how sudo handles $HOME

Carl Friis-Hansen carl.friis-hansen at
Thu May 16 10:34:33 UTC 2019

On 5/16/19 3:03 AM, Alex Murray wrote:
> On Wed, 2019-05-15 at 02:42:56 +0930, Dan Streetman wrote:
>> in Ubuntu, sudo retains the calling user's $HOME
>> this is different from upstream sudo as well as all other UNIXes and
>> even the sudo documentation we provide.  Should we remove our custom
>> patch that adds this behavior?
> I would argue that our current behaviour provides a more usable default
> (eg. running vim via sudo uses your own configuration so you don't have
> to maintain a copy of it in /root) and in the case of a machine with
> multiple sudo users, they all get to use their own configuration rather
> than a single configuration under /root.
> However, it does diverge from upstream and so for new users this creates
> a surprising situation if they are used to and expect the upstream
> behaviour - (see comments 6 and 7 in
> - plus it
> seems we do not document this change in the man page and so we are
> creating even more surprises for our users.
>  From a security point of view I do not see any advantage from either
> behaviour, so it is really more a usability question IMO.
>> for reference and more details on downsides of our current sudo behavior, see:
>> Note that I have kind-of hijacked the bug, as I believe the issue is
>> larger than the python-based example in that bug.
>> Also as I commented in that bug, I do not recommend changing the
>> behavior for existing releases.  But I do think we should change the
>> behavior starting in Eoan and future releases.
> I agree if this is changed we should not try and SRU it back.
I would say let it remain user's home for editor configs.
You could always use option -i in case you want root home.

                             Carl Friis-Hansen
                             Phone: +46 372 775199

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