pkexec vs. gksu

Simon Steinbeiß simon at
Tue Jul 15 22:18:27 UTC 2014

Hey everyone,

following up on the discussion we had in today's meeting about pkexec
vs. gksu, I'm posting the first findings on the issue.

I got in touch with folks in #ubuntu-desktop to see why they
decided to go for pkexec over gksu. According to mdeslaur "gksu was a
bad hack, it would screen scrape su, so it would break horribly when a
pam module asked for something else than a password."

At the outset, they decided to look at all packages that depend on
gksu and create policykit files for them. I guess we don't have many
apps in this category.

I admit that I haven't looked into the differences of pkexec and gksu
myself, however, I propose the following course of action.

1. We collect all apps that would need policy-files in a wiki-page [1]
to get an overview of the workload it would take to make pkexec work for
most users/contexts.
2. We evaluate the workload and then judge how realistic it is to do it
for 14.10.
3a. If we find it's doable, we go ahead with that.
3b. If we find it's too much work, we provide gksu until we have had
enough time to do 3a.

This list is meant to be open for contributions from the community, as
the few people our team consists of can hardly grasp the many
scenarios/GUI-apps that might require root, so feel free to add your
app! (But please stick to the format that is already there.)
If there are a lot of apps, we might prioritize them – e.g. it is
obvious that apps we ship by default on our iso have the highest
priority. The rest might be up for debate.



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