Setup woes

Nils Kassube kassube at
Tue Nov 27 11:54:59 UTC 2007

Bill Vance wrote:
> Ok, I tried, "sudo ls", and got:
>   sudo: /etc/sudoers is mode 0740, should be 0440

As you can't use the sudo command any more, I think you should boot to 
recovery mode now. Then change the permissions of /etc/sudoers to 0440 
like this:

chmod 440 /etc/sudoers

After that the sudo command is available again.

> I've allways steered clear of using the number modes, as I've never
> seen a list of which ones are what.

The last 3 digits are the permissions for owner / group / world. Each 
digit is a sum of the values of the permission bits:

 - 1 for executable
 - 2 for writable
 - 4 for readable

If the number is 4 digits, the first digit specifies special flags like 

Therefore the above mentioned modes are:

0740 = readable + executable for the owner and readable for the group
0440 = readable for owner and group

> I've noted that none of the /etc 
> files seem to be editable, "out of the box", 

That's because files in /etc are usually owned by root and are not 
writable for "normal" users.

> but I don't know if that's 
> what the problem is here;  I.e., If it's the same problem, or part of
> another.

The /etc/sudoers permissions problem only disables the use of the sudo 
command. If that is fixed, you can edit files in /etc as root but still 
not as "normal" user - but that is normal behaviour anyway and not a 


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