the very first things I disabled when doing a new install.

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