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Old 02-14-2011, 07:33 AM
Roberto Ragusa
Default concurrent users (was: how to run kdesu without asking password?)

On 02/12/2011 02:29 PM, Tim wrote:
> On Sat, 2011-02-12 at 01:19 -0800, erikmccaskey64 wrote:
>> I just need it for "bigger security". i don't only want to run
>> transmission-gtk with another user, i want to run e.g.: Google Chrome
>> too. [run application with a user that has low permissions results in
>> bigger sec.]
> I'm curious to know in what way have you made this other user more
> restricted.

That is simple. If a program runs as a different user, it simply
does not have access to your main user data (e.g. firefox bookmarks
or cookies, saved email, and all your documents).

I personally use this method to separate high importance stuff
(dedicated user for online banking) or throw-away stuff
(another dedicated user).

It is also a very good way to have more sets of settings for a single
applications: you have your independent personal firefox and pidgin and
your "work" firefox and pidgin. (yes, I know about firefox profiles,
but this way is better)

I used to run things with kdesu but got into problems (environment handling?).

I take the opportunity to share how I currently do that.
I have this script, called xroot:

echo "echo "`xauth nextract - :${DISPLAY#*:}`" | xauth nmerge -"

So I open a terminal and run xroot, the output is something like (xxx as placeholder):

echo "0100 0008 7xxx4 0001 30 0012 4xxx1 0010 fxxxc" | xauth nmerge -

I copy this text into the clipboard.
Then I run:

su -l secondaryuser

and then paste the text.

Now, you can run applications (xclock if you want to check that X is ok).

This is more efficient than the "ssh localhost" way and more secure than
the "xhost +" way.

Only issues are pulseaudio and all the "session-aware" things which are so
fashionable nowadays.

Roberto Ragusa mail at robertoragusa.it
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