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I am getting this error:

sudo: parse error in /etc/sudoers near line 23
sudo: no valid sudoers sources found, quitting
sudo: unable to initialize policy plugin

I was trying to disable password authentication so I don't have to type password every time I want to install something, but I probably changed it in a not very good way. I am a newbie to Ubuntu, I got sick of Windows :)

So far I've found some people suggesting booting in single user mode, but I'm afraid of messing things up more.

How can I fix this error?

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If you boot in single user mode and use visudo, then it won't let you save an incorrect file, so you will not be able to mess things up further. – hexafraction Oct 30 '12 at 11:18
Thank you, how do I change the file, then? And, how exactly do I boot in single user mode? – Robert Fáber Oct 30 '12 at 11:19
@ObsessiveSSOℲ it would be nice to convert the comment to answer and let the questioner to mark it as the best answer. For future - help - others I mean. – NikTh Oct 30 '12 at 12:14
On newer Ubuntu distributions, there's a simple solution (not requiring any reboot nor recovery), described here: – user321342 Aug 28 '14 at 11:23

Hold Shift immediately while booting so that you get the GRUB screen. Select the recovery mode. Choose to drop to a root terminal. Run mount -n -o remount,rw / and then visudo. It'll let you fix your problems with the file and save. It won't let you save a malformed file.

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Shift didn't work for me, I had be pressing keys to get grub – nafg Nov 19 '13 at 6:13
@nafg Every configuration is different. – hexafraction Nov 19 '13 at 11:17

Fixing this is dead simple, and it is answered elsewhere on askubuntu.

Short answer, use:

pkexec editor_of_choice
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This is definitely the simplest and best answer. I had no clue pkexec existed. Thanks a lot both – Bizmate Apr 14 at 17:05

Folowing solution is for remote servers, it works!

then just use visudo to add wheel, etc

  1. Rename your current file

    mv /etc/sudoers{,.bak}

  2. Create a new one vi /etc/sudoers with the following basic content:

    # /etc/sudoers
    # This file MUST be edited with the 'visudo' command as root.
    # See the man page for details on how to write a sudoers file.
    # Defaults    env_reset
    # Host alias specification
    # User alias specification
    # Cmnd alias specification
    # User privilege specification
    root    ALL=(ALL) ALL
    # Allow members of group sudo to execute any command after they have
    # provided their password
    # (Note that later entries override this, so you might need to move
    # it further down)
    %sudo ALL=(ALL) ALL
    #includedir /etc/sudoers.d
    # Members of the admin group may gain root privileges
    %admin ALL=(ALL) ALL
  3. Run visudo and add your custom stuff.

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You can do this:

Create a copy

cp /etc/sudoers /etc/sudoers.bak

Edit problem parts there

vim /etc/sudoers.bak

Replace the origin sudoers file

cp /etc/sudoers.bak /etc/sudoers

It works for me.

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It worked when i logged in using super user (su -) and executed above steps.. Thanks – Dave Oct 13 '14 at 6:15
But you need to be root. so... – tomwrong Nov 22 '14 at 9:46

If u messed up your sudoers file.You'll need to:

  • Reboot into recovery mode (hit escape during boot, choose the recovery mode option on the grub screen)
  • Choose the 'Enable networking' option (if you don't your filesystem will be mounted as read-only. who knew)
  • Chosee the 'Drop to root shell' option
  • run visudo, fix your file
  • Reboot with normal grub option

source :-

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Follow up question: When I choose the Enable networking option, I'm prompted to tell the system that I'm sure. I do that and I just drop into nothing. No root prompt, nothing. What should I expect to see/do after the 2nd step? Thanks. – Rob Wilkerson Jan 23 '13 at 14:25

I screwed up the sudoers file to find out that I don't remember the root password. Solution: rebooted under Windows (I have a dual boot) and edited the file using ext2fsd (you have to reboot after the installation). In principle, this could be another Linux or a live flash, not necessarily Windows.

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