Mac Developer Library Developer
Search

 

This manual page is for Mac OS X version 10.9

If you are running a different version of Mac OS X, view the documentation locally:

  • In Terminal, using the man(1) command

Reading manual pages

Manual pages are intended as a quick reference for people who already understand a technology.

  • To learn how the manual is organized or to learn about command syntax, read the manual page for manpages(5).

  • For more information about this technology, look for other documentation in the Apple Developer Library.

  • For general information about writing shell scripts, read Shell Scripting Primer.



VISUDO(8)                                   MAINTENANCE COMMANDS                                   VISUDO(8)



NAME
       visudo - edit the sudoers file

SYNOPSIS
       visudo [-c] [-q] [-s] [-V] [-f sudoers]

DESCRIPTION
       visudo edits the sudoers file in a safe fashion, analogous to vipw(8).  visudo locks the sudoers file
       against multiple simultaneous edits, provides basic sanity checks, and checks for parse errors.  If
       the sudoers file is currently being edited you will receive a message to try again later.

       There is a hard-coded list of one or more editors that visudo will use set at compile-time that may
       be overridden via the editor sudoers Default variable.  This list defaults to "/usr/bin/vi".
       Normally, visudo does not honor the VISUAL or EDITOR environment variables unless they contain an
       editor in the aforementioned editors list.  However, if visudo is configured with the
       --with-env-editor option or the env_editor Default variable is set in sudoers, visudo will use any
       the editor defines by VISUAL or EDITOR.  Note that this can be a security hole since it allows the
       user to execute any program they wish simply by setting VISUAL or EDITOR.

       visudo parses the sudoers file after the edit and will not save the changes if there is a syntax
       error.  Upon finding an error, visudo will print a message stating the line number(s) where the error
       occurred and the user will receive the "What now?" prompt.  At this point the user may enter "e" to
       re-edit the sudoers file, "x" to exit without saving the changes, or "Q" to quit and save changes.
       The "Q" option should be used with extreme care because if visudo believes there to be a parse error,
       so will sudo and no one will be able to sudo again until the error is fixed.  If "e" is typed to edit
       the  sudoers file after a parse error has been detected, the cursor will be placed on the line where
       the error occurred (if the editor supports this feature).

OPTIONS
       visudo accepts the following command line options:

       -c          Enable check-only mode.  The existing sudoers file will be checked for syntax and a
                   message will be printed to the standard output detailing the status of sudoers.  If the
                   syntax check completes successfully, visudo will exit with a value of 0.  If a syntax
                   error is encountered, visudo will exit with a value of 1.

       -f sudoers  Specify and alternate sudoers file location.  With this option visudo will edit (or
                   check) the sudoers file of your choice, instead of the default, /etc/sudoers.  The lock
                   file used is the specified sudoers file with ".tmp" appended to it.

       -q          Enable quiet mode.  In this mode details about syntax errors are not printed.  This
                   option is only useful when combined with the -c option.

       -s          Enable strict checking of the sudoers file.  If an alias is used before it is defined,
                   visudo will consider this a parse error.  Note that it is not possible to differentiate
                   between an alias and a host name or user name that consists solely of uppercase letters,
                   digits, and the underscore ('_') character.

       -V          The -V (version) option causes visudo to print its version number and exit.

ENVIRONMENT
       The following environment variables may be consulted depending on the value of the editor and
       env_editor sudoers variables:

       VISUAL          Invoked by visudo as the editor to use

       EDITOR          Used by visudo if VISUAL is not set

FILES
       /etc/sudoers            List of who can run what

       /etc/sudoers.tmp        Lock file for visudo

DIAGNOSTICS
       sudoers file busy, try again later.
           Someone else is currently editing the sudoers file.

       /etc/sudoers.tmp: Permission denied
           You didn't run visudo as root.

       Can't find you in the passwd database
           Your userid does not appear in the system passwd file.

       Warning: {User,Runas,Host,Cmnd}_Alias referenced but not defined
           Either you are trying to use an undeclare {User,Runas,Host,Cmnd}_Alias or you have a user or host
           name listed that consists solely of uppercase letters, digits, and the underscore ('_')
           character.  In the latter case, you can ignore the warnings (sudo will not complain).  In -s
           (strict) mode these are errors, not warnings.

       Warning: unused {User,Runas,Host,Cmnd}_Alias
           The specified {User,Runas,Host,Cmnd}_Alias was defined but never used.  You may wish to comment
           out or remove the unused alias.  In -s (strict) mode this is an error, not a warning.

SEE ALSO
       vi(1), sudoers(5), sudo(8), vipw(8)

AUTHOR
       Many people have worked on sudo over the years; this version of visudo was written by:

        Todd Miller

       See the HISTORY file in the sudo distribution or visit http://www.sudo.ws/sudo/history.html for more
       details.

CAVEATS
       There is no easy way to prevent a user from gaining a root shell if the editor used by visudo allows
       shell escapes.

BUGS
       If you feel you have found a bug in visudo, please submit a bug report at
       http://www.sudo.ws/sudo/bugs/

SUPPORT
       Limited free support is available via the sudo-users mailing list, see
       http://www.sudo.ws/mailman/listinfo/sudo-users to subscribe or search the archives.

DISCLAIMER
       visudo is provided ``AS IS'' and any express or implied warranties, including, but not limited to,
       the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are disclaimed.  See
       the LICENSE file distributed with sudo or http://www.sudo.ws/sudo/license.html for complete details.



1.7.4                                           July 14, 2010                                      VISUDO(8)

Reporting Problems

The way to report a problem with this manual page depends on the type of problem:

Content errors
Report errors in the content of this documentation with the feedback links below.
Bug reports
Report bugs in the functionality of the described tool or API through Bug Reporter.
Formatting problems
Report formatting mistakes in the online version of these pages with the feedback links below.

Feedback