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This seems odd to me. I can't install software using the "friendly" GUI tool unless I input the root password but by default, my Ubuntu 12.04 has root disabled with no password set.

Why doesn't Software Centre use a SUDO credential? Perhaps using gksudo?

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It asks for your user password not for root's, root does have no password. –  Uri Herrera Jun 27 '12 at 22:09
Software Centre does normally use sudo type requests before any software install. *Have you modified your setup or root user is some way? –  david6 Jun 28 '12 at 5:00
AFAIK only to allow my normal ID to SUDO without a password –  Julian Knight Jun 28 '12 at 7:16
I started having the exact same problem. I can use sudo from the cli just fine, but when running Ubuntu Software Update, it's asking me for root password. –  rcourtna Jan 17 '13 at 3:41
I never did find a proper answer to WHY it was doing this I'm afraid. I simply put a password on root and it worked OK. –  Julian Knight Jan 18 '13 at 21:45

2 Answers 2

I have never seen Ubuntu Software Center ask for a root password. It's not supposed to, and it won't happen unless you do something special to your system. What is supposed to happen, is that it uses Policy Kit, which will ask you to select a user and enter a password for that user.

PolicyKit is much more suitable for this than gksudo, since sudo will allow access to commands, whereas PolicyKit allows access to actions such as org.debian.apt.install-or-remove-packages. If instead you provided access to run apt-get, then you could do anything apt-get can do, which is way too much power. You might, for instance, grant permission for all users to install security upgrades from official Ubuntu archives, but not allow the user to install new software. That wouldn't be possible to do with sudo.

I would check to see if you've removed the package policykit-1-gnome.

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No, policykit-1-gnome is installed. Every time I try to install anything, it asks me for the root password. I could only install from the command line until I added a password to root. I have changed SUDO so that my normal user login isn't asked for a password when doing SUDO - would that effect it? –  Julian Knight Jun 27 '12 at 22:33
Thanks for the info re policykit. I've mainly used Debian and SUSE in the past so I'm happy with command line installs but it bugs me why Software Centre isn't working as expected. –  Julian Knight Jun 27 '12 at 22:35
up vote -1 down vote accepted

Sadly, nobody has been able to really answer this question so I'm going to close it.

Though Jo's answer was useful, it doesn't really answer the question as to WHY this happened nor how to prevent it.

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