What is the syntax for using NOPASSWD and sudoedit at the same time in /etc/sudoers? I tried this:

john ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: sudoedit /path/to/file

but I still get prompted for a password.


1 Answer 1


sudoers file

You should be able to do any of these.

  1. Such as this:

    john ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: sudoedit
  2. or this:

    john ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: sudoedit /path/to/file
  3. Lastly you could do it like this too:

    Cmnd_Alias SOMECMD = sudoedit /path/to/file

Once you have one of these definitions in place you invoke it like so:

sudoedit /path/to/file


You don't need to invoke it with a sudo command prefix like this:

sudo sudoedit /pat/to/file

It takes care of the sudo automatically. It's equivalent to sudo -e /pat/to/file which will invoke an editor with elevated privileges.

excerpt from the sudo/sudoedit man page

-e          The -e (edit) option indicates that, instead of running a command, 
            the user wishes to edit one or more files. In lieu of a command, the 
            string "sudoedit" is used when consulting the sudoers file.  If the 
            user is authorized by sudoers the following steps are taken:

               1.  Temporary copies are made of the files to be edited with the 
                   owner set to the invoking user.

               2.  The editor specified by the SUDO_EDITOR, VISUAL or EDITOR 
                   environment variables is run to edit the temporary files.  
                   If none of SUDO_EDITOR, VISUAL or EDITOR are set, the first 
                   program listed in the editor sudoers variable is used.

               3.  If they have been modified, the temporary files are copied 
                   back to their original location and the temporary versions 
                   are removed.

You can override the editor by setting one of the environment variables mentioned above with the name of an editor to use such as vim or gedit, for example.

  • 1
    From the manpage: <i>The built-in command “sudoedit” is used to permit a user to run sudo with the -e option (or as sudoedit). It may take com‐ mand line arguments just as a normal command does. Note that “sudoedit” is a command built into sudo itself and must be specified in sudoers without a leading path.</i> ... so I'd guess not, but I haven't tried it.
    – derobert
    Oct 25, 2013 at 15:30
  • @derobert - thanks, I hadn't tried it either, so it was a suggested course to try, no guarantees.
    – slm
    Oct 25, 2013 at 15:36
  • @slm: First suggestion doesn't work, and the second gives syntax error. :( Oct 25, 2013 at 15:53
  • @PavelTankov - see updates, let me know if that 2nd method works instead.
    – slm
    Oct 25, 2013 at 18:36
  • Actually, I was wrong. Appears I didn't know things work in general. So, first, the following works: john ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: sudoedit /path/to/file so you can change it back in your response. Sorry about that. What I thought was that sudoedit lets you use any editor of your preference, hence I made my tests with vi and it didn't work. What I tried was: vi /path/to/file and also: echo foobar >> /path/to/file and they didn't work, whereas I should have tried: sudoedit /path/to/file which works. Oct 25, 2013 at 20:54

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