Can't sudo

Richard Rudnick rich at
Tue Feb 12 22:19:07 UTC 2008

Ben Coppin wrote:
> Hi,
> I've just installed Ubuntu for the first time, and I'm having some problems. 

What cd did you install from?  The Server version does not have a gui,
or you may have chosen to do a base install from the alternate cd.

> First of all, I seem to have ended up with some kind of minimum install
> - ruby is not installed, for example, and neither is any kind of
> graphical user interface (as far as I can tell). More importantly,
> though, I can't sudo. As far as I know, I only created one user when I
> installed - the user is called ben. When I'm logged in as ben, if I try
> to sudo I get this:
> ben is not in the sudoers file.  This incident will be reported.

You should be able to boot in recovery mode and run  adduser ben admin .
That will add ben to the admin group, which is the sudoer group.

You should also run   groups ben . If you don't have a whole string of
groups, including adm dialout cdrom floppy audio dip video plugdev
lpadmin at the very minimum you will have some other serious problems.
> As a result, I can't do anything at all on the machine. I'm guessing I
> must have done something dumb when installing, but I don't know what it
> was! Can anyone help?

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