pkexec vs. gksu

Elfy ub.untu at
Wed Jul 16 06:16:38 UTC 2014

On 16/07/14 00:56, Stephen Michael Kellat wrote:
> On Wed, 16 Jul 2014 00:18:27 +0200
> Simon Steinbeiß <simon at> wrote:
>> 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.
>> Cheers
>> Simon
>> [1]
> [snip]
> I do apologize for not being in attendance this morning.  My sleep was disturbed overnight and I wound up waking 90 minutes too early...then promptly going back to bed.
> Beyond the "It's A Hack" contention, I'm going to throw in the issue of the Upstart to systemd transition.  Will pkexec play nicer with the systemd underpinnings compared to what we had with Upstart?  If memory serves Mark did say that Ubuntu will follow Debian in adopting systemd which means that will will, by reference, be on the receiving end too.
> Stephen Michael Kellat
Systemd is a long way in the future - it's certainly not needed in this 
context. We're talking about 14.10 not 15.x or 16.x

This discussion is about what to do now.

Ubuntu Forum Council Member
Xubuntu QA Lead

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