sudo – what is it?

If you’ve been following my posts for a while, you will have also noticed the use of the sudo command in a lot of the Unix/Linux configuration and setup instructions. This is because of the security model used by these operating systems. Users generally have limited access, and only the ‘root’ or admin accounts has greater access. A common convention is to use the sudo command to allow for temporary (usually 5 minutes at a time) permission to make changes, using escalated rights for an existing non root user.

It’s often best to think of “sudo” as “mother may I”, as the server administrator can give users access to some (but not all) commands.

Permissions are stored in a file that can be edited in a variety of manners (do so carefully):
/etc/sudoers

To give an existing user permission to use sudo…

sudo adduser USERNAME sudo

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