28 May '14, 5pm

Interview: Inventing the Unix "sudo" command

Interview: Inventing the Unix "sudo" command

The story itself is a fairly common one – it starts with a problem and ends with a hack. [Bob] and his colleague [Cliff Spencer] were working at SUNY/Buffalo at the time, and [Bob] was in charge of administration of their Unix infrastructure. Since Unix was a multiuser system from the very beginnings, being a sysadmin meant executing a lot of commands as a superuser. The standard way of doing so was using the “su” command, which enabled user to switch to a superuser mode. While this generally did the trick, it opened a lot of opportunities for human error – it was just too easy to forget you’re in a “root” mode and end up causing inadvertent damage to the system. [Bob] and [Cliff] thought of a better way – instead of constantly switching, why not simply create a tool that enables executing individual commands as a superuser, without changing the actual user id in the shell...

Full article: http://hackaday.com/2014/05/28/interview-inventing-the-un...

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