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Start an Ubuntu Gnome Application as Root User

Ubuntu Linux runs the the desktop as a regular user account, and so all programs launched are launched in the context of a normal user account.

To run a command-line program with superuser(root) priviledges, you normally will preceed the command with “sudo”, as shown in this example:

sudo gedit filename.txt

Ubuntu provides a graphical alternative to the sudo command that you have probably seen if you try to run any administrative tool:

You can easily and quickly run any program as root by preceeding the command with the “gksu” command. For instance, let’s launch xterm as root by hitting Alt+F2 to bring up the quick run dialog:

We’ll first see the password dialog shown above, enter your password… and there we go - we now have a terminal running as root:

Easy stuff! 

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/25/06

Comments (7)

  1. jasperism

    Thank you for the very good and useful information! I applied it to my Limewire using Ubuntu. First, I am really much tired looking for any solution to run my limewire as root without using the gnome-terminal. Using ‘gksu’ command, I found it easy!!! Thanks again!

  2. Nrip Cheema

    It really helped. I am using 8.04 LTS and wanted to update antivirus definition. Thanks for sharing the information.

  3. mickey12gauge

    Thanks a bunch. This was just what I was looking for.

  4. Robert

    If you run a GUI application like gedit, you should use gksudo instead of sudo

  5. Al Hordford

    wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!! Thank you so much!!!!! finally I’ve been looking for this forever!!!!

  6. Memes

    Thanks a lot, gksu helped me, but now I am trying to run this with cron, how to automatized the password input?

  7. Ruben.cc

    Thanks! Useful information. Very handy to edit some Apache config files using jEdit rather than being stuck with some crappy terminal editor!

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