Few tricks and info about sudo

>Working in a multi-admin environment ;where more then one administrator controlling servers,as often the case with most of the big corporates.Then you need a mechanism to deal with that which not allowed each other to overlap their work and keep track who is firing what.Sudo is that kind tool ,which is quite indispensable in the multi-admin production environment.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you.

Most of the GNU/Linux distribution come with sudo..if not then please download it through by it(OSes) package manager. It should be in the repository of that distribution.

Once installed a configuration file related to it placed at /etc named sudoers . So you need edit it according to your requirement to get thing going with this tool.

Tool for to edit that file is called “visudo” ..which nothing but a vi/vim editor with a lock..means when someone editing others won’t allow to do anything in it.Clear?? right.

You need to called it like this:

root@bhaskar-laptop_08:37:05_Thu Aug 19:/home/bhaskar # visudo

and the file /etc/sudoers should open in it,but with a temporary location and place with a lock.

Ok..now few internals entry need to visit for the sake of clarity of it’s function.So here we go:

Suppose we want to allow sudo with some specific host with specific users on it to allow use of sudo.Did I confuse you with the last statement??not worry …I will explain it in details..read on:

The careful reader will note that there was a bit of a change here. The line used to read jim ALL=(ALL) ALL?, but now there’s only one ALL left. Reading the man page can easily leave you quite confused as to what those three ALL??s meant. ALL refers to machines- the assumption is that this is a network wide sudoers file. In the case of this machine (lnxserve) we could do this:

jim lnxserve= /bin/kill, /usr/sbin/jim/

Now let me explain that a host/machine name called “lnxserve” has a user called “jim” and heis entitled to run those two command right side of the “=” .

So what was the (ALL)? for? Well, here;s a clue:

jim lnxserve=(paul,linda) /bin/kill, /usr/sbin/jim/

Yes this line bring another twist into the previous line.Here it says.. a machine called “lnxserv” with a user called “jim” who will be able to run command as paul and linda with specified command mentioned.

That says that jim can (using sudo -u ) run commands as paul or linda. Yes it sometimes necessary to do it because of various reason in the production environment.I not going into that details ,because that might take another whole article to talk about.

This is perfect for giving jim the power to kill paul or linda’s processes without giving him anything else. There is one thing we need to add though: if we just left it like this, jim is forced to use sudo -u paul or sudo -u linda every time. We can add a default runas_default:

Defaults:jim timestamp_timeout=-1, env_delete+=BOOP, runas_default=linda

So jim can easily run command as linda by default.I am going to put some line straight out of the man page for clarity:

To get a file listing of an unreadable directory:

$ sudo ls /usr/local/protected

To list the home directory of user yaz on a machine where the file system holding ~yaz is not exported as root:

$ sudo -u yaz ls ~yaz

To edit the index.html file as user www:

$ sudo -u www vi ~www/htdocs/index.html

To view system logs only accessible to root and users in the adm group:

$ sudo -g adm view /var/log/syslog

To run an editor as jim with a different primary group:

$ sudo -u jim -g audio vi ~jim/sound.txt

To shutdown a machine:

$ sudo shutdown -r +15 “quick reboot”

To make a usage listing of the directories in the /home partition. Note that this runs the commands in a sub-shell to make the cd and file redirection
work.

$ sudo sh -c “cd /home ; du -s * | sort -rn > USAGE”

Hope this will help.

Cheers!
Bhaskar

About unixbhaskar
GNU/Linux Consultant

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